With more than 50 full reviews of the Samsung 7 Series, LG UK6000 range, Sony 7000 series and Panasonic 600 TVs, we know which brand is making the best low-cost 4K TVs in 2018.
Flashy OLEDs may take centre stage at press launches, on product websites and in stores, but when it comes down to it, not many of us buy a TV that costs more than £1,000. A recent survey of more than 1,500 Which? members found that 34% wouldn’t spend more than £750 and 31% wouldn’t go over £500. That’s why we don’t just test top-of-the-range TVs.
We review each manufacturer’s range from the ground up, so we have more reviews of £350 to £600 TVs. But with so many low-cost models to choose from, you need to know which are packing the best components and display technology into cheaper sets, and which has sacrificed the most quality to keep costs down.
Scroll down for more or click the links below to jump straight to each TV.
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In 2017, the Samsung 6 Series were some of the best budget 4K TVs around, but they don’t exist anymore. A minute’s silence please.
So what replaced them? That task fell to the 7 Series, a not-so-budget range of TVs that have been in Samsung’s line-up for years. To keep them in line with the outgoing 6 Series, the cost of 7 Series TVs has come down; has the quality come down too?link
Samsung UE43NU7400 – £529
No one could ever accuse Samsung of making an ugly TV; the 43-inch 7400 has the sort of thin bezel and stylish stand that Samsung is known for.
It will stand out in a showroom, but how will it hold up when you get it home? A lot of Samsung’s new advancements have been in an effort to make its TVs blend in and be easier to use, but some attention has been paid to picture quality, too. The 7400 is compatible with a new HDR format called HDR10+. It’s an upgrade to the industry standard, HDR10, and it improves on the technology by adapting contrast on a scene-by-scene basis. HDR10 can’t do this, but with compatible content still being thin on the ground is that enough to secure a top score for the 7400, or is the 7 Series a poor imitation of the popular 6 Series?
Samsung UE49NU7100 – £499
The Samsung 7 Series is split into eight different sub-ranges and the 7100 sits at the bottom, making it the cheapest 4K Samsung TV currently available in 2018.
Rather than a central stand it has feet at either end of the screen and it doesn’t get the sleek One Remote, favouring a more traditional model. You still get HDR10+, Samsung’s new and improved stab at contrast-boosting HDR technology.
Is the remote and design the only real difference between the 7100 and the 7400? Or does one have the edge over the other when it comes to screen and speakers? Here’s our review of the Samsung UE49NU7100 and you can see what we thought of the 55-inch Samsung UE55NU7100, too.link
Sony KD43XF7003BU – £549
Sony’s TVs are typically a bit more expensive than rivals and while some justify the higher price, others absolutely don’t. The 7003 may be on the bottom rung of Sony’s 4K line-up this year, but it still supports two HDR formats to boost the contrast and colours on a wider range of content.
It’s lacking some stuff too though. There’s no Google-developed Android TV, instead the smart TV platform used to download and access smart apps is a paired-back Linux based system developed in-house. Sony is one of the few manufacturers that has a different interface in its cheapest TVs, but does that hold them back? How easy it is to set up a TV and navigate its menu, and app store is important, but ultimately it’s picture and sound quality that have the biggest effect on the overall score.
Sony KD43XF7073SU – £569
The silver models in the 7000 range have SU at the end of model name to make them easy to identify. Like the 7003 above, you don’t get Android TV, but you do get HDR10 and HLG HDR formats. The former is the industry standard and most HDR content is compatible with it and the latter is what the BBC, and potentially other channels, will use to broadcast HDR.
Does the improved motionflow technology on the 7073 really make a difference, or is it just another marketing tactic to justify big brands taking a few more quid out of your pocket?
Panasonic TX-43FX600B – £450
The smallest of the 600 TVs is Panasonic’s cheapest 4K set for 2018, and it’s one of the simplest TVs we’ve had to get to grips with all year. The intuitive interface and abundant app store are the same ones that you’ll find in Panasonic’s pricey TX-55FZ952B OLED, but how are the screen and speakers?
At such a low price, you may not be expecting much class from the 600B, but we’ve seen Best Buys at this price before. With two HDR formats and Freeview Play in tow, there’s no reason to believe the 600B can’t be a top-rated TV.
For our expert verdict of the Panasonic TX-43FX600B head to our review, or see what we thought of the 49-inch (Panasonic TX-49FX600B) 55-inch (Panasonic TX-55FX600B) and 65-inch (Panasonic TX-65FX600B) models.link
Panasonic TX-43FX650B – £550
A step up from the 600B is the 650. It’s TVs like these that highlight the importance of our reviews. Outwardly there’s nothing to separate the 650 from 600 other than silver feet, which is only on the bigger sizes. They have the same features, same menus, same app store, so why does one cost £100 more than other? Unless those feet are made of solid silver then surely the picture and sound quality should be superior.
Our Panasonic TX-43FX650B review reveals whether its £100 better than the 600B, if indeed it’s better at all. You can also check out our reviews of the 49-inch (Panasonic TX-49FX650B), 55-inch (Panasonic TX-55FX650B) and 65-inch (Panasonic TX-65FX650B) models.link
Where Panasonic likes to keep its range small, LG has taken the opposite approach in 2018. Its line-up is packed with ranges, from the low-cost UHD 6000 TVs, to the more high-end Super UHD TVs and finally to its OLED models.
LG 43UK6300PLB – £379
As one of the cheapest 43-inch TVs from the big four brands, the 6300PLB already has a compelling reason to at least consider it. Add to that support for two HDR formats, HDR10 and HLG, and LG’s excellent interface that puts your favourite apps and the TV’s menus into a bar at the bottom of the screen, and you’re looking at an even more alluring TV.
But, with LG’s super UHD TVs getting Dolby Atmos sound processing for improved positional audio and a superior image processor, will the 6300 be good enough?
Read our full review of the LG 43UK6300PLB to see whether this bargain 43-incher is the real deal. We’ve also reviewed the larger 49- (LG 49UK6300PLB) 55- (LG 55UK6300PLB) and 65-inch versions.(LG 65UK6300PLB).link
LG 43UK6950PLB – £499
At the top end of the 6000 series is the 43-inch 6950. Its metal design has more in common with Super UHD TVs and it’s one of the few cheaper LG TVs to get the Magic Remote. This nifty little controller has a microphone built-in to issue voice commands to the TV, such as searching for shows, opening apps and changing picture settings, and an on-screen pointer, which makes typing much quicker.
Is a nicer design and a flash remote worth paying extra for, or is one of the cheaper 6000 TVs the way to go? Read our review of the LG 43UK6950PLB to find out.
Browse all our Best Buy TVs to see who made it into our round-up of the most impressive models on the market.