When we say the Toshiba AV502U series can produce relatively deep black levels, the key word is "relatively." It's perhaps more accurate to say that its shade of black outdoes most other less-expensive, lower resolution small-screened LCDs we've seen by a narrow margin. It does fall short of the competition in terms of maintaining accurate color at every brightness level, however, and it will look best if you avoid feeding it any 1080i sources. Speaking of looks, the AV502U is also among the most boring-looking TVs we've seen when it's turned off, and that's saying something. Those caveats aside, this little LCD does do slightly better blacks for less, and that might be enough for bargain hunters.
The remote is festooned with no fewer than 46 buttons. Techies will appreciate easy access to functions like aspect ratio and the sleep timer, but all users will find the tangle of text and icons a jungle to navigate, especially since so many of the keys are similarly sized and shaped and placed too close to one another. Many of the buttons are reserved for operating other gear; the AV502U's remote can handle three pieces in addition to the TV itself. The buttons glow in the dark, an uncommon touch at this price level.