Toshiba Amazon Hearth TV C350 collection evaluate: Alexa, what’s on?

The C350 collection from Toshiba offers big-screen, bodily kind to Amazon’s Hearth TV streaming system. From the fonts to the colours, should you’ve interacted with any Fire TV stick or different Amazon TV device, you will be totally acquainted with this tv. As you’d anticipate, it leans exhausting into Alexa and has full Amazon Prime Video integration, but it surely additionally has different streaming providers like Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max and extra. 


  • Alexa powers superior voice options
  • Voice distant included

Do not Like

  • Sensible TV menus lag behind Roku
  • Overt concentrate on Amazon providers

Image high quality on the C350 was effective for a funds TV, if a little bit worse than the competitors. In my side-by-side comparisons its shade and distinction could not fairly match the TCL 4-Series and Vizio V-Series, however at this value the picture high quality variations in all probability do not matter that a lot. Arguably extra vital is the good TV, and whereas Alexa beats Roku and Vizio for voice management, we like Roku’s less complicated, extra agnostic good TV strategy higher. It is also annoying that some non-Amazon providers, like Vudu, get brief shrift, whereas others, specifically Peacock, aren’t obtainable in any respect.

Proper now the C350 additionally prices greater than both of these rivals from TCL and Vizio, however with Prime Day quick approaching, we would not be stunned to see an enormous value drop. Till that occurs, nevertheless, we will solely actually advocate it for somebody who totally embraces the Bezos bonanza and desires their TV to be part of that. 

Learn extra: Early Prime Day TV deals: Save on models from Insignia, LG, TCL, Toshiba and Vizio

The Toshiba C350 collection is on the market in 43-, 50- and 55-inch variations, with bigger 65- and 75-inch sizes coming quickly. I reviewed the 50-inch mannequin.

Prime options and connections

Like different TVs at this value the C530 is a primary 4K HDR mannequin — no fancy extras like next-gen gaming perkslocal dimmingwide color gamut or tons of light right here. Its Hearth TV performance is the main characteristic right here and the menus have what Amazon calls a content-forward design: numerous thumbnails for TV reveals and flicks versus tiles like Roku. Many concentrate on Amazon’s Prime Video library, however you’ll be able to obtain apps for different main streaming providers, which unpack rows of their thumbnails.


Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

I preferred the Toshiba’s distant higher than the TCL’s as a result of it options Alexa voice in addition to Bluetooth, so you do not have to purpose it on the TV. The button format is easy and clear, if not fairly as sparse as Roku, and contains outstanding white shortcut keys to numerous providers. 

The C350 mainly ties the Roku in most user-friendly setup screens. It has the added bonus that should you’re an Amazon Prime member (and I assume you might be should you’re contemplating this TV), when you undergo the preliminary setup you have already logged in and are prepared to observe reveals and flicks.


Hearth TV’s setup menus are easy and easy.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

One irritating design determination is that the image settings menu covers one-third of the display screen, and shadows about half. This menu does not disappear or shrink once you make changes both. Now, you’ll suppose this might solely be an issue should you’re a TV reviewer like me utilizing check patterns (do not get me mistaken, it completely is), but it surely additionally makes it more durable should you’re making an attempt to eyeball the proper setting at residence. That is as a result of nearly all of the display screen is not what the display screen will seem like when you exit the menus. In all probability not an enormous deal for many consumers, to be truthful, but it surely’s a bummer should you prefer to get a TV wanting nearly as good as attainable.

Learn extra: Stop watching bad TV picture settings: 9 ways to optimize your big screen


These image huge adjustment menus can mess together with your tweaks. 

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Power Star ranking for the 50-inch mannequin is $21 a yr, which is mid-pack for this vary of TVs.

Some TVs on this value vary have three HDMI inputs, and it definitely is not a nasty factor that the C350 has 4. It even has analog video and audio inputs. So you probably have an outdated gaming console or any retro A/V gear, you are in luck. 

For those who resolve you wish to go your personal streaming route and eschew Hearth TV, you will not have the ability to energy most streaming sticks from the TV’s USB connections. Not an enormous deal: It simply means you will have to run energy individually to the stick.

