Toshiba 42VL963 review

Ambitious but oh-so-slow Edge LED telly with passive 3D

Toshiba 42VL963

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With a wired LAN-only Toshiba Places platform a tad short on apps, and an obstinate user interface, it would be easy to dismiss this 42-inch Edge LED, but it's picture is just too versatile to ignore.

We liked

Judged purely on picture quality, the 42VL963 is as good an all-rounder as we've seen at this price; 2D and 3D are both handled well, and even standard definition sources look tight.

Active Vision works well at removing judder from Blu-ray, and there's enough in the way of contrast and black level to provide a good basis for an above-average picture.

It's also good to see dedicated shortcuts to both BBC iPlayer and YouTube on the central carousel since it stops us having to bother firing up Toshiba Places.

And with the lights on, the 42VL963 is one of the best-looking TVs around at this price.

We disliked

Toshiba Places lacks Wi-Fi, is slow, and is devoid of must-have video content. Nor is the 42VL963 a great TV to live with; saddled with an overly fussy and slow user interface, there's a worrying delay between a poorly-designed remote control and the 42VL963, so much so that we genuinely thought we'd picked up the wrong remote control on several occasions.

Final verdict

Great value 2D, 3D and upscaled SD images are interrupted by a lacklustre Toshiba Places and an all-round slow user interface that's frustrating to use.

Toshiba Places is hardly the smart TV platform of our dreams, and nor does the 42VL963 seem able to handle app data quickly enough.

Despite its core quality and luscious design, the 42VL963 is saddled with a poor remote control and can be frustrating to live with.

Also consider

Hovering around the same price as this Toshiba is another passive 3DTV, the Panasonic TX-L42ET5B, which boasts a better smart TV platform and a far more effective remote control.

Panasonic also makes an active shutter 3D variant, the Panasonic TX-L42ET50B which includes a polished chrome floating bezel.

LG also makes a huge variety of passive 3DTVs, including the LM660T Series and LM670T Series, though its larger 50-inch 50PM670T active shutter 3D plasma goes for the same price as this 42-inch Toshiba.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, (opens in new tab) and (opens in new tab) that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),