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Best cheap TVs 2021: the best budget 4K TVs

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Best cheap TV Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best cheap 4K TVs you can buy in 2021.

Good news: you can get a great TV for a cheap price. The latest technology does trickle down, meaning the best cheap TVs can still deliver good picture quality and have the latest streaming TV apps, specs and features. 

If you want to upgrade your TV but don't want to spend a huge amount of money, then our round-up of the best cheap 4K TVs is for you. The best budget TVs combine impressive pictures, good sound and the necessary features for enjoying the ultimate home entertainment experience available, including 4K and HDR picture processing, and streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and Netflix.

The TV industry moves faster than most, with big brands such as Hisense, LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony bringing new TV technology every year to deliver genuine performance advances. And it's not just the screen manufacturers. Broadcasters and streaming services have pushed HD, 4K and now HDR (high dynamic range) video, in an effort to lure new viewers and improve the quality of their content. (Just don't think about 8K TV.)

Read on for our pick of the best cheap TVs to make your buying decision simple.

Best cheap TVs: TCL 55RP620K

(Image credit: TCL)

1. TCL 55RP620K

This Roku-powered TV is great for the money.

Specifications
Screen size: 55in (also available in 43in, 50in and 65in)
Type: LCD
Backlight: LED edge lighting
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: Roku
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: ARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 72 x 123 x 8.4cm
Reasons to buy
+Complex, natural colours+Good contrast control+Superb smart platform
Reasons to avoid
-Short on dark detail-No motion processing-Sound lacks weight

On a performance-per-pound basis, this TCL is very hard to beat. The integrated Roku platform means the set is packed with streaming apps and is very easy to use, and the performance is much better than you'd expect from a set costing so little.

Compared to most TVs at the budget end of the spectrum, the RP620K produces richer, more vibrant and truer colours, better blacks, and more convincing contrast and texture. There's no real motion processing on board, but the native handling is decent.

While not exactly cinematic, the integrated speaker system is clear and controlled, so will do the job if you're unwilling or unable to add a soundbar.

All told, this TCL is a very solid buy. It might not be the AV equivalent of fine dining but it’s more sophisticated than the chips and gravy of Hisense’s even cheaper Roku TV – and just as tasty. If you want a big TV on a budget, there's currently nothing better.

Read the full TCL 55RP620K review

Best cheap TVs: Samsung UE43TU7100

(Image credit: Samsung / Fear The Walking Dead, Amazon Prime )

2. Samsung UE43TU7100

A strikingly good performance-per-pound proposition.

Specifications
Screen size: 43in
Type: LCD
Backlight: edge LED
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Operating system: Samsung Tizen
HDMI inputs: 2
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 56 x 96 x 5.9cm
Reasons to buy
+Impressive sharpness and detail+Tonally balanced+Intuitive, app-packed interface
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly sluggish operation-Only two HDMI inputs

This is one of the cheapest 4K TVs that Samsung currently offers. But fear not, it still boasts Samsung's core performance and feature set, at a smaller size and a lower price. In short, it's pretty much the best cheap TV you can buy.

Most 43in TVs offer about a tenth of the features of a bigger set, but not this one. The Tizen operating system is identical to that found on pricier sets, with the same winning UI and stacked app selection. It's 4K, naturally, HDR formats are well catered for (with the exception of Dolby Vision, which no Samsung sets support), and it supports Auto Low Latency Mode, which switches the TV to game mode when it detects a gaming signal. That's a feature missing from many much pricier sets, such as the 48in Sony in the top spot on this list.

The contrast ratio isn't as impressive as an OLED or QLED TV, of course, but that's to be expected. The blacks are actually surprisingly deep for a TV this affordable, and there's a hefty amount of punch. The TU7100 is a sharp and detailed performer, too, and it handles motion with a good balance of smoothing and authenticity. It's an excellent picture performance for a TV of this size, and you'd have to spend a fair bit more to get a significant improvement.

Read the full Samsung UE43TU7100 review

Best cheap TVs: Hisense R50A7200GTUK

(Image credit: Future / The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things, Amazon Prime)

3. Hisense Roku R50A7200GTUK

An impressively complete package at a very low price

Specifications
Screen size: 50in (also available in 43in, 55in, 65in)
Type: LCD
Backlight: Direct LED
Resolution: 4K
Operating system: Roku
HDR support: HDR10, HLG
HDMI inputs: 3
USBs: 1
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 66 x 113 x 8.6cm
Reasons to buy
+Excellent upscaling+Bold, colourful picture+Superb Roku UI
Reasons to avoid
-Sonically lightweight-Colours can be heavy-handed

The Hisense Roku R50A7200GTUK is likely to be the cheapest 50-inch TV we’ll see on sale in the UK this year from a major manufacturer. It promises a good-sized, punchy 4K HDR image and all the major apps and services you could need, without so much as an additional box or stick in sight.

