Not everyone needs connected features on their HDTVs—especially if you already own a media streaming device like the Apple TV, Google Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV. Good picture quality is a must when you’re buying a new HDTV, however. Toshiba’s L1400U series delivers a sharp picture, impressive black levels, and a good contrast ratio, but its color accuracy falls short. The $449.99 40L1400U we tested is an inexpensive HDTV, but so is the 40-inch version of our current Editors’ Choice, the TCL 48FS4610R Roku TV, which offers connected features and better color reproduction for more than $100 less.
Design and Features
The 40L1400U has glossy black plastic half-inch bezels on the top and sides with a one-inch bottom bezel, which is relatively wide when compared with similar models in the same price-range. The frame is entirely black, save for a white Toshiba logo on the bottom left of the HDTV. Behind the screen, you’ll find the only two HDMI ports, component and composite ports, an optical audio port, and an antenna connector facing out. Facing left is a USB port and Power, plus Volume and Input control buttons.
The 6.8-inch black plastic remote isn’t as crowded as other HDTV remotes that can include buttons with superfluous functions. While it’s not backlit, you can find the controls easily in the dark thanks to the simple layout. Since the 40L1400U doesn’t have network connectivity for streaming media from services like Netflix or Hulu, the remote doesn’t have any dedicated buttons for those services, although it does have media playback buttons for HDMI-CEC devices and USB storage.
We test HDTVs with a Klein K-10A Colorimeter, SpectraCal’s CalMAN 5 software, and DisplayMate test patterns. After basic dark room calibration, we determined that the best settings for the purposes of our testing was Movie picture mode, Warm color temperature, Brightness at -5, and Contrast at 100. Considering the 40L1400U’s price, it displayed a surprisingly good black level of 0.03 cd/m2 and peak brightness of 259.64 cd/m2 for an admirable 8,655:1 contrast ratio. This is certainly superior to the TCL 48FS4610R’s 0.08 cd/m2 black level and 3,270:1 contrast ratio, but its contrast can’t overcome its disappointing color accuracy.
The chart above shows the 40L1400U’s measured color levels as dots and the ideal color levels as boxes. White was quite accurate, but slightly cool, and the blue and red levels were also mostly on point, if somewhat oversaturated. Greens were markedly undersaturated and skewed cool.
See How We Test HDTVs
The reds in The Amazing Spider-Man were especially noticeable in both Spider-Man’s costume and the actors’ skin tones. Skin tones in The Big Lebowski also suffered from the oversaturated reds and undersaturated greens, and switching color temperature settings from Warm to Normal or Cool didn’t do much to quell this effect.
However, dark alley scenes in Spider-Man looked very good thanks to the impressive black levels this HDTV can achieve. And the 40L1400U generally offered a sharp, bright picture for an overall good viewing experience apart from the oversaturated reds.
The screen measured a decent input lag of 34.5 milliseconds in Movie mode. Dedicated gaming monitors can display measured lag times as low as 8 milliseconds, but they generally tend to be more expensive with significantly smaller screens. Non-competitive, non-professional gamers shouldn’t have any issues with the lag on this display.
Under normal viewing conditions using our calibrated settings, the 40L1400U consumes 51 watts, which is good for a 40-inch HDTV. For comparison, the 40-inch Sceptre X405BV-FHDR consumes 57 watts under similar conditions, and Samsung’s UN40H5500AFZXA consumed 77 watts. In the Energy Star-certified Standard picture setting (the only power-saving feature available on the HDTV), power consumption averaged out to 40 watts.
Toshiba’s L1400U is a decent HDTV series with good black levels, but it can’t dethrone TCL’s FS4610R Roku TV line as our Editors’ Choice, thanks to its inaccurate reds, lack of connected features, and higher price tag. As its name suggests, the 40FS4610R Roku TV has built-in connected features while demanding less of your money, and while its black levels don’t impress us as much as the 40L1400U, its colors are more accurate. Even if you don’t need connected features for media streaming, Sharp’s LC-39LE551U also offers better color accuracy for less, albeit with inferior black levels.