Toshiba 65L9300U UHD TV Review
Toshiba's UHD lacks the wow factor
Behind the Screens
The Toshiba 65L9300U (MSRP $9,999.99, online for $3,999.99) is an average performer, which isn't something you want to hear with such an expensive product. Despite its expanded UHD resolution, the L9300U's contrast, color, and dynamic performance fail to really impress, and its pitiful viewing angle and poor motion performance are further marks against it.
Calibrating the 65L9300U took longer than usual because this UHD TV features a larger suite of calibration controls than average: Two- and 10-point grayscale balance and a full CMS (Color Management System) provide a wealth of options for correcting errors within the L9300U's picture. Oddly enough, Toshiba doesn't include a Gamma control.
I adjusted the Backlight from 60 to 45 to approximate 40 fL—otherwise, the L9300U's default settings in Movie mode were set up perfectly already. Further adjustments needed to be made via the TV's two-point grayscale control, but the granularity of the adjustments made was not fine enough to allow for full RGB balance correction.
I tested a black level of 0.073 cd/m2 beside a peak brightness of 200 cd/m2 using the ANSI checkerboard for static contrast ratio. This is one of the better black levels we've seen on a UHD TV this year, though the L9300U isn't quite as bright as competition from Samsung, LG, and Sony. The resulting contrast ratio of 2739:1 is average for an LCD, but doesn't impress much next to the year's best plasmas.
The L9300U's horizontal viewing angle was quite disappointing. Testing determined that watching the TV more than ±25° from the center to either side results in picture degradation—blacks become gray and colors "shift" into the wrong hues. This is especially apparent at higher backlight settings, where bleed-in from the edge-LEDs exacerbates the viewing angle drawbacks. A total viewing angle of 50° is a big problem if you're considering wall-mounting the L9300U.
The L9300U covers the Rec. 709 color space quite well, though not without small imperfections. Using the CS-200 color meter, I tested the hue and saturation of the L9300U's primary and secondary colors. This Toshiba produces the red, green, and blue primaries with a high degree of accuracy, though red is a bit undersaturated, while blue and green are the wrong hue. Likewise, the secondary colors—cyan, magenta, and yellow—are a bit skewed from their proper points.
The L9300U's grayscale and RGB balance were not full of error, but neither did they test perfectly in the default Movie mode. Using the TV's 2- and ten-point grayscale balance controls, I was able to balance the TV's sub-pixel emphasis, reducing grayscale error from 4.9 to 3.14, which is closer to acceptable, but still too high. Like many modern LCDs, the L9300U simply overemphasizes the blue sub-pixel when producing shades of the grayscale.
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