Samsung UE42F5000 (£400)
Best for: no-frills value
Samsung’s range of TVs is extensive (in the same way Nic Cage’s range of terrible films is extensive), and the F5000 is towards the entry level. So there’s no smart functionality here, and only a couple of HDMI inputs. But your £400 buys a slim, elegant 42in LED-backlit screen that serves up beautifully balanced pictures from any and every source. It’s a particularly good bet for gamers, as its response times are impressive in the extreme.
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Panasonic TX-P50X60B (£400)
Best for: maximum screen-size/minimum outlay
Sure, you could dwell on the things the Panasonic isn’t. It isn’t Smart, for example. It isn’t 3D. Heck, it isn’t even Full HD. But that’s to miss the point somewhat. What makes the TX-P50X60B a simply outstanding buy is the huge discrepancy between the Pana’s screen size (massive) and price tag (tiny). When you’re enjoying those big, detailed, colourful and (above all) big pictures, the relative lack of resolution isn’t even going to be an issue.
Philips 32PFL4258T (£430)
Best for: TV enthusiasts
It might seem a strange thing to say, but a lot of new televisions don’t get used as televisions. They get used for watching Blu-rays or streaming from Netflix or for playing games on. And don’t misunderstand us, the Philips is great for those things – but it’s also a really, REALLY accomplished television. Both standard-def and high-def broadcasts look amazingly detailed and stable, and thanks to punchy bright whites and deep blacks it’s an exciting watch too.