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Toshiba 32TL515U LED LCD 3D HDTV Review

32 in.

We had such a hard time, we thought it was broken. Turns out this is just how the TV works: sluggishly and ineptly.

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3D Effect & Experience

The Toshiba 32TL515U uses passive 3D, which Toshiba cleverly refers to as "Natural 3D." LG took a similar tack by re-branding passive as "Cinema 3D." Both realized that when consumers are faced with the choice between something called active and something called passive, they'll choose active even if they have no idea what it means. It's stupid, but they're correct in their strategies.

Passive 3D has some advantages. The glasses only cost a few dollars, as opposed to the $50-150 active shutter glasses. And those LG commercials on TV are correct that the viewing angle is wider. However, there's a strong caveat to that statement. They should clarify that it has a wider side-to-side viewing angle. However, the up-and-down viewing angle is quite poor. Unless you're sitting perfectly eye-level with the screen, you may as well throw out the glasses. Sitting as much as 10 degrees up or down from the center is enough to break the effect. Consider these facts carefully if light of how you arrange your TV (wall-mounted, low on the floor, etc.).

If you sit perfectly level with the TV, the 3D effect is actually quite good. It's much better than the other passive 3D TVs we've reviewed, especially in staving off crosstalk. One of the traits that people don't like about passive 3D is that the resolution is halved – half the rows going to one eye and half go to the other eye. We noted this as a big problem with other passive 3D TVs we've reviewed, but it didn't seem to bother us with the Toshiba 32TL515U.

3D Menu Photo

The 3D menu aims for efficiency (by offering no options)

3D Black & White

As with any 3D TV using glasses, you lose a lot of light due to the tinting on the glasses themselves. As a result, you're contrast ratio is significantly reduced. As you can see in the chart below, the Toshiba 32TL515U's contrast ratio is cut in half when in 3D mode.

3D Contrast Chart

3D Color

The Toshiba 32TL515U performed similarly in 2D and 3D, as least in terms of color. Rather than the color temperature getting cooler, it got warmer, but the error was in the same slight and gradual manner that you probably won't notice.

3D Color Temperature Chart

Sadly, the RGB curve was just as bad in 3D as it was in 2D. As you can see in the charts, the TV can't display detail after a certain brightness. We tried playing around with all the TV's settings, but there didn't seem to be any hope.

3D RGB Curves Chart

The 3D color gamut was not so far off from the 2D performance. The blue was a little unsaturated, but the red, green, and white points were all quite similar.

3D Color Gamut Chart

3D Crosstalk

Crosstalk is the term used to describe data intended for one eye bleeding into the other eye, and thus ruining the 3D effect. As we mentioned earlier on this page, it's critical that you sit perfectly eye-level with the TV in order to get the correct effect. Once you're positioned in the right spot, the Toshiba 32TL515U did a great job staving off crosstalk. As with all the TV's we've reviewed so far, the biggest problem is with high contrast patterns like black & white. When we watched a few scenes from our standard movie, we were pleased to see that the Toshiba 32TL515U didn't trip up on the same picture elements that many active shutter TVs do. Overall, this was a strong showing.

3D Glasses

The Toshiba 32TL515U ships with four pairs of 3D glasses. If an active shutter 3D TV came with four pairs of glasses, that would be a $200-600 windfall. The Toshiba 32TL515U, however, uses passive 3D, so the glasses only cost a few bucks. This is great if you plan to outfit the whole family for movie night. The glasses are also far more lightweight than active shutter, though they don't make you look any less dorky.

3D Glasses Photo

Passive 3D glasses like this are much cheaper and lighter than active shutter glasses

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Tour & Design
  3. Blacks & Whites
  4. Color Accuracy
  5. Motion
  6. 3D
  7. Viewing Effects
  8. Calibration
  9. Connectivity
  10. Audio & Menus
  11. Multimedia & Internet
  12. Power Consumption
  13. Panasonic Viera TC-P50ST30 Comparison
  14. Samsung PN51D6500 Comparison
  15. Sony Bravia KDL-32EX720 Comparison
  16. Conclusion
  17. Series Comparison
  18. Photo Gallery
  19. Ratings & Specs
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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