Toshiba spreads its brands across many product categories and a lot of them are either a hit or miss. For instance, Toshiba makes some great gaming laptops but the company’s tablet offerings are disappointing. On the TV front, Toshiba isn’t really a popular brand but that won’t stop the company from bringing in next-generation models. Toshiba is even going as far as competing in the emerging 4K TV space with models like the Toshiba 58L9300U.
Toshiba currently has only one family of 4K displays and the 58L9300U is the smallest of the 3. But the 58-inch panel is a unique choice and it makes this TV a bit bigger than many of the budget 4K displays offered by competitors. This is actually a good thing because 4K resolutions stand out more on larger screens since you will be viewing them from afar anyway. High pixel density is best for mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
Most modern TVs look pretty good nowadays and this fact can make it difficult for manufacturers to design a TV that stands out. The design of the Toshiba 58L9300U has a pretty interesting approach with a gun metal finish to the bezel.
Unsurprisingly for a high-end TV, the bezel is pretty thin and it makes the screen look even bigger. The TV stand is one of the more unique aspects of the 58L9300U. The width of the stand is about half the overall width of the TV and is naturally supported by 2 pillars. The base of the stand is rectangular in shape but it is just the outline giving the stand a very minimalistic look. It gives the Toshiba 58L9300U a sense of identity. Other competing TVs may have bolder designs which people either love or hate. Toshiba went with a safe design that most people should be fine with.
It has the usual 4 HDMI inputs and 2 USB inputs which should open up a wide number of configurations. One interesting addition that usually isn’t present in today’s TVs is the SD card slot. With this, you can easily show pictures from most compact cameras on the TV without the need of a USB cable.
At this level of competition, you cannot enter the TV race without offering some online TV platform. Toshiba comes out with its own called Cloud TV Portal and it is pretty much what you would expect from a TV with online features. The interface is pretty standard and uninspired but it is functional and you really can’t get lost as each of the options are labeled. You should have no problems logging into your Facebook or Twitter account if you want to share stuff. The Cloud TV Portal also offers a fair number of utility apps like a calendar where you can post reminders. The online streaming offerings are pretty varied including Netflix, YouTube, BBC News, BBC Sport, Vimeo and DailyMotion along with some rare ones like Blinkbox and LiveSport.tv. If you want to explore some fresh and unique content, the 58L9300U is a pretty compelling smart TV choice.
The rest of the features of this Cloud TV Portal are related to media guides where you can discover new programs to check out. There is even a search function that helps you look for the content you want to check out. This function automatically searches as you key in your search term making it pretty straightforward to use.
The Toshiba 58L9300U also features built-in Wi-Fi and is one of the few TVs that take the whole wireless idea a little bit further with onboard WiDi support. WiDi seems like a dying standard since many Ultrabooks come without the functionality but if your laptop supports it, you can either extend your notebook’s desktop or mirror its display without the need for an HDMI cable.
The 3D technology isn’t so hyped by Toshiba but it is definitely present in the 58L9300U. The technology works as you would expect and it comes with a special 2D to 3D conversion feature called Trivector. The feature works instantly although it doesn’t do too much in enhancing ordinary 2D programming. But the fantastic thing about this mode is how well the menus are shown in 3D perspective.
Parents will also appreciate the Game Mode feature which allows you to limit the time gamers can spend playing a gaming console hooked up to the TV. You set the timer and the input port will get locked once the timer runs out. Just make sure you don’t have a spare TV lying around since the player can simply unplug the gaming console from the TV and plug it into another.
The Toshiba doesn’t want to just tell you that their Toshiba 58L9300U product is a 4K display; Toshiba also wants to point out that it uses a special 4K technology called CEVO 4K. This basically combines the quickness of the TV’s dual-core processor with a 4K resolution to deliver superior performance when viewing 4K content. The 4K experience looks great although having a dual-core processor isn’t exactly an innovative thing. High-end TVs are expected to have these powerful processors to ensure a smooth smart TV experience. Fortunately, the 58L9300U performs pretty well. The Smart TV menus could use some improvements in responsiveness though. There could be times where you may accidentally access the wrong option.
The CQ Engine plays a significant role in improving the image quality. It is responsible for a number of picture enhancements including Dynamic Mode and Edge Enhancement. There is also an Expert Mode grants you more flexibility in utilizing the video processor. Local Dimming also contributes to contrast improvements while ClearScan reduces blur in fast-paced scenes by cranking up the refresh rate to 240 Hz.
The Toshiba 58L9300U can be best described a jack of all trades with a pretty competitive $2,799 price tag. Considering the large size of the screen, the 58L9300U comes out strong as a pretty good deal. The Smart TV experience could use a better interface but it is loaded with features. Other pricier competing models may offer better picture quality but 4K displays in general still look more impressive than their 1080p counterparts. Overall, the Toshiba 58L9300U is a good prospect if you are looking for a large 4K display on the cheap side.
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