If you’re not too picky and seeking a budget HDTV option that’s under $300, make sure to take a good look at Samsung’s forty-inch 5 Series, which is currently retailing for only $250 at your local Best Buy.
Be aware that this 1080p Samsung set won’t provide any of the picture goodness of the much more expensive QLED models. Instead, you can enjoy a viewing experience that boasts two times the clarity of standard HDTVs—all on the cheap.
This really is an intriguing deal, as you are getting a solid non-QLED panel from one of the planet’s most reputable companies. And at this panel size, it probably won’t be featured prominently in your living room but know that this HDTV will get the job done in smaller bedrooms, the den or the kitchen.
As expected, for $250, the design is pretty clunky and you won’t be getting a whole lot of ancillary perks, but you could be pleasantly surprised by the 5 Series’ color range and contrast ratio—though it won’t blow you away by any means. The set does come with Digital Clean View, which optimizes content for better visuals.
Keep in mind that for most folks out there, it’s more than adequate for everyday TV-watching, gaming and family movie nights.
As with most LCD-based panels, be aware that the 5 Series’ wide-angle viewing may fall short of what you’re looking for—so if you have wider or wraparound seating arrangements, make sure to take note of that. And if you find yourself often watching TV during the daytime or in a bright room, it may be in your best interest to purchase a heavy-duty curtain or blinds to reduce those annoying glares and reflections.
Although not as fluid as Roku TV, Android TV or webOS, the set’s Samsung Smart TV platform is relatively user-friendly and easy on the eyes. For the average user, there are plenty of apps to choose from, and you don’t have to worry about missing out on new content from the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Disney+.
However, take note that the platform isn’t that flexible when it comes to sideloading apps, which could affect the TV’s use in different markets and regions.
Featuring two pretty ho-hum 10W speakers, what the 5 Series definitely won’t be is a hub for your music. As a $250 budget HDTV, the speakers are understandably lackluster, though they could possibly work in smaller spaces. If you’re seeking a more immersive, bass-thumping experience, it’s probably in your best interest to shop around for a decent soundbar to pair with this TV.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.