The 58-inch screen size of Toshiba's 58L7365DB may be a little odd, sitting between the more usual 55- and 60-inch sized models you're likely to find down your local electrical superstore, but it's keenly priced at £1,100, undercutting much of the competition by at least a couple of hundred quid.
The lower price doesn't mean you have to put up with a lack of features either, as it has Toshiba's new Cloud smart TV platform onboard, support for active 3D, four HDMI ports and built-in WiDi for wirelessly mirroring of your laptop's display to the TV.
User interface and TV guide
The 58L7365DB uses a brand-new menu system that looks much more inviting than the user interface Toshiba was using on last year's TVs. It kicks into gear as soon as you turn on the TV, with a neat and easy to follow setup wizard that helps you connect the set to the Internet for the smart TV features and tune in all the channels.
The new menu system is much more straightforward than the old one, offering easy to follow panels full of options for stuff like the picture and audio setting. The picture controls are quite comprehensive too, so you can pretty easily adjust stuff like the Resolution+ upscaling system and ClearScan motion processing engine. Naturally, as this is a high-end model, it also includes a full colour-management system.
All is not rosy, however, as the menu system is quite sluggish to use. It often takes a few seconds to appear after pressing the menu button on the remote, and moving between menu screens can take place at a glacial pace. That's quite frustrating on a TV in this price bracket.
The set actually has two TV guides. A standard Freeview one and a secondary Internet-based programming guide that can be accessed via the Cloud TV menu. I'll cover the latter in the smart TV section of this review, but it's the Freeview guide that you're likely to use most often, so thankfully it's reasonably good. it doesn't have a thumbnail window for the channel you're watching, but at least it keeps audio running in the background when you open the guide, so you can still sort of keep tabs on what you were watching.
The guide shows plenty of information on the screen in one go -- 13 channels in total -- but this is quite useful as it means you generally do less scrolling around to check out what's coming up later. The font is also large enough to be easily read from a distance. It would have been better, however, if Toshiba had included a details box, as to get a summary of a show you have to first select it in the guide and then hit the Info button on the remote to open up this information in a new screen.
Toshiba has dumped its old Places smart TV system and instead replaced it with its new, more ambitious Cloud TV system. The new interface is split into a number of different screens with a rotating tab at the top used to move between them.
The default screen is called Home and shows a thumbnail video of the currently selected channel with a suggestion box beneath of an upcoming show the Cloud system thinks you might want to watch. Next to this there's a time and date box, beneath which you'll find a feed of tweets about shows currently trending on Twitter.
Switching right on the tab at the top takes you to the Premium Apps screen that displays a grid of icons for apps such as iPlayer, Netflix, BBC Sport and YouTube. There's also a secondary grid of icons to the right of the screen with shortcuts for Skype, the full Web browser as well as a folders for your USB recordings and upcoming programme reminders. These two are followed by the 'Other Categories' and 'TV & Video' pages which show a few extra apps across similar grid systems.
The Cloud TV system also has its own secondary TV guide, which uses the Gracenotes online database to shows extra information on upcoming shows and movies, such as cast and crew details. The downside is it's slow to start up.
Thankfully Toshiba has upped the number of apps available over the old Places systems, the most welcome addition being Netflix. There are still loads of apps missing, including Lovefilm, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5, which are all now available on Samsung's smart TVs.
And although Toshiba's system has some classy touches, such as the programme suggestions and Twitter feed, it's still annoying to use, because it's so sluggish. It's unstable too, and crashed a couple of times so badly that I had to pull the plug on the TV to get it working again. Weirdly, once apps like BBC iPlayer and Netflix have loaded they feel quite responsive, but Toshiba's own menus are too slow and frustrating to use.
The Cloud TV system also has a media player built-in, although it's weirdly labelled 'Contents'. Opening it up lets you play back files either from USB drivers, or from network connected devices like PCs and networked hard drives. Its file format support is good, as it played MKVs, MP4 and Xvid files. When streaming files across a network, only the play/pause and fast-forward controls work. If you try to rewind, it doesn't actually do anything.
Design and connections
Despite its size, the 58L7365DB still manages to be a fairly handsome-looking set. It's reasonably slim for a TV with such a large screen size -- at the top, the chassis is only 46mm deep. It does extend out at the bottom around the housing for the speakers, but this doesn't ruin its mostly svelte profile.
While it lacks the seamless edge-to-edge look of some of Samsung's large screen LED models, its bezel is still very narrow at just 17mm wide. I also like the curved cutaways on either side of the bottom of the bezel, as it helps to offset the design's otherwise very masculine, angular look.
The cut-out stand is simple, but elegant too, and unlike like many of the stands on other manufacturers' big-screen TVs this year, this one does swivel, so you can easily nudge the screen around to suit your sitting position without having to struggle lifting the whole weight of the TV.
Some of Toshiba's remotes for past high-end sets have been genuinely horrible. The one supplied with this TV is better, but still not great. It's larger than I'd ideally have liked and the buttons feel spongy. The layout is just so-so. I found I often hit the Search button when I was actually reaching for the Settings button, for example. It does at least have dedicated keys for the stuff you're going to use most often, such as the TV guide and smart TV.