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Toshiba 40E220U LCD TV Review

A 40-inch no-frills display that only does one thing. For an MSRP of $499, that's not unreasonable.

$499.00 MSRP 40 in.
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Introduction

The E220U series from Toshiba is the company's lowest-end 1080p resolution LCD HDTV series for this year. The series has only one model: a 40-inch no-frills display that only does one thing. For an MSRP of $499, that's not unreasonable.

For such a low price, you can't expect any smart features or 3D tech. This TV is stripped of those modern amenities, with the added caveat that most of its performance features are just average. Still, if all you're looking for is a cheap 40-inch workhorse with no huge drawbacks, the E220U isn't a bad choice.

Design

Like most budget TVs, the Toshiba 40E220U isn't fancy or flashy in any way.

The E220U is coated in a cheap-feeling black plastic that causes it to be simultaneously bulky and lightweight. Its bezel is thick and deep, with an oval pedestal. The plain design is what you'd expect for a TV under $500.

The cheap and plain design is what you'd expect for a TV under $500.

The E220U's on-set controls are located on its left side, just above a USB input. They're plain tactile buttons and are clearly labeled and evenly spaced. You'll find all the connectivity options in a recessed cutout on the back, right-hand side of the TV. There's a basic, usable array here, including two HDMI inputs, a component/AV input, and standard PC connections.

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Smart TV Features

The E220U’s menu system is a lesson in simplicity.

We don’t want to say that Toshiba cut corners, but the company's lower-end TVs tend to have menus that lack style or an efficient layout. That said, the simple nature of the menu makes it easy to figure out.

Inserting a flash or external hard drive into the E220U’s left-side USB input allows you to use it as a playback device for photos and music files. While it can’t play videos from an external drive, it does an acceptable job of organizing and showcasing your files via onscreen thumbnails.

Comparable Products

Before you buy the Toshiba 40E220U, take a look at these other televisions.

Picture Quality

The Toshiba E220U has decent picture quality.

It may not look like a $3000 flagship, but for the screen size and price, we think consumers that aren't overtly picky about picture quality will find the TV's performance adequate.

The 40E220U tested with a richness of color and decent accuracy that might be problematic on a larger screen, but at 40-inches (and with a modest contrast ratio) it looks just fine. The strangest thing about this television is its dimness, which is detailed further in the science section.

The E220U also showcased a surprisingly wide viewing angle and decent motion performance for a TV in this price range. The bottom line? It has no major drawbacks.

Conclusion

An affordable HDTV that doesn't have many flaws

When we reviewed Toshiba’s flagship, the L7200U, we found an affordably priced HDTV of very high quality and usability. The E220U continues that tradition. It may be a “dumb,” non-3D version of the company's fancier models, but the quality we saw from Toshiba's flagship has trickled down and influenced core performance in these lower-end models. A 40-inch TV of this caliber, for an MSRP of $499, is a solid deal.

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