Toshiba Regza HL (42HL833B) review: Toshiba Regza HL (42HL833B)

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The Good Perky colours; good black levels; appealing design.

The Bad No hi-def Freeview tuner; only two HDMI ports; below-par audio.

The Bottom Line The Toshiba Regza 42HL833B is cheap for a 42-inch LED TV, but its poor audio, average pictures and lack of Internet features mean it's not particularly good value for money.

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5.5 Overall

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Toshiba's Regza 42HL833B is a no-frills, 42-inch, 1080p, LED-illuminated LCD TV that's available for a fairly cheap price of £620 online. When we say no-frills, we mean it -- this TV lacks the features we're used to seeing even on budget models from other manufacturers. Nevertheless, if the picture quality stands up, it might still be a decent purchase.

The colour and the shape

The 42HL833B looks very similar to the Regza 32RL853 that we looked at recently. It has the same piano black finish and the bottom corners are cut away to give it a clean, angular look. The chassis doesn't feel as sturdy as that of many of Panasonic's models, though, with the base of the stand feeling especially flimsy.

As this is an LED model, the chassis is very slim, measuring just 45mm deep, but, weirdly, there's a bulge on the right-hand side that seems to serve no purpose. This is because the set shares the same chassis as the Regza 42DB833B, which happens to have an integrated Blu-ray player, so we guess it's just unused space on this model.

Manufacturers such as Philips and Panasonic have started to improve the audio from their slim LED TVs by packing in bigger speakers, even if this means creating a slightly thicker chassis. Sadly, Toshiba hasn't followed this trend and the 42HL833B suffers as a result. Its audio sounds tinny and rather muddy. Even if you use the bass-booster function, found in the main menu, it doesn't add much oomph to the bottom end.

For a 42-inch model, there's an alarming lack of ports, too. For example, while most 42-inch sets now have four HDMI sockets, this one has just two. If you've got more kit than just a Sky box and PlayStation 3, you're likely to need to resort to an external HDMI switcher. These two HDMI sockets are joined by a Scart socket, component inputs, VGA connector and composite input, but it's still not a comprehensive line-up.

The media-player interface looks horribly dated.

The left-hand side of the TV is home to a USB port. This is used for digital media playback. The media player menu looks horribly dated, but at least the format support is quite good -- the TV played DivX, Xvid and MKV files without any problems. The 42HL833B lacks an Ethernet port, though, so there's no support for either DNLA media streaming or Internet services, such as BBC iPlayer.

Another anomaly is the fact that the TV only has a standard-definition Freeview tuner. Pretty much every TV we've seen this year from a major manufacturer has sported a Freeview HD tuner -- even the budget models. If you want to get access to hi-def services from the BBC and ITV, you'll need to use an external set-top box.

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