Toshiba 55ZL2 review

4 stars
£7,000
3D without glasses? A resolution four times full HD? Toshiba's 55ZL2 takes two huge technological leaps forward for the (sky-high) price of one

Toshiba 55ZL2 review – screen 

At four times 1080p, 3840x2160 (Quad Full HD) is a huge screen resolution - so big, in fact, that there's currently next to no content available for it. What native content there is looks staggeringly detailed and absolutely razor-sharp, though. 

Remember the first time you clapped eyes on full HD pictures? This is even more impressive, and even more of a game-changer.

Toshiba 55ZL2 review – glasses free 3D 

The 55ZL2 uses a camera built in to its bezel to identify where everyone's sitting. It then uses lenticular trickery to direct a three-dimensional image to each viewer. It really does work provided you sit very, very still - any head movement will throw off the effect. Still, it's glasses-free 3D, in full 1080p, on a screen considerably bigger than a 3DS.

Toshiba 55ZL2 review – Smart TV 

For a telly as clever as this, the Toshiba isn't the best for smart TV options. iPlayer and YouTube get their own icons, while everything else comes under the 'Toshiba Places' umbrella. It contains the usual social networking options, and some average video-on-demand services - there's now web browser, though.

Toshiba 55ZL2 review – design and build 

Put the attention - grabbing headlines aside, and this is just a great-looking TV. It delivers deep, detailed blacks, handles contrasts brilliantly, isn't freaked out by rapid motion and has excellent detail. That's all the more impressive when you remember that even Blu-ray pictures are being upscaled by a factor of four.

More after the break...

Toshiba 55ZL2 review – remote control, apps and interface 

The remote control has a slidey metal shroud, about which Freud might have a couple of observations. A lack of backlighting aside, it's very usable - although the smartphone/tablet control app available for iOS and Android, is better still. Given how complex the 55ZL2 is, the on-screen menus are mercifully brief - it's easy to get the most out of the Tosh.

Toshiba 55ZL2 review – Quad HD resolution 

The 55ZL2 has to work hard to upscale enough to fill all those pixels with information, even when it's showing a quality high-def broadcast such as Sky's Premier League coverage. HD pictures are bright, stable and high-contrast, and the Toshiba handles even the unpredictable motion of a football game well. It can't work miracles, though, so avoid standard-def broadcasts unless you're a fan of noise and fuzzy detail. 

Toshiba 55ZL2 review – picture quality 

Blu-ray movies look tremendous on the Toshiba. 2D content impresses with the depth and detail of black tones, the smoothness of edges, the breadth of the colour palette and the superb stability of motion. Switch up to 3D and the good news keeps coming: the effect is less pronounced than with glasses-based systems, and you have to keep very still, but it's bright, immersive and convincing 3D, in full HD, without glasses. Genius. 

The 55ZL2's facility with motion makes even the most hectic game easy to follow - and as the TV isn't overloaded with motion-processing options it's responsive too, with no meaningful button-lag. Games bring out the Tosh at its 3D best: after all, sitting still feels much more natural when gaming than when watching movies. Hook up a (very) high-end PC, and you'll even be able to play in the native resolution of the screen.

Toshiba 55ZL2 review – verdict 

The price is a considerable obstacle, but it's hard not to be impressed by Tosh's 55in spec-free 3D TV. Its 3840x2160 screen looks spectacular with both upscaled Blu-ray and native-res images - if you can find any. The 3D works… so long as you don't move. 

 

says

Toshiba 55ZL2

The Toshiba costs a fortune, but it's uberhigh resolution and specs-free 3D are awesome. TV just changed for good. 

Toshiba 55ZL2 review
4 stars
£7,000
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