A new, high spec TV doesn’t have to break the bank, and although the larger QLEDs cost well over a grand, we’ve managed to find a good looking, high-performance Samsung screen for under $600. It has all the advantages of a more expensive model, but due to the smaller, yet still perfectly watchable screen size of 43”, the cost has been kept down. Also, again for well under $600, we’ve found a couple of really decent smart TVs, from TCL and Insignia.
These TVs all performed well in our tests, outdoing other screens in the under $600 category.
1) Samsung 43” QLED 4K UHD/HDR Smart TV
2 used from $479.99
The build quality of this flat screen is great, and the all black finish lends it a stylish, clean cut look. The bezels are fashionably slim, offering minimal disruption, and although the stand has a large footprint, the screen can be wall mounted for convenience.
Powered by quantum dot technology, the image display is impressively vibrant. Color accuracy is excellent, with a white balance that’s almost close to perfection. Although it lacks local dimming, the native contrast ratio is so good that you don’t notice the dimming.
Uniformity is decent, making even the darkest scenes easy on the eye, and the reflection handling is great, thanks to the semi-gloss screen.
Movie action is handled well by an incredibly fast response time, and with Samsung’s FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, gamers will love this model.
Having multiport options, including 4 HDMI and 2 USB ports, allows this TV to become the smart home hub. Bixby voice control, pre loaded apps such as Prime and Netflix, with a vast library available, and the OneRemote feature, wrap up a superior smart service.
If you’re looking for a TV that offers excellent picture quality, smart abilities and comes in at a budget price, this Samsung is well worth considering.
2) TCL 55” 4K Smart LED Roku TV (2019)
What TCL have designed here is a decent 4K smart TV with a performance that belies its budget.
Appearance wise, this 55” TV is well thought out. Although the chassis is plastic, the build quality is good, and looks far more expensive than it is. The bezels aren’t the thinnest around but are perfectly acceptable and don’t detract from the viewing experience.
The ports, which include 3 HDMI, 1 USB, headphone jack and ethernet, are located towards the side, which makes wall mounting the screen a doddle.
The display is impressively good for the price, and although it’s LED backlit, as opposed to the more expensive OLED or QLED technology, the image produced is realistic. Colors appear true to life and full of vibrancy, with deep, rich blacks and whites that are bright and clear. The preset display settings seem to work well without too much adjustment.
The Roku interface may not be as polished as some of the higher end TVs, and some might argue that it looks a little dated. However Roku is continually updating its software so the appearance is an ongoing process. Preset streaming services include Prime and Netflix, but with a vast library available, customization is a no brainer.
Our only gripe is with the remote. Ergonomically, it takes a little getting used to. For example, the volume buttons are not where you’d expect them to be, but in time, useability becomes smoother and less of a thought process.
For the price, this smart TV from TCL is a great choice. The screen size is good for a medium to large sized room, the display is impressive and the smart capabilities work well.
3) Insignia 39” Full HD Smart LED TV – Fire Edition
Insignia’s smart TV offering in this price bracket delivers on its promises. Build wise, the quality is all there, and although the body is plastic, it still looks and feels worth twice the price. With easily accessible ports, including 3 HDMI and 1 USB ports, ethernet input and headphone output, there are multiple user options, making this ideal for any room in the house.
But it’s the display that really keeps giving. The contrasts are rich, colors vibrant and realistic and the details provide added depth to every scene. Blacks are full bodied, and lighter tones are bright and crisp. Action, too, runs smoothly, avoiding motion judders with a decent refresh rate.
Fire TV offers a vast library of movies, with Alexa ready to search by voice remote. Pre loaded apps include Hula, Prime and Netflix, however any can be downloaded, creating a uniquely customizable user experience. Wherever you choose to site this screen, it’s capable of handling all your home hub requirements.
Cheap enough to be bought as a second screen, yet good enough to be utilized as the main TV, this is a great option for students with limited space and pockets, and one well worth having a closer look at.
Smart TV and Qled FAQs
What does Qled mean?
QLED stands for quantum dot light emitting diodes and it refers to the way the TV screen is constructed and lit.
Is Qled or OLED better?
Both OLED and QLED TVs offer exceptional image resolution and performance, and which one you choose depends mainly on your budget and personal taste. The visual experience is so similar, that even when placed side by side, it's hard to tell the difference. LG TVs use OLED, while Samsung have QLED.
Do Smart TVs have built in Wifi?
All smart TVs have built in WiFi capabilities, allowing you to tap into your home's wireless network.
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