Toshiba Regza 32C3030D review: Toshiba Regza 32C3030D

CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK

Average User Rating

4 stars 1 user review
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Good price; impressive connections; sharpness; vibrant colours.

The Bad Below par black levels; average sonics; limited viewing angle.

The Bottom Line Initially we were very optimistic that the Regza 32C3030D might be able to deliver Toshiba's traditional TV quality at a genuinely budget price. Sadly, however, our optimism is quickly scuppered by the 32C3030D's rather obvious susceptibility to a couple of traditional LCD technology issues

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The 'C' part in the Toshiba Regza 32C3030D's name marks it out as belonging to the company's new budget LCD TV range, so it's no surprise to find it selling for around £450.

This is great, of course, so long as Toshiba hasn't stripped away too much of its customary quality along the way.

Strengths
The Regza 32C3030D makes a good first impression by avoiding the plasticky, grey look of most self-consciously budget TVs in favour of a winningly slender little black number.

It's got all the connections we'd expect of a modern HD-ready TV too, including twin HDMI inputs, a component video input and a D-Sub PC jack. Plus you get a subwoofer line out for adding an optional external bass speaker to the TV's sound system.

The HDMIs go beyond budget expectations by receiving the 1080p HD format too, while remarkably the set also clings on to Toshiba's Active Vision LCD processing in spite of its knockdown price. Active Vision improves a variety of image elements, including colours, fine detailing, motion handling and contrast.

One more feature that we're very pleased to find on a £450, 32-inch set is a dynamic contrast system, whereby the TV's backlight automatically reduces its output when it detects a dark scene in a bid to improve black levels.

The 32C3030D's picture quality has some definite strengths. HD sources like Pirates of the Caribbean on Blu-ray look very sharp, clean and detailed, like when the lush colours of the Caribbean skies positively blaze off the screen.

The TV handles Captain Jack's swashbuckling swordplay better than most budget sets too, with less LCD motion blur than we'd expect.

Weaknesses
Unfortunately the 32C3030D's performance strengths are counterbalanced by two serious problems. First, the set's black level response is really very uninspiring, despite the dynamic contrast system. As the Black Pearl attacks the fort in our Pirates of the Caribbean Blu-ray, the night sky looks depressingly grey and foggy and there's no sense of depth to the action.

A lack of greyscale subtlety means dark areas look hollow, as well as flat, and we also detected a few brightness shifts in dark areas as the 32C3030D's backlight adjusts itself too aggressively.

Another major problem is how severely contrast and colour saturations drop off if you sit to the side of the TV. This used to be a very common problem with LCD, but many other sets now resolve it far better than this Toshiba.

The problems we've just described really do take much of the pleasure out of watching the 32C3030D's pictures -- and its audio is hardly music to our ears either.

The speakers are decent enough with vocals and treble information, meaning they just about cut the mustard with your average daytime TV fare. But a fundamental lack of bass leaves most film soundtracks feeling thin. If you end up with this TV, we suspect you'll be tempted to use that subwoofer output sooner rather than later.

Conclusion
As ever when we get an eye-catchingly cheap TV like the Toshiba Regza 32C3030D at around £450, we start out from a position of hope. But ultimately while it's not shockingly bad by any means, it doesn't do enough to stop us from wanting to point out that saving up just a little more cash really could get you a substantially better performance elsewhere. And oddly, it's not even as satisfying as the 37-inch version we looked at a while ago.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire

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Where to Buy

Toshiba Regza 32C3030D

Part Number: CNETToshiba Regza 32C3030D

Typical Price: £450.00

See manufacturer website for availability.