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The days of spending a lot of money on a 4K resolution TV are long gone. In 2022, unless you’re spending less than $150 or are expressly looking for something like a CRT, any new TV you buy is likely to be a 4K one.
In addition to 4K, TVs in this price range will also support Dolby Vision, HDR, and other standards. Investing in a TV that adheres to these standards may be worthwhile because it will improve overall viewing quality and help the TV remain relevant in the future.
If you’re on a budget and are on the lookout for the best TVs under $500, you’ve come to the right place. We listed some of the best ones you can find in the market today. Read on to get to know which one works best for your requirements.
TCL has made changes to the 5-Series’ design compared to the model from the previous year. The set is smaller at its thinnest point and the bezel, or border, around the screen, is a little bit narrower. The top edge of the new TCL 5-Series is stated as being around half an inch thick, whereas the edge of the model from the previous season was almost 1.5 inches thick.
The legs of the TCL 5-Series have also been streamlined. The model from the previous year has pointy, v-shaped feet at each end of the panel. The legs of the current design are sleeker and rounder, and they have been brought in a few inches from either edge. The Roku TV software’s picture settings for the TCL 5-Series are quite basic. There are different brightness options (Normal, Bright, Brighter, Dark, and Darker). Additionally, you can adjust individual inputs in more depth. You may alter the brightness and color temperature for each mode, for instance, in the settings menus.
While there is no FilmMaker Mode, which disables most video processing to preserve the aesthetic of the original film, there is the option to disable other video processing, such as motion smoothing, which is already disabled in Movie mode. The TCL 5-Series did a remarkable job with 4K programs. The TCL 5-Series’ subpar horizontal viewing angles are one among its drawbacks. As a result, if you have to sit on the end of the couch, you might notice a tiny decrease in color intensity and brightness. It’s not as bad as some earlier, non-quantum dot TVs, but it’s not as good as what OLED sets have to offer either.
The all-black Hisense H8G Quantum Series deceives a bit because it initially appears to be as thin as most contemporary TV HDR sets. The device is 57 x 32.9 x 3.1 inches in size, with the base speaker case and the back, port-filled chassis projecting from the bottom half of the frame. A slim look is also created by the top and side bezels, which are flush and thin. Along the bottom is a slightly thicker, engraved bezel with the Hisense logo and IR sensor.
Like many of the Hisense 2020 TVs, the H8G offers two stand options: one that is more conventional and wide-set and another that is a few inches slimmer. The likelihood that the set will fit on the stand you currently own increases if you have both options. Whichever option you select, screwing in the two triangular feet is simple. Even after making sure that we tightened the screws enough, they still have a somewhat flimsy feel about them. We’d advise hanging your set with the built-in pegs unless you’re sure a clumsy child won’t run into it.
Numerous pre-set picture modes and detailed calibration settings are advantageous for the Hisense H8G Quantum Series. The H8 series now features quantum-dot film, which Hisense had previously only used on its H9 televisions. As a result, color reproduction is improved in comparison to a full-array backlight with 90 local dimming zones for improved contrast. Additionally, according to Hisense, the set has 700 nits of maximum brightness and over a billion “fully expressed” colors.
Our tests show a maximum brightness of 604 nits, which is rather close to the claims made by the company. Even with its dedicated Google Assistant and streaming buttons, the Hisense H8G Quantum Series’ long remote is quite uninspired. While being able to summon Netflix, YouTube, or a virtual butler with a single touch is convenient, the absence of backlighting makes using the remote in the dark challenging.
The TCL 4-Series is covered in plain black and has spread legs on either end to support it on a tabletop. This design has become typical. The V-shaped legs are stable enough, but a set that weighs less than 16 pounds may be supported with ease. A typical VESA 200 x 200 millimeter bracket should be purchased if you choose to wall mount this set. There is what we would describe as an average-sized bezel surrounding the image. The top, sides, and bottom are roughly half an inch thick and slightly wider.
The TCL badging on the bottom of the frame is a touch distracting, given the size of this set, but the bezel itself doesn’t take away from the image. Additionally, similar to most LCD televisions, the display itself is thin but is thickened by the supporting circuitry, connections, and speakers that are located at the back, making it almost 3.5 inches broad at its widest point. The TCL 4-Series set follows the Roku setup instructions exactly. You’re ready to go once you enter your language, location, and wireless network requirements.
