Friday, May 20, 2022

Best tv under £500

You might think that even the best TVs under £500 aren’t worth it in 2022 if you’re shopping for a new TV, but you’d be incorrect. Sure, you won’t get the best specs for under £500, but many wonderful options will provide you with a good picture, cutting-edge features, and some of the most cutting-edge functionality.

Naturally, you’ll have to say goodbye to huge TVs, such as the best 75-inch TVs, as well as cutting-edge TV technology, such as OLED TVs and QLED displays (at least for now). However, whether you’re searching for a capable small TV or stepping up to huge screen displays, sub-£500 TVs can still provide superb watching for your money.

The good news is that Ultra HD isn’t something you have to forego. Many TVs under £500 now have this visual resolution built-in. The majority of TV manufacturers have switched to 4K screens, while there are still plenty of models that make a case for Full HD. So, if you’re looking for a new gaming television that can play (almost) 4K games on a PS5 or Xbox Series X, you’re in luck.

It’s also worth remembering that if you go with a basic smart TV platform, you can always enhance it later with a suitable HDMI streaming device, such as an Amazon Fire TV or a Roku streaming device. This option will only add £20 to £50 to your order, ensuring that you still get a decent deal in the long run.

Do you want to increase your budget? Instead, have a look at the finest TVs, around £1000.

When it comes to design and build quality, you need to keep your expectations in check when you’re buying at the entry-level end of the market. Bulkier displays, as well as plastic and cheaper-looking finishes, are to be expected. Getting a TV with a tiny bezel and a simple pedestal, on the other hand, will likely counteract the amount of plastic you have to look at.

HDR is a difficult topic when purchasing a budget television (High Dynamic Range). While many lower-cost flatscreens ostensibly support HDR, they lack the power to display the kind of brilliant peak brightness that the greatest HDR can provide. This shouldn’t deter you, but the HDR quality you saw on one screen may not always match up if you choose a less expensive option.

Furthermore, with low-cost drivers and modest amplification, audio quality is likely to be quite standard. However, this can be remedied at a later date with a soundbar or independent audio solution, which may still be less expensive than purchasing a more expensive display upfront.

There’s a lot to consider to get the most bang for your buck. But, happily, you won’t have to go through reams of technical specifications to find the best deals. Instead, TechRadar’s list of the best TVs under £500 will guide you on the correct path.

What is the best TV for under £500?

1. Cello Smart Android TV (32-inch)

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 32-inch

Resolution: Full HD

Panel technology: LED-LCD

Smart TV: Android TV

Dimensions: 730 x 430 x 94mm

Do you want to save money? Cello is a modest British television brand that knows how to appeal to consumers on a budget. The Cello Smart Android TV is priced at £179 for a 24-inch model and £199 for a 32-inch one.

You get Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution and a surprising number of smart TV features for that price. The Cello Netgem smart TV that came before it ran on a pretty primitive operating system that didn’t even support Netflix, so the switch to Android can only be good.

Still, Chromecast, Google Assistant compatibility, and most prominent TV streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Rakuten are all included at this price. You can even get Freeview Play, which provides catch-up services from UK terrestrial broadcasters.

The picture quality is also good for the budget, with evenly lit images and generally smooth motion from HD/SDR sources.

2. Samsung TU8000 (43-inch)

SPECIFICATIONS:

Screen size: 43-inch

Resolution: 4K

Panel technology: LED-LCD

Smart TV: Tizen

Dimensions: 962.7 x 558.8 x 61mm

If you’re looking for a Samsung TV that won’t break the bank, go no further than the TU8000 series. You can get this mid-range LCD in a compact 43-inch size for around £429 (roughly).

With Samsung’s typical great upscaling and fluid motion handling, it’s a good performer. There’s a sharp 4K image here, as well as HDR10+ dynamic HDR support.

It’s also a wonderful pick for games, with an input lag of just 9.7 milliseconds – which is incredible considering the price. Although you won’t receive all of the gaming features available on other sets on this list, such as HDMI 2.1, VRR (variable refresh rate), or a 120Hz display, this is a good set for the typical gamer.

The brightness isn’t as consistent (or as high) as it is on other higher-end QLED TVs because it’s an edge-lit TV. Because of the lack of a wide colour gamut and average brightness, this TV isn’t ideal for HDR, and those looking for a significant performance gain should instead consider the Q80T QLED. For a solid mid-range LCD set that doesn’t cost more than £500, the TU8000 is hard to beat.

3. Toshiba WK3C Alexa TV (32-inch)

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 32-inch

Resolution: HD (720p)

Panel technology: LED-LCD

Smart TV: Toshiba Smart Portal

Dimensions: 439 x 732 x 78 mm

The Toshiba WK3C Alexa TV combines basic TV viewing with voice assistant capability in a single, low-cost product.

The built-in (and hands-free) Alexa compatibility is more than adequate for what you’d expect from an Echo speaker or a smart TV. We had no issue summoning applications, searching for content, or turning on and off the television using the Amazon voice assistant – albeit it’s an always-on affair without the accessible mute functions of an Amazon Echo smart speaker.

Given the budget and constraints of this HD resolution set, the image is also quite nice. The processor excels at handling HD sources and those downscaled from 4K. There’s a smidgeon of motion judder across moving backgrounds, and photos are significantly better in the foreground in general, but it’s a minor annoyance on such a little TV. Support for Freeview Play is also a welcome inclusion for UK customers.

Overall, the Toshiba WK3C is a bargain for individuals who don’t want a higher-resolution display. Just bear in mind that both the 24-inch and 32-inch dimension options only offer HD (720p) resolution.

4. Samsung The Frame (32-inch)

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 32-inch

Resolution: Full HD

Panel technology: QLED

Smart TV: Tizen

Dimensions: 724 x 419 x 25.4mm

This new Samsung TV is a sure thing, at least since the firm unveiled a new 32-inch size for the 2020 model, bringing QLED image quality to its smallest size ever.

With an Art Mode that displays historical artworks and an Ambient Mode for melancholy screensavers, the Frame’s major aspect is to blend in with your environment. You’ll be able to fully adjust the style and colour of your set, too, thanks to customizable bezels, whether you’re wall-mounting it among genuine picture frames or putting it on a bedroom shelf for late-night viewing.

The Frame is more expensive than most of the items on this list – at a small 32-inch size, it still costs £499 – but you won’t find something quite as attractive for such a low price anywhere else.

5. Toshiba UL5A LED TV (55-inch)

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 55-inch

Resolution: 4K

Panel technology: LED-LCD

Smart TV: Tizen

Dimensions: 727 x 1238 x 191 mm

Toshiba is one of those electronics businesses that thrive in the sub-£500 market, producing low-cost panels with more features than you’d expect for the price – even if it can’t handle them as well as more expensive sets.

Toshiba released a fresh batch of 4K TVs in 2019, including the UL5A shown below. The 5 Series is a low-cost 4K HDR TV with a unique Alexa accessory: a plug-in microphone that you can connect to your TV via USB to use as a voice-activated controller.

It’s not as dependable as an Amazon Echo speaker, and it has a habit of unmuting itself (presumably due to the basic spring mechanism used in the accessory). While the TV supports HDR, it lacks the necessary brightness and processing power to let it truly shine.

Beyond its low price, the TV as a whole offers a variety of formats, functions, and speech capabilities and is well worth considering at £349 at the 43-inch size.

You might also try the Toshiba VL5A, which has a lower audio output but front-facing speakers for more direct sound — not enough to justify a separate model, but it’s there if you want it.

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