Toshiba 65L9363DB Review – The latest in the new wave of Ultra HD TVs, the 65L9363DB, doesn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts, as at £5,500 it’s £500 more expensive than other 65in 4K big-hitters from Samsung and Sony. And, although Panasonic’s L65WT600 is also £5,500, that model sports a cutting-edge HDMI 2.0 port and this does not. If it’s going to justify its price, the 65L9363DB will have to perform better than its rivals – and that’s quite a challenge.
The 65L9363DB loses out slightly in style terms versus rivals thanks to its plasticky build and straightforward – if slim – design. Put another way: Samsung and Sony TVs look smarter. It doesn’t employ any local dimming in its lighting engine, which is surprising considering its price. This is not necessarily the end of the world in picture quality terms, but there’s no ignoring the fact that other high-end LEDs use local dimming to deliver better contrast. There are some promising things about the 65L9363DB, though.
Firstly, it carries Toshiba’s new Ultra HD video processing system, driven by the company’s renowned CEVO engine. Chief among its duties are HD and SD upscaling to the screen’s native resolution and combatting LCD’s motion blur problems. Toshiba has equipped it with a fearsome roster of picture setup tools, including full colour management, gamma controls and white balance fine tuning. It boasts four HDMIs, USBs for playback of video, photo and music multimedia files, an SD card slot and both Ethernet and integrated Wi-fi network connections. The HDMIs are not built to the new HDMI 2.0 standard, but Toshiba assures us that they can be upgraded to handle 60fps Ultra HD sources when they become available.
I kicked off my tests with a selection of native Ultra HD content and, as with every other time I’ve witnessed it in action, I was mesmerised by the sight before me. Pictures enjoy not just more detail and resolution than you see with HD, but also a greater sense of density and depth that make you almost forget images are being produced from a bunch of individual pixels rather than being ‘real life’. Superb.
Equally gobsmacking with the HD test footage is the colour resolution. Those extra pixels enable the screen to deliver near-flawless colour blends that further reinforce the almost 3D-like sense of solidity and depth of Ultra HD. The extreme vibrancy of the 65L9363DB’s colours, meanwhile, only fall slightly short of the ground-breaking saturations witnessed on Sony’s Triluminossporting 65X9005A, and leave the tones of Samsung’s UE65F9000 looking rather pallid by comparison.
A touch of motion blur takes the edge off Ultra HD clarity during action footage like a football match, but while this is slightly more noticeable than it is on the rival Sony and Samsung 4K TVs, I wouldn’t class it as severe. You can reduce its impact by selecting the low setting of Toshiba’s highly eff ective motion processing engine. As an early glimpse of the power of the CEVO 4K engine, this motion smoothing is very promising, and my admiration grows when I switch to 3D material – Titanic (easily the best ‘remastered’ 3D title ever) and Tron: Legacy. As Jack pushes his way through the crowds on the dock at the side of the Titanic, the 65L9363DB does a remarkable job of handling the huge amounts of motion in the frame, avoiding the judder and twitching problems I’ve often witnessed with 3D screens. In fact, 3D represents arguably the 65L9363DB’s finest hour. Its passive 3D approach more or less nullifies crosstalk ghosting – even over notoriously challenging sequences like the first time Sam is fitted with one of the fancy striped light suits in Tron: Legacy – and its Ultra HD resolution means it delivers the full 1080-line resolution of 3D Blu-rays rather than a compromised resolution, as HD passive 3D TVs do.
Furthermore, the use of passive tech removes active 3D’s flicker issue from the equation. I’m struggling to think of any other TV that’s made 3D more engaging. While the CEVO engine is on great form when it comes to handling motion, though, it’s slightly less emphatic when upscaling standarddefi nition and HD sources to the screen’s 3,840 x 2,160-pixel resolution. Upscaled material certainly looks eminently watchable, especially with high-quality HD content like Oblivion on Blu-ray. But there’s more softness than you get with either Sony or Samsung’s Ultra HD challengers. What’s more, if a non-Ultra HD source has quite a bit of noise in it, such as all standard-definition digital broadcasts and even a few HD ones, the 65L9363DB isn’t as astute at reducing this noise during its upscaling process. A final area of weakness for the 65L9363DB’s pictures versus its rivals concerns black levels.
Dark scenes are prone to looking somewhat greyed over, and there’s a noticeable shortage of shadow detail in the very darkest corners that runs counter to the TV’s Ultra HD ambitions Considered in isolation, the 65L9363DB is another persuasive argument for adopting Ultra HD/4K technology – native content positively drips with detail and believability and upscaled images are a clear improvement on Full HD. However, while its colour reproduction and 3D delivery is worthy of the highest praise, Toshiba’s 4K set can’t match its rivals in upscaling supremacy, black level performance or Smart TV talents. No TV is an island, and there’s no escaping the fact that Toshiba’s Ultra HD model currently costs more than some rival models that are simply better.
- Native Ultra HD playback looks awesome
- 3D is a revelation
- Superb colour reproduction and calibration tools
- Black level response could be better
- Smart TV service needs more content
- Slightly soft Ultra HD upscaling
Toshiba 65L9363DB Specifications
- 3D: Yes. Passive
- Ultra HD: Yes. 3,840 x 2,160
- Tuner: Yes. Freeview HD
- Connections: 4x HDMI (v1.4, one with MHL); 2x USB; Scart; stereo audio; component video input; Ethernet port; SD card slot
- Sound: 2x 20W
- Brightness (claimed): 450cd/m2
- Contrast ratio (claimed): 4,000:1 (native)
- Dimensions (off stand): 1,463(w) x 849(h) x 55(d)mm
- Weight (off stand): 44.7kg
- Features: Native Ultra HD playback; Ultra HD upscaling via CEVO processing engine; Cloud TV online service including BBC iPlayer and Netfl ix; multimedia playback from SD card, USB port or DLNA; colour management; white balance adjustment; gamma adjustment; four pairs of 3D glasses included; built-in Wi-fi