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Toshiba Amazon Fire TV C350 series review: Alexa, what’s on?

Toshiba’s C350 series delivers big screen, physical appearance of amazon fire tv streaming From system fonts to colors, if you’ve interacted with any fire tv stick or other amazon tv devicesYou will be completely familiar with this television. It barely bends as you were expecting Alexa and is full amazon prime video integration, but it also has other streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, hbo max even more.

do not like it

  • Smart TV menu lags behind Roku
  • Focus more on Amazon services

Picture quality on the C350 was fine for a budget TV, if a little worse than the competition. Its color and contrast just couldn’t match in my side-by-side comparison Tcl 4-series and Vizio V-Series, but the image quality difference might not matter that much at this price. Arguably more important is smart TVs, and while Alexa beats out the Roku and Vizio for voice control, we like Roku’s simpler, more agnostic smart TV approach better. It is also annoying that some non-Amazon services, such as Vudu, become buggy, while others, namely PeacockNot available at all.

Right now the C350 costs more than any of those competitors from TCL and Vizio, but with prime day Fast approaching, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a huge price drop. However, until that happens, we can really only recommend it to anyone who totally embraces the Bezos bonanza and wants their TV to be a part of that.

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

The Toshiba C350 series is available in 43-, 50- and 55-inch versions, with larger 65- and 75-inch sizes coming soon. I reviewed the 50-inch model.

Key Features and Connections

Like other TVs at this price, the C530 is a basic 4K HDR model – no fancy extras here like next-gen gaming features, local dimming, wide color gamut or lots of lighting. Its Fire TV functionality is the key feature here and the menus feature what Amazon calls a content-forward design: lots of thumbnails for TV shows and movies as opposed to Roku-like tiles. Many focus on Amazon’s Prime Video library, but you can download apps for the other major streaming services unpacking their rows of thumbnails.

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Geoffrey Morrison / ClearTips

I liked the Toshiba remote better than the TCL’s because it has Alexa voice as well as Bluetooth, so you don’t have to aim it at the TV. The button layout is simple and clean, if not as sparse as the Roku, and includes prominent white shortcut keys for various services.

The C350 seamlessly ties the Roku to the most user-friendly setup screen. This has the added bonus that if you’re an Amazon Prime member (and I’m assuming you are if you’re considering this TV), once you go through the initial setup you’re already logged in and Shows and movies are ready to watch.

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The Fire TV’s setup menus are simple and straightforward.

Geoffrey Morrison / ClearTips

One disappointing design decision is that the picture settings menu covers a third of the screen, and casts about half a shadow. This menu does not disappear or shrink when you make adjustments. Now, you might think this would only be a problem if you’re a TV reviewer like me who’s been using the test pattern (don’t get me wrong, it absolutely is), but it makes it even harder if you don’t keep an eye on your eyes Trying to set right at home. That’s because most of the screen is No What will the screen look like after exiting the menu. To be fair to most buyers, it’s probably not a big deal, but it’s a huge deal if you want the TV to look as good as possible.

Read more: Stop Seeing Bad TV Picture Settings: 9 Ways to Optimize Your Big Screen

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Those pictures big adjustment menus can mess with your tweaks.

Geoffrey Morrison / ClearTips

The Energy Star rating for the 50-inch model is $21 a year, which is mid-pack for a TV in this category.

Few TVs in this price range have three HDMI inputs, and it’s certainly not a bad thing that the C350 has four. It also has analog video and audio inputs. So if you have an older gaming console or any retro A/V gear, you’re in luck.

If you decide you want to go your own streaming route and avoid the Fire TV, you won’t be able to power most streaming sticks from the TV’s USB connection. No big deal: this simply means you’ll need to power off the stick separately.

  • HDMI Input: Four
  • Composite Analog Input
  • USB port: two (0.5A power)
  • Internet: Wi-Fi, Wired
  • antenna input
  • Analog Audio Output (3.5mm)
  • optical digital audio output
  • Speakers: Two downward firing
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Geoffrey Morrison / ClearTips

Alexa, what is Vudu?

Voice search works well. This gets you to Amazon in most cases, but it does give you some alternative options. For example, if you say “Thor Ragnarok” it will bring up a screen with that and some related content, and if you select the movie from those options you have the option to buy or rent it on Amazon. — or watch it on Disney Plus. Another click brings additional space to view. However, it does not show All There will be alternatives like Roku or Vizio. For example, it doesn’t show you Vudu.

It’s really worth focusing on Vudu as an example of the limitations Amazon forced on this Toshiba. Technically, there is a Vudu app. So at first glance at a store or on a checklist, it seems like there are more options for buying or renting content than just Amazon. However, the truth is that this is an ancient version of the Vudu app that has an archaic interface and only allows you to watch SD content. You read that right: not even HD, and forget about 4K.

and that’s for the material you already owner. You cannot buy anything in the Vudu app. You have to visit Vudu’s website to buy it. With TCL/Roku, Vizio and Samsung, you can buy directly in the app. So you should consider this TV not only “primarily” an Amazon device, but an Amazon device that can knock you out of non-Amazon stuff.

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Geoffrey Morrison / ClearTips

It’s also worth repeating that Fire TV, and by extension this TV, is the only major streaming platform to lack an app for Peacock. Subscribers can try side-loading if they’re adventurous, but we recommend getting a different TV if peace is important to you.

picture quality comparison

The TCL 4-Series and Vizio V-Series are direct competitors to the Toshiba C530 with similar features and prices, so they make ideal comparison models. I connected them through a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier and watched them side-by-side while watching a mix of HD, 4K and 4K HDR content.

Visio and Tcl look very similar. Toshiba is better in one way and a little worse in other ways. It’s noticeably brighter than both, close to the much more expensive Samsung Q60A with non-HDR content (though the Samsung with HDR content is far brighter). Neither of these TVs is dim, but if you have an extremely bright room and need all the light you can get from your TV, Toshiba has an advantage.

That said, it was readily apparent with test patterns that the C350 only achieved its peak brightness for a few seconds, then dimmed immediately. With the actual content, it was not easily noticeable. It did this regardless of the settings, so it’s possible that it was still doing this with the actual content, not as much with the test pattern.

In other aspects of picture quality, the C350 is not as good as the other two. Not significantly, but when viewing them all at the same time, you can see it. Color is a little less accurate, a little less alive. Contrast is a little less porous. It wasn’t bad, but they both looked a bit better when I slid on the couch to watch TCL or Vizio (all have mediocre off-axis picture quality).

Prime Real Estate?

Anyone looking for a budget TV has some great options for very little money. The TCL 4-Series is probably the best option for most people, especially those who don’t know their contrast from their composites. It’s easy to use thanks to its Roku interface, and it has access to all the major streaming services. The Vizio V-Series is almost as good, with more picture setting options and a more vibrant interface.

Which leaves the C350. If you buy everything through Amazon, including renting movies and buying TV shows, that’s probably fine. But the limitations imposed by the Fire TV can be frustrating in the long run. A more budget-agnostic TV, like TCL/Roku or Vizio, allows you to get the content either way (Mostly), without funneling or limiting you into Amazon’s ecosystem. It’s like a car that only drives on certain roads. If you only drive on those roads, no problem. But if you want to have a new shortcut to work with, you’re out of luck.

If one isn’t very tech-savvy and the Fire TV or Alexa in particular have become used to it, this might be a good option as it is an Amazon product despite the name on the bottom. However, for everyone else, I’d recommend Tcl or Visio first.

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