One minute review
The Toshiba WK3C Alexa TV is here to combine straightforward TV viewing and voice assistant functionality in one very affordable package – but does it succeed?
The integration of Alexa here builds on several years of experimentation by Toshiba, which at one point was pushing a cheaply-made plug-in microphone called the Toshiba Connect. Things are a bit simpler this time around though, with Alexa functionality being built into the television itself, and not requiring any fiddly accessories.
The Alexa support certainly covers what you’d get from an Echo speaker, or hope for from a smart TV. We had no trouble using the Amazon voice assistant to summon apps, look for content, or power the television on and off – though it’s an always-on affair, without the easy mute functions of an Amazon Echo smart speaker.
The picture is surprisingly good, though, given the price and limitations of this HD resolution set.
The processor handles HD sources, or those downscaled from 4K, very well. There’s a trace of motion judder that occurs across moving backgrounds, pictures far better in the foreground in general, but it’s a small issue that’s not overly noticeable on such a small TV. Freeview Play support is a great addition for UK viewers too.
The Toshiba WK3C is something of a steal for those who don’t need a higher-resolution screen.
Price and availability
The Toshiba WK3C retails for just £170 at a 24-inch size, with that figure rising to £199 as a 32-inch TV.
The WK3C exclusively targets these compact sizes, which certainly keeps prices down, and you’re getting quite a steal for a smart TV and smart speaker all in one.
Design and features
The Toshiba WK3C is a small TV, whether you opt for the 24-inch or 32-inch size. It will look somewhat out of place on a dedicated media unit, but will fit in easily enough on a kitchen counter, bedroom shelf, or side-table.
The build quality is relatively simple, if clearly cheap – the casing is a black plastic that hugs the screen with a thick bezel. The rectangular stand is wonderfully light, connecting easily with just a handful of screws. It comes with a bulky but functional remote, with shortcuts for Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Freeview Play, as well as a full numerical pad for jumping between TV channels.
The inputs around the back of the TV – two HDMI and one USB on the 24-inch, and one more of each on the 32-inch – do jut out a bit from the casing, but they’re not overly prominent, and the compact nature of the WK3C is clearly a big selling point here. The HDMI ports are only 1.4 specification, too, but the 720p resolution and 50Hz display means you wouldn’t need anything else. There are inputs for wired internet, S/PDIF, and pre-SCART era connectors for video and audio inputs.
The main appeal of the Toshiba WK3C is in its smart functions; namely, the built-in support for the Alexa voice assistant. That means you don’t need to connect a separate smart speaker, and once you’ve signed in to an Amazon account, you can summon apps and services without even having to hit a single button.
It’s worth noting, though, that Toshiba decided to do away with a mute option for Alexa – possibly to avoid issues with the old Connect accessory – meaning privacy-conscious users won’t have a simple way to stop Alexa listening, even when the TV is ‘off’. You’ll have to flick the switch at the mains just to shut down the AI assistant and stop it listening for a ‘power on’ command. If that’s not an issue for you, though, the WK3C is a great combination of voice command convenience and good value picture quality – which we’ll delve into more below.
The basic smart platform shouldn’t cause you any grief, either, with a simple but effective layout of app icons on the home screen. However, the home screen or settings pane will automatically turn off after around 30 seconds, which can be a pain when setting up Wi-Fi or pondering different services.
This is one area the Toshiba WK3C really surprised in. Despite the low price tag, and basic 720p resolution, the WK3C’s pictures are… pretty great.
Skin tones look realistic, colors are relatively vibrant, and motion is largely smooth – with only the occasional judder during moving backgrounds. Both the fabulous outfits of reality show Queer Eye and subdued tones of YA drama Shadow & Bone are well realized, with colors and light highlights looking far better than this set’s SDR limitations would suggest.
There’s very little to complain about for the price, and the small TV screen and low resolution has meant the processor doesn’t need to work too hard to do its HD pictures justice.
Dark scenes can suffer a bit in the dedicated Cinema mode, though that’s fixed by opting for the (somewhat mundane) Natural picture setting. Just don’t touch Dynamic, as the forced contrast tends to distort what colors are onscreen.
Sound and gaming
We found the WK3C capable as a gaming TV for a Nintendo Switch too, given the console maxes out at Full HD anyway, ensuring not too much detail is lost. The dedicated game mode kept motion relatively clean during our runs of dungeon crawler Hades, even if the 720p resolution means there’s not much motivation to take the action out of handheld. We did find the gameplay cropped at the far edges, though, removing aspects of the HUD, and some games will likely suffer more than others in this regard.
Sound is capped at a meagre 5W (through a pair of downward-firing 2.5W speakers) but will manage fine for everyday needs. We certainly found dialogue very clear, with no danger of being overpowered by bassy frequencies – and the WK3C will fare best with talking head programming, dramas, and reality TV. Just don’t expect anything too dynamic, or loud, especially for big movie night and action flicks.
Should I buy the Toshiba WK3C Alexa TV?
Buy it if…
You want a television and Alexa speaker in one
Toshiba has been experimenting with Alexa support for a couple of years now, and this built-in functionality is a great smart solution that avoids fiddly accessories.
You’re after a small kitchen TV or second screen
The Toshiba WK3C is available as a 24-inch or 32-inch display – both of which are compact and somewhat underserved sizes, and will work well on a shelf in a bedroom or even a kitchen counter.
You want to save some cash
Toshiba makes some very cheap LCD TVs without sacrificing on quality in quite the same way as some truly budget brands. You won’t get top-tier performance, but for more casual needs the WK3C should serve you just fine.
Don’t buy it if…
You don’t want Alexa on all the time
There’s no way to mute Alexa on the fly, meaning you’ll either have to avoid setting up Alexa in the first place, or intermittently turn the Toshiba WK3C off at the mains to get some privacy.
You want a living room centerpiece
The WK3C was designed with a kitchen counter in mind, especially at its smallest 24-inch size, and this compact model won’t satisfy those hoping to draw friends or family to the living room for a real movie night experience.