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Best cheap TVs 2022: What are the best budget models?

Introduction

There are plenty of cheap TVs out there but if you want one of the best cheap TVs and best value models, then this is the list to look at.

Not everyone can afford the best TVs on the market, and in a lot of cases most don’t see the need to spend big. But there are TVs that are cheap in the worst sense of the word, and through applying our testing methods, watching plenty of films and TVs and measuring the strengths and weaknesses of each TV, this list sorts the wheat from the chaff.

We cover models from HD-ready resolutions to 4K, screens as tiny as 32-inches to 65-inch sets, and from prices as low as £300 to less than £1000. If you’re after a bargain, you’ll find one here. We mainly focus on TVs available from the UK market and models and availability can differ in different regions.

If you need more assistance, then we include links to our in-depth reviews. We’ve also included prices for the best deals available so you can get the best cheap TVs around.

If your budget is higher then you’ll be better served by looking at the best TVs money can buy. For the best HDR TVs, we have several options to pursue, while our best OLED showcase the best that technology has to offer, and more the most advanced TVs available, head to the best 8K TV list.

How we test

Learn more about how we test televisions

Every TV we review is put through the same set of tests to gauge its picture performance, usability, and smart features.

Tests are carried out over several days and are done by eye but supported with technical measurements. Testing by eye involves an expert watching a wide range of material to understand and determine a TV’s performance in fields such as brightness, contrast, motion processing, colour handling and screen uniformity.

We’ll consider the design of the TV in terms of build quality, study the spec sheets and see if the TV’s connections are up to spec, as well as playing video and audio content to ensure that the set handles playback as it claims. We also take note whether a product’s compatible formats and features are in line with industry trends or not to gauge whether it’s relevant for you.

Comparison to other related and similarly priced products is also important, to see if it’s missing any vital features and whether it impresses as a whole. After all this, we’ll come to a judgement on how the TV performs as a whole.

If you want to learn more, please visit our detailed page about how we test televisions.

Samsung UE50AU9000

Best budget TV
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Pros

  • Impressive 4K picture quality
  • Great user interface
  • Elegantly slim chassis

Cons

  • No Dolby Vision HDR
  • Sounds weak and vague
  • Upscaling can be exposed on occasion

The Samsung UE50AU9000 is our pick for the best budget TV and it is certainly worth its asking price. Its svelte depth of 26mm makes it great for wall-mounting and in terms of aesthetics the AU9000 is inoffensive – but we mean that in the best sense of the word.

This version of the Tizen interface remains as good as any, with a stack of entertainment apps and settings that can be found through easily navigable menus. There’s no Freeview Play but the UE50AU9000 has every UK catch-up app available.

Gaming features are better than the pricier QN90A with VRR and ALLM capability on all three HDMI inputs, plus AMD FreeSync produces a consistent performance when connected to a PC.

Where the AU9000 falters compared to the QN90A is that it is not the brightest HDR performer, Samsung once again favours HDR10+ over Dolby Vision. Our reviewer found that its ability to keep white tones clean and detailed meant they popped against deep and detailed black tones for contrast that has an impact.

Its impressive backlighting control from the edge-lit panel ensures haloing (light around bright objects on screen) are kept to a minimum, while colours are naturally and convincingly portrayed. Its upscaling skills are equally assured, with 1080p content not ruffling the Samsung’s feathers and while its delivery of audio is not as confident as the Philips 58PUS8506, it is decent enough for daytime TV viewing.

Reviewer: Simon Lucas
Full Review: Samsung UE50AU9000

Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV

Best budget smart TV
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Pros

  • Good-quality, colourful picture performance
  • Wide streaming capabilities
  • Easy to set-up and use
  • Speedy gaming performance

Cons

  • Iffy sound
  • Inconsistent upscaling of SD sources
  • Limited HDR performance

In the budget TV market, the Hisense R50B7120UK Roku TV was one of the leading contenders. It has since been discontinued and replaced by the R50A7200GTUK model, and it repeats the same trick of before, packing in even more value at a similar price.

The number of smarts the Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV has is only behind the likes of Samsung models such as the QN90A and AU7100. There is Freeview Play (which Samsung lacks), and that brings the catch-up apps into play like iPlayer and ITV Hub. There’s a wide range of streaming apps like Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+ among others, and the Roku OS has been updated to support AirPlay 2 for iPhone screen mirroring and Apple HomeKit, with Alexa and Google assistant also available.

Build quality is fine, the slimness of the rear panel means the Hisense Roku doesn’t jut out much when wall-mounted, and with most of the connections side-facing it’s easier to plug sources in. Assembling the TV is simply a case of slotting in the feet, tightening the screws and turning the TV on.

