Toshiba C350 Series UHD Fire TV (55C350KU) 55 Series UHD Fire TV Review

Most TV manufacturers have chosen Roku TV or Android TV for their smart TV platforms, but Toshiba continues to stick with Amazon Fire TV. We do not mind. Fire TV is a powerful platform with plenty of services and the handy presence of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. The C350 is Toshiba’s newest, and currently only, line of TVs loaded with features for the price. The 50-inch C350 we tested has an MSRP of $469.99, and is often available for a lower price. On paper, it’s an attractive option for pincers, and it has surprisingly low input lag for gamers, but the dark panel and low contrast make it hard to honestly recommend.

Editors’ Note: This review is based on testing on the 50C350KU, the 50-inch model in the series. Aside from the screen size difference, the 55-inch $519.99 55C350KU is identical in features, and we’d expect similar performance.

Attractive design with awkwardly placed ports

The C350 looks surprisingly elegant for an inexpensive TV. The top and sides of the screen are bezel-free, framed only by a narrow black plastic strip that wraps around the back. A thin strip of brushed metal runs along the bottom edge of the screen, tilting slightly forward. The IR receiver and LED are housed in a small, conspicuous enclosure down the middle of the range, with a small power/input button directly behind it. Everything rests on two metal V-shaped legs near the edges of the screen (you can also mount it to the wall).

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Toshiba 50C350

All the ports are oddly located around the middle of the back of the TV, quite far from the edges where the side ports would fit. Four HDMI ports (one eARC), two USB ports, an optical audio out, an Ethernet port, and a left-facing antenna/cable connector, but you’re so far away from the sides of the TV that you have to reach very far to change any connections. The power cable connector goes to the right, in a similarly awkward location. Finally, a set of RCA composite video inputs and a headphone jack route directly into the center of the back of the TV. The headphone jack is quite confusing; The dead center rear facing is the least convenient location possible if you want to use wired headphones.
Toshiba 50C350

The built-in remote control is very similar to the one included with Fire TV media streaming devices. It’s a thin rectangular black stick with slightly rounded top and bottom edges and a prominent circular navigation panel near the top. The power and microphone buttons, along with the pinhole microphone, are located above the navigation panel. menu and playback controls; Volume rocker and duct. And the service buttons for Amazon Prime Video, Disney +, Hulu and Netflix are under the remote control.

Toshiba 50C350

Fire TV Features

The C350 uses the Amazon Fire TV platform for its smart interface and features, so it works just like the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, with input options available as well as apps. That’s fine, because like Roku TV and Android/Google TV, Fire TV is a powerful platform packed with apps and services.

Aside from standard Amazon services like Prime Video, most of the big streaming names are here, including Apple TV, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Twitch, and YouTube. There are thousands of other apps available with a more specific regional topic/interest as well. You can even stream games directly to your TV using Amazon Luna (we recommend purchasing a Luna Controller to match).

Fire TV lags behind the competition with screen mirroring, unfortunately. You can cast your Windows PC screen directly to your TV with WiDi, or your Android phone’s screen using Miracast (with a third-party app, as Google replaced any Miracast app with Google Cast years ago), but that’s it. You don’t get as comfortable with Apple AirPlay as you do on Roku, LG, Samsung TVs, or Google Cast as you do on Android/Google TVs (or both, like you get on Vizio TVs).

Toshiba 50-Class C350 Series UHD Fire TV (50C350KU)

Of course, Amazon Alexa is available on the C350. Like most other Fire TV devices, you can access Amazon’s voice assistant by pressing and holding the microphone button on the remote control and talking to it. You can use Alexa to directly control your TV and compatible smart home devices, search for content, answer general questions like weather forecasts and sports scores, and check your calendar and email. It’s a very useful feature that Roku TVs lack (although Android devices and Google TVs have the comparable Google Assistant, and LG and Samsung TVs allow you to use either of the voice assistants).

