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Toshiba 55U79 4K HDR TV Review – Brightness on a Budget

The Toshiba 55U79 TV aims to offer the 4K HDR experience to users without surpassing the R10,000 price mark. For the most part, the TV succeeds thanks to its decent panel, Android OS and Dolby Vision/Audio certification. The Toshiba 55U79 does most modern-day display tech “good”. It might not be the best in class but the performance and visual experience are rather impressive given this TV’s price tag. You’re not getting the brightest TV with the best dimming, 4K 120Hz, VRR and other support compared to other panels on the market but this Toshiba 55U79 won’t cost you a small fortune and that alone is impressive.

The Toshiba 55U79 is an LED TV that the company is calling “frameless”. If you’re buying a TV in 2021, you expect it to have specific features and this display checks the boxes. You get Android 9.0 which is a big deal, 4K, HDR, a plethora of ports and the TV comes in 50-inch and goes all the way up to 75-inch. The 55-inch sets you back between R8,000 and R10,000 and the 65-inch goes up to R12,499. Check your local retailer listings for specials on the TV.

Toshiba 55U790 4K HDR TV Review

Toshiba 55U79 Tech Specs

  • Display
    • 55-inch 3840 x 2160 UHD
    • D-LED
    • 460 nits base brightness
    • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Display Engine/settings
    • 4K CEVO HDR Engine
    • 7 picture modes
    • Dolby Vision
    • AMR + 800
    • Contrast Booster
    • Comb Filter
    • Int Backlight Control
    • MPEG Noise Reduction
  • Sound Support
    • 6 Sound modes
    • Speaker set – 12W + 12W
    • Surround Sound
    • Dolby Audio
  • System Features
    • Android 9.0
    • Chrome Cast Built-in
    • No Bluetooth
  • Connectivity
    • Antenna
    • HDMI 2.0 x 3
    • USB 2 x 2
    • Composite Video
    • Built-in Wi-Fi
    • LAN
  • Dimensions
    • ( 1230 x 727 x 75 ) mm / 13.6Kg
    • ( 1230 x 750 x 220 ) mm / 14.6Kg

Toshiba 55U79 Design

The Toshiba 55U79 packs quite a sleek design. If anything, it is one of the most attractive TVs I have worked on in a while. The overall design aesthetic surprised me right out of the box. Its centre stand keeps a low profile and the backside of the TV is surprisingly thin. Getting out of the box was simple and this 55-inch display meant I could handle the movement and stand installation alone.

Toshiba 55U790 4K HDR TV Review

The stand screws into the bottom of the TV and is positioned by a metal shaft that slides into place. I did have issues screwing the stand into the base though. The screw holes were out of place on the right-hand side resulting in a stiff screw. I then ended up tightening the screws as much as possible without forcing them in. This meant the screw wasn’t flush with the base. It could be a manufacturing issue whereas the holes weren’t drilled to align up with the stand. Regardless, it was a small issue. Once the stand screws onto the panel, the Toshiba logo and sensor panel fits nicely into the middle of the stand as if it was part of the build.

The TV panel has a bump at the base that holds all the ports and the upper portion of the display is thinner. On the right, there’s the figure 8 power port and on the left, you’ll find all the connectivity ports. The HDMI ports are grouped together on the side panel and the LAN port is positioned on the back facing outwards instead of sidewards. The cabling can also be fed downwards and grouped together on a clip found on the stand. This helps keep things clean and is great for cable management.

Toshiba 55U790 4K HDR TV Review

The Toshiba 55U79 has 10mm bezels around the display. This aligns the panel design with most TVs on the market and it means less frame and more display. It is frameless? Not so much but it matters not. The speakers of the Toshiba 55U79 are positioned underneath the panel behind the stand and to the side of the TV. There’s also a thumbstick switch on the left at the back which can be used to navigate the menus without a remote.

Speaking of a remote, the Toshiba 55U79 comes with a white remote in the box. It includes a range of preset buttons for Netflix, YouTube and Google Play. The remote isn’t fantastic by any means. The buttons are squeaky and often the remote would lag out a bit resulting in the TV receiving all the commands at once. This could be related to the OS though.

Toshiba 55U790 4K HDR TV Review

The Toshiba 55U79 design is fairly decent. The display’s materials are sturdy and the stand’s lower profile makes it look sleek on your TV stand. It is not the most modern design in tech but it works and in fact, the stand is a lot more stylish than most more expensive TVs on the market.

