The Toshiba E220U's controls are located on its left side, just above its USB input. There are seven identical buttons that operate various functions. Each button also operates some aspect of menu navigation (within a menu). The E220U's controls are clearly labeled and easy to read.
The E220U comes with an average-looking remote control. It is defiantly rectangular and jam packed with buttons. We think it could stand to harbor a few less buttons, but otherwise feel it is a suitable remote.
In the box, you'll find the panel, stand components, six screws, remote control, two AA batteries, manual, and warranty information.
Other than the USB input on its left side, all of the E220U's input and output ports are located in a square recession on the back, left-hand side of the TV. This Toshiba gives you a shared component/composite input, which must be toggled from the TV's system menu. There are also ports for two HDMI inputs, a VGA input, digital audio out, PC audio in, and a coaxial jack for a cable or antenna connection.
Toshiba's low-end E220U series is a very "no frills" style television, but its core performance is decent. While it doesn't have a massive contrast ratio, it is uncharacteristically dark for an LCD. We noticed some gamma problems, but its overall color accuracy isn't bad. We're not sure if there's anything about this TV that's above average, but at its price, we think it offers decent value with no major drawbacks.
The E220U is a very dark TV. It tested with surprisingly deep blacks and a very dim overall brightness. Its contrast results look more like a low-end plasma than a low-end LCD, but c'est la vie. This Toshiba had the lowest contrast ratio out of the three comparison products we pulled for it, but this is still a decent result. Just don't try to watch it in direct sunlight. More on how we test contrast.
The E220U's color curves are not bad. While a little bumpy at times--meaning transitions between hues will be overly noticeable--they're uniform and slope gradually, meaning you'll be getting a wide spectrum of reds, greens, and blues that may also jump to neighboring hues in an ungainly manner.
The E220U's greyscale curve (the black line) had some problems, sloping much too slowly and eventually jumping from a very dim white to a much brighter peak white level. The differences between shades of grey won't be very noticeable during content, meaning shadows will lose their detail, and a courtroom full of lawyers might look like an ocean of grey water with faces floating on top. Not an ideal result. More on how we test color performance.
Despite not being able to make up its mind to be warmer or cooler, the E220U had very mild color temperature deviations in all but the last 18% of the light input spectrum (a common problem). The orange and blue stalactites show temperature deviations, but only the large blue cluster on the darkest side of the spectrum will be visible--those contained within the range of the grey rectangle will be invisible. More on how we test color temperature.
The E220U tested with a better color gamut than we were expecting. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good for such a cheap TV. As you can see, the E220U's red point was spot on with the rec. 709 gamut (the HDTV ideal). Its green and blue points were overly saturated, but not by too extreme a margin. It also missed the white point, so don't expect it to win 2012 TV of the Year, but this is a suitably average color performance. More on how we test color temperature.
Toshiba's 40E220U tested with solid picture dynamics. We test picture dynamics to ascertain how well a TV regulates its black and white levels, per how much of each shade is on screen. Ideally, for an LCD TV, we want to see whites and blacks maintaining the same light output regardless of changes in screen real estate.
The E220U surprised us. No matter how much black it displayed on screen, its black level remained staunchly at 0.03 cd/m2 . Between a 100% and a 5% white screen, the E220U's light output only fluctuated by 0.04 cd/m2 , an imperceptible amount of bright light. More on how we test picture dynamics.
The Toshiba E220U is a native 1080p LCD HDTV. It supports all NTSC resolutions and formats.
The E220U tested with a surprisingly good viewing angle, besting comparison products from Samsung, Sony, and even a Panasonic plasma. As you may or may not know, plasmas are famed for their wide viewing angles, and yet the Toshiba was the clear winner amongst its peers. At 71° total, you've got ample space for 3-4 to watch this TV without any major drops in contrast performance.
For simpler motion-based content, this Toshiba does very well. It doesn't make use of any motion smoothing effects or "extra Hz" settings, and showcased only a little blur during our simple motion test. Background details, hatched brickwork, shafts of sunlight, and human facial details maintained most of their clarity during motion. It would have scored higher had it not displayed a notable amount of color and shape trailing during more complex motion-based content, but overall it tested with above average results.
The Toshiba E220U showcased very solid screen uniformity. Other than a touch of bezel shadow, its all-white display is perfect. We saw just a little bit of flashlighting--light bleed-thru--during an all black screen, but otherwise, the E220U has perfect screen uniformity. A great result for a low-end TV.
The Toshiba 40E220U features two embedded 7w speakers, giving it a total 14-watt sound output. This is less output than the average HDTV, and is noticeable during listening, but only to a degree. The E220U makes use of a surround sound mode called "Audyssey ABX," features an equalizer for Treble, Bass, and Balance, and comes equipped with a "Stable Sound" mode that attempts to auto-adjust volume per the loudness of varying programs and their commercial advertisements.
Overall, the E220U has decent audio, but it's not a standalone reason to invest in the product.
As you can see from the chart below, Toshiba's low-end E220U costs considerably more to power, per year, than 40-inch models from Samsung and Sony. Its power draw is more akin to the Panasonic TC-P50U50, a plasma television. At maximum backlight, the E220U's peak brightness is 46 cd/m2, which is very dim, leaving us puzzled as to what about it is requiring so much power. Watching this TV 4-6 hours a day for a year would add about $25 to your electricity bill, which isn't terrible, but is definitely above average.
Calibrating the Toshiba E220U was a relatively easy process, and we optimized its color accuracy and contrast ratio as much as the technology would allow. You can see Toshiba's pre-sets for Movie mode, alongside our final calibration, in the chart below.
All of our calibration is done in conjunction with the DisplayMate software.
The Toshiba E220U has 5 video modes: Dynamic, Standard, Movie, PC, Preference.
The only "smart feature" this TV boasts is the ability to play photos and music via a USB drive--and we're being generous calling that smart. While Toshiba's 2012 smart platform wasn't as fleshed out as Samsung's or LG's, it would be welcome here. The E220U features bland menus, though we'll admit they're perfectly usable
The E220U's menu system is a lesson in simplicity. We don't want to say that Toshiba cut corners, but their lower-end TVs tend to have menus (like the one pictured below) that make almost no effort at being stylish or efficient in their screen placement. That said, the simple nature of the menu makes it easy to figure out, at least.
Inserting a flash or external hard drive into the E220U's left-side USB input allows you to use it as a playback device for photos and music files. While it can't play videos back, it does an alright job organizing and showcasing your files via thumbnails on screen (pictured below). This is about the only extra interfacing feature on this TV, and is as standard to modern TVs as power steering is to automobiles.
When we reviewed Toshiba's flagship, the L7200U, we found a cheaply priced HDTV that was of very high quality and usability. The E220U continues that tradition. It may be a "dumb," non-3D version of Toshiba's fancier models, but the quality we saw on their flagship has trickled down and informed its core performance. We'd say a 40-inch TV of this caliber, for an MSRP of $499, is a pretty solid deal.
Meet the testers
Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.See all of Lee Neikirk's reviews
Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email