Samsung TU7100 vs Samsung TU8500: Which cheap TV is best for you?

Which affordable TV offers the best bang for budget?

Samsung TU7100 vs Samsung TU8500
(Image credit: Samsung)

Welcome to T3’s Samsung TU7100 vs Samsung TU8500 guide, where we'll talk you through these two cost-efficient Samsung televisions, which have been contenders for two of the best TVs under £500.

An important thing to note here is that these exact sets aren't available in the US, but the TU7000 is the equivalent of the TU7100 there, and the TU8500's closest version is the TU8300.

Ideally, we’ll help you to pick them apart and make the best decision for you, you can take a deeper dive into our Samsung TU7000/TU7100 review and Samsung TU8500 review. If you’re looking to spend a bit more then you should check out our best TVs under £1000 guide, or our look at just the best TVs of all kinds.

Samsung TU7100 vs Samsung TU8500: Price

Samsung TU8500

(Image credit: Samsung)

The first thing in the Samsung TU7100 vs Samsung TU8500 equation you might want to weigh up is the price, but there isn’t a great deal to split these two. There are differences between screen sizes so we'll break it down.

So, the cheaper of the two will be the TU7100 which comes in a wide array of potential screen sizes. You can get it in 43-inch (43TU7100) for £379, 50-inch (50TU7100) for £429, 55-inch (55TU7100) for £479, 58-inch (58TU7100) for £599, 65-inch (65TU7100) for £699, and 75-inch (75TU7100) for £799.

The TU7000 is similarly wide-ranged in the US, ranging from 43-inches at the low end to 82 inches at the top end. The 43-incher will cost you $329 and the 82-inch model $1,699.

With the TU8500 there’s a smaller range, from 43-inches to 65-inches. These go from £499 on the smaller side to £899 at 65-inches.

The TU8500 is the more expensive of the two, but overall the two budget 4K TVs are actually quite similar for cost. We've got the current lowest prices for all sizes just below, pulled in automatically from around the web.

Samsung TU7100 vs Samsung TU8500: Design & Connectivity

Samsung TU7100

(Image credit: Samsung)

The design difference you first note between the Samsung TU7100 vs Samsung TU8500 is actually the stand. The TU7100 has two feet on either side of the base that protrude in front of and behind the TV at a depth of 380mm, and you can feed your cables through them to tidy up that mess.

The TU8500 has a central stand with two wide feet which has a depth of 371mm. It will also let you feed your cables through through the stand. We mention the width and depth of the feet because if you’re placing the TV in your living room, rather than wall mounting, you’re going to make sure you’ve got the depth and that the surface is long enough.

Neither are the most beautiful TVs you’ll ever see, they aren’t ugly at all, but at these prices, design is a question of functionality as much as anything else. Both have relatively thin bezels – they aren’t edge-to-edge but neither are they obtrusive.

On ports, we’ll go one at a time. The TU7100 has 2x HDMI, 1x USB, 1x composite, an RF Input and optical audio out. It’s also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled. The TU8500 has all of those plus an extra HDMI slot and USB port.

All HDMI ports here conform generally to HDMI 2.0, which means that can take 4K at 60Hz and HDR. They don't support the HDMI 2.1 features that define the best gaming TVs, but they do each have one port that supports HDMI eARC, which is a great match for the best soundbars.

Samsung TU7100 vs Samsung TU8500: Picture quality

Samsung TU8500

(Image credit: Samsung)

It’s with picture quality where we actually start to see a few real differences between the two panels. Both use Samsung's Crystal 4K technology with a resolution of 3840x2160, and both support HDR10+, but there are some key differences.

The TU8500 has a few features that the TU7100 doesn’t to help that display. The Dual LED backlight, for example, works to improve contrast and deliver better black levels, while a boost in brightness can help visibility on bright days.  

It also has a higher refresh rate at 120Hz compared to the 60Hz of the TU7000. This will help to reduce motion blur and make for a cleaner image when watching sport or action scenes.

The picture on the TU8500 is better than the TU7000 overall, no question – Samsung’s own PQI (picture quality index) ratings score them at 2000 vs 2800 – but it’s not as vast a difference as those numbers might make out. Both have good colour performance and clarity while handling blacks well at this price range. It's that if you pay a bit more, you'll get a bit more.

Samsung TU7100 vs Samsung TU8500: Verdict

Samsung TU7100

(Image credit: Samsung)

Ultimately in the Samsung TU7100 vs Samsung TU8500 debate, the Samsung TU8500 is the better TV. On brightness and response times particularly, it stands apart from the TU7100. But much of the tech behind these two are the same, right down to the smart TV software.

So we’re talking about minor differences, but then, the price differences aren’t too far apart. If you can afford the extra £100 (43-inch) or £200 (65-inch) then we’d have to say the TU8500 is the better choice.

For its price, though, the TU7100 is still an excellent TV and, of course, if you’ve got your heart set on an affordable 75-incher, it’s your only option between these two.

Geraint Evans