Toshiba 55TL515U Review (LCD-LED TV)

Description: 55" Full HD LED backlit Passive 3D TV
Includes: Tablet Top Stand, Built in Wifi, 2 Pair Passive 3D glasses
Reviewer: Jack Burden
Date: Late Summer 2011

A shot from SI's Swimsuit Edition 3D Experience shows off excellent accurate color rendition in the 55TL515U

HD Picture Quality: 8/10

A good HD shot of The Price is Right showing off color saturation of the TL515.

Right our of the box the TL515 is set to the Autoview picture mode setting which we find very tolerable when compared to most preset mode picture settings. This setting automatically adjusts contrast for room light by using Toshiba's inbuilt Dynalight technology. Colors are not blown out as they are with many preset Picture modes. They are much more realistic and it's not a bad option. However, we recommend using the Movie picture mode and calibrating from there with our calibrated picture settings listed on the following page. Adjusting to our recommended Backlight setting of 60 helps to eliminate any issues you may have with screen uniformity issues around the edges of the screen and also perceived contrast at side angles. However, for very bright rooms you may want to turn it up some.

With most LED-LCD TVs we recommend turning off the 240Hz anti-judder control feature due to unwelcome consequences. However, the judder (jerky effects as images move across the screen) on the TL515 are pretty bad and warrant the feature – called Clear Scan 240. In addition, the Clear Scan 240 feature does not overdo it, producing the unwanted effects. It reduces judder by about half, so there is still visible jerky effects. With most of the TVs picture modes the feature is preset to on. But you might want to check to make sure. It's a bit tricky to find: Go to Advanced Settings in the Picture menu and scroll down below the visible options to find it.

Black levels and contrast are not the highest we have experienced but they are at acceptable levels and certainly do not detract from an otherwise solid picture quality.

Toshiba claimed to have come out with a new processor for their TVs called Cinespeed and we can confirm that it works.

A colorful shot from the 3D Blu Ray Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

3D Viewing: 9/10

One of the big surprises from this TV was the quality of 3D viewing. I expected much less depth from the passive 3D glasses than we've been seeing with the active-shutter 3D glasses, but that was not the case. With active 3D we have seen more depth in the background of the picture, but with this passive 3D TV, we see images popping out of the screen towards us more. In the end I would say it's a wash. Side angle 3D viewing was also very good, while more straight on-center viewing is required with active 3D. Coloration is excellent. Image edges are not quite as crisp as some TVs we've tested recently. We did not experience the normal negative attributes from last year's 3D TVs – flicker and blurring in the bottom right and left corners. And one last big plus for this TV's simple passive glasses – they didn't tire my eyes.

Toshiba's Passive 3D Glasses cost a fraction of active 3D glasses and are very light.

Standard Definition Picture Quality: 7.5/10

The TL515 did a good job of up converting from lower signals. There was still some blurring and judder and image edges are slightly soft. Colors are very pleasant, black levels get a pass grade, and side angle viewing was very good for an LED TV.

A richly colored shot from the Standard Definition DVD of Perfume. Edges are a little soft on the TL515 with lower resolution signals.

Features Rating: 8.5/10

Features: This TV has 240Hz enabled frame rate conversion called Clear Frame 240. It's not nearly as intrusive as most of these dejudder technologies. Passive 3D capability, along with built in Wifi and Internet options is also available.

The Internet Options Menu on the TL515.

Internet Options: Wifi is built in on the TL515 so there is no Wifi dongle necessary. Toshiba relies on Yahoo! Widgets for it's Internet TV options aside from some of the premier paid services. Toshiba is a little behind in the Internet TV options department, but has the ones you will need most. The Yahoo! Widgets options which publishes the news, financials and a few other services. We're still not a big fan. The TL515 also has Netflix, Vudu Movies, Cinema Now, Pandora, Facebook, Flickr, You Tube.

Vudu Movies is one of the choices (via subscription) on the TL515.

Other new features include DynaLight LED backlight technology which automatically adjusts the backlight on the LCD depending on room light conditions. This energy saving feature could save you a few bucks a year, but we found the occasional flicker from the backlight distracting.

Video Aspect Ratio Sizing: The diminutive Pic Size key at the bottom of the remote controls the TVs aspect ratio options which are Native, Full, Theaterwide 1,2,3, and 4:3. The Full option will take care of most of your programming.

Inputs: 4 HDMI, 2 Component (through included breakout cables), 1 Composite (through included breakout cable), PC 15 pin D-sub, 2 USB, LAN, Coaxial composite.

The TL515 is an inch in depth and has a chrome trim edge with a matte charcoal finish.

Appearance and Design: The TL515 is a bit different than Toshiba's other LED TVs. It has a charcoal matte black finish rather than gloss and a chrome edge on the sides of the TV. It's nice looking and the depth of the TV is that oh so super slim 1". The included table top stand is heavy and sturdy and swivels around 25 degrees. Inputs run out the sides for super tight wall mounting ability.

Remote Control/Menu Funtionality: The menu system is slow to respond to commands. Once you have calibrated the TV you should not have to access it much except to adjust the backlight, but it is annoyingly sluggish. The TL515 remote control is backlit and has special quick access keys for the Yahoo! Widgets, Net TV options and another for Netflix. To improve the picture or sound settings while watching Internet TV features, use the Quick key rather than the Menu key as the latter does not work for Internet options. You'll want to adjust these picture settings as well to our calibrations.

Picture mode options are complete with the aforementioned Autoview, Sports, PC, Game, Standard, Movie 1, and Movie 2.

Audio Output: As with many very thin LED TV's these days, the sound quality on the TL515 leaves a lot to be desired. Obtaining a home theater to use with this TV is recommended. Sound is thin and volume weak from many sources.

see Value Rating and Overall Score on Page 2


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