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Toshiba 55G310U LCD TV Review

55 in.

Stripped of any unnecessary frills, it's a basic TV with strong performance across the board for the price.

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Introduction

The Toshiba 55G310U ($1199 MSRP) is a large television. The screen—55-inches measured diagonally—is lit by fluorescent tube lights, giving the bezel and the profile a measure of thickness that makes this TV stand out in a field if razor-thin displays. Toshiba has stripped this TV of any unnecessary frills like 3D imaging, internet connectivity, and fancy LED edge-lighting to give consumers a basic television with a strong performance across the board, especially for the price point.

Design

It’s hard to make a really sleek looking television using CCFL backlighting.

The Toshiba 55G310U sports CCFL backlighting instead of the newer LED technology. The fluorescent tube lights have a thickness that prevents an ultra-slim profile like you see on some of the swankier LED TVs. Furthermore, the ends of these tube lights need some electrical equipment to attach them, so the bezel-free look isn’t really possible either.

If wall mounting is an option, we highly recommend it. Tweet It

That said, we often find that CCFL backlighting can produce a more uniform picture with less blooming and flashlighting, but at the sacrifice of a nice looking design. The stand, however, doesn’t need to be as thick as the display and this one looks like a chunky black surfboard. It is something you would probably want to hide if you were trying to impress company. If wall mounting is an option, we highly recommend it.

Smart TV Features

We don't think Toshiba expects anyone to use these speakers.

The speaker hardware Toshiba provides for the 55G310U isn’t strong enough for quality sound playback. Two 7-watt speakers are less powerful than what most HDTVs provide, even on 32’’ models. There is a connection between viewing a large picture and expecting a complimentary sound and, to be frank, Toshiba seems to have cut corners here. Such a grand picture, accompanied by such weak audio, creates a psycho-acoustic contradiction that will definitely feel incorrect.

When we played a scene of New York being destroyed by a monster and an appropriate amount of explosions, we noticed that the sound was canned and tinny. Coming from 55-inches of television, the sound of automatic rifles reproduced at the level of a dime store cap gun was almost laughable. I, for one, prefer my wanton destruction to at least sound like organized chaos. Grab some external speakers and you will have the start of a great home theater.

Picture Quality

Decent color accuracy accompanied by an above-average contrast ratio cement some level of quality for the G310U.

If you're not a stickler for sleekness or fancy menus (or bearable audio), you won't be disappointed by the G310U's performance. Tweet It

The G310U series is one of Toshiba's mid-range installments for 2011 and it's obvious in many ways that this is not a high-end TV. It's not obvious, however, in the picture quality. While we weren't blown away by any particular facets of this TV's performance, it's fairly solid in all the key areas, plus its contrast ratio is especially good. If you're not a stickler for sleekness or fancy menus (or bearable audio), you won't be disappointed by the G310U's performance.

Conclusion

All together, this is a high performance television for this price range.

The Toshiba 55G310U ($1199 MSRP) is a large and basic television. This year, we saw televisions cramming in so much new technology, from 3D imaging to internet connectivity and LED edge-lighting, that it was beginning to look like you couldn’t find a regular, old-fashioned box that would show some quality images without the extras. Toshiba stripped the 55G310U of all these additions to give consumers an ordinary television with strong performance in all the major categories except audio.

We liked what we saw with this Toshiba. The contrast ratio was excellent, stemming from a very deep black level that did not require a diminished peak brightness. The color set was mostly fantastic and the motion processing was some of the best we have seen in a while. We didn't like what we heard, but luckily audio winds up being secondary to display performance when you can pick up a pair of decent external speakers for under $50.

All in all the Toshiba 55G310U isn't the prettiest belle at the ball, and it certainly doesn't sound all that great, but the Toshiba gets the important stuff right. There are better-looking options at this price range, but as a 2011 model you can likely find the G310 at a discount, making the downsides a little easier to stomach.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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