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Should you buy a Sceptre TV? Are they any good?

Should you buy a Sceptre TV? Are they any good?
(Image credit: Sceptre Inc)

Sceptre is one of Walmart's top-selling TV brands. Small wonder given the eye-catching prices of the Sceptre TV range. Some Sceptre 4K TVs go for less than $300, but prices can dip below $100 for an HD TV. But how good can a $100 HD TV really be? Read on as we scrutinize Sceptre's astonishingly cheap TVs.

Almost everyone has heard of Samsung, Sony and LG, but fewer people have heard of Sceptre. In fact, it might surprise you to know that the California-based consumer electronics brand has been around since 1984, the year that Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom opened in theaters across the nation.

Sceptre makes in-car audio and even car batteries but is best-known for its budget-conscious LCD, LED, HD and 4K TVs. They come in all specs and sizes from 19-inch to 75-inch. To keep sticker prices low, some Sceptre TVs do miss out on the latest features such as streaming apps and HDR video; more on that shortly.

Ready for some big-value, big screen entertainment? Whether you're searching for the best TV or just a great cheap TV deal, here's what you need to know about Sceptre TVs, including the best deals available right now.

Should you buy a Sceptre TV?

Short answer: If you're looking for a nicely-priced TV, Sceptre is a great place to start. You won't get a stunning contrast ratio, and you might not even get smart TV capabilities, but you will get great bang for your buck.

Skeptical? We don't blame you, but it's worth noting that Walmart customers rate Sceptre TVs at 4.1 out of 5 (based on over 25,000 reviews). So they're doing something right.

On a tight budget? Make a beeline for Sceptre's 720p and 1080p HD TVs. The smaller models make great bedroom and kitchen TVs, and they're a hit with RV owners too.

Stretch your budget to around $250 and you'll get one of Sceptre's latest smart TVs, running Google's Android TV and offering built-in access to streaming services such as Netflix. Head to $300 and over and you'll be in 50-inch 4K UHD TV country.

Sceptre TVs mostly use LED panels, so don't expect picture quality on a par with pricier OLED and QLED TVs from Sony, LG and Samsung. If performance is a priority, we'd recommend you keep your powder dry and pick up a big-name brand.

Put simply, stick with what Sceptre does best – budget TVs around the $300 mark – and you won't go far wrong.

Walmart's cheapest 50-inch 4K UHD TV

The Sceptre U515CV is a big hit with Walmart customers. It's often billed as "the cheapest 50-inch 4K UHD TV" on the market and it gets you a 4K UHD picture for just $199 (opens in new tab).

It's an LED panel with a standard 60Hz refresh rate and three HDMI ports, including an HDMI 2.0 port for 4K video streaming. It also comes with a remote control and 2x10W built-in speakers but you could always add a soundbar later. Fair enough.

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Sceptre 50-inch 4K UHD LED TV U515CV-U $199 (opens in new tab)
Thanks to Walmart's sale, it's possible to get a 50-inch 4K UHD TV for less than two hundred bucks. This model has no 'smart' capabilities but for a 50-inch LED TV, it's still reasonable value.

You'll need to accept a couple of compromises. Firstly, this is not a smart TV. Yes, you can connect your smartphone or tablet to the Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) port, but it's not as slick as having the apps on the set itself.

Of course, the lack of smarts is easily rectified by plugging in a cheap media streamer such as the Amazon Fire TV 4K or Google Chromecast. What can't be rectified is the lack of HDR support, which means you won't be able to view content in high-quality HDR. But that's no surprise at this price.

It's clear Sceptre doesn't aim to provide the best TV or the most immersive home theater experience – it aims to provide the best value for money. When viewed through that lens, it's easy to see why the U515CV is such a popular model.

Walmart's better 50-inch 4K UHD TV options

If the price of the Sceptre U515CV-U remains the same, then we'd encourage you to take a look at the 50-inch Hisense 50R6E3 (opens in new tab) and TCL 50S431 (opens in new tab) Roku TVs instead. For less than the price of the media streamer that you'd have to add to the Sceptre above to make it smart, you get the benefits of the brilliant Roku platform with its full complement of apps and services.

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Hisense 50R6E3 50-inch 4K Roku Smart TV $319 at Walmart (opens in new tab)
With 4K HDR and all the Roku smarts, there's plenty to like about the price of this 50-incher. There's DTS sound and motion processing tech too.

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TCL 50S431 50-inch 4K Roku Smart TV $338 at Walmart (opens in new tab)
This is another great value option. There are four HDMI ports, including one with ARC, and voice control to play with too, alongside a good name in budget TV performance.

While we've not reviewed either of these sets, we'd feel confident that you'd be more likely to get a better picture performance from both Hisense and TCL than Sceptre at a given price too.

Sceptre's best 4K UHD smart TVs 

Sceptre was late to market with its smart TVs but it's now caught up with the big-name brands.

