Very large TVs sound like the kind of equipment that only people with larger budgets can afford. Many major manufacturers are pouring more advertising resources in promoting their flagship products so consumers can not only get a large TV but also a TV with very good picture quality and plenty of features to play around with. But if you think deeply about the high price, you will realize that these extra features and technologies are responsible for the high price. You may not need these extra features if all you want is a large 1080p display where you can enjoy your movies. Fortunately, smaller brands like Toshiba provide some decent alternatives if you are looking for something large, cheap and simple. The Toshiba 58L4300U ticks all the boxes and even does well in certain areas.
The 58-inch 58L4300U makes this display significantly larger than your average 55-inch display. In order to make this display more affordable, Toshiba had to cheapen out the materials used to build the TV. The “Gun Metal Deco” design feels like cheap plastic but fortunately it doesn’t look so ugly or too generic. The Toshiba 58L4300U still manages to have its own identity even if it feels cheap. But if you are looking for the thinnest HDTV in the block, the 58L4300U is way off the mark. It is about as thick as a traditional LCD display despite the fact that the TV uses an LED panel. The remote control looks pretty standard as well though the setup button is too small to even recognize even though it is labeled.
While the design of the Toshiba 58L4300U may be more of a disappointment, the features add some value if you like using online services. Toshiba identifies the 58L4300U as a “Cloud” LED TV which is basically Toshiba’s own term for a Smart TV. Like many of the pricier alternatives, Toshiba actually managed to incorporate a central hub called the Cloud TV Portal which lets you take advantage of the Internet features. Setting things up is a breeze since the TV has built-in Wi-Fi allowing the display to connect to the router without the Ethernet cable although the cable remains as an option. The interface presents the standard run-of-the-mill apps like Facebook, Twitter and Skype although the overall app ecosystem is a bit lackluster compared to other offerings. The performance is also a bit sluggish so you might as well invest in one of those TVs with dual-core CPUs if you really want a fluid Smart TV interface. Don’t forget that you can connect an HTPC or laptop to the Toshiba 58L4300U and get an even better experience. If the laptop supports WiDi, you can wirelessly mirror or extend your computer’s display as well without any special accessories since the TV has built-in WiDi support as well.
This HDTV has another cool feature called the Gaming Timer mode. This feature is for parents which allows them to limit the time kids can play games. Once the timer reaches zero, the TV will then lock the input source. Although it is called the Gaming Timer mode, you can essentially use this feature to add a lockdown timer to any input source so whatever is connected to that source can be locked after the set duration.
In addition to the 4 HDMI inputs, dual composite ports and single component video, the display also features a pair of USB ports. This allows you to connect a flash drive to the TV and have the TV display pictures and videos or play back music files.
If you are going to get a very large TV, the display should be capable of showing off impressive pictures and the 58L4300U surprisingly exceeds expectations. The built-in CG Engine video processor gives the display amazing contrast which means very good black levels. You can actually see the details of the picture regardless of the room’s lighting. Color accuracy is pretty good as well whether you are watching standard TV shows or high-definition Blu-ray videos. If you are into vivid colors, you will like the way the TV shows off the blue colors. Reds look a bit muted but the overall picture quality looks great. The ClearScan 120 Hz technology is yet another fancy marketing term for the refresh rate and it works by simply doubling the screen refresh rate. What matters most with this feature though is the fact that this technology actually works with no signs of artifacting. This is great if you want to witness crazy fast sports and action scenes without the annoying blur.
The Toshiba 58L4300U is a suitable large TV for gaming as well since there is a special gaming mode which not only optimizes the picture but it also reduces controller delay which is vital for playing games that require a lot of precision such as first-person shooters.
The audio quality is even more impressive because it incorporates the Audyssey EQ and ABX audio technologies which greatly enhance the sound quality while maintaining good balance. Audyssey technologies are normally featured in home theater receivers so it is nice to see built-in TV speakers getting the treatment. Movies, TV shows and video games of all genres sound great and it may convince you to save your money rather than splurging on an inexpensive sound bar or speaker system.
The 58L4300U may not be the prettiest and sturdiest TV but the 58-inch display size can still attract attention in any living room and you can get even more drawn in once you see the above-average picture quality and amazing audio quality (at least for built-in speakers). These positives alone make this TV worthy of the $1,099 price tag. Toshiba could have done a better job with the whole Cloud TV thing but the company still deserves credit for adding built-in Wi-Fi and WiDi so you can actually make good use of the features once you are used to the awful remote control and sluggish interface. The only real thing that this display lacks is 3D support.
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