Best budget TVs under £500

Want a superb tellybox that'll leave your piggy bank intact? Look no further – we've rounded up the best screens available for bargain-basement prices
Samsung UE42F5000

As long as you’re not concerned about having the biggest, or slimmest, or brainiest television on the market, there are TV bargains to be had. 

From handy 22in screens to 50in whoppers, brilliant picture quality (and, in some instances, excellent online functions and even 3D) can be yours for under £500 – considerably under, in some cases. Here are the ones that we think are most deserving of (just a bit of) your hard-earned.

Hannspree SL22DMBB (£140)

Hannspree SL22DMBB

Best for: out-and-out bargain hunters

No, 22 inches isn’t all that big a screen. No, it doesn’t have high-def tuners. No, there aren’t all that many inputs. But judged on pure picture quality across TV, DVD and Blu-ray, the Hannspree delivers possibly the best value of all these televisions. The full-HD screen is bright and colourful, movement is stable, and contrasts are clean and strong. So forget the thrills (and, let’s be honest, the looks) and the SL22DMBB performs like quite the bargain.

Toshiba 32L6353 (£350)

Toshiba 32L6353

Best for: online entertainment

There’s a lot to be said for the brilliant performance/price ratio Toshiba has achieved with the 32L6353, and its picture-making ability (especially the vibrancy of its colours and the level of detail on offer) is certainly worthy of praise. But it’s the depth of the Toshiba’s online versatility that’s the ace up its sleeve – Netflix, Blinkbox, Vimeo, YouTube, Deezer, iPlayer, Skype among other are all available, and wirelessly. Plus the Tosh is happy for you to stream from any DLNA-certified device on your network.

Panasonic TX-L32E6B (£380)

Panasonic TX-L32E6B

Best for: imperious picture quality

There’s something almost unnerving about how accomplished this Panasonic is at the price. Sure, the sound is pretty horrific and it could look better with standard-def TV broadcasts, but in every other respect the TX-L32E6B is an absolute belter. High-def pictures are more detailed than a patholgist’s report, the colour palette is judged just so, and contrasts are punchy. Add in a good control app, decent interface and slim, shiny chassis and the Panasonic’s a steal.