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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 Walmart's top-selling TV brand. 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 a 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 America.

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.

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 4.1 out of 5 (based on 1087 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 $200 and you'll be rewarded with a 50in 4K UHD TV. Push the boat out (by another $100) and you'll get one of Sceptre's latest smart TVs, which runs Google's Android TV and offer built-in access to streaming services such as Netflix.

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 in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

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 50in 4K UHD TV" on the market and it gets you a 4K UHD picture for a crazy-low price of $199.99 (currently reduced from $279.99).

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.

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 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.

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 65in Sceptre A658CV-U (below) for a fairly jaw-dropping $398 at Walmart. 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.

Fancy a smart TV for your summerhouse? The 32in 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 $105 (reduced from $119.99).

Hunting for a TV that's not too big, but not too small? Try the 50in A518CV-U (below). This Android smart 4K UHD LED TV with Google Assistant is available for the bargain price of $248. It features three HMDI ports for plugging in games consoles, plus USB input for listening to music files or viewing digital photos. 

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 less 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 19in E195BV-SR. It's currently listed for $69.99 at Walmart, reduced from $109.99, and is so small it's practically portable. Ideal for a nursery or home office.

That model is the cheapest of Sceptre's entry TVs, but is it the best value? We'd recommend the paying the extra $18 and going for the 32in X322BV-SR, which is currently priced at $88. 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 DVRs, 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.

Finally, if you want a HD TV that's big enough for the big game, the 43in Sceptre X435BV-F could be the best 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.

What other cheap TVs are available?

Sceptre TVs aren't 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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