So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Toshiba REGZA 47WL66
- 1920x1080 resolution, Excellent colour, wide range of connections, Good PC connection performance
- Image noise and pixel fluctuations, detail loss, minor stepping on skin tones.
At a reasonable price point, the 47 inch Toshiba 47WL66 REGZA LCD is a mid-range LCD television that has some nice features and a good array of inputs but falls short on image quality.
Price$ 7,999.00 (AUD)
At a reasonable price point, the 47 inch Toshiba 47WL66 REGZA LCD is a mid-range LCD television that has some nice features and a good array of inputs but falls short on image quality with some disappointing noise and artefact issues.
In standard definition the image tended to be a little too soft. On factory default settings the red was a little over-saturated and the calibration options did not allow this to be corrected. Black levels weren't particularly impressive either and we noticed that the backlight was not uniform as it was a little brighter in the middle than on the edges of the screen. We also found minor stepping on skin tones and some discolouration in our greyscale tests.
We use Digital Video Essentials (DVE), Philips CE 2006 Demo and select scenes from the Gladiator DVD to test standard definition performance. Digital Video Essentials displays a series of still image patterns that we use to check how well a panel can render colours, grey and to check for problems in sharpness. The greyscale tests showed moderate noise and pixel fluctuations across the entire image with increased intensity in grey areas. Colour tests showed that while the colours are excellent and rendered well, they are also hampered by the same noise that was seen in other tests. The contrast ratio tests displayed some stepping on skin tones but the blending between light and dark areas was still handled fairly smoothly.
The Philips CE 2006 DVD is used to check for motion jitter in moving images as well as colour, contrast and sharpness. The motion jitter test showed a low level of jitter when compared to other LCD televisions and like the DVE tests we found the same noise and fluctuations issues as well as a lack of sharpness over the entire image.
When viewing Gladiator, we could see the effect of these problems on real world viewing. The noise was apparent and noticeable especially on block colours like the sky and on surface textures. Flesh tones showed minor stepping but there was no over-sharpening at all and no pixilation.
Unfortunately, the image quality didn't improve when we moved on to our high definition testing. We use the Xbox 360 in our high definition tests. In both 720p and 1080i we noticed excellent colours and reasonable clarity but still felt that the image was too soft. We attempted to compensate via calibration but could not attain any improvement in sharpness. The pixel fluctuation seen in the standard definition testing was also present in HD. We were, however, impressed with the lack of motion blur or ghosting in the image and while the detail was a little pixilated in some areas it wasn't too bad. Nevertheless, considering the native resolution of this panel is 1900 x1080 we were expecting far more clarity in the image.
To test PC connectivity we connected the panel to a PC and ran DisplayMate Video Edition. Before we even ran the first test, we immediately noticed that the image noise seen in previous tests had disappeared. In DisplayMate, we found very few problems although we still felt that the image was still too soft, looking as though it were a little out of focus. The only issues we discovered here were errors in drawing detailed patterns. The horizontal lines in the fine focus matrix test were merged together to form solid blocks and the mid-range streaking and moire pattern tests both experienced a noticeable loss in detail as well. This loss of detail would be noticeable if you were to use the display to work with images that require fine detail like Adobe Illustrator. However, since the video looked good, using the panel in conjunction with a media centre PC makes the loss of detail negligible.
The 47WL66 has a charcoal grey bezel with silver trim and a pre-installed grey stand. The plastic rear housing is the same plain grey colour and sports a wide array of inputs including one HDMI, two component, one 15 pin D-Sub, three composite and one S-Video connection. In addition, the REGZA also has a built-in analog tuner. We recommend using a digital set top box with this panel and, given its native resolution, we feel that a HDTV box would be the best choice. At 108mm thick, the depth of the unit is on par with most LCD panels of this size.
Our testing has brought us to the conclusion that the Toshiba 47WL66 REGZA is a mid-range unit which will work well for standard and high definition use but is not particularly spectacular. The image noise and pixel fluctuations are definitely a problem but from a viewing distance of over 2.5 metres they are not as obvious.
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