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A smart TV combines a television set, Web 2.0 features, and Internet access all in one device. At its most basic, a smart TV can connect to the Internet, give you access to streaming media services, and run apps.
There are a lot of companies right now that offer smart TVs, and if you think that you would need to spend a lot in order to get the best smart TVs out there, you’ll be surprised to know that there are brands that give you value for your money.
In fact, there are quite a number of smart TVs that cost $300 or less. But first, you should know what to expect if you are looking into budget-friendly smart TVs.
Getting a budget smart TV means that there would be some compromises. For one, you are going to have to be contented with smart TVs that are smaller in size (up to 43 inches wide). At the most, smart TVs costing less than $300 would only offer full HD resolutions of 1080 pixels or half HD at 720 pixels.
Smart TVs in this price range would have up to three HDMI ports and a USB port. Wi-Fi would be the preferred way to connect to your Internet. But despite these compromises, you can still expect top-notch features.
Here are the best smart TVs under $300 that you should consider buying in 2018.
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TCL 40” Class S-Series FHD LED Roku Smart TV (TCL 40S305)
MSR Price: $269.99
The TCL 40S305 S-Series FHD LED Roku Smart TV has a full 1080-pixel resolution, giving you a clear and sharp picture every time. The 120 Hz guarantees that even the fastest moving scenes will not register motion blur. It also has a very simple interface, allowing you to figure out what to do.
This interface gives you access to at least half a million streaming TV shows and movies, and that content library grows by the second.
The TCL 40S305 uses dual-band Wi-Fi, which makes way for speedy access to your favorite content. You can also use the TCL 40S305 for all your gaming, streaming, and broadcasting devices. It has three HDMI inputs, a USB port, a composite and RF inputs, as well as a headphone jack and optical audio out.
Additionally, the TCL 40S305 comes with its own physical remote. The company has made its remote very simple, with only 20 buttons instead of dozens of buttons that you have to spend time figuring out.
Furthermore, the TCL 40S305 comes with a companion mobile app that can also turn your smartphone into a remote control for your TV. You can also search for content using voice commands, rather than go through several menus and screens.
The app will also consolidate the streaming services you use, as well as let you share your own videos, photos, and music so that you can show them on your TV.
What you would like about the TCL 40S305
Even with its low price, the TCL 40S305 has the features of a great smart TV, with 1080-pixel full HD resolution, easy-to-use smartphone app, and the ability to handle everything you throw its way: cable, satellite TV, gaming consoles, and streaming services.
It also has Roku TV. You would also like that the estimated yearly energy cost for this TV is $13 – that is if you use it for five hours a day.
Another good news is that you can get this TV for less on Amazon, where it costs only $249.99. The 43-inch sells for $279.99, while the 49-inch sells for a little more than $300, at $329.99.
The VIZIO SmartCast D-series 24” Class Full HD LED Smart TV might be smaller than the rest of our recommended smart TVs for 2018, but it gives you full HD resolutions at 1920 x 1080 pixels. It comes with a V6 six-core processor that offers you the speed to do everything you want.
The quad-core GPU and dual-core GPU allow you to power up your TV quickly, as well as find the content you want fast. It also has edge-lit LED, which gives you vivid and brilliant pictures. There are so many technologies packed into this small wonder, including 802.11 in Wi-Fi and Chromecast.
You can download the VIZIO SmartCast Mobile app and turn your smartphone into a touchscreen remote. The mobile app will bring together all your entertainment apps into one place, allowing you to launch them easily.
This TV also includes a SmartCast Remote, which makes it easier to browse through the content that you want to watch. And because Chromecast is built-in, you can discover different free and paid content from a variety of different services, including Hulu, Vudu, Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, Showtime, HBO Now, and others.
There are currently more than 1,000 Chromecast-enabled apps, more than 200,000 TV shows and movies, and at least 30 million songs you can play on your VIZIO SmartCast TV.
The refresh rate is 60 Hz, while the aspect ratio is set at 16.9. This smart TV has a wide viewing angle as well, registering a field of view of 178 degrees both for vertical and horizontal.
This VIZIO SmartCast has two HDMI ports, a component and Ethernet port, a USB port and a TV tuner as well. It also works with Google Assistant, allowing you to playback your favorite content just by using voice commands.
If you are looking for a bigger TV screen, you might want to consider the VIZIO D-Series 43” Class Full‑Array LED TV. It has full-array LED that delivers full HD resolution. It may not have backlit LEDs, but the picture quality is no less amazing.
Price: $249.99 (Check out the latest prices.)
The Sharp LC-43LB481U measures 43 inches, making it the perfect TV for your living room or home theater. It has the Roku smart platform that gives you access to different streaming services.
You can finally stream YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, as well as 3,000 more streaming services. The Sharp LC-43LB481U delivers great picture quality no matter what the lighting conditions are, with very rich blacks and vibrant colors.
This TV will give you a 1080-pixel full HD resolution, allowing you to see every detail. With its fast Wi-Fi, you can stream with no problems and sound is enhanced by DTS TruSurround.
The Sharp LC-43LB481U has three HDMI inputs, as well as a USB port. It also comes with a mobile app and can handle voice commands.
Price: $199.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)
The Samsung M4500A is a 32-inch digital HD TV. You can consolidate all your favorite TV shows, movies, media and games on the Samsung M4500A with the Samsung SmartHub.
What this means is that you can access all of these content and apps on your TV, including Netflix, Amazon TV, Hulu, YouTube, and HBO Now, as well as dozens of others. This LED TV gives you clear pictures and vibrant colors.
The Samsung M4500 has a standard 1366 x 720-pixel resolution, but it uses Ultra Clean View, which is an advanced algorithm that allows it to minimize distortion, giving you the best quality images.
Colors just pop and come alive with PurColor, while blacks are deeper and whites are purer. Sound quality is superb with Dolby Digital Plus with DTS Codec.
The Samsung M4500A is also very slim. Connectivity features include Wi-Fi, a USB port, two HDMI ports, an Ethernet port, a component port, and a composite input port.
Price: $219.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).
The LG 32LJ550B has standard HD resolutions of 720 pixels and works with the Color Master Engine feature to give you enriched colors. The LG 32LJ550B also gives you bright pictures while keeping energy costs down.
LG estimates that your yearly energy costs using this smart TV for five hours a day would total only $10. This smart TV allows you to watch video streaming content from Amazon Video, Netflix, Hulu, VUDU, and dozens more.
You can download the LG TV mobile app so that you can link your smartphone and your TV. This will allow you to show your own videos and photos from your phone to your TV. You can even play your apps on the LG 32LJ550B.
The LG 32LJ550B also features LG Virtual Surround, which makes you feel as if you are hearing sound from every direction, just like in the real world. When it comes to input ports, you have two HDMI ports, a USB port, an RF in port, a composite and component in port, an Ethernet port, and an optical input port.
Some Final Thoughts on the Best Cheap Smart TVs
These smart TVs represent the best ones that you could buy this 2018 without needing to break the bank because each one of these sells for less than $300. If you are holding out for a 4K TV, then you could wait for a bit until prices fall.
Go 4K: Or you can add some more and get a good 4K television at a price that you would be happy to pay. For instance, you can get the Vizio E48u-D0, a 48-inch 4K television with a 120 Hz refresh rate and smart functionality.
The Next “Step Up”: Or you can get the TCL 55P607, which may be a bit of a splurge at $650, but has better smart features, integrated Roku, outstanding picture quality, local dimming and astounding colors. The TCL 55P607 also includes Dolby Vision.
Further read, The Best Keyboards for Smart TVs