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Toshiba 55ZL2 review

The next generation of TV is here; Ultra HD and glasses-free 3D

Although it doesn't adopt the Smart Hub 'home page' approach that's serving Samsung and LG TVs so well this year, the Toshiba 55ZL2 is still impressively easy to use, considering how cutting edge it is.

Its 3D mode kicks in automatically, for instance, and you're always reminded to run a Tracking check so you can't accidentally forget to optimise the screen for each viewer's position.

The on-screen menus, meanwhile, are reasonably attractive in their presentation, and their concentric wheel layout seems to be a very easy to follow and concise way of quickly providing you with access to all the features the TV has to offer.

The sub-menus behind the main selection icons are a touch bland visually, but they get the job done.

Toshiba 55ZL2 review

The menu system for the Toshiba Places online services is terrific, meanwhile, with bold, colourful, easy to follow graphics, and a brilliantly logical layout. The only irritation is the way you have to quit Toshiba Places to play BBC iPlayer or YouTube material, because for some reason these haven't been integrated into the main Places infrastructure.

The biggest bones of contention with the Toshiba 55ZL2's operating system are that it's trickier to network with PCs than many rivals, and that the remote control isn't very pleasant at all. Partly because it feels crowded and not helpfully organised, but mostly because of the annoyingly fiddly sliding metal cover at the bottom end.

This is supposed to keep rarely used buttons out of sight when you don't need them, but it mostly just makes the remote uncomfortable to hold and generally a bit fiddly.

Sound

Perhaps helped by the fact that the Toshiba 55ZL2 has a fairly chunky rear end by Edge LED TV standards, its sound really isn't bad at all. The speakers manage to keep dialogue reasonably clear even during loud action scenes, and they don't phut or distort even under pretty extreme duress.

Toshiba 55ZL2 review

The TV struggles to deliver a rich sense of bass, though, despite having what appears to be fairly large woofers on its rear. And this means the mid-range sometimes feels a bit overcrowded. But this is true of almost all other flatscreen TVs too, and actually the Toshiba 55ZL2 sounds better than most.

Value

Clearly no TV costing £7,000 (about $11,215) could ever sensibly be called a bargain. But then let's be fair: the Toshiba 55ZL2 is no ordinary television. It's the first domestic TV ever to deliver 3D without the need for glasses, and it's also the first domestic TV ever to give you a 4K resolution - the latter of which feels like a genuine and mouthwateringly spectacular glimpse of the future of TV.

Toshiba 55ZL2 review

The problem is that unlike the recently released 4K projector, the Sony VPL-VW1000ES, which supports 4K playback from PCs via HDMI, the Toshiba 55ZL2 doesn't appear to provide any way of enabling normal users now or, crucially, in the future to actually get the full benefit from its 4K resolution, at least with video.

So with its 3D flawed and its upscaled-to-4K HD images impressive but certainly not nearly as brilliant as the set's real 4K images, the Toshiba 55ZL2's £6,999 (about $11,215) price seems rather a high one to pay for something that's in some ways an exercise in frustration.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Digital TunerDVB-S2, DVB-C (MPEG4), DVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal Standard4K UHDTV
Number of HDMI Ports4
Product FamilyZL2
3D Type3D
EU Energy LabelD
Smart TVYes
Brand NameToshiba
Screen Size139.7 cm (55")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityCEC, EU Ecolabel, RoHS
EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Analog TunerNTSC, PAL, SECAM
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)30.50 kg
Backlight TechnologyEdge LED
VESA Mount Standard400 x 400
Operating Power Consumption297 W
Standby Power Consumption200 mW
Dynamic Contrast Ratio9,000,000:1
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
VGAYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand832 mm
Width with Stand1253 mm
Depth with Stand357 mm
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Number of USB Ports2
3D ConversionYes
Energy Consumption per Year345 kWh
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
Motion Interpolation Technology800 Active Motion Rate
Height755 mm
Width1253 mm
Depth58 mm
ColourAluminum Black, Chrome
Brightness450 cd/m²
Comb Filter3D Y/C
Sound SystemAudyssey EQ, Virtual Surround, Dolby Digital Plus
Product SeriesZL2
Maximum Resolution3840 x 2160
FeaturesDigital Noise Reduction, Ambient Lighting, Teletext, PVR (Personal Video Recorder)
ManufacturerToshiba
Product Model55ZL2
Product Name55ZL2 LED-LCD TV
Manufacturer Part Number55ZL2
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.toshiba.co.uk
Marketing InformationEXPERIENCE A REVOLUTION IN GLASSES-FREE 3D AND ALL ROUND PICTURE PERFORMANCE

Designed to offer a next-generation home cinema experience, the ZL2 series feature a range of powerful imaging technologies that offer cutting-edge performance. Beyond Full-HD resolution up-scaling provides unparalleled picture quality; while revolutionary glasses-free 3D technology removes the need to wear 3D glasses while watching 3D content for a more natural 3D viewing experience. The ZL2 series display 3D images for multiple viewing positions simultaneously, allowing larger groups to enjoy 3D playback with no need for glasses. Toshiba's CEVO ENGINE powers a range of image enhancement technologies that are designed to deliver optimum quality. Resolution+ upscales content to quality beyond Full HD 1080p resolution, capitalising on the Quad Full HD display, providing new levels of detail. Additionally, 2D content can even be upscaled into 3D quality in real time- again, without the need for 3D glasses.
Package Contents
  • 55ZL2 LED-LCD TV
  • 2 x Batteries
  • Remote Control
  • Stand
  • Instruction Manual (Quick Guide)
  • 3.5mm Component Adapter
  • 3.5mm Composite Adapter
  • 3.5mm Scart Adapter
Response Time5 ms
SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty2 Year
Weight (Approximate)27.80 kg