Picture quality is virtually the same as the B7120UK. We observed it lacked the contrast and brightness to produce a representative HDR performance with its peak brightness of around 300 nits, but its native 4K performance was full of detail and colours naturally portrayed – we don’t think many will be disappointed by what it serves up.

Sound quality, however, was a disappointment, struggling to convey the action scenes in a film like Tenet with dynamism or excitement, and proving to be messy when playing music through its speakers. As is the case with many of the best cheap TVs on this list, a soundbar would help.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV

Samsung UE43AU7100

Best budget TV for bedrooms
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Pros

  • Balanced, believable native 4K images
  • Effective smart TV interface
  • Good upscaling (up to a point)

Cons

  • Contrast suffers from lack of both brightness and blackness
  • No Dolby Vision HDR
  • Tedious sound

Some affordable TVs make you feel a bit cheap, but the Samsung AU7100 isn’t among them. Its bezels are slim, the plastic construction doesn’t feel overly cheap, and the push-and-click feet are nicely functional with enough room between the screen and the surface to place a soundbar. We would say any prospective owners should consider having a wide surface as the feet are far apart.

As expected from Samsung, there’s no Freeview Play but all the UK catch-up apps are accounted for, along with other entertainment options such as Disney+, Netflix, NOW and Spotify. All three of its HDMI sockets cover Auto Low Latency Mode but we wouldn’t recommend this TV for bedroom gaming for current gen consoles as it lacks features such as VRR. Samsung’s 50-inch AU9000 would be better if you have more room.

In terms of its picture performance, we found it to be engaging with native 4K images, and very watchable with 1080p content. Retrieval of detail is excellent for a screen of its size and price; colours are wide-ranging, and deliver very subtle variations of shade, with plenty of detail to note in the darkest and brightest parts of the image, too. However, it lacks the more popular Dolby Vision format the similarly-sized and priced Panasonic HX580 has, choosing HDR10+ instead.

Its audio performance avoids coming across as shrill and does decent work with dialogue but it’s still a TV and a small one at that, so a soundbar is a must if you care about audio.

Reviewer: Simon Lucas
Full Review: Samsung UE43AU7100

Samsung UE50TU7020

Best budget TV for upscaling
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Pros

  • Detailed, natural-looking image
  • Easy to set up
  • eARC support
  • Affordable
  • Fast gaming performance

Cons

  • Slightly sluggish UI
  • Only two HDMI inputs
  • Limited brightness for HDR

This Samsung model is an older one as it first appeared towards the end of 2020, but such is its popularity that it is still available in 2022.

Compared to Samsung’s recent ‘affordable’ small-sizes QLEDs, such as the QE43QN90A, the performance is downgraded, but the core feature set remains intact. We measured lag at 9.7ms, although bear in mind this set does not feature VRR or 120Hz gaming. There’s also an eARC port for the passthrough of lossless audio such as Dolby Atmos from the TV, a feature not common around the £350 mark.

The Tizen UI has all the apps you’ll ever need, including the UK catch-up apps, which is helpful as this lacks the Freeview Play that’s built into the Hisense, Philips, TCL and Toshiba models on this list.

Over the course of testing, we felt picture quality was strong for the money, upscaling of HD broadcast content was more consistent than either the Hisense Roku and TCL Roku TVs. Pictures were relatively free from artefacts; colour tones resolved in a natural manner, and detail levels good when upscaling.

The same applies to native 4K content, with black levels holding up well for decent contrast, although we find this set lacks the ability to convey detail in the darkest parts of an image, so you’re not seeing everything you ought to be. HDR performance is limited, as are viewing angles, but that’s to be expected. In terms of audio, this Samsung puts in a good effort in terms of clarity, but a soundbar would improve matters.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Samsung UE50TU7020

Philips 58PUS8506

Best budget TV for HDR
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Pros

  • Lots of value
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+
  • Fast gaming performance
  • Ambilight

Cons

  • Not too bright
  • Not great with dark detail (out of the box)
  • Could benefit from more effective picture modes

The Philips PUS8506 improves on the PUS8545, and though there are some imperfections, this is a great value buy.

The bezel is slimmer than before, which makes the screen look bigger; while the stand is different, but still up to a standard that suggests premium quality.

Android TV 10 offers Chromecast and Google Assistant for casting from mobile devices and voice control, although you’ll need to have a Google account to get the most from the latter. Android also offers popular streaming apps in their 4K HDR/Dolby Atmos forms, more than you’ll find from the Hisense, TCL and Toshiba TVs on this list.

