The Toshiba 40G300U looks like an inexpensive TV, plain the simple. The grey screen print along the bottom certainly won't endear it to the fashion conscious.
The front of the Toshiba 40G300U features a shiny, black bezel with a grey gradient that tapers towards the bottom. The Toshiba logo lights up, but you can turn that off if you like.
The back of the Toshiba 40G300U is plain, for the most part. Ports are gathered on the side. The AC cable is hard-wired to the panel.
All the onboard controls and some of the ports are located on the left side.
The stand that comes with the Toshiba 40G300U is among the cheapest we've ever encountered. It's feels about the same weight and strength as a frisbee. Four meager screws go in through the bottom and affix to the base of the TV panel. It does not allow the TV panel to swivel. Once in place, the base seems relatively sturdy, but a 40-inch panel is not small. You may want to consider getting one of those small cords that attaches the panel to a wall to prevent tip-over.
The onboard controls on the Toshiba 40G300U are located on the left side, above some ports. The usual gang is here, composed of small but perfectly functional buttons.
The remote control is cluttered with lots of buttons, but for good reason – it's a universal remote. Also, the buttons glow in the dark.
The Toshiba 40G300U ships with the stand, a remote control, batteries, an instruction manual, and other documentation. There are no extra or bonus cables. The TV is fairly lightweight, so one or two people can set it up quickly.
The black level of the Toshiba 40G300U produced a good black level, compared to the similar LCD televisions we've pulled in for comparison. In fact, it was even slightly better than the plasma Panasonic TC-P42S2 (based on our calibrated settings, which put more emphasis on color performance than contrast). More on how we test black level.
The Toshiba 40G300U's peak brightness was not quite as bright as the Samsung LN40C630, but it was much brighter than the Sharp LC-40LE700. It's understandable that the Panasonic TC-P42S2, as a plasma, was not as bright as the three LCD TVs. More on how we test peak brightness.
The Toshiba 40G300U produced a strong contrast ratio of 3533:1, which is trumped here only by the Samsung LN40C630. Due to the good performance in both black level and peak brightness, you can be sure that the Toshiba will deliver on contrast. More on how we test contrast.
The Toshiba 40G300U showed some minor problems with maintaining a consistent black level. What we're looking for in the chart below is a straight, smooth line. The jagginess does not show a trend line, so we're not foreseeing the same sorts of problems common to plasmas. We can only guess that the Toshiba 40G300U simply doesn't have the best processing and display properties. More on how we test tunnel contrast.
The Toshiba 40G300U has no problems with maintaining a consistent peak brightness, no matter how much or how little of the screen is covered by white. More on how we test white falloff.
The Toshiba 40G300U exhibits some problems with maintaining a uniform black, white, or monochromatic screen. You can definitely see blotches of brightness on darker screens, which could kill some of the effect in dark, noir-ish or horror movies, where an even black level is key. More on how we test white falloff.
The greyscale gamma test indicates how well a TV transitions from black to white. First, we look at the smoothness of the curve. The upper portion looks fine, but those squiggles towards the bottom-left indicate that the TV may have problems with shadow details. There's also the slope of the line. An ideal slope is somewhere between 2.1 and 2.2. The Toshiba 40G300U's gamma curve of 3.01 is too steep, so it's probably failing to display some of the finer details the the greyscale gamut. More on how we test greyscale gamma.
The Toshiba 40G300U had some troubles maintaining a consistent color temperature. As you can see from the chart below, when the signal starts to get darker, the color temperature becomes noticeably warmer. It's hard to say what type of movie or TV scene would bring this out the most, but it's likely something where you'd see a long gradation of shadows. Don't be surprised if the shadows start to get a little reddish. More on how we test color temperature.
The Toshiba 40G300U's RGB color curve performance highlighted the TV's tendencies towards less than perfect color transitions. Sure, the curves are smooth overall, but if you look closely, you can see dozens of little steps in the lines, indicating that the TV is actually skipping over a lot of the values, combining two or three different values into identical shades.
Fortunately, there aren't any huge anomalies in the performance. Instead, it's just lots of tiny, overlooked values. Overall, we like the shape of the curve. We've seen better, but we've seen far worse. More on how we test RGB curves.
The strips below are digital recreations of the color curve chart above, compared with an ideal curve and the results from three similar TVs.
Motion Smoothness (7.0)
The Toshiba 40G300U was pretty good about showing a smooth motion. It exhibited the same stuttering and loss of fine detail that we see on nearly every LCD television. From a normal sitting distance, if you're watching TV you probably won't notice a problem. For sports viewing, you may see some loss of detail in the faces and uniforms of running players, but no major problems.
The TV offers a feature called ClearFrame that's meant to improve these problems that, it seems, are inherent to LCD displays. While it does a very good job of correcting the problems stated above, it creates its own problems. When ClearFrame (or any motion smoothing feature, for that matter) is activated, the video takes on a very strange look. Film-based content looks like cheap video, everything is too sharp, and people appear to move unnaturally.
