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The Toshiba Regza 42ZV650U is not a bad looking TV. The bezel is a bit thick by current standards, but it has an attractive, gradated finish that tapers off in a halftone pattern. Along the bottom, you'll see a few indicator lights. The Toshiba log is backlit, and you can choose to turn off the illumination in the menu.




The back of the TV contains most of the ports. Bad news: the TV does not swivel on the stand, so you'll have to lift and twist the whole unit or just stick your head around to the back to plug in wires. For information about the ports on the back of the Toshiba 42ZV650U see our Connectivity section.




The Toshiba 42ZV650U isn't terribly thin, as you can see from the photos here, but it's not too chunky either. The left side is blank. The right side has some ports and all the onboard controls. For information about the ports on the sides of the Toshiba 42ZV650U see our Connectivity section.





The stand looks nice enough, but it doesn't swivel. That's pretty deceptive, because the neck is round. You look at it and assume 'Oh, how convenient! A swivel base.' Wrong. That said, it feels sufficiently sturdy, so at least it won't tip over and kill you. Also, the stand was more difficult to assemble than anything we've seen in a while.



The onboard controls on the Toshiba 42ZV650U are too small, and awkwardly laid out in a zig-zag fashion. It's very difficult to push the buttons without looking at them. You'll probably end up skipping these and using the remote.

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Remote Control

The remote is large, but functional. The button layout can be a bit gawky, especially if you're trying to navigate the menu. We have a full wrap-up of the remote control here.


In The Box*(6.0)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U is a pain in the ass to assemble. The base has two separate parts that have be screwed into each other before you attach them to the TV. Included in the box is a remote control, batteries, a power cable, and a screen wipe. That's not bad, but for all the hassle with the set-up, a free HDMI cable would have been nice. 



The Toshiba 42ZV650U is a pretty good looking TV, all told. The bezel isn't that thin, but the glossy finish and gradated shading looks nice. More important, we think, is what's on the screen. Let's jump into performance on the next page. 

Black Level*(4.83)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U failed the black level test. There's really no other way to put it.

This test examines how deep of a black the screen can produce—only 0.43cd/m2, in this case. You should know that the Toshiba 42ZV650U has the ability to dim the entire backlight automatically when the scene gets dark, which would have lowered this number considerably. However, we turn those settings off for calibration purposes. In addition, there's a significant lag time before the backlight lowering takes place, so in scenes that shift rapidly between dark and bright shots, this process would never even occur.

As you can see from the chart below, it faired poorly against the competition.  (More on how we test Black Level.)


Peak Brightness*(8.87)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U produced a sufficiently bright white level for us to deem it 'good,' measuring 351.95 cd/m2. As you can see from the chart below, this performance is about average with the competition. Unfortunately, good peak brightness performance is probably not as important as good black level performance.  (More on how we test Peak Brightness.)



The Toshiba 42ZV650U did not produce a great contrast ratio, due mostly to its poor black level performance. Take a look at the chart below. The Samsung is killing the competition mainly because of its black levels. Of course, its peak brightness is also great. The 42ZV650U was really more on par with the Vizio VL420M.  (More on how we test Contrast.)


Tunnel Contrast*(9.95)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U produced good, even scores on the tunnel contrast test, indicating that no matter how little black area is on the screen, the depth of that black should remain constant. This is pretty much the standard on LCD televisions. We look for problems more frequently with plasma TVs.  (More on how we test Tunnel Contrast.)


White Falloff*(9.81)*

The white falloff test, like the tunnel contrast test, is a bit of a formality for LCD televisions. We expect the Toshiba 42ZV650U and others like it to produce even white levels, even it there is only a small bit of white on the screen. It performed just fine.  (More on how we test White Falloff.)



The Toshiba 42ZV650U has some minor issues with screen uniformity. On an all-white screen, the corners and edge of the screen brown out a little. On an all-black screen, there are some obvious blotches of lighter areas and instances of flashlighting in the corners.  (More on how we test Uniformity.)