Gamers can take advantage of VRR support for current gen consoles, and we measured latency at 10.7ms, which is twice as fast as the older PUS8545, ensuring a speedy response from first person shooters and sports games. Then there is Philips’ unique Ambilight proposition in its three-sided form, although the effect is curtailed by the fact there’s no bottom row, so if you’re wall-mounting it may feel incomplete.

As is the norm with Philips LCD LED TVs, the picture settings need tweaking and the frustration we had with this model is that, despite the various picture offerings, there’s no one mode you can hang your hat on. That said, it produces a colourful picture with the daytime TV and the Blu-rays we watched, excellent levels of detail with 4K content and is decent with motion in action films like The Suicide Squad.

You’ll want to view as much Dolby Vision and HDR10+ content as the peak brightness of 418 nits is below what’s needed to truly give a good account of HDR, resulting in dim highlights. We also found that once we calibrated the speakers through the Android interface, it sounded clearer, sharper and more dynamic, reducing the need to purchase a soundbar straight away.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Philips ‘The One’ 4K TV

TCL Roku 55RP620K

Best budget Dolby Vision TV under £500
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Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Great smarts and accessible interface
  • Dolby Vision support
  • Quick gaming performance

Cons

  • Picture quality could use more expression
  • Some overheating issues

The TCL Roku 55RP620K is a solid, affordable TV with the highlight being its Roku OS support. The number of apps, accessibility, and features make it a bargain buy.

It looks similar to the Hisense Roku TV, so its appearance is practical and functional – not an issue for the money involved. Our reviewer found assembly exceedingly simple with set-up taking just a few minutes.

The interface is the same as on every other Roku TV except it’s coloured red, and the accessibility it offers means you’ll never be deceived by how to navigate it. Apps are plentiful with nearly all the big names accounted for, making this a better choice than the likes of the Toshiba UL21 and Hisense A7G we’ve tested. The mobile app offers a slicker method of interaction than the stiff remote, too.

Smart features are numerous with AirPlay 2, HomeKit and Chromecast, which means you can stream from iOS devices, place the TV within Apple’s smart ecosystem and cast content from mobile devices. In this sense it’s a better smart offering than the TCL C715K and offers more convenience than Panasonic’s budget sets.

Picture quality is not as good as the Hisense Roku model despite the upgrade of Dolby Vision HDR. We observed it had the same inconsistent quality with upscaling non-4K as the Hisense Roku, though its image quality is not as poor. HDR content can look plain, colours are subdued rather than expressive, and it can falter with black depth and sharpness.

Nevertheless, as a budget TV its picture performance is fine, but the Philips 58PUS8506 produces a better Dolby Vision performance. There’s less to say about the sound, which is flat and lacks dynamism. Purchasing a soundbar would improve it.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: TCL 55RP620K

TCL 55C715K

Best budget QLED TV
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Pros

  • Vibrant image
  • Spacious sound
  • Super-fast gaming latency
  • Tidy design

Cons

  • Out-of-box settings need calibrating
  • Not bright enough for HDR
  • Inconsistent black levels, especially in dark rooms

TCL has been plugging away with its affordable LCD LED Android TVs in the UK, and with the C715K QLED it stepped up to compete with Samsung. The C715K is armed with a Quantum Dot display that allows it to achieve a wider range of colours, however, unlike Samsung, it supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision for extracting as much from HDR content as it can.

We felt there were aspects of its performance that engaged, such as its colourful image quality (once set-up correctly), neat and tidy design, and a gaming performance we measured at a lightning-fast 9.7ms. We found its sound quality to be much better than expected: clear, detailed and big in size, meaning there’s no rush to pair this TV with a soundbar.

It’s not bright enough for full-screen HDR but can display highlights with competence. Black levels are a disappointment, which we found affected the set’s contrast with backlight clouding appearing in the corners of the screen. That said, the C715K is a competent 4K TV that provides decent and more affordable competition to Samsung’s QLED models.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: TCL 55C715K

Hisense 65U7QFTUK

Best budget 65-inch TV
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Pros

  • Improved motion performance
  • Colourful images
  • Dolby Vision HDR
  • Affordable for a 65-inch telly
  • Excellent gaming performance

Cons

  • Average black levels
  • Some blooming, especially off-axis
  • Flat audio delivery

This Hisense is a big-screen effort for a good value price. At the time of review its RRP was £850, and it has since dropped to £650, which is the same as the more recent A7G.

We feel it’s a better TV than the A7G, although there are aspects that spoil its picture quality. Despite a Full-Array backlight panel that controls contrast and black performance, we found black levels to be not much better than average and blooming (which are rings of light around bright objects) are noticeable. Backlight control is better than the A7G, though.

