Superior smallscreen

Toshiba’s 32UL863B offers a solid AV performance and a mass of features – Mark Craven wonders whether there’s room in his house for another TV

Toshiba’s flatscreen resurgence continues with this feature-rich 32in LED set. Of course, it lacks the ‘wow’ factor of the CEVO-powered 55in TV reviewed last issue, but this is a brilliantly executed product that will do a job in any small cinema setup or second room. While it’s not the most affordable TV at this size, I reckon the extra outlay is worth it.

Unfussy fascia

Build quality is good and the 32UL863B sports an unfussy, non-descript design. Surprisingly, the remote is the same ‘slider’ model that comes with Toshiba’s high-end sets.

Connectivity is the current standard, and includes four HDMIs (with ARC support) Ethernet – should you not have Wi-Fi – and a pair of USBs. One of the latter can be used to record from the TV’s in-built Freeview HD tuner, giving you basic timeshifting functionality. And, naturally, you can use the USB ports to play various media files.

Even without delving into the 32UL863B’s extensive picture calibration options (which are possibly overkill on a screen at this size and price), the TV delivers pleasing images. A Full HD panel has just as clear benefits at 32in as a screen twice as large, and Blu-ray material comes across razor-sharp. Colours are equally impressive, providing you steer clear of the Dynamic preset which leaves bright tones little room for subtlety.

Footage from the standard-def tuner is predictably softer, but Toshiba’s Resolution+ processing can sharpen it up a touch. Tortuous test patterns showed the brand’s edge-LED system resulting in a slight greying out in the bottom corners of the panel, but this – and juddering with horizontal and vertical pans – prove less intrusive when viewing regular movie footage. I could easily watch films on this flatscreen all day long – as long as the TV was partnered with a separate sound system, as its audio is feeble to say the least.

Another standout feature of the 32UL863 is its well-developed user interface. Whether you’re browsing the Places Smart TV portal or tweaking the picture settings, you’re accompanied by gorgeous hi-res icons and sensible navigation. Other brands should take note.


HCC VERDICT

Toshiba 32UL863B
Price:
£400 Approx

Highs: HD picture performance; integrated Wi-Fi; slick user interface; calibration options
Lows: Weak audio; slight light pooling in dark scenes

Performance: 4/5
Design: 4/5
Features: 5/5
Overall: 4/5


Specifications

3D: no Not on the UL range
Full HD: yes 1,920 x 1,080
Tuner: yes Freeview HD; DVB-S2
Connections: 4 x HDMI; 1 x component; 1 x D-Sub PC input; 1 x Scart; 1 x composite; 2 x USB 2.0; 1 x Ethernet
Sound: 2 x 10W
Dimensions (off stand): 752(w) x 473(h) x 36(d)mm
Weight (off stand): 8.9kg
Features: Place Smart TV portal; built-in Wi-Fi; Personal TV with face recognition; DLNA streaming; 100Hz processing; Resolution+; greyscale, gamma and colour management; built-in test pattern; USB media playback; recording to USB from Freeview tuner