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Toshiba AV502U series--photos

While no style maven nor template for reference color, the Toshiba AV502U series can do black levels better than most inexpensive LCDs.

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David Katzmaier
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1 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Toshiba AV502U series--overview

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.

Read the full review of the Toshiba AV502U series.

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2 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Toshiba AV502U series--corner detail

Glossy black and square, the Toshiba's frame is also a bit thicker than most.
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3 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Toshiba AV502U series--back panel inputs

The back panel of the Toshiba offers two HDMI and two component-video jacks.
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4 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Toshiba AV502U series--side panel inputs

A lone composite AV input sprouts from the side panel.
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5 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Toshiba AV502U series--remote

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.
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6 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Toshiba AV502U series--main picture menu

Plenty of picture adjustments are available in the Toshiba's main picture menu, but only in Preference mode.
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7 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Toshiba AV502U series--advanced picture settings

The advanced menu includes gamma, a rarity among entry-level HDTVs.
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8 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Toshiba AV502U series--color temperature settings

Adjustable color temperature is always nice, if a bit limited in this case.
9 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Toshiba AV502U series--picture quality

Those "relatively" deep blacks are the main story, which contribute to slightly better contrast, especially in dark scenes, but they don't do anything to ameliorate the Toshiba's inaccurate grayscale.

Read the full review of the Toshiba AV502U series.

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