Motion Artifacting (5.0)
The Toshiba 40G300U displayed a fair number of motion artifacts. While we've seen similar problems in similar types of televisions, there seemed to be no way to correct them. In fact, when we activated the ClearFrame feature, the artifacts only got worse. Normally, motion smoothing features remove some problems, but add others. In this instance, it simply added to the problems.
In rare instances, we also noticed something that almost looked like the artifacting from a TV that offers local dimming, which the Toshiba 40G300U does not. When high contrast image were moving across a black background, we noticed some very faint ghosting around the object (on all sides), as if the backlights were reacting to the bright object on an otherwise dark screen. We double-checked all the settings to be sure we'd deactivated all the processing features. We can only guess that the TV is doing some behind the scenes tinkering that we have no control over. More on how we test motion performance.
The Toshiba 40G300U is fully capable of displaying native 24fps content (like most Blu-Ray movies). We noticed some minor problems with stuttering in camera pans, as well as some jitters in high frequency patterns. Overall, though, the TV did just fine. More on how we test 3:2 pulldown and 24fps.
The Toshiba 40G300U does a very good job of scaling images to fit its screen. The TV has a native 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution, but most of the video you watch will be of a lower resolution. It's up to the TV's processing to scale that image. It's been quite some time since we saw a TV perform these tasks so adeptly. More on how we test resolution scaling.
When we looked at 480p content, the Toshiba 40G300U was perfect, more or less.
With 720p content, we saw the slightest problem with very high frequency patterns that created a faint Moire.
The 1080i content was perfect. No problems.
The Toshiba 40G300U has a native 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution. It displays all standard NTSC formats.
The Toshiba 40G300U does not have the best viewing angle. It was beaten by both the Sharp and Samsung LCD displays, if only by a little. The Panasonic plasma TV destroyed them all, as is expected of a plasma TV. The Toshiba 40G300U loses a significant amount of its contrast after just 47 degrees (about 24 degrees from center in either direction).
When light is shining directly on the Toshiba 40G300U's screen, you'll notice a distinct, soft glow. It's similar to the reflection pattern you see on a plasma TV, but it doesn't spread as wide. We definitely appreciate that this screen does not have the ultra-reflective coating seen on some LCD TVs. Overall, it's rather good in this regard.
The Toshiba 40G300U has a lot of settings, and we had to do a lot of tweaks in order to get the best picture.
All of our calibration is done in conjunction with the DisplayMate software.
The Toshiba 40G300U has a handful of preset modes. If you never plan on advancing beyond this type of calibration, please try Movie mode for the best results.
The remote control that comes with the Toshiba 40G300U (model number CT-90302) is a bit of an eye-sore, but it works just fine. Looking at it almost hurts your eyes, due to the high-contrast look and sheer number of buttons. That slight greenish glow is due to the buttons' ability to glow in the dark.
The remote feels well-balanced in the hand and fairly durable.
In our time with the Toshiba 40G300U and this remote, we noticed we had to push down fairly hard in order to get a response. It's hard to tell if that's the TV's fault or the remote, but we'll have to lay blame on the remote for purposing of scoring.
The remote control is fully programmable to work with other types of devices. You can save up to three codes, then use the switcher at the bottom of the remote to alternate devices.
Input Ports (6.5)
The Toshiba 40G300U has enough ports to get you set up for a decent home theater system. The TV has some noticeable curiosities, such as a LAN port that is used for DLNA home networking, but not for streaming content. There are 2 composite AVs, but just 1 component AV. Also, the TV lacks an analog audio output.
Output Ports (1.0)
The Toshiba 40G300U has a digital audio output, but no analog audio output. This may cause a problem for those hoping to plug into older home audio systems.
Other Connections (3.0)
The Toshiba 40G300U has a LAN port for connecting to a DLNA home theater network, but it has no ability to stream content from the internet or other external sources.
The Toshiba 40G300U has a USB port on the side for connecting to USB thumb drives. It can play photos and music clips.
The Toshiba 40G300U's ports are well-labeled, and the ports on the side are easy to access. But the TV panel doesn't swivel on its base, making the back ports harder to get to.
The Toshiba 40G300U has relatively poor speakers, as far as we could hear. They sound thin and tinny, with a complete lack of effective bass response. However, we were impressed with the surround sound emulator mode, which did a convincing job of making the audio sound "wider." Overall, though, you'd be much better off with an inexpensive, dedicated sound system.
The menus on the Toshiba 40G300U are fairly simple to understand, once you spend a little time with the TV. The main menu groupings are divided by icon, rather than text, which can make it tricky to know exactly where each feature lives. You can see the five icons in the screen cap below. It's not readily apparent what the icons mean, so you'll need some time to learn.
The more advanced options are in Advanced Picture Settings submenu, seen below.
The instruction manual that ships with the Toshiba 40G300U is decent, but there's no index in the back to look up features alphabetically. Also, the print is small. There's no downloadable version.