Greyscale Gamma*(9.53)*

The greyscale gamma test turned out quite well for the Toshiba 42ZV650U. The curve in the graph below is quite smooth, indicating that the TV is capable is smooth, seamless transitions from dark to bright. The lower left edge of the curve has only a hint of leveling out into a horizontal line, which means that you can expect good detail in shadowy areas. The slope of the curve, 2.28, is just outside the ideal range of 2.1 – 2.2, so we're happy enough. Well done, Toshiba.  (More on how we test Greyscale Gamma.)


Color Temperature*(9.45)*

The chart below shows that the Toshiba 42ZV650U is quite good at maintaining a consistent color temperature. Rarely does it stray outside of 'imperceptible limits,' and when it does, the margin is quite small. Want to see what a poor performance looks like? Check out this Sylvania.  (More on how we test Color Temperature.)


RGB Curves*(8.44)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U showed a mixed performance. Almost every part of the curve is smooth, which indicates that color gradations should appear natural and seamless on the screen... everywhere except that huge gap in the blue channel. See that single instance of stair-stepping? We saw it with our own eyes on the screen. There's a certain portion of the blue channel that the Toshiba 42ZV650U simply chokes on, resulting in this color banding  that you see here.  (More on how we test RGB Curves.)

The color strips below are digital recreations of the test data from each of the TV's. This is approximately what you would see on the screen if a strip of red, green, and blue was displayed, ranging from the darkest to the brightest input signal.




Color Gamut*(7.08)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U matched up admirably to the rec. 709 color standard, one of the most common color standards for display devices. As you can see from the chart, the green and blue were slightly askew, but the red performance was very good, and the white point (that circle in the center) is quite accurate, as well. (More on how we test Color Gamut.)


This is a chart giving you hard-core nerds the actual data points for the chart above.



Motion Smoothness*(5.63)*

The motion performance of the Toshiba 42ZV650U is just average. In its calibrated setting (our recommended settings), we saw some stuttering and some artifacting. It's not enough to turn you off completely, but we had some better TVs in the room at the same time, including the new Sony KDL-46EX700, and it was clear that the Sony was a much better performer.  (More on how we test Motion.)


Motion Artifacting*(5.75)*

A large portion of the Toshiba's motion performance issues were the creation of motion artifacts. What are artifacts? In short, they're anything that's not supposed to be there. In instances of high contrast, high frequency patterns (i.e., black and white stripes), we saw heavy strobing. Even lower contrast patterns had similar issues.

The Toshiba 42ZV650U does offer a lot of special processing features that affect how motion is perceived. When we test, we turn all these features off. In everyday viewing, like cable TV and movies, these features frequently make the picture look worse. However, we did notice that one feature in particular, called Film Stabilization, was able to remove the strobing problems. It has the unfortunate side-effect of making your video look terrible and strangely unrealistic.


3:2 Pulldown & 24fps*(4.0)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U has no problem with 3:2 pulldown and native 24fps processing, so your Blu-Ray movies and related content should display just fine.  (More on how we test 3:2 Pulldown and 24fps.)


Resolution Scaling*(8.12)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U has a native 1080p resolution, but chances are that most of the content you throw at it will be of a lower resolution. We use this section of the review to see how it fares.  (More on how we test Resolution Scaling.)


When displaying 480p video, the Toshiba 42ZV650U does quite well. We saw no overscanning, and very little instances of artifacting or other problems. 


When the video was in a 720p format, the screen lost the outermost 2% of the picture due to overscan. This can be a tricky problem if vital information, like a news ticker or box scores, is placed along one of these edges. We also saw some bad Moire patterns appear in high frequency areas.


Like the 720p content, 1080i content also lost 2% due to overscan and showed the same problems with Moire patterns. These problems are likely the result of less than perfect processing.




