It’s a new year, and you’re looking to ditch your old gaming screen for a better yet affordable 4K TV for gaming.
Picking out the best one on a budget is a pretty big decision though. It’s not just enough to get a good picture, so you’re going to need something that’s just right in terms of usability, size, and efficacy for everyday use for TV, movies and other applications.
As a gamer, you’re also looking for a responsive set with low input lag so it isn’t just about the priciest or shiniest one available.
You can get a good budget 4K TV for gaming without crushing your wallet. The scale can go up to ridiculous amounts on premium panel sets, which could set you back many thousands of bucks.
As much as higher-end models offer a better gaming experience with extra detail, bells and whistles, plus vibrancy, not everyone can afford the upward pricing.
Thankfully though, there’s a wide variety of 4K gaming TVs you can choose from, and we’re here to help you find the best one on a budget for your needs.
What 4K TV Technology Does
When you hear 4K, it’s simply the 3840