Toshiba knows it stuff when it comes to making small LCDs – but this 42-incher shows it’s still got a thing or two to learn on the big screen
As one of the biggest names in LCDs and hi-def telly, you'd expect Toshiba to be leading from the front like Mel Gibson in Brave Heart when it comes to cutting-edge sets. And, theoretically, that's what it's done with the 42X3030 – an outstandingly cheap 42in set that promises a glorious Full HD image. Surely, it's all too good to be true?
Cost-cutting has certainly taken place with the styling. The piano black and grey is very 2005, and the blandness leaves little to lust after.
The menu system is a little irksome, too, but not because of any serious bugbears – it's just too darn small. With such a big screen you'd have thought this would be the least of its problems, but as it is you have to get up close and personal to decipher the options.
Still, once you've happily taken your place on the sofa you'll be greeted by an impressive colour balance that can cope with most extremes. Unfortunately, though, that's about the sum of the good news where the picture is concerned.
Feel the noise
Contrast lacks bite compared to the competition, and to get believable levels of black you have to grey out the whites to such an extent that any vibrancy is crushed. The image is also pretty grainy, and there's just far too much noise -– what's more, switching from DVD to its HD upgrade doesn't get rid of the problem.
The TV tuner isn't much better, with a fake look to the image that makes the main characters in broadcasts appear as though they've been superimposed over their backgrounds.
All this adds up to one thing – HD's flag flyer is in need of bucking up its ideas if it's to keep up with the pack. It's not that this is a terrible TV, it's just that the competition is considerably better – and often cheaper.
Toshiba 42X3030 review
This would have been a decent set last year, but the competition has moved on leaving it some way off the pace