The Toshiba 40G300U has no internet features.
The Toshiba 40G300U can display photos when they're loaded onto USB thumb drives and inserted into the USB port on the side. The interface is very straightforward. When you insert the drive, a little menu pops up asking if you want to view photos or audio files. If you select photos, the pictures will appear as thumbnails. There's an option to create a slideshow, which could be fun for parties.
The Toshiba 40G300U plays audio clips loaded onto USB drives. Clips are listed in order, and you can create playlists.
The TV's USB drive won't play video clips, but if you connect to a computer via DLNA, the TV can play most anything.
The Toshiba 40G300U does not support any other type of media.
The Toshiba 40G300U costs around $23.67 per year in electricity, or thereabouts, if you use the settings in the table below. You can change that cost dramatically if you alter the backlight setting.
The power cost is a little higher than the other LCD TVs, but all three are cheaper than the Panasonic plasma display.
The Sharp LC-40LE700 costs considerably more than the Toshiba 40G300U, yet offers few real upgrades. Sure, it has LED backlighting, but that didn't seem to help it in any performance tests. Overall, the Sharp is a decent television, but the Toshiba is just as good and won't impact your wallet quite so much.
The Sharp's black level was the weakest of this grouping, and the peak brightness was poor, at least for an LCD. As a result, the contrast ratio was not great.
The Toshiba 40G300U's color performance was marred by an inability to maintain a consistent color temperature. However, the RGB color curves were evenly matched, more or less, with the Sharp.
The Sharp was better at motion performance, overall, in that it showed fewer artifacts. It wins, by only by a narrow margin.
Neither TV was stellar in its viewing angle, but the Sharp was slightly wider than the Toshiba 40G300U. For a great viewing angle, you'll have to look towards plasma displays.
The Sharp offers an additional component AV input, an analog audio output, and a dubiously useful RS-232C input. To counter, the Toshiba 40G300U has DLNA support for home networks.
The Samsung LN40C630 costs the same as the Toshiba 40G300U, and it's probably the better buy. It offers better performance, better interface, more multimedia options, streaming content connectivity, and the option for WiFi.
The Samsung offers deeper black levels and brighter whites, making for a much wider contrast ratio.
Neither the Samsung nor the Toshiba 40G300U were perfect performers in our color tests. As the signal gets darker, the Samsung's color temperature tends to get cooler, while the Toshiba's gets warmer.
We spotted more artifacting in the motion performance of the Toshiba. The Samsung's performance was better, overall.
The Samsung had the widest viewing angle of the three LCD displays. The Panasonic plasma, however, had them all beat by a wide margin.
The Samsung is definitely the better choice here for connectivity, offering two USB ports for thumb drives, LAN for streaming content, and the option to upgrade to WiFi. It also supports DLNA, like the Toshiba.
The Panasonic TC-P42S12 is an average, low-priced plasma TV. It has a much better viewing angle than an LCD, but the real benefits end there. While most plasmas offer killer black levels, this one was merely adequate.
The black level of the plasma Panasonic did not even manage to beat the Toshiba. That, compounded with the Toshiba's better peak brightness score, earned the Toshiba a better contrast ratio.
The Panasonic offers a better color performance than the Toshiba 40G300U, but only by a little. Yes, the color temperature consistency is better on the Panasonic, but you probably won't notice that as much as other aspects of color performance, like smooth gradations. In that regard, they scored similarly.
The Panasonic TC-P42S2 showed a small advantage in motion performance over the Toshiba 40G300U.
The Panasonic, as a plasma display, has a much, much wider viewing angle than any LCD TV. It's over twice as wide as the Toshiba 40G300U.
The Panasonic TC-P42S2 has one fewer HDMI, but an additional component AV input. The Toshiba 40G300U has a LAN for DLNA home theater connections, which the Panasonic lacks. But the Panasonic has an SD/SDHC card slot that allows you to pop a media card straight out of your camera and into the TV.
The Toshiba 40G300U ($899 MSRP) is not a perfect TV, and not even the best LCD at the same price point (that would probably go to the Samsung LN40C630). It offers surprisingly deep black levels, but we noticed issues with color temperature consistency and motion artifacting.
Including a LAN jack that only does DLNA home theater seems a wasted opportunity, considering how many similar televisions have streaming content for services like Netflix. It makes Toshiba look well behind the times. If it can be had cheaply, few would complain about the image quality, but the overall look and feel of the interface have the feel of a second-class manufacturer. Toshiba is capable of greater things.
There are three models in the G300 series, a 40, 46, and 55-inch. All three offer 120Hz processing and LAN ports for home networking (no streaming content, though).
Meet the tester
Editor in Chief@davekender
David Kender oversees content at Reviewed as the Editor in Chief. He served as managing editor and editor in chief of Reviewed's ancestor, CamcorderInfo.com, helping to grow the company from a tiny staff to one of the most influential online review resources. In his time at Reviewed, David has helped to launch over 100 product categories and written too many articles to count.
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