The best TV under £500: cheap 4K UHD TVs that don't skimp on quality

The best 4K HDR TVs under £500 for bedrooms, games rooms and tighter budgets – big screens at small prices

Best TV under £500
(Image credit: Panasonic)

Can you get a great TV for under £500? You'll be pleased to know, the answer is, 'Yes, and in fact here is a buyers guide of all my favourites in that price bracket.' Welcome, my friends, to the best TVs under £500.

It’s true these aren’t as slim or as design-focused as the very best TVs around, but for under £500 each offers 4K UHD resolution, solid HDR compatibility and a worthwhile smart TV experience. 

What was once the preserve of expensive, high-end televisions has trickled down (or been democratised, if you prefer) to this unarguably affordable level. And some of them are so unfashionably small they can easily be used as a second screen in a secondary room.

Need more advice? Our guide to buying a sub-£500 TV is at the bottom of the page

These TVs under £500 are largely at that price because their RRP was already in that region, but you will also find great cheap televisions that were previously more expensive, but have had a price cut. And as 2020's new models get released, these will only come down further.

If you think you can stretch a little higher, our best TVs under £1000 roundup includes some sets in the £600-£700 region, so it's worth a look too. – but have had a price cut. 

The best TVs under £500, in order

Best TV under £500: Samsung UE43RU7020

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung UE43RU7020

The best sub-£500 TV to buy in 2020

Specifications
Screen size: 43 inches
Other sizes available: 50, 55, 65, 70, 75 inches
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x3, USB x2, component video, composite video, ethernet
Dimensions: 970x560x60mm
Reasons to buy
+Fine upscaling+Great colour balance+Strong contrasts and HDR10++Great OS
Reasons to avoid
-Frightful remote control-So-so sound

This is the smallest, most affordable 4K HDR TV Samsung builds. But to the company’s credit, it seems just as much care and attention has been lavished on the UE43RU7020 as on Samsung’s QLED behemoths at ten times the price.

The Samsung’s plasticky, sure. But those plastics aren’t thin or creaky - and the thorough nature of its specification makes its luxuriousness (or otherwise) a completely moot point.

HDR is catered for, from broadcaster's favourite HLG to HDR10+ dynamic metadata, and the 4K UHD resolution is augmented by integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay 2 connectivity. The Tizen-based operating system is identical to that sported by the pricier QLED TVs, and a response time of just 10ms will appeal to gamers. 

Best of all, performance seems to be from a more expensive screen too. Upscaling from 1080p sources (which, let’s face it, is going to happen a lot) is exemplary – movement is gripped well, edges are crisp, detail levels are high and contrasts are impressive. 

The sound is nothing to write home about (unless you’re writing to say it's weak) and the remote is a throwback, but in every other respect the Samsung’s an authentic bargain.

•Check out the best Samsung TVs coming out in 2020 – we've compared the whole range

Best TVs under £500

(Image credit: Hisense)

2. Hisense R50B7120UK

Big TV, excellent image quality, and a dreamy smart TV platform

Specifications
Screen size: 50 inches
Other sizes available: 43, 55, 65 inches
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x3, USB x1, composite video, ethernet
Dimensions: 1127x720x86mm
Reasons to buy
+Roku TV software is easy to use+Excellent app support+Superb image quality for the price
Reasons to avoid
-Not so good with motion

This is the UK's first Roku TV, which means it uses Roku's smart platform (usually found on plug-in HDMI sticks or set-top boxes) as its operating system. And it's brilliant – Roku TV is really easy to navigate, has every streaming service you could want, and has a universal search feature across them all to make it easy to find things in those services.

And that's paired with a TV that really impresses with image quality for its price, especially given that this is a generous 50 inches of screen estate (and you can step up to bigger sizes for really reasonably prices – see below).

It avoids all the pitfalls of budget TVs – the backlight is uniform, colours are realistic, and it upscales from HD to 4K impeccably. It's not so strong for handling motion, but we can live with that. It's also a shame that it doesn't support Dolby Vision HDR, but other HDR types are supports, and look strong.

Between giving you better image quality than its price suggests and having a smart platform that's the easiest to use on the planet, this is a simply brilliant buy.