The Toshiba 42ZV650U is a native 1080p display, meaning is has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. This is the best resolution you can get on a TV at this time. Well, almost. Toshiba actually announced a TV with 4K resolution (that's an incredible 3840 x 2160), but don't expect this to become a regular feature for a few more years. 


Viewing Angle*(3.65)*

The viewing angle on the Toshiba 42ZV650U and all three competitors is virtually identical, as you can see from the chart below. They all clocked in at about 20 degrees from center on each side, or about 40 degrees in total. This is average for an LCD television. If you need a wider viewing angle, check out a plasma TV.

We should note that final scores for each of these TV may vary slightly depending on other, related problems beyond what the regular test can see. For instance, the Toshiba 42ZV650U has a huge problem with vertical viewing angle. That means that when you stand up or crouch down, the contrast goes haywire. You need to be sitting more or less dead-on with the screen for optimal viewing. We docked some points for that.  (More on how we test Viewing Angle.)



The Toshiba 42ZV650U does a decent job of staving off reflection. It has the unfortunate feature of what we can only describe as 'reflection dispersal display technology' (that's a mouthful, huh?). This is something you see on higher-end TVs that create a distinct kind of pattern when you shine a light on the screen. It's a bit like a star-shape. We suppose it's meant to curtail the huge, glowing halo that you see when you shine a light on cheap TVs. True, it limits the amount of screen that gets obscured by a poorly placed light, but the pattern itself is so distinctive it's almost equally distracting.

Of course, there's also the possibility that this 'reflection dispersal' is merely a side-effect of some other screen technology. Unfortunately, we can't know for sure.  (More on how we test Reflectance.)


Video Processing*(3.0)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U has a lot of special processing features, which we detail below. Of course, our general recommendation is to leave them off, as they frequently make your picture look worse. The only exceptions are the noise reduction features (because the picture is a bit noisy) and the Film Stabilization feature. The latter can make movies and TV look so strange that it looks like it was shot with a home camcorder. It's hard to explain, but the effect is so bad it's kind of fun to play with it sometimes. 



Below are the settings that we settled on after calibrating the Toshiba 42ZV650U with the DisplayMate software and the CS200 colorimeter. 


Video Modes

The Toshiba 42ZV650U has a handful of video modes if you don't have the time, interest, or inclination to follow our recommended calibration settings. 


**[]()Ergonomics & Durability***(9.0)* *** The Toshiba 42ZV650U remote control is at least very comfortable in the hand. It's wider than something you'd see from Sony or Samsung, but the buttons feel good in the hand, and the even weighting is welcomed. The buttons are backlit when you push down on them, perfect for a dark room.   **[]()Button Layout & Use***(8.0)* *** The Toshiba 42ZV650U remote has a lot of buttons. Then again, most remote controls have a lot of buttons, so what separates the good remotes from the bad is a simple question: can you quickly learn to operate the remote without looking at it? In short, the answer to the question here is 'almost.' You can perform almost all the basic functions quite intuitively: volume, channel, power, Menu, the d-pad, etc. The only problem is locating the 'Return' or 'Back' button to step back a page in the menu. That button is located quite awkwardly *under* the channel up/down button, quite far from the rest of the menu navigation. Other than that, we have no complaints.   **[]()Programming & Flexibility***(6.0)* *** The Toshiba 42ZV650U can be programmed for many devices beyond just the TV. The codes are listed in the instruction manual.        **[]()Input Ports***(8.0)* *** The Toshiba 42ZV650U has a large number of ports, making it a great hub for a home entertainment system. Notably included: 4 HDMIs, 2 components, 2 composites, a digital audio output, and a wired IR output (for IR pass-through). There's also a USB port for thumb drives and an SD/SDHC card slot, both of which can play back photos, video files, and music. Notably absent (depending on your expectations) is internet connectivity. Sorry.


The ports on the side are located directly under the onboard controls. There's just a smattering here, but a smart smattering: the ports you're mostly likely to change out frequently.