Toshiba 55U79 Performance

A big selling point of this Toshiba 55U79 TV is the specs it packs and if you consume 4K HDR content then it will cater to your needs. The panel is a D-LED with no local dimming so this means that the backlight on the panel is always on and you can rule out getting any darker or pure black scenes while watching this TV. However, where the TV does deliver is in its brightness.

The panel can reach a peak brightness of around 520 nits which is fairly decent for this price point. Keep in mind that real HDR, and if you want to consume content the way it is meant to be seen, requires a peak brightness of at least 800-1000 nits. This makes the Toshiba 55U79 far off from achieving this goal but the panel is still decent enough to deliver a bright image with great colours in HDR. Without HDR enabled, this drops to 460 nits so the panel isn’t as bright.

Toshiba 55U790 4K HDR TV Review

The brightness also helps with the panel reflection but the Toshiba 55U79 doesn’t have the most reflective panel either. This means in bright conditions, the display is still visible. I still won’t recommend placing it facing a bright window though. You might have issues viewing the display. The Toshiba 55U79 also has a decent viewing angle at 175-degrees. This is possible thanks to the brighter panel but don’t expect to see the same image quality sitting at 120-degrees and onwards.

In both circumstances, the peak brightness of the panel isn’t groundbreaking and by HDR standards, both results are under average. However, the panel can still deliver a brighter image in comparison to other LED TVs on the market. The Toshiba 55U79 is also Dolby Vision certified which means HDR content benefits from automatic adjustments. Watching something on Netflix, for example, will allow the app to tweak the display settings to best suit the content. Again, this is best experienced on a panel that is capable of the image quality. The Toshiba 55U79 just doesn’t get there in most cases but again, it is still great.

Toshiba 55U790 4K HDR TV Review

The Toshiba 55U79 has some decent colour accuracy and gets better once you fiddle with the calibration. The TV packs a built-in colour calibration system but doesn’t support a wide colour gamut. This may be an issue when viewing HDR content as the colour output is limited to the TV. You probably won’t notice this unless you look for it or are a TV enthusiast.

The TV may seem limited at first but the display only enables certain settings when you plug a device into it. For example, once I plugged in my Xbox Series X, the TV prompted me to enable HDMI enhanced format and switch to Game Mode. This reduced the input lag down to 10ms while playing in 4K 60FPS. This is a standard input lag measurement, even if it is low.

Toshiba 55U79

General viewing on the Toshiba 55U79 is decent and image quality holds up nicely. The panel is bright enough to fill the room and the Android 9 OS is easy to navigate around. I did have issues where the OS would freeze up and stop responding for a few seconds. This was especially present when watching 4K content on Netflix and YouTube. I struggled to navigate the menus and fiddle with the settings. Clearly, the chip inside the TV can’t handle it all at once.

The system comes with a range of viewing modes to choose from too. This includes sports, calibrated, movie etc. I do urge you to tweak your own settings rather than using these presets. It will allow you to find the best viewing experience to your liking. If you aren’t a fan of settings and toggles, these modes offer nice ways to quickly switch between them.

Toshiba 55U79

The Toshiba 55U79 also comes with a fairly decent set of speakers. They won’t replace a soundbar or home theatre system but if you don’t have anything else, they will do quite fine. I was surprised to hear some kick out of these speakers and they filled the room quite nicely.

Toshiba 55U790 Review

The Toshiba 55U790 marks a decent middle-ground for a TV. Sure, its panel can’t reach intense peak brightness to deliver accurate HDR content but it does a good job surpassing other LED TVs on the market at its price range. This TV is definitely for someone who wants a bright display without having to spend R15k upwards on other brands. From a technical point of view, it doesn’t meet my expectations but from a personal point of view, it is a fantastic price for a TV this feature-packed.

Toshiba 55U79 4K HDR TV Review

This Toshiba 55U79 review was based on a unit sent to us for two weeks by Toshiba. The TV retails in SA from R8,999

Marco is the owner and founder of GLITCHED. South Africa’s largest gaming and pop culture website. GLITCHED quickly established itself with tech and gaming enthusiasts with on-point opinions, quick coverage of breaking events and unbiased reviews across its website, social platforms, and YouTube channel.

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