Toshiba Regza RL (32RL853) review: Toshiba Regza RL (32RL853)

Typical Price: £430.00
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

2 stars 1 user review

The Good Slick design; Rich, warm colours; Good contrast performance; Well-designed EPG.

The Bad Poor Internet and media-streaming features; Plasticky remote; Tinny sound from the speakers.

The Bottom Line The Toshiba Regza RL is a decent mid-range TV that offers up warm and detailed HD and SD pictures, but its Internet and media-streaming features are sadly second-rate.

7.5 Overall

Toshiba was slow to embrace LED last year, but it's making up the lost ground with sets such as this 32-inch Regza RL model. Available online for around £430, the 32RL853 may be slim, but it packs in plenty of features, including BBC iPlayer.

Classy chassis

In the past Toshiba's sets have tended to lack a certain savoir faire in their design, but the company has upped its game on its latest LED models. Measuring 40mm thick, this one is obviously quite svelte, but even when viewed from the front it looks pretty classy, thanks to its strong, masculine lines and the cut-off corners at the bottom of the chassis.

The build quality, although not up there with the best of Panasonic's models, still feels fairly solid. The remote, however, is slightly plasticky and the hard buttons aren't very comfortable to use.

The Regza RL is only 40mm thick thanks to its LED edge lighting.

For a 32-inch model, the 853 isn't lacking when it comes to the range of connections on offer. There are three HDMI ports hiding around the back of the set, plus one that's mounted on the side for easy access. You also get component, Scart and composite inputs, as well as an Ethernet socket for hooking the TV up to your broadband router. There's a VGA input too, and a USB port.

Like most of today's mid-range sets, this one has a Freeview HD tuner onboard, so if you live in an area covered by HD broadcasts you can tune into HD channels from the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV. Some of last year's Toshiba models suffered from sluggish channel changes, but thankfully that's not a problem here. The programme guide is also much improved and now has a clean and crisp look and feel.

Internet slow lane

Most of the other major manufacturers are now concentrating heavily on Internet TV features, seeing them as one of the key ways to differentiate their sets from the competition. Samsung in particular has been promoting the benefits of IPTV in its latest ads. This is an area Toshiba seems to be falling behind though, because although it's better than last year's models, it hasn't improved all that much.

This TV doesn't have an Internet features menu as such, but instead just offers three services that are accessed from the main menu: BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Picasa. Most importantly, the iPlayer app performs really well and is both quick and easy to use. It even lets you stream HD programming. Picasa also looks quite stylish and is fairly quick to use, but the YouTube app is unfortunately messy and slow.

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