The chart below shows all the ports of the Toshiba 42ZV650U, as well as three comparable TVs.



Output Ports*(2.0)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U offers three output ports. There's an analog audio out, a digital audio out, an a wired IR out (for IR pass-through). 


Other Connections*(0.0)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U has no other connections. 



The Toshiba 42ZV650U has two media ports: a USB port and an SD/SDHC card slot. Both of these can be used to play back photos, video files, and audio files. These ports are conveniently located on the side of the TV so you can swap cards and thumb drives in and out quickly. 



The port placement on the Toshiba 42ZV650U is good, but it's frustrating that the TV doesn't swivel on its stand. Is it that hard, Toshiba? You made the neck round! You almost fooled us! But, no, you have to crane your head around to the back if you need to plug in most ports. Fortunately, the frequently swapped ports are on the side. 

Audio Quality*(7.0)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U offers surprisingly good audio quality for a TV, typically associated with tinny, built-in speakers. The most desirable feature in speakers is good bass, and the Toshiba actually delivers. No, this isn't like the thumping bass of a high-end sound system, but it's above average for its class. In addition to a bass and treble sliders, there are some advanced options like a Dynamic Bass Boost (three settings: High, Low, and Off). We liked it best on High.

There are also two simulated surround sound settings: Cinema and Spatial. The Cinema setting seemed to kill some of the upper midtones, but this had a negative effect on the dialogue. Better to leave it on Spatial. There was also a Voice Enhancement feature that... (you guessed it) enhanced the dialogue.


Menu Interface*(6.5)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U has a relatively simple interface, considering just how many features are available on this TV. Upper-end Toshibas like this offer you the ability to seriously tweak your TV every which way. This is great for tech heads, but it doesn't get in the way of people that would prefer to simply plug it in and forget it.

The only major frustration is the awkwardly placed 'Return' button on the remote control. A crucial menu navigation function like this should never be placed so far away from related buttons. The result is awkward, but not impossible, navigation.


Instruction Manual*(7.0)*

The instruction manual that comes with the Toshiba 42ZV650U is pretty good. You won't find long, detailed explanations of the manual controls, but there's enough to give you a rough idea. There's a table of contents and a glossary, so Toshiba wins our Good Deed of the Week content.

You can find the Toshiba 42ZV650U's manual online here.



Internet Features*(0.0)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U has no internet features. 


Photo Playback*(5.0)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U can play photos from either SD/SDHC cards or from thumb drives via the USB port. The interface is simple enough... you just have to find it first. When you first insert a memory card or thumb drive, the TV is a bit temperamental about auto-playing. If it doesn't immediately prompt you with a question about viewing the contents of the device, you need to hit the THINC button on the remote (obvious, right?) and select it from there.

You're presented with three options. Do you want to look at the devices Photos, Movies, or Music? It's always been a source or frustration that the decision tree starts here. That's not how a computer works, forcing you to  first decide which files types you'd like to see, then only displaying those, even if multiple file types exist in the same folder. Not here. You select content type first, then look through your files. Sorting photos onscreen looks like the screen shot below. There are no options for creating a slideshow, surprisingly.

Music & Video Playback*(5.0)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U also plays back videos and music through the same ports as described above.


Other Media*(0.0)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U does not play back any other types of media. 

Power Consumption*(8.91)*

The Toshiba 42ZV650U consumes a relatively meager power load for its size. You can see from the green chart below that all the comparable TVs cost more per year, if only by a little.  (More on how we test Power Consumption.)



Value Comparison Summary

The Samsung LN40B610 is a good TV for its price, and with a lower price it's a tough one to top. The black levels and contrast ratio were completely dominant over the Toshiba 42ZV650U, though the color performance was nearly even. Overall, we recommend the Samsung. 

Blacks & Whites

The black level performance of the Samsung LN40B610 was overwhelmingly better than the Toshiba. The peak brightness is also better, so the overall contrast ratio far exceeds the Toshiba, as well. There's no comparison here.


