The LED-edge-lit Regza WL700-series is Toshiba's first foray into the 3D TV market. Available in 46 and 55 inches, these new panels rank highly in the aesthetics department thanks to a collaboration with design house Jacob Jensen. Matching the televisions' handsome looks are the company's proprietary technologies, such as Resolution+ which provides superb video-upscaling, though we found its 3D performance somewhat lacking compared with our reference Panasonic VT20 plasma.
This handsome 46-incher is unlike any past Regzas we have reviewed, thanks to design cues from Jacob Jensen. The 28.9mm-thin panel has a clean look with a flush front like Sony's monolithic design, a narrow bezel and chrome accents. It also comes with an elaborate swivel stand in a brushed metal finish, cut with a hole in the centre and a V-angled shaft. Rounding it up are luxurious touch controls with backlighting. Our only concerns are the moderately recessed A/V inputs, which utilise three cumbersome wire adapters and are too cramped to accept the thicker plugs of our Monster cables.
The Toshiba active shutter 3D goggles (model FPT-AG01A) fit well over prescription glasses, have an easily accessible switch with a power LED and block off stray light with their full wrap-around frame. However, only the height of the nose pad can be adjusted to suit both adults and kids — glasses from Sony go one step further with curved arms for better grip. Furthermore, the eyewear's coin battery is harder to replace with its compartment secured by a screw, and the frame lacks soft rubbery parts to cushion its hefty 60.9g bulk. By contrast, the Samsung SSG-P2100T/XS active 3D glasses weigh around 35g. Overall, the provided eyewear is functional, but offer very little in aesthetics and comfort.
We would have expected an equally attractive remote instead of the average-looking faux-brushed metal version from the XL700. The clicker now has an extra 3D key for 3D settings besides other shortcuts such as Media Player, while the specialised controls are tucked away under a pull-down cover. These buttons have a tactile rubbery feel and are well- organised, except for the cluttered "ring in a ring" design for the directional pad. To hasten video switching via the Source key, users can manually filter unused ports from the on-screen selection list utilising the panel's software menu.
A strong selection of presets with independent memory, test patterns and advanced options are available under the software menu, though the text-based interface is quite dated by today's standards.
The LED-edge-lit 47WL700 is compatible with most 3D formats including side-by-side broadcasts and 3D Blu-ray, but it lacks 2D-to-3D conversion, which is increasingly becoming standard for 3D TVs. In the 2D department, the picture quality is enhanced using Toshiba's proprietary Resolution+ and ClearScan 200 Pro technologies. Resolution+ is designed to elevate standard-definition upscaling performance for TV shows and DVDs, while ClearScan 200 Pro minimises film judder through 200Hz scanning backlight processing.
DLNA compliancy is a welcome feature, albeit not as comprehensive compared with other brands' implementations, and enables streaming of MP3, JPEG and MPEG-2 files from PCs and servers over an Ethernet connection. The panel's multimedia capability extends with two USB ports — USB 1 supports 1080p videos such as WMV-HD, AVCHD and MKV clips, though USB 2 is limited to JPEG only. Strangely, the Toshiba's DLNA menu is in standard-definition rather than the crisp high-definition interface offered for USB.
The 47WL700 comes with a standard A/V connectivity suite featuring six 1080p-ready inputs and some of the latest companion functions ranging from HDMI ARC to InstaPort S. Its optical audio output is 5.1 Dolby Digital, ready to route surround sound to an external home cinema kit for playing HD videos.
Standard-definition (SD) content
Toshiba's Resolution+ was quite effective in enhancing sharpness and details for free-to-air TV without introducing jaggies and blockiness with negligible background grains and mosquito noise. Playing back our reference DVDs delivered even better pictures, except for a higher-than-usual cropping of the sides in Widescreen mode. Avia synthetic tests further revealed near-perfect colour decoding, but a slight problem in distinguishing deeper shades of black. Faring even worst was the noise reduction result, although it was more than acceptable for other content.
High-definition (HD) content
The 47WL700 had the right balance of clarity, smoothness and film-like visuals for Blu-ray movies unlike most razor-sharp LCDs. Still, some older film transfers were slightly grainier and we were able to pick up hints of judder during some slow panning scenes. Colour-wise, our calibrated panel displayed warm and natural hues coupled with lifelike skin tones and revealing shadows. Its black level was also a little deeper than a Samsung C9000. This panel cleared HQV benchmark's Video Resolution Loss Test convincingly and would have passed the film version if not for some flickering.
The 3D Blu-ray discs Caroline and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs on this Regza produced 3D depth that was good, though not as immersive as a Panasonic VT20. However, this was accompanied by excessive crosstalk during snippets of these animations. Just like most active shutter glasses, there was mild off-screen flickering when watching 3D under room lighting and a tendency to blackout if the viewer's head tilted by 90 degrees (think lying on a couch). Nevertheless, the goggles were able to stay in sync with our review unit's emitters up to 5m away at tight viewing angles.
Games, PC and multimedia
The Game mode worked well by automatically switching to cooler (bluish) shades with no detectable processing lag, rendering crisp and fluid 1080p graphics. PC text at the same resolution from our laptop via analog output was equally legible, matched by a banding-free colour gradation. Things were less rosy for media playback, though. Firstly, we only managed to play one MPEG-2 clip through our DLNA server. Then, there were persistent stutters for all sample videos we tested via USB, including a standard-definition DivX file. MP3 and JPEG were, thankfully, much better.
Audio and conclusion
Despite an integrated subwoofer, we were not terribly impressed by the television's bass output, which lacked punch. Additionally, the TV's virtual surround sound could have been more effective. These points were somewhat compensated by soothing vocals with solid stereo imaging and extended treble, and the TV demonstrated enough reserved power to fill a medium-sized hall.
The new Regza 47WL700 is an encouraging attempt by Toshiba to address its conservative approach to television design in the past, as well as to meet 3D TV demand — though improvement is still needed for 3D performance. It's also one of the most expensive TVs of its kind at AU$3299, which costs more than the AU$2499 Sony Bravia 46NX710 and the AU$2599 LG 47LX6500.
Via CNET Asia