With streaming and films, we observed motion to be improved though over older Hisense models; smoother and less prone to jerkiness though its sense of grip was not always the strongest. Upscaling non-4K content is solid and the U7Q puts in colourful picture performance, further improved by Dolby Vision.

Our reviewer commented that it could benefit from a soundbar, as its flat delivery lacks dynamism. The VIDAA U OS is functional compared to the likes of LG’s webOS, but it gets the job done. Gamers looking for a big screen will be happy to learn that latency is fast, as we tested it at 10.5ms but there are no HDMI 2.1 features such as ALLM and VRR to take advantage of current gen game consoles.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Hisense 65U7QFTUK

Samsung QE43QN90A

Best budget small QLED TV
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Pros

  • Impressive picture for a small-sized set
  • Low latency gaming
  • Excellent construction
  • Plenty of apps, features and connectivity options

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Susceptible to blooming and backlight bleeding
  • Average sound

The QN90A is the smallest Mini LED TV we’ve come across at 43-inches and boasts a stupendous picture performance for a TV of its size. But there is a cost to the picture performance to consider.

Before we get to that, the build quality of the QN90A is outstanding. The bezel and stand are made to the highest quality, and as it features Mini LED backlighting technology, the depth of the TV is slimmer than other similarly-sized LCD TVs like the Hisense Roku model, making this the perfect model if you want to save space and plant on a wall.

As usual the feature set is very good for a Samsung TV. It supports all the main smart digital assistants, a wide range of smart apps such as Apple TV, BT Sport, Spotify, Netflix, Apple Music, and Disney+, and a few Samsung specific features such as Multi-view (which allows two sources to be watched simultaneously) and the Super UltraWide Game View mode that stretches the screen up to 32:9 ratios for more depth and perspective when hooked to a PC.

While we’re on the subject of gaming, we measured latency at a fast 9.4ms, so games that need a quick response like Halo: Infinite and Rocket League will play like butter. Unfortunately, at this size screen, there’s no AMD FreeSync for PCs, nor is there any 4K/120Hz support (it has a 60Hz screen) and there are four HDMI ports, of which only one supports the 2.1 specification, so you’ll have to choose between connecting a soundbar or a console.

Picture performance is the best we’ve seen on a 43-inch TV. The Mini LED backlight produces deep blacks and combined with high peak brightness (we measured the QN90A as hitting as much as 1700 nits in some picture modes), contrast is effectively conveyed, and colours appear very accurate and punchy. Detail levels and sharpness are as good as we’ve seen on a TV of this size.

It isn’t without issues, however. The drawbacks of the high brightness approach is that there is bleeding (light leaking through in the corners of the screen) and blooming (rings of light around bright objects) are visible both head-on and at an angle; the 330 zones of dimming not able to offer as precise a performance as the bigger QN90A models.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Samsung QE43QN90A

Toshiba WK3C

Best budget HD TV
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Pros

  • Budget-friendly price
  • Simple interface
  • Alexa built-in

Cons

  • Limited to HD
  • No Disney Plus, Apple TV or NOW apps
  • The audio lacks some punch

At less than £200, Toshiba WK3C should interest anyone after a simple, casual TV for a small room. From a design perspective, the Toshiba WK3C is not the most eye-catching, but it isn’t designed to be. This is a functional TV in every sense of the word.

As far as ports go, the WK3C has an assortment of digital and analogue connections that includes three HDMI ports, a composite video input for hooking up analogue sources and satellite and antenna aerials for the likes of Freesat and Freeview.

We found the WK3C’s smart TV interface to be intuitive enough to navigate, and smarts are delivered with built-in Alexa functionality. Freeview Play and catch-up apps such as BBC iPlayer and All4 are onboard, but this TV misses out on the likes of Disney Plus, Apple TV and NOW. Given the lack of 4K support that’s not a big miss, but if you want those options, we’d suggest picking up a streaming stick to go with this TV.

The lack of a game mode means this TV is not as suitable as the Samsung AU7100 for a spot of gaming. It also isn’t a 4K screen with its resolution of 1366 x 768, although it does have HDR10 and HLG support. Across testing we assessed contrast to be decent for a TV at this price, delivering a punchy image and detail that is commendable, although we observed the Toshiba has a habit of producing sharp and noisy picture. Where audio is concerned it’s decently balanced but lacks punch and turning the volume above 50% invokes some bad distortion.

Reviewer: Hannah Davies
Full Review: Toshiba WK3C

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FAQs

What’s the best TV under £500?

If you’re after a decent-sized set then the 50-inch Samsung TU7020 would suit the bill. Picture quality is very good, The Tizen Eden interface has the widest range of streaming apps on the TV market and its gaming performance is class-leading. It only has two HDMI ports and its HDR performance is limited.

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