• Read our full Hisense Roku TV R50B7120UK review

Best TVs under £500: Panasonic TX-40GX700

(Image credit: Panasonic)

3. Panasonic TX-40GX700

The best small 4K TV for under £500

Specifications
Screen size: 40 inches
Other sizes available: 50, 58, 65 inches
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x3, USB x2, component video, ethernet
Dimensions: 900x520x60mm
Reasons to buy
+Full-on spec+Detailed, composed images+Fairly decent sound
Reasons to avoid
-Contrasts could be stronger

A lot of TV manufacturers are so enchanted by their enormous flagship whistles ’n ’bells models, they’ve rather neglected what a lot of people consider to be ‘realistic’ screen sizes.

Not so Panasonic. At 40 inches, this GX700 is exactly the sort of size many folks consider plenty big enough – but it has most of the features you can find on Panasonic’s enormous flagship sets. And if you want a 4K UHD TV with HDR10+ and HLG HDR, a decent smart TV interface and proper build quality, that will fit discreetly into that lounge alcove, this is your only feasible choice. 

It may not have quite the punch to contrasts of some of the other screens in this list, but in every other respect it’s a thoroughly watchable TV. The colour palette is wide-ranging and subtle, it handles motion really well, detail levels (even in very dark scenes) are high and there’s very pleasing naturalness to skin-tones and textures. 

Add in sound that’s pleasingly acceptable by prevailing TV standards and you’ve a relatively small, relatively affordable TV that thinks it’s altogether bigger and more expensive.

Best TV under £500: LG 49UM7400

(Image credit: LG)

4. LG 49UM7400

The best big(gish) TV screen for less than £500

Specifications
Screen size: 49 inches
Other sizes available: 43, 55, 65 inches
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x3, USB x2, component video, composite video, ethernet
Dimensions: 1110x650x80mm
Reasons to buy
+Impressive OS+Good with HDR material+Low input lag for gaming
Reasons to avoid
-Blacks are a bit grey-Muddled sound

Got a hankering for a nice big 4K UHD TV (without the nice big price ticket that so often goes along with it) from a brand with proper credibility? Want a big slice of the performance that’s generally associated with more expensive alternatives? LG is ready to sort you right out.

The 49UM7400 is by no means the sveltest or best-specified TV in LG’s extensive line-up. But thanks to its 4K resolution, its support for the HDR basics, its full suite of smart TV apps and its eminently watchable picture, it just might represent the sweet spot of LG’s entire LED range.

There’s no denying the LG’s black tones could be deeper, but that should be balanced against the TV's great screen uniformity and smooth motion handling. Upscaling of sub-4K content is very well handled too, and gamers will appreciate the super-low 12ms response time. It even summons meaningful bass from its little speaker array, even if there’s not much width or separation to its sound.

Best TV under £500: Panasonic TX-49GX550

(Image credit: Panasonic)

5. Panasonic TX-49GX550

The single swishest sub-£500 screen around

Specifications
Screen size: 49 inches
Other sizes available: 43, 55, 65 inches
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x3, USB x2, component video, composite video, ethernet
Dimensions: 1110x620x70mm
Reasons to buy
+Solid HDR compatibility+Freeview Play+Good looks
Reasons to avoid
-Not the out-and-out brightest images

Here’s a slick-looking 4K TV that simply oozes class – especially when you consider the price. It’s as near a 50-inch set as makes no differences, and combines neatly minimalist design with an easy-to-accommodate stand. Plus, of course, it has very solid tech credentials. 

Time was there was no point in getting hung up on an affordable TV’s HDR compatibility, because it wouldn’t have any. Those days are gone, though, and the Panasonic supports HLG and HDR10. Allied to Panasonic’s usual image processing superiority, the GX550’s specification means colours pop, contrasts are strong and motion tracking is secure. 

In addition, there’s a Freeview Play tuner (as all your catch-up TV needs are catered for) and DLNA compatibility. And if you somehow find your viewing choices feel restricted, just plug one of the best 4K media streamers into one of the Panasonic’s three HDMI sockets to widen your options even further.

