Toshiba struck style gold with its XF355D, which was much respected in these parts, and the new, upgraded ZF355D doesn’t break the mould much.
It features the same ultra-slim 2.3cm screen surround as before, making it one of the most compact 40in TVs you can buy: it’ll fit into roughly the same amount of space as most 37in models, so is ideal if you’re trying to max your screen size without taking over your living room completely.
Interestingly, this slimline screen surround isn’t that new an idea, either. Years back, Toshiba used to make ‘Picture Frame’ CRT sets that were just as space-efficient – you wonder why no-one else has copied them.
Solid rather than thrilling spec
Although it’s a Full HD, 100Hz set, the Toshiba’s specification isn’t necessarily fantastic in this class. There’s no hint of a USB input or a card-reader, for example, and both LG and Samsung have also recently raised the HDMI bar to four sockets.
However, the ZF adopts 100Hz picture processing to help it deliver smoother motion handling with TV broadcasts than its sibling, and it’ll still handle 24fps/1080p content from Blu-ray without any motion judder.
The Toshiba also features discreet speakers from a specialist hi-fi manufacturer, Onkyo, and very good they are too, lending this slim set considerable weight coupled to impressive detail.
Pictures almost perfect
Of course, the real deal is picture performance, and the Toshiba stands up pretty well here, too. High-def sources suit it best; it’s got plenty of contrast, coupled to sharply drawn edges, although the colour palette is a little unnatural, being a shade more lush than it really ought to be.
Switch to standard-definition DVD, and you’ll see a little shimmer on complicated picture detail, too. For that reason, if you were thinking of buying, we’d really recommend you insist on seeing it demonstrated with both standard-definition and high-definition content.
Still, its ultra-stealthy speakers sound surprisingly good, considering that so little sound appears to be directed straight towards you. We’d avoid the extra-wide ‘SRS WOW’ mode, though.