Color Accuracy

The Samsung LN40B610 and Toshiba 42ZV650U produced similar scores in the color testing. The Toshiba pulled slightly ahead in the core tests. It's important to note, though, that the Samsung could be described less noisy when you're watching cable TV and movies. Noise is not something we measure directly, but in part, it's a function of processing. 




The Toshiba 42ZV650U didn't have the best motion performance. We found the Samsung LN40B610 much smoother, and with fewer artifacts. 


Viewing Effects

The Toshiba 42ZV650U and Samsung LN40B610 have roughly the same viewing angle, approximately 20 degrees from center on either side (about 40 degrees in total). 



The Toshiba 42ZV650U is definitely a better TV for connectivity options, including an S-Video port, USB, and an SD/SDHC card slot. Neither have any internet features.




Value Comparison Summary

The Sony KDL-40W5100 is a more expensive television (at least the MSRP), offering much better performance in the area of blacks and whites, as well as better motion performance. The color performance was more evenly matched. Overall, the Toshiba is a better choice for those that love to tweak their performance settings – the TV is jam-packed with features.

Blacks & Whites

The Sony KDL-40W5100 produces far deeper blacks than the Toshiba 42ZV650U. The peak whites are also brighter, which means the total contrast ratio was wider than the Toshiba. In truth, Sony's score is about average. The Toshiba is just bad. 


Color Accuracy

The Toshiba 42ZV650U once again proved to be a very strong color performer, and equaled or bested Sony in this series of tests. As we mentioned in the Samsung LN40B610 comparison, the Toshiba is a bit noisy, though we don't have solid numbers on this. Call it a perceptual difference. The Sony could be said to have a 'cleaner' looking image. 




The Sony KDL-40W5100 produces smoother motion with less artifacting. The Toshiba 42ZV650U was simply not a great performer in this area. 

Viewing Effects

The Toshiba 42ZV650U and Sony KDL-40W5100 both have about 40 degrees total viewing angle (about 20 degrees from center on either side). This is average for an LCD. If you want wider viewing angles, check out plasma TVs. 


The Sony KDL-40W5100 matches the Toshiba 42ZV650U connectivity options pretty closely, including the USB port. The Toshiba does have the additional option of an SD/SDHC card slot that you can plug in straight from your camera. 

Value Comparison Summary

The Vizio VL420M is a much less expensive TV, but it matches the Toshiba's USB port with accompanying photo, video, and audio clip playback. The Vizio feels like a cheaper TV in many ways, but... well, it is. Nevertheless, the performance is pretty good. You get what you pay for.

Blacks & Whites

The Vizio VL420M was not a stand-out performer in the area of blacks and whites, though it managed a better job that the Toshiba 42ZV650U. Sure, the Toshiba's whites are brighter, but few would argue that a nice, deep black is generally preferred. 


Color Accuracy

The Toshiba 42ZV650U definitely trumped the Vizio VL420M in terms of color performance. The Toshiba maintained a more consistent color temperature and the RGB curves were smoother. The latter indicates that the Toshiba should produce smoother color gradations. 




Neither the Toshiba 42ZV650U or the Vizio VL420M was a knockout performer in our motion tests, but the Vizio fared slightly better, producing smoother motion with less artifacting. 


Viewing Effects

The Toshiba 42ZV650U and Vizio VL420M have roughly the same viewing angle, approximately 40 degrees in total (20 degrees from center on each side). This is about average for an LCD television. 



The Vizio VL420M has only one half of the media ports that you find on the Toshiba 42ZV650U. Specifically, the Vizio has the USB port, but lacks the card slot. You'll get by just fine if you want to view photos and listen to music occasionally.


xxZV650U Series

There are three models in the xxZV650U series, ranging from 42 inches to 55 inches. All have a solid selection of ports and a whole mess of special processing features.

Meet the tester

David Kender

David Kender

Editor in Chief


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.

See all of David Kender's reviews

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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.

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