It didn’t immediately identify the devices we connected to it, but it has a wide range of alternatives. There are five preset modes available in the picture settings: brighter, brighter, normal, dark, and darker. However, you may modify the lighting, contrast, and color temperature further by going into the individual input settings. Using the Roku app on a smartphone will allow you to make further adjustments like noise reduction and gamma adjustment. According to tests, Normal produced the most accurate image for the majority of the content.
The TCL 4-Series Roku TV (S435) is a powerful model that can handle 4K streaming material with ease. It makes a great set for a secondary TV or for usage in a dorm room this fall. While removing features that many owners would likely find unnecessary nevertheless, it provides a respectable picture for the money.
With a silver plastic strip at the bottom of the panel and silver plastic feet, the 37.9 x 22.0 x 2.9-inch 43C350KU differs slightly from the standard black-on-black plastic TV set. It gives it a more fashionable vibe, but it also draws attention to the set itself, which you can choose to view as a pro or a drawback depending on your preferences. Due to the huge port box that is located in the center of the back of the TV, it is a little deeper than most TVs in this size range.
In addition to being silver, the feet have the traditional boomerang shape. It supports VESA 200 x 300, so any of the top TV mounts will work with it if you decide to mount the TV instead. In terms of performance, the C350 delivers a decent enough image; it won’t blow you away, but it works well enough most of the time so you can enjoy what’s on screen without getting frustrated by poor quality. It created good color and is bright enough to watch during the day.
When you’re watching media that doesn’t require a lot of contrast, the TV looks its finest. Additionally, the C350 had dimming at the corners and washed-out edges, most likely as a result of irregularities in its full array of lighting. Additionally, it only has a few viewing angles, and sitting directly in front of it gave it the finest appearance. The Toshiba 350 Fire TV ought to be among the best options for Fire TV aficionados among the TVs in this size and price range. It has good overall color and runs Fire TV smoothly. While few TVs of this size do, it struggles to handle HDR content. It really stands out from the competition with its accurate color reproduction, rapid response speed, and responsive Fire TV.
The Insignia F30, which measures 48.9 by 28.6 by 3.3 inches, looks like the low-end TV that it is. Its dark plastic body doesn’t exude a sense of exclusivity like more expensive TVs do. And in contrast to many more recent (and pricey) TVs, this one still has a fairly substantial half-inch bezel around the edge. Having said that, it’s also not offensive to the sight. The plastic feet that come with the TV are also a bit of a gimmick, and they weren’t quite as simple to install as those that go with more expensive TVs from brands like LG and Samsung.
Small hands would make it easier to get the screws inside the enclosure because the feet must be fastened to the bottom of the TV with screws as opposed to snapping in. Alternatively, if you don’t want to deal with the stand, you may get a 200 x 200 VESA wall mount. The Insignia 4K Ultra HD Fire TV Edition from a year ago was the first impressive instance of Fire TV in a low-cost model we’d evaluated. In terms of quality, the Insignia F30 makes some strides forward and some back.
Overall, the picture was sharp, but the viewing experience wasn’t ideal right out of the box. My Octopus Teacher has clear and realistic aquatic images. Keep in mind, though, that the TV’s restricted viewing angles cause the colors to change drastically about 45 degrees from the center. During tests, the picture looked oversaturated and slanted toward red when using the default settings. HDR10 is supported by the F30, but HDR10+ or Dolby Vision are not. Therefore, HDR performance was constrained, and contrast was subpar. Another issue was blurring, particularly when motion processing and dynamic noise reduction were turned on. Fast-moving action scenes were difficult for the TV to keep up with.
The value of the Vizio V-Series (2021) is paramount. The TV has 4K resolution, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and compatibility with the most recent gaming technologies, including variable refresh rate (VRR) and auto low-latency mode (ALLM). Vizio also included a voice remote this year so you could operate the TV with your voice. All of that can be found in a 55-inch TV for less than $500. Three HDMI 2.1 ports offer gaming-friendly functions such as an automatic low latency mode and lag rates as low as 13.1 milliseconds.
This is unquestionably the inexpensive gaming TV to get if you want excellent gaming performance. However, keep in mind that since this monitor operates at 60Hz, variable and high refresh rates are out of the question. The general performance is also adequate. However, the brightness may be better, and the audio could use a speaker. Unfortunately, something has to be sacrificed in order to get that pricing with those qualities. Brightness, color, and interface performance are relevant in this situation. Depending on what you value, such negative aspects may put you off. The V-Series is a good TV if price and features are your top priorities. It is also a terrific deal.
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