Toshiba is capable of crafting a solid TV, which the L4300U is, but its smart platform is an exercise in frustration. If you want internet features on your next television, look elsewhere. If you want a TV with killer audio and a surprisingly good black level, keep reading.
Hands-on Video## Design #### A retro-styled display with a frustrating remote One person in our office said the L4300U looks like something from the 80s. True, its black and grey design, crafted from chintzy plastic, resembles a [Delorean](http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/Delorean_dmc12_rear.jpg)… or an older iMac. Isn’t that part of the appeal, though? For the record, I think it’s attractive.
On the left, you’ll find a smattering of ports. HDMI, VGA, USB—they’re all accounted for. Unfortunately, the L4300U’s theme of “chintzy plastic” continues on the backside. Yes, it’s nitpicking to call this out, but we’ve seen Toshiba do much better in terms of build quality.
Speaking of quality, Toshiba's remote deserves a special mention. We usually don’t call attention to a TV’s remote unless it’s truly unique. This one looks basic enough, with an attractive grey and black color scheme to match the TV. There is a glaring flaw, though: The Menu button is nearly impossible to find. Take a look:
Would you ever guess that this tiny button labeled “Setup” is for the TV’s menu? I didn’t either.
Menu & Smart Features
Rather than fluffy and soft, Cloud TV is thorny and irritating.
Cloud TV is Toshiba’s newly redesigned smart platform, although “sluggish” is a better way to describe it. There are plenty of great ideas to be found: a cable TV interface, a customizable home screen, and streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu. But did we mention it’s sluggish?
Sadly, Cloud TV isn’t just a little slow—it’s frustratingly slow. Pressing the button with the house icon brings you to Cloud TV’s home screen, but sometimes it takes about five seconds to load it. What do you do? You press the button again. That same button will also close the home screen, so when it eventually loads up, it’ll close shortly after. That’s basically the Cloud TV experience.
The sluggishness doesn’t apply to just smart features, though: Toshiba’s menu interface is also slothful, although not to the same degree that Cloud TV is. Still, adjusting picture or sound settings is a chore on this interface. What gives, Toshiba?
The picture looks acceptable, but the sound is top-notch.
Its smart features may be cruddy, but at least the Toshiba L4300U produces a solid picture. Cable and Blu-ray content looked more than acceptable, a feat made possible by the TV’s excellent contrast. The L4300U is able to show deep black levels—deep enough that we typically don’t see them on LED televisions. Combined with a solid peak brightness, you’ll be able to view this TV in any setting, sunny or dark.
Colors were decent: Blues looked slightly more vivid than they should, while reds appeared muted, although that didn’t detract much from the overall picture quality. Motion performance was also acceptable. We viewed meltdowns on the Maury show and sports highlights—both looked commendable, with no traces of artifacting.
One feature we absolutely need to point out is the superb audio quality on this set. Toshiba has a partnership with speaker company Audyssey, and the benefit of their friendship is immediately noticeable: Movies and TV shows sound great without even touching the sound options. We’re seriously in love with these speakers, which you can also find on Toshiba’s entry-level L2300U series.
Without Cloud TV, this would be an impressive display for the price.
Toshiba’s L4300U is a tough pill to swallow. It offers a design that some will find very appealing, but its smart platform and menu interface are downright frustrating. Fortunately, it has decent picture quality. That’s like a sandwich with great bread, but rotten meat.
At least the L4300U isn’t too expensive. A 39-inch model retails for $699, but Toshiba sells it for $519. This is a reasonable price for a 39-inch display, especially for one that has an acceptable picture quality and top-notch speakers. But why get this model when you can get Toshiba's L2300U for $100 less? That series offers practically the same picture, but no annoying smart platform. The choice is obvious to us.
Behind the Screens
Welcome, TV enthusiast, to the science page. Here you will find detailed information on how well or how poorly this TV performed, and why. We test for color, contrast, and viewing angle, using a combination of Konica Minolta's CS-200 chroma meter and LS-100 luminance meter.
A black level this deep is surprising for an LED
Toshiba hit the ball out of the park on this one; the L4300U's contrast ratio is an impressive 4114:1. How did we arrive at this number? By taking its decent peak white level of 209.80 cd/m2 , and dividing that number by its excellent black level of 0.05 cd/m2 . Seriously, this is a great result on such an inexpensive TV. The better a display's black/white differentiation, the more details you'll be able to see. This helps give TVs a more lifelike picture.
The L4300U disappoints when it comes to viewing angle.
With a total viewing angle of 49°, the L4300U isn't going to win any awards, especially from people who are more than 24.5° from the center of it. When we calculate viewing angle, we take contrast measurements starting at the center of the TV, and then moving in 10° increments, taking a contrast reading at each. The L4300U's white level diminished and its black level brightened at each subsequent interval, which happens on just about every TV. We determine its actual viewing angle when the TV's contrast ratio drops below 50% of its center reading.
Not terrible, but far from perfect
When it comes to color accuracy, the Toshiba L4300U falls a bit short. Our tests show that it produces perfect greens and whites, but blues are exaggerated, and reds look a bit muted compared to the industry standard color gamut.
The L4300U's color curves, which show how well it transitions from one color hue to the next, looked decent. Red and blue peak too early, meaning they will not show all intensity levels of those colors. Aside from this caveat, all colors (including the greyscale) transition smoothly.
Color temperature error, which can show discolored greys and whites, was almost non-existant on the L4300U. The only dip in color temperature occurs on dark greys and black, which will not be very noticeable.
Meet the tester
An enthusiast of all things tech, Josh is one of Reviewed.com's resident television experts. When he's not looking at bright TV screens in a dark room, he's probably reviewing a laptop or finding a new snack at 7-11.
Checking our work.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.Shoot us an email