Toshiba C350 Picture Quality

Toshiba 50C350 is a 4K TV with 60Hz refresh rate. Supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) content in HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

We test TVs with a Klein K-80 colorimeter, Murideo SIX-G signal generator and Portrait Displays’ Calman software using a methodology based on Imaging Science Foundation calibration techniques. And from this test, we’ve determined that the C350 has quite poor contrast. The panel is very dim, showing a peak brightness of 219.497cd/m2 with SDR signal and only 236.079cd/m2 with HDR signal (numbers don’t change significantly between full screen and 18% fields). This is disappointing but unheard of; The Vizio M55Q6-J has a peak brightness of 256.623cd/m^2. The TV doesn’t even have the darkest blacks to make up for this, displaying black levels of 0.086cd/m^2 with the SDR signal and 0.091cd/m^2 with the HDR signal. This adds up to an effective contrast ratio of 2,594:1. Vizio’s black levels are slightly lower, so it shows a higher contrast ratio of 4,218:1. Meanwhile, the TCL 6-Series is astoundingly brighter (1, 114.897cd/m^2) and darker (0.015cd/m2), for a contrast ratio of about 30 times that of C350 (74,326:1).

Toshiba 50C350

The C350 shows better color than its contrast, although it is still not very impressive. The above graph shows color levels measured by the SDR signal compared to the Rec.709 broadcast standards, and by the HDR signal compared to the DCI-P3 digital cinema standards, both in movie picture mode. SDR content seems rather topical, and it’s nice to see (although increasingly popular, even on budget TVs). HDR content is decently balanced, although the C350’s color gamut is much lower than that of the DCI-P3, and the white and purple work great. The Vizio M55Q6 and TCL 6-Series both show a much wider reach in terms of colors.

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BBC second planet earth It looks balanced and natural on the C350. While the green plants don’t look quite as vibrant as on some other TVs, they are still saturated and life-like, as does the rich blue water. Fine details such as fur can be seen clearly, but shots partly darkened by shadow can appear very light or slightly muddy.

at dead list, the red color of the character’s titular costume is vivid and subtle, even under the cool overcast lighting of the opening scene. The smoldering lab battle is less impressive due to the TV’s poor contrast. The flames look rather bright and colorful, but the shadows look dull.

Contrast issues became really evident in the party scenes of The great Gatsby. Depending on the overall amount of light in the frame, details such as the cut and the contour of the black suit can be completely swallowed up by the mud or appear so light that it is almost gray. Dim peak brightness and bright black levels add to starkly high contrast scenes like these that fall short of the director’s intent.

gaming performance

Gaming performance is where the C350 surprises us. On paper, it looks unimpressive, with a refresh rate of 60Hz and no player-specific features like Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). However, the TV is absolutely blazing when it comes to input lag.

Using the HDFury Diva HDMI matrix to measure it, the C350 showed an input lag of just 3.1ms in game picture mode, well below the 20ms threshold we use to consider the TV as one of the best in gaming. It’s not quite as low as the Samsung Q70A’s input lag (2.3ms), but it’s still great. Just be sure to switch to gaming mode when playing; In movie mode, the input lag is 111.2 ms.

Capable but not impressive

The Toshiba C350 benefits from an affordable price point and Amazon Fire TV platform packed with features and surprises with incredibly low input lag. Colors also look very nice on TV, although this is becoming increasingly popular even among affordable models. However, the dark panel and poor contrast prevent us from recommending it above other cheap models. The Vizio MQ6 series offers better contrast and color for about the same price, and while it doesn’t have a voice assistant, it supports both Apple AirPlay and Google Cast. Ultimately, the TCL 6-Series remains our top pick for budget TVs. It’s a bit more expensive than the Toshiba or Vizio models and doesn’t have a voice assistant, but its color and contrast blasts the other two out of the water much brighter and a darker black.

Toshiba 55-Class C350 QHD Fire TV (55C350KU)

Negatives

  • dim panel

  • poor contrast

  • awkwardly placed inputs

bottom line

Toshiba’s affordable C350 series of Fire TVs offers low input lag for gamers and plenty of smart features including Amazon Alexa voice control, but its visuals aren’t impressive.

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