smart tv
Looking for an inexpensive second television? Check out our picks based on an expert's recommendations and Amazon reviews for the best budget finds. Image Credit: Unsplash/David Balev

Wouldn’t it be a dream to snag a 4k smart TV under Dh1,500? Costing less, if not more, than a flagship laptop or smartphone, these budget televisions do exist. Granted, you’ll have to make do with a smaller display, but more affordable ranges can carry the same Dolby Vision quality and streaming apps sought after in 65-inch and 75-inch TVs. Speaking of apps, you'll first need to decide on the operating software that's best for you....

Operating software: Is a smart Android TV better than any smart TV?

smart tv
Both are smart TVs, but because of the software that runs on each, only one allows access to Google Play Store. Image Credit: Pexels/Lisa Fotios

Nowadays, we can navigate our televisions with the same practiced ease as browsing a smartphone. Darshan Sindhya, the owner and managing director of OMSR Electronics based in Dubai, says viewers who are content-conscious usually go for Android TVs. Sindhya's small business is an authorised TV servicing partner for Samsung and Xiaomi, handling everything from the repair of motherboards to panel displays.

"Just as how smartphones are broadly categorised into iOS and Android software, smart televisions are also software-driven," said Sindhya. "Samsung and LG TVs have their own, while the Android TVs run on the Android software. People with kids at home will want to play rhymes and games on the television to keep their children engaged. Mums will want to catch their own, say, Indian soap series on a streaming app - these specific apps are only available on Android TV. It's like a mobile phone because it has Google Play Store."

Other, more expensive smart TVs have a limited library of apps, granting you access to third-party apps that they're in prior agreement with. However, Sindhya says, if you're not picky about the applications, most smart TVs today (regardless of the OS), run the three basic apps we look for - YouTube, Netflix and Prime Video.

Which budget TV is the best for me?

smart tv
A common trade-off with budget TVs is the smaller display - however, this works quite well for small apartments, studios and rooms. Image Credit: Unsplash/Marques Kaspbrak

Since Android TVs offer a more personalised experience, they're best suited for the bedroom. If you're in search of an affordable living room setup, Sindhya says to opt for a 4k resolution. "Viewers who want the latest technology, pertaining to screen resolution and clarity, go for Samsung and LG 4k televisions. They come with a voice-control remote, and have a good audio system," he added.

Sindhya recommends the AU series in Samsung for being relatively current and affordable, adding that the TV brand arguably has the best sound system, too. (So, you can tuck away your soundbar.) LG is a fierce competitor in the same budget range, while Hisense and Xiaomi follow suit as tier two models.

Depending on where you'll be mounting the unit, the Dh1,500 range offers screens as big as 50 inches, all the way down to 32 inches. Without the eye-watering price tag, here’s your chance to build your own entertainment hub at home, whether for the kids’ bedroom or the studio living room. We curated a list of the best-rated budget televisions, based on our expert's recommendations, user reviews and experiences on Amazon.

If you're an Amazon Prime member, avail free one-day delivery on some of these TVs. Amazon also lets you book an in-home TV mounting service by pros on check out.

1. Best Overall: Samsung 50-inch AU7000 Crystal UHD 4K Flat Smart TV

Pros

  • Access apps, like Netflix, YouTube, Apple TV, Prime Video, web browser and more
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) picture quality, with 4k resolution
  • Up-scales 2K picture to 4K with a 120Hz refresh rate
  • Cast your smartphone videos and music with a tap
  • Display PC screen on TV to work from home

Cons

  • Most expensive on our list

Crisp, vibrant and smart, all 50-inches of this LED Samsung model give you the most bang for your buck. This TV is equipped with a Crystal Processor 4K, a clever chipset that up-scales your favourite shows to UHD (ultra-high definition). Get the same premium bezel-less design as the pricier TVs, and, not to mention, a 120Hz refresh rate enhancement for liquid-smooth action on screen. You can mirror your mobile streams, be it music or a yoga clip, by ‘tapping’ your Galaxy smartphone to the television. With a Windows 10 and up machine, you can take it further by converting your TV into a workstation, for a bigger, better monitor. Plus, its three HDMI ports allow you to plug in other home entertainment devices, like a gaming console or an AV receiver, along with a USB port. Five-star reviews commend the TV’s excellent video and audio quality, noting the array of apps they can easily access with the Tizen operating system. Check out other 50-inch and 55-inch TV options.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh116.83 for 12 months with select banks.

