(This is a preview, when a full review is available this story will be updated)

Toshiba is pushing the boundaries of TV technology with its ZL2 which it claims is the world’s first big screen glasses-free 3D TV.

The ZL2 will go on sale next Monday at John Lewis for £6,999. For that large sum of money we’d expect something pretty special and the ZL2 is exactly that. You get a lot of technology for your money which simply isn’t found elsewhere.

For starters the Toshiba ZL2 is an attractive TV with its slim design, thin silver bezel and its stand with no middle. The glasses-free 3D TV comes in a large 55-inch size with no other size options. There’s a lot to talk about with this TV but we’ll go straight to the image quality and the more boring bits and pieces later.

We’ve only had a chance to see the ZL2 displaying certain demonstration videos.  The first was a quadHD 3840 x 2160 show reel which exhibited the maximum resolution that the screen can offer. The result is nothing short of incredible. If you thought Full HD 1920 x 1080 was good then this is in a league of its own. The level of detail is incredibly high, so high in-fact that certain objects look a bit too real but that is something to get accustomed to.

The main issue is that there’s a distinct lack of quadHD content to watch on the ZL2 but it doesn’t mean that it’s future proof for when broadcasting reaches that level.

The other demonstration we’ve seen is the ZL2 in glasses-free 3D mode. Toshiba has launched a glasses-free laptop but not a TV with the same technology outside of Japan. The Qosmio F750 can cope with one single user but the ZL2 can display a 3D image for up to nine people simultaneously. Each viewer gets a 720p 3D image.

A webcam built-into the bezel uses face tracking to tune the 3D image for each individual. This doesn’t happen in real-time but is done before you view content and can be re-tuned on demand. Green circles, which can be turned off, at the top of the screen guide you into one of the viewing sweet spots which are spaced about 60cm apart.

When you get into a sweet spot the 3D image is very good and of course the main thing is that you don’t need dedicated 3D glasses. The effect doesn’t jump out of the screen as much when there are multiple viewers but there is a single user mode which improves the effect.

The ZL2 can also convert 2D content into 3D and upscale both 2D and 3D content. It has an ambient light sensor, a Freeview HD tuner, 9,000,000:1 dynamic contrast, built-in subwoofer and USB hard drive video recording. In terms of connectivity it has four HDMI ports, two USB ports, WiFi and digital living alliance network (DLNA) technology.

ZL2: Specs

  • 55-inch quadHD (3840 x 2160) resolution display
  • Glasses-free 3D
  • Viewer tracking image optimisation via integrated camera
  • 2D to 3D conversion with depth control
  • 9,000,000:1 dynamic contrast
  • Wi-Fi
  • DLNA
  • Freeview HD tuner
  • Resolution+ and 3D Resolution+
  • AutoView ambient light sensor
  • Built-in subwoofer
  • USB HDD Video Recording
  • 4x HDMI
  • 2x USB.
  • 55-inch quadHD (3840 x 2160) resolution display
  • Glasses-free 3D
  • Viewer tracking image optimisation via integrated camera
  • 2D to 3D conversion with depth control
  • 9,000,000:1 dynamic contrast
  • Wi-Fi
  • DLNA
  • Freeview HD tuner
  • Resolution+ and 3D Resolution+
  • AutoView ambient light sensor
  • Built-in subwoofer
  • USB HDD Video Recording
  • 4x HDMI
  • 2x USB.

OUR VERDICT

Our first experience of the ZL2 left us with a great impression and a desire to watch more quadHD and glasses-free 3D content. The ZL2 is a fantastic bit of kit, for those with pockets that reach their ankles.

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