It’s a pledge that Hisense delivered so well in 2020 with its R50B7120UK model that it has decided to leave the recipe pretty much as it was for its 2021 Roku TV.

Neither the picture nor the sound are perfect, but both are surprisingly good for the very low asking price. Add in a brilliant feature set and an unbeatable content offering, and you've got a great performance-per-pound proposition.

Read the full Hisense R50A7200GTUK review

Best cheap TVs: Toshiba 43UK4B63DB

(Image credit: Future / Stargirl, Amazon Prime)

4. Toshiba 43UK4B63DB

The Toshiba UK4B produces a very solid picture for it's very low price

Specifications
Type: LED
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
HDR support: HDR10, Dolby Vision
HDMI inputs: Four (ARC but no eARC)
Dimensions (hwd, with stand): 58.8 x 96.9 x 22cm
Reasons to buy
+Good HDR handling+Solid upscaling+Natural, easy-going image
Reasons to avoid
-Poor sound-Somewhat compromised contrast-Minor colour inconsistencies

Toshiba might not be the cutting edge name in TV it once was, but the Japanese giant has not given up the fight for your living room. Instead, it has refocused its attention on a budget battle with brands such as Hisense and TCL: smaller sets and lower prices. So, while the price tag on the Toshiba 43UK4B63DB may look low, it’s actually part of the company's flagship series. 

At 43in, it’s the baby of a three-strong line up – the other options are 50in and 58in screens – and it’s fully fitted with HDR10 and Dolby Vision, a Dolby Atmos-badged sound system (produced in conjunction with Onkyo) and even a built-in microphone for Alexa and Google Assistant voice interaction. There aren’t many more stops that Toshiba could have pulled out here.

This is a good TV from Toshiba and a big improvement on what we’ve seen from this former great in recent years. The sound performance is poor (we'd recommend you add a soundbar) but the picture is solid at all levels. For detail, for scaling, for contrast and largely for colour too, it performs well for its low price. 

Read the full review: Toshiba 43UK4B63DB

Tom Parsons

Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products (not to mention plenty of other 'gadgets' and even cars) for over 15 years. He began his career as What Hi-Fi?'s Staff Writer and is now the TV and AV Editor. In between, he worked as Reviews Editor and then Deputy Editor at Stuff, and over the years has had his work featured in publications such as T3, The Telegraph and Louder. He's also appeared on BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and Sky Swipe. In his spare time Tom is a runner and gamer.

  • Robwhr
    What Hi-Fi? said:
    The best cheap 4K TVs combine great picture performance with the latest smart TV features, without breaking the bank.

    Best cheap 4K TVs 2020: the best budget TVs : Read more

    just bought 50pus8402 from Currys, Android, Freeview Play, 3 sided Ambilight, absolutely superb, much better spec than the sapphy Os of the one you listed in your top 10

    only £399 down from £799
    Reply
  • R6ex
    TCL has cheaper and better stuff than those listed.
    I especially like their C715 or C716 and S535 or even S635
    QLED budget TV.
    Reply
  • robos
    R6ex said:
    TCL has cheaper and better stuff than those listed.
    I especially like their C715 or C716 and S535 or even S635
    QLED budget TV.

    Only someone without personal experience with TCL can recommend it. I own 55C715 QLED, its a complete disaster. While the screen might be OK, the UI is terrible, slow, laggy. It requires frequent restarts. It lacks some basic settings, like audio output/mute built in speakers. I thought that I can solve that by adding xiaomi tv box, but it was a failure, since TCL has problems with CEC, so I had to have 3 remote controls on table, 1st to start up and switch off TV, second for TV box and 3rd for volume on DAC. Unacceptable.

    I will sell that TCL TV and buy Samsung UE55TU8000. Because I had opportunity to try that and it was much better than TCL
    Reply
  • tipyguilford
    Hi there, may i please ask if you would reccommend the $500 FFalcon 4K 55" from Jbhifi. https://www.jbhifi.com.au/products/ffalcon-55uf2-55-ultra-hd-hdr-smart-tvive seen some bad reviews for it, but i think how bad can a tv be if its just playing a picture. I will use it for streaming and on my ps4 pro to play games.
    Reply