Bargain TVs

Bargain TVs
£379.00 Buy It Now
8/10 (Expert Score)
Product is rated as #7 in category Reviews

Affordable boxes that won’t break the bank

On one hand, buying a budget TV – maybe for a second room – is easier than buying a mid-range or high end one. After all, you’ll surely be going into it understanding that any budget TV you end up with will come with some performance and/or feature strings attached.


At the same time, though, the variations between different budget sets can be truly extreme. Especially now we have high dynamic range to think about. Really no true budget TV has enough brightness or colour range to handle the demands of HDR properly, so you’re invariably looking at a kind of damage limitation exercise. So much so that short of budget TVs just not bothering to offer HDR support at all, which wouldn’t actually be a bad option, how well a particular budget TV ‘maps’ HDR to its screen’s capabilities is the single most important thing to look for when trying to pick a performance-led budget TV.

The budget TV market is complicated by its mixture of ‘true’ budget TVs and sets that started out as lower mid-range models but have benefited from a price cut or two.

Obviously you’ll typically do better with one of the latter if you can find one – though the Hisense Roku TV shows that straightforward budget TVs can also have lots going for them.

HISENSE ROKU TV 55

The amount of quality and features this Hisense Roku TV (or R50B7120 to give it its more boring name) gives you for under £400 beggars belief. For starters, its 4K pictures are remarkably good for its price. Surprisingly, it uses a direct LED lighting system, rather than an edge-lit one, helping it deliver an unusually respectable contrast performance. It also provides a handy selection of HDR picture modes that let you choose your preferred balance between peak and ‘average’ brightness. Such HDR flexibility is essential, really, on budget TVs – but precious few rival models offer it. Similarly, while the Hisense Roku TV can’t deliver a wide range of colours, those it can look consistently natural by budget TV standards. What really seals the deal, though, is the R50B7120’s Roku smart system. This offers a mountain of apps, all accessible within a no-nonsense, easy to use and impressively slick operating system.

PANASONIC GX800

One advantage of buying a budget TV from a brand that’s been involved with TVs as long as Panasonic has is that you can get ‘drip down’ technology. Tech, in other words, that was once only found on high-end TVs, but has gradually seeped down to cheaper models.

This is exactly why the GX600 is so attractive. Its 4K picture processing engine is derived from much more expensive TV hits from Panasonic’s back catalogue. Combined with the GX600’s unusually talented backlight controls, the processor delivers pictures that try to track as closely as possible the colour, contrast and sharpness designed by the filmmakers in their mastering suites.

The results don’t look as punchy as those of some rival budget TVs, but the balance and refinement on show is very impressive. Especially if you feed it a source that unlocks its support – unusual at this price level – for the premium HDR10+ HDR format.

SAMSUNG 55TU7100

Inevitably for its price, the 55TU7100 doesn’t get Samsung’s QLED technology. But while this means it lacks the colour richness and brightness that are QLED’s trademarks, it doesn’t stop the set from delivering better contrast, colour and sharpness than the vast majority of the sub-£1,000 TV world.
As is almost always the case with Samsung LCD TVs, the 55TU7100 uses a VA panel rather than an IPS one. So viewing angles are a little limited, but contrast is well above par. In fact, while it’s under £600 now, it cost much more when it first launched a few months ago. So it’s kind of cheated its way on to our list (not that we’re complaining!), and this means you’re really getting a lower mid-range level of performance at a budget price. It’s not just a hit with its pictures, either. It also carries the same version of Samsung’s latest proprietary smart TV platform, meaning you get the same massive library of apps and easy to follow interface.

2020 Samsung TU7000 Crystal UHD 4K TV - What You Should Know

2020 Samsung TU7000 Crystal UHD 4K TV - What You Should Know In this video I go over the basics of what you should know if you're thinking about buying ...

8 Total Score
SCREEN SAVER

The budget TV market is complicated by its mixture of ‘true’ budget TVs and sets that started out as lower mid-range models but have benefited from a price cut or two.

PROS
  • HISENSE ROKU TV 55 - The amount of quality and features
  • PANASONIC GX800 - 4K picture processing engine is derived from much more expensive TV
  • SAMSUNG 55TU7100 - Better contrast, colour and sharpness
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