Best TVs under £500 Samsung UE49RU8000

(Image credit: Samsung)

6. Samsung UE49RU8000

Big brand, big screen, ever-decreasing price

Specifications
Screen size: 49 inches
Other sizes available: 55, 65, 82 inches
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x4, USB x2, ethernet
Dimensions: 1000x640x60mm
Reasons to buy
+Confident, balanced images+Great OS+Impressive backlighting
Reasons to avoid
-Not all that bright-Not all that dark

Quite often, the best value for money is a TV brand’s range is to be found lurking, unheralded, somewhere in the middle. The Samsung UE49RU8000 is a case in point.

By prevailing Samsung standards, there’s nothing super-special about this TV. But it’s got the 4K resolution, the extensive connectivity, the excellent user interface and the HDR smarts (bar Dolby Vision, but that's true of every Samsung TV) that everyone now expects even this modest amount of cash to buy. And, most importantly of all, it’s got the sort of performance that confirms your money’s been well spent.

No, it’s neither the brightest nor the blackest picture you ever saw, but the RU8000 balances colours really well, describes an awful lot of detail (no matter the standard of source material) and is a most adept upscaler. Backlighting is uniform and well controlled, rapid and/or unpredictable on-screen motion is no problem, and gamers will love the sub-20ms response time. Forgive the marginal sound (or better still, consider a soundbar) and this Samsung demands consideration. 

Best TV under £500: Hisense H55B7500

(Image credit: Hisense)

7. Hisense H55B7500

A big TV with lots of juicy tech for a fantastic price

Specifications
Screen size: 55 inches
Other sizes available: 43, 50, 65 inches
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x3, USB x2, composite video, ethernet
Dimensions: 1230x713x70mm
Reasons to buy
+A lot of screen for the money+Great 4K images+Very acceptable spec
Reasons to avoid
-Not a brilliant upscaler-Not the brightest pictures

Happily, the old ‘never mind the quality, feel the width’ adage doesn’t apply here. Oh, the Hisense has plenty of width – but it has the quality to go along with it.

This modest sum buys a bit 4K LED LCD TV with every HDR standard bar HDR10+, Freeview Play (with all its attendant catch-up services), a satellite receiver, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It also buys a genuinely attractive unibody design, a half-decent operating system (with plenty of streaming app options) and a passable remote control. It even buys some ‘Works with Alexa’ voice control.

Most importantly of all, it buys a TV that’s capable of nicely balanced, even-handed and quite detailed images. It needs the right source material to do so, mind you, because the Hisense isn’t the most composed upscaler of lower-resolution content - but given the best chance, the 55B7500UK can summon dynamic, colourful and pretty insightful pictures. No, they’re neither as bright nor as dark as the best alternatives on this list. But they’re considerably bigger, and for some people that will be just the ticket, especially if 2020's summer of sport goes ahead.

Our tips for buying a cheaper TV

So what should you look for when buying a cheap 4K telly, and what compromises can you expect to make?

Screen sizes obviously vary dramatically, depending on brand and price. A growing number of manufacturers are now pushing out smaller (40-43-inch) 4K panels to meet booming demand.

All TVs worth their salt are net connected, via Wi-Fi or ethernet, so check whether they support all the streaming and catch-up services you want them too. But bear in mind that just because a set doesn't include everything, that doesn't have to be a deal-breaker – the best media streamers include a huge range of services, and cost from only around £40, so if you're making a big saving on the TV, you still won't break the bank.

It’s also worth double checking that your shortlisted set has enough HDMI ports for your games consoles, Blu-ray player, set-top box and maybe that extra streamer if it's  – this is an area where compromises are often made to get the retail price down.

Freeview Play is a handy bonus as it serves as both your programme guide looking forward and also lets you seamlessly delve into catch-up TV that you might have missed, without needing to load up separate apps.

HDR (high dynamic range) compatibility is a bonus, although these entry-level sets typically won’t be bright enough to dazzle with spectral highlights in the same way an 800-nit OLED panel will. 

Another element that is usually majorly skimped on with cheaper TVs is the audio. So if you've got a few quid left over, consider buying a best soundbar or soundbase.