  • HDMI inputs: 4
  • Composite analog enter
  • USB ports: two (0.5A energy)
  • Web: Wi-Fi, Wired
  • Antenna enter
  • Analog audio output (3.5mm)
  • Optical digital audio output
  • Audio system: two downward-firing

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Alexa, what’s Vudu?

The voice search works effectively. It directs you to Amazon typically, but it surely does provide you with some alternate choices. For instance, should you say “Thor Ragnarok” it can deliver up a display screen with that and a few associated content material, and if you choose the film out of these decisions you’ve the choice to purchase or hire on Amazon — or watch it on Disney Plus. One other click on brings up extra locations to observe. Nevertheless, it does not present all choices like Roku or Vizio would. It does not present you Vudu, for instance. 

It is truly price specializing in Vudu for example of the restrictions compelled on this Toshiba, presumably by Amazon. There’s, technically, a Vudu app. So at first look in a retailer or on a guidelines, it appears to have extra choices to purchase or hire content material than simply Amazon. The reality, nevertheless, is that it is an historical model of the Vudu app that has an archaic interface and solely permits you to watch SD content material. You learn that appropriately: not even HD, and overlook about 4K. 

And that is for content material you already personal. You’ll be able to’t purchase something within the Vudu app. It’s a must to go to Vudu’s web site to purchase it. With TCL/Roku, Vizio and Samsung, you should buy instantly within the app. So it is best to completely think about this TV not simply “primarily” an Amazon gadget, however an Amazon gadget that may lock you out of non-Amazon stuff. 


Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

It is also price repeating that Hearth TV, and by extension this TV, is the one main streaming platform to lack an app for Peacock. Subscribers can strive side-loading in the event that they’re adventurous, however our recommendation is to get a special TV if Peacock is vital to you.

Image high quality comparisons

The TCL 4-Sequence and Vizio V-series are direct rivals of the Toshiba C530, with comparable options and costs, in order that they make superb comparability fashions. I linked them by way of a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier and considered them side-by-side-by-side watching a mixture of HD, 4K and 4K HDR content material.

The Vizio and the TCL look very comparable. The Toshiba is in a technique higher and most different methods barely worse. It is considerably brighter than both, nearing the a lot more-expensive Samsung Q60A with non-HDR content material (though with HDR content material the Samsung is way brighter). None of those TVs are dim, in fact, however you probably have an especially vibrant room and wish all the sunshine you may get out of your TV, the Toshiba has a bonus.

That mentioned, with check patterns it was readily obvious that the C350 solely achieved its peak brightness for just a few seconds, then instantly dimmed. With precise content material, this wasn’t readily noticeable. It did this no matter settings, so it is attainable it was nonetheless doing it with precise content material, simply not as a lot or as noticeably as with check patterns. 

In different elements of image high quality, the C350 is not nearly as good as the opposite two. Not considerably, however when viewing all of them on the similar time, sufficient that you might see it. The colour is rather less correct, rather less lifelike. The distinction is rather less punchy. It wasn’t dangerous, however after I’d slide throughout the sofa to view both the TCL or Vizio (all have mediocre off-axis image high quality), these two simply appeared a little bit higher.

Prime actual property?

Anybody in search of a funds TV has some glorious choices all for little or no cash. The TCL 4-Sequence might be the only option for most individuals, particularly those that do not know their distinction from their composite. It is simple to make use of due to its Roku interface, and has entry to all the main streaming providers. The Vizio V-Sequence is almost nearly as good, with extra image setting choices and a extra energetic interface. 

Which leaves the C350. For those who purchase every part by way of Amazon, together with renting motion pictures and shopping for TV reveals, then it is in all probability effective. However the limitations imposed by Hearth TV may be irritating in the long term. A extra budget-agnostic TV, just like the TCL/Roku or the Vizio, will let you get content material any approach you need (mostly), with out funneling or limiting you to Amazon’s ecosystem. It is kind of like a automobile that solely drives on sure roads. For those who solely drive on these roads, that is effective. However if you wish to take a brand new shortcut to work, you are out of luck. 

If somebody’s not very tech-savvy and has gotten used to Hearth TV particularly, or Alexa typically, then this may be a good selection as a result of it’s totally a lot an Amazon product, regardless of the identify on the underside. For everybody else, nevertheless, I would advocate the TCL or Vizio first.

Source link