Customer Review

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Budget Set, December 6, 2012
This review is from: Toshiba 50L2200U 50-Inch 120Hz LED-LCD HDTV (Black) (Electronics)
I purchased this set as a replacement for my father's 5 year-old 42" Philips LCD as one of those crazy Black Friday deals. I was very interested to set this thing up for him, mainly because it occupied a couple new product niches for 2012: a TV with a 50" LCD panel (previously the 50" size was the exclusive domain of the plasma), and a Direct-LED backlight (or D-LED). For those unaware, a D-LED backlight is a new backlight configuration introduced this year by many different manufacturers. Unlike the more expensive and ultra-thin LED models, which place LED lighting along the edges of the screen, D-LED TVs use fewer LEDs spaced apart directly behind the panel. D-LED is similar in concept to the "Full-Array" LED backlight found in the most expensive LED TVs, but use far fewer individual LEDs, and lack the ability to selectively adjust the intensity of the backlight behind different areas of the panel (local dimming).

Look and feel: This is a budget set, and it doesn't try to hide that fact. The frame of the TV is constructed out of a glossy black plastic. To its credit, the frame around the screen is relatively thin -- about an inch -- and makes the TV fairly attractive looking. Beneath the glossy black frame, the TV features a piece of glossy silver plastic that tapers from either side of the TV and meets in a point beneath the Toshiba logo. The stand is made of the same glossy black plastic as the frame, and the TV wobbles pretty easily when attached to it. Being D-LED, the TV is naturally thicker than an edge-lit model, but it still only comes in at a few inches deep. On the whole, I like the design of the TV, but the materials do feel a little cheap; I wouldn't expect much more in this price range. The LCD panel used in this set is what I'd refer to as "semi-matte." For the most part, it's matte, but it tends to pick up a tiny bit of reflection compared to the completely matte Philips it replaced. To that point, semi-matte panels seem to be about as matte as you can get on an LCD television these days. I don't really see anything that's 100% matte anymore.

The supplied remote is standard Toshiba fare -- in fact, it's almost identical the remote supplied with my ancient Toshiba HD-DVD player (a moment of silence, if you would). It's tiny, the edges are too pointed, and the buttons are too close together. I'd assume most people won't be using it past the initial TV setup in favor of a universal remote, so it's not a big deal. I did not test the built-in speakers since I am using a separate A/V receiver and speakers.

Picture quality: This TV exceeded beyond my expectations in this area. Since it's backlit, it exhibited very good uniformity across the entire panel. It has a spot that's a tiny bit brighter than the rest of the screen in the lower left hand corner, but otherwise it's perfect. Backlight clouding and flashlighting are some of the biggest annoyances on LED TVs, and fortunately this one avoids that pitfall. Out of the box, the picture did not look very good. Some basic adjustment in "Preference" mode while eyeballing it during different content yielded a vastly improved picture. Note that this TV doesn't feature very many advanced picture options, but there are certainly enough to get by. I'll post the settings I'm currently using, but please note that 1) I am not a professional calibrator by any means, and 2) What works for my set will not necessarily work the same on another set. With that said, here we go:

Mode: Preference
Contrast: 87
Backlight: 53
Dynalight: Off
Brightnes: 55
Color: 43
Tint: 3
Sharpness: 1
Dynamic Contrast: Off
Static Gamma: 3
Color Temp: Warm

Make Sure Picture Size is set to "Native" rather than "Full." This eliminates overscan and will render the image pixel-for-pixel, doing away with any unnecessary scaling or cropping.
I was impressed by the contrast of the L2200U. This is aided by a better-than-average rendition of blacks - while they won't blow anybody away, they are relatively deep for a budget LED/LCD; the black depth is further assisted by the TV's very good backlight uniformity. The blacks are tinged slightly blue, like on many LCDs.

Unlike the older Philips LCD this Toshiba replaced, it handles dark scenes and mixed-contrast content very well. I tested this using Blu-Ray content like Tangled, Men in Black 3, and the Dark Knight Rises via an older Sony BDP-S1000ES Blu-Ray player. The L2200U held together very well on difficult scenes, looking natural and well-defined. Shadow detail was above-average, rendering many details on Agent J and K's suits in MIB3. I felt it tended to crush blacks slightly -- black areas tended to be a little too dark and lacked that last scintilla of detail and definition. Turning up the Static Gamma control revealed a bit more detail in black areas, but it started to look a little exaggerated or unnatural past a setting of "3," so that's where I left it.

Another concern I had purchasing this TV was that it was only 60Hz. To my surprise, however, the L2200U held together very well during fast motion and panning during close-up or detail shots. Many LCDs (like the one this one replaced) tend to smear and blur pretty noticeably during these types of content. This Toshiba isn't free of motion blur, but it isn't major enough to be distracting or annoying. In fact, I find the blur less noticeable on this TV than on my 3 year-old 120Hz Sharp LED (see my previous reviews for that one). Be aware that as a 60Hz model, it can't render the hyper-real "soap opera effect" smoothing, if you're into that. Nor can it do 5:5 pulldown on 24p content like a 120Hz model can, if you're a film buff.

Negatives: Viewing angle is not great; color fidelity and contrast drop off significantly off-axis. It isn't the worst I've ever seen, but it's not good. Not a big deal if you sit on axis. I also noticed that during up/down camera panning, this TV exhibits horizontal banding -- e.g. you can see faint, static "bands" across the panel when the camera moves up or down. I am not sure if this is from the structure of the backlight or something else; vertical banding is usually more endemic to LCD-based displays. It can be mildly annoying, but it isn't too noticeable unless you're looking for it.

The point: Overall, the Toshiba 50L2200U exhibited very good picture quality that far exceeds its price bracket. I'm generally quite picky when it comes to picture quality, and I found myself impressed by the image the L2200U produced more often than not. Whether you're paying close to MSRP or way below it, this television is definitely worth it. Recommended!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 11, 2012 7:38:10 AM PST
B. Bunn says:
Very nice review. I purchased this TV recently but have not set it up yet. I got it at an absolute steal of a price. Much below what Sears had it for on Black Friday. ;-)Looking forward to setting this baby up soon. Thanks for the great review!

Posted on Feb 13, 2015 6:20:23 PM PST
Chen Xulian says:
My boyfriend got the same tcl tv and went mad over it. He's a FIFA and COD addict and has three TVs setup along with full-rotating mounts from this brand called FlexiMounts. It's pretty cool the way he can move them around. And not too overpriced either, so a pretty decent buy.
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