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Toshiba 32C120U review:

Toshiba 32C120U

Picture quality

I was frankly surprised how good the Toshiba's picture looked for a TV this inexpensive. Its black levels were the deepest among cheap 32-inch TVs we've tested, beating out those of the former champ, Samsung's EH4000, by a substantial margin. Its color accuracy is flat-out poor, however, so the Samsung is still our overall choice in this category. That said, the Toshiba earns the same 6 in Picture Quality we awarded the Samsung, largely on the strength of its other picture-quality virtues like shadow detail and bright-room performance.

Click the image at the right to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV's picture controls worked during calibration.

Comparison models (details)
LG 32CS460 32-inch LCD
Panasonic TC-L32C5 32-inch LCD
Samsung UN32EH4000 32-inch LED
Sony KDL-32BX330 32-inch LCD
TCL L40FHDP60 40-inch LCD
Samsung LN46D630 46-inch LCD
Panasonic TC-P65VT50 (reference) 65-inch plasma

Black level: The Toshiba's depth of black was quite good; here the Toshiba beat out the other 32-inch sets in our lineup, as well as the 40-inch TCL, and came close to the 46-inch Samsung D630. Dark scenes, like Katniss and Peeta's sleepless rendezvous in chapter 8 of "The Hunger Games," were the most obvious beneficiaries, appearing with more pop and realism than on any of the other 32-inchers. The next-closest 32-inch competitor was the Samsung EH4000, but it was still quite a bit more washed-out looking than the Toshiba.

I also appreciated that details in shadows, like the folds in the sheets, the pattern in the headboard, and other near-black areas of Katniss' bedroom (1:00:01), looked well-defined without the muddiness of the other sets. I'd give the nod to the EH4000 in shadow detail, but the Toshiba was right behind it.

Color accuracy: This category is a weak point for the Toshiba, for despite its relatively ample controls I wasn't able to wrestle its color into the proximity of most of the others, let alone my VT50 reference. Skin tones were simply too rosy and saturated, as evinced by the almost sunburnt look of Katniss and Gale snacking in the field in chapter 1 (6:25). The greens in the trees and grass also had a too-yellow, almost neon look. Overall the Toshiba wasn't quite as bad as the Panasonic or TCL on this front, but definitely fell short of the others.

In its favor, the 32C120U rendered black and near-black areas with more accuracy -- specifically without as much of a blue tinge -- than most of the others.

Video processing: Like the other 32-inch sets in my lineup the Toshiba failed to properly handle 1080p/24 material -- not surprising since it's a 60Hz TV. Instead the flyover of the Intrepid from "I Am Legend" appeared with plenty of chunky judder, instead of the smoothness of, for example, the D630. Also as you'd expect for a 60Hz TV, according to test patterns the Toshiba failed to deliver much in the motion-resolution department, although as usual I found blurring difficult to detect in program material.

Uniformity: From off-angle the Toshiba was mediocre, losing black-level fidelity from either side more quickly than a few of the others (notably the LG and the TCL) and not besting any of its competitors. It also evinced plenty of color shift. I did appreciate the lack of blotchy, brighter areas on the screen, however; the set maintained its brightness consistency well from edge to edge.

Bright lighting: The Toshiba was one of best in our lineup under the lights since its matte screen generated slightly foggier, dimmer, and less noticeable reflections of in-room objects than the Samsung EH4000, yet maintained black-level depth just as well.

Geek box: Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.0079 Good
Avg. gamma 2.15 Good
Near-black x/y (5%) 0.3205/0.3408 Good
Dark gray x/y (20%) 0.3325/0.3456 Poor
Bright gray x/y (70%) 0.314/0.3276 Good
Before avg. color temp. 7637 Poor
After avg. color temp. 6219 Poor
Red lum. error (de94_L) 4.5212 Poor
Green lum. error (de94_L) 1.0926 Good
Blue lum. error (de94_L) 7.6708 Poor
Cyan hue x/y 0.2176/0.3428 Poor
Magenta hue x/y 0.3296/0.1508 Average
Yellow hue x/y 0.4188/0.4874 Average
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Fail Poor
1080i Deinterlacing (film) Pass Good
Motion resolution (max) 300 Poor
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 300 Poor

Toshiba 32C120U CNET review calibration results

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