2. Best Value with Dolby Vision: Hisense 50-inch 4K UHD Smart TV

Pros

  • Has Dolby Vision, HDR and DTS Studio sound
  • Includes streaming apps like Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, Freeview Play
  • Automatically switches to game or sports mode to enhance viewer experience
  • Voice assistant

Cons

  • Sounds richer paired with a soundbar, according to reviews

Here’s another 4K 50-inch screen at an even more attractive rate – the Hisense 2021A62GS Smart TV. It’s our next best pick for supporting Dolby Vision and DTS Studio sound (Digital Theatre Systems), both components key to a cinematic viewing experience. Reviewers do mention that the audio quality is far more suited to music than dialogue, but it’s a feature that can be easily improved with a soundbar. The smart TV automatically switches to game mode when it detects your gaming sessions, and reduces input lag. Similarly, a heated cricket match will activate the TV’s sports mode for an immersive live stadium experience. Binge-watch all the latest releases on streaming apps you’ll find via the VIDAA operating software.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh93.75 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty.

3. Best Design: SAMSUNG 43-inch AU8000 UHD 4K Flat Smart TV

Pros

  • Thin, borderless frame for a minimalist setup
  • Excellent picture quality, with enhanced refresh rates of 120Hz
  • Three HDMI and two USB ports
  • Access apps, like Netflix, YouTube, Apple TV, Prime Video, web browser and more

Cons

  • Sound quality could be better, per reviews

We can still consider the Samsung AU8000 series within our budget, as long as it’s one of the smaller models. In fact, the 43-inch looks sleeker and bigger, thanks to the signature AirSlim build of the range. It’s a minimalist piece of 4K tech, perfect for those who are in search of an ultra-thin profile to blend with their interior. Expect the same vibrant HDR video and 4K processor found in our best overall pick, which the AU8000 series fortifies with one billion shades of colour. Enjoy an extra USB port for more connected peripherals. Most reviewers have opted for this smart TV for their bedrooms, satisfactorily meeting their web browsing needs with streaming on the side. Though the audio can lack depth to the discerning ear, reviewers say it's nothing a little tweaking to the built-in equaliser can't solve.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh108.25 for 12 months with select banks.

4. Best for Family: LG UHD 4K TV 43-inch UP75 Series

Pros

  • Comes with AI smart functions, from LG Voice Search to sports alerts
  • Nine picture modes, with special game settings
  • Includes magic remote
  • Streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, web browser and more

Cons

  • Only two HDMI ports
  • Refresh rate of 50Hz only

Another solid contender in the 43-inch category, the LG 4K Smart TV in the UP75 series impresses with artificial intelligence (AI) features. From its hi-tech magic remote to automatic brightness control, the television delivers convenience via AI. Speak into your controller – tell the device to turn up the volume, play a song or display the weather forecast, taking voice assistance to the next level. You’re never missing the match scores again, either. A smart sports alert pop-up keeps you updated, even when you’re watching a movie. If the kids game occasionally, then they’ll appreciate the game optimiser settings in the game genre mode, which lets them control bright and dark areas for better visibility.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh100.33 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty.

5. Best Value Android TV: TCL 32-inch HD Smart TV with Android TV

Pros

  • Android TV operating software allows access to Google Play Store
  • Download apps like Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, Google Home
  • Dolby Audio with HDR video
  • Value for money

Cons

  • Smallest screen on the list
  • Reviewers report latency issues when loading videos

The best part about bringing an Android TV home is the unlimited access to the content it offers. Unlike TVs running on non-Android operating software, the 2022 TCL 32-inch smart TV makes Google Play Store available to you, letting you download anything, from sports apps to mobile games. Mount it in the kitchen, bedroom or gaming den; the TCL television is slim enough to maintain your sleek interior. It boasts a modest 1920x1080 resolution, but still delivers HDR video with decent contrast and colour depth. Reviewers have repurposed this little television for the gym and the kids’ bedroom, as it’s mostly purchased as a second TV for quick entertainment.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh84.36 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers one-year extended warranty for Dh86, one-year accidental damage protection for Dh143, two-year damage protection plus one-year extended warranty for Dh182.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.