So why pay extra for a smart TV? They're a great way to watch movies, TV shows and live sports such as NFL without subscribing to cable or a satellite provider such as DirecTV. If that appeals to you then it's just a matter of picking a screen size to fit your budget. 

Want a big screen for the big game? You can pick up the 65-inch Sceptre A658CV-U (below) for a jaw-dropping $418 at Walmart (opens in new tab). It runs Google's Android TV operating system and features Google Assistant voice controls, so you can boss it around from the comfort of your couch. It even supports HDR.

The version of Android TV used by Sceptre provides access to a host of streaming services including Netflix, Apple TV, Hulu, Disney+, Showtime, YouTubeTV, Starz, FX Now and CNN Go. That should keep you busy.

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Sceptre 65-inch 4K UHD Android Smart TV $700 $418 at Walmart (save $282) (opens in new tab)
This bargain big-screen will bring you Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Apple TV in 4K HDR resolution (where available). In fact, this might be the cheapest 65-inch 4K smart TV in the States right now. LED picture quality doesn't come close to OLED, but it's less than a third of the price.

Fancy a smart TV for your summerhouse? The 32-inch Sceptre A328BV-SR (below) slots into most small spaces. It offers 720p HD resolution, which is high enough for a compact TV such as this and comes in at $178. (opens in new tab)

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Sceptre 32-inch 720p Android Smart TV $178 at Walmart
(opens in new tab)If you're short on space this bargain 32-inch set could be just the ticket. It supports Google's voice assistant and a bunch of top streaming apps including Disney+ and Netflix. It's 720p HD rather than 4K.

Hunting for a TV that's not too big, but not too small? Try the 50-inch A518CV-U. This Android smart 4K UHD LED TV with Google Assistant is available for the bargain price of $255 (opens in new tab), although you'll have to hope it comes back into stock. It features three HDMI ports for plugging in games consoles, plus USB input for listening to music files or viewing digital photos.

While that's unavailable, the more expensive 55-inch TCL 55S431 ($358) (opens in new tab) is your best bet as an alternative and should deliver well for the price.

The cheapest Sceptre HD TVs

If you want a "does the job" TV at a rock-bottom price, Sceptre's HD TVs might float your boat. HD TVs have fewer pixels than their pricier 4K siblings, so picture quality maxes out at a lower resolution. But as the majority of US TV channels still broadcast in HD rather than 4K, these models are far from outdated.

Want the smallest and cheapest Sceptre TV? That would be the dinky 19-inch E195BV-SR. It's currently listed for $59 at Walmart, reduced from $109.99 (opens in new tab), and is so small it's practically portable. Ideal for a nursery or home office.

It may be the cheapest but perhaps not the best value. We'd recommend paying the extra and going for the 32-inch X322BV-SR (opens in new tab), which is currently priced at $148.

Both models offer 720p rather than full, 1080p HD resolution but you do get two HDMI sockets so you can hook up a games consoles and a DVR, plus a headphone socket and 10W built-in speakers. There's even a "Surround Sound Mode", although we can't imagine it's hugely effective at this price.

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Sceptre X322BV-SR 32-inch HD LED TV $148 at Walmart (opens in new tab)
For the price of a fancy steak dinner, you can buy this 32-inch HD TV. It features two HDMI ports so you can plug in a games console, although it probably wouldn't do the PS5 justice.


Finally, if you want a HD TV that's big enough for the big game, the 43-inch Sceptre X435BV-F (opens in new tab) could be a good TV for you. This Full HD set probably won't win any awards for its picture quality but it features three HDMI ports, a decent 15,000:1 contrast ratio and a USB 2.0 port so you can plug in the streaming device of your choice.

That said, for just $10 more, you can pick up the 43-inch Sceptre U435CV-U (opens in new tab) which is a 4K HDR TV. Again, it's not smart but you won't find much that is for this size and resolution.

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Sceptre X435BV-F 43-inch HD LED TV $238 at Walmart (opens in new tab)
T
his HD TV doesn't have smart capability but at this price it's an affordable way to watch the big game or your favorite movie in high definition.

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Sceptre U435CV-U 43-inch 4K HDR TV $248 at Walmart (opens in new tab)
At the current prices, this 4K HDR TV is the best of Sceptre's TVs for resolution at this price. Bear in mind that you'll need to add a media streamer for access to apps like Netflix and Disney+.

What other cheap TVs are available?

Sceptre TVs aren't the only budget TVs available. You can currently pick up some great bargains on TVs of all sizes from a range of retailers.

We've picked out a few of the most noteworthy cheap TV deals online right now for you below.

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Samsung UN43NU6900 4K TV $500 $299 at Best Buy (save $201) (opens in new tab)
An entry-level 4K TV with HDR, 4K upscaling and direct access to the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and YouTube. Download the Samsung SmartThings App on your phone to control and monitor your TV and connected devices all in one screen – clever.

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