Toshiba L5200U review:

Toshiba L5200U

Picture quality
Toshiba is not the name hovering on people's lips when they think of LCD televisions, but based on the performance of the L5200 alone perhaps it should be. It managed to outperform two higher priced TVs from the Samsung and Sony primarily by producing a deeper shade of black. Shadow detail was also quite good, but compared to the similarly priced Panasonic UT50 plasma it's obviously not able to compete. There was also some minor issues with uniformity with some spotlighting in the corners, though it paled in comparison to the backlight clouding of the Sony HX750. Colors showed good saturation but the television's biggest problem was with color accuracy, with slight green casts to midlevel tones.

Click the image above 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)
Panasonic TC-P50UT50 50 inch plasma
Sony KDL-55HX750 55 inch, edge-lit LCD
Samsung UN46EH6000 46 inch, full-array LED
Sharp LC-60LE640U 60 inch, info

Black level: Black levels are the most important measure of a television's picture quality, and compared with the other LCDs in the lineup, the Toshiba performed fairly well here. Sure the UT50 plasma kills it in comparison, but the Toshiba has deeper blacks than two more expensive TVs, the Sony HX750 and the Samsung EH6000. The only other LCD to do better here was the surprising Sharp 640U, which was able to give out deeper blacks than the Toshiba in the darkest scenes, although in many other scenes the two were very close.

Meanwhile shadow detail was solid, with a fair amount of depth and a lack of crushing in dark areas. During the climactic scenes of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," for example, the Toshiba was able to handle the murky scenes well, with specs of detail appearing from within the gloom. However, I did notice some subtle "iris-type" effects in which moving from a light scene to a dark scene would cause the screen to darken slowly.

Color accuracy: While saturation was fine, with vivid colors during bright material, color accuracy was the Toshiba's biggest problem. As this is a budget TV it can be excused for a lack of advanced color controls, but the TV is simply is not able to reproduce accurate colors. Low level skin tones are a bit too green, which means that in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II," our hero Harry looks even sicker than usual. This wasn't a problem with any of our comparison TVs. Bear in mind this was in our calibrated picture, which itself was an improvement on the overly blue and deeply crushed Movie mode.

In our testing lineup the only other TV to give a green cast was the UT50, but its talents in other areas mean that it's still the better TV overall.

Video processing: While there were traces of judder during the flyover of the Intrepid during our "I Am Legend" test, it wasn't quite enough to warrant a failing grade. The TV was able to pass all of the other picture processing tests without a glitch, so it should be able to handle most sources you subject it to.

Uniformity: As an edge-lit LED, uniformity can suffer, but the Toshiba performed relatively well. Compared against the Sony HX750, the Toshiba had a little bit of spotlighting in the corners but none of the backlight clouding of the Sony.

On a recorded game of ice hockey there was a "dirty-screen" effect in which light parts of the screen looked like they had a smudge on them, but this wasn't noticeable enough to warrant recommending against this model.

Off-axis viewing of the Toshiba was OK with a tell-tale purpling of blacks at extremes, but the competitive Samsung and Sharp behaved similarly.

Bright lighting: The Toshiba features a glossy screen, and this coating can have a detrimental effect on use in a bright room because you end up looking at a reflection of yourself. There is what appears to be an antireflective filter on the TV, as use in a room with a mix of overhead lights and natural light was possible without eyestrain. The Samsung and Sharp performed in a similar way with some slight reflection on black bars, but not enough to distract you from a movie.

Toshiba L5200

GEEK BOX: Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.0088 Good
Avg. gamma 2.1355 Good
Near-black x/y (5%) 0.2711/0.2822 Poor
Dark gray x/y (20%) 0.3233/0.3399 Poor
Bright gray x/y (70%) 0.3123/0.3239 Average
Before avg. color temp. 8002.5694 Poor
After avg. color temp. 6592.6278 Good
Red lum. error (de94_L) 1.7357 Average
Green lum. error (de94_L) 5.4944 Poor
Blue lum. error (de94_L) 7.673 Poor
Cyan hue x/y 0.2144/0.3142 Poor
Magenta hue x/y 0.3345/0.155 Average
Yellow hue x/y 0.4208/0.4858 Poor
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
1080i De-interlacing (film) Pass Good
Motion resolution (max) 700 Average
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 330 Poor
PC input resolution (VGA) 1,920x1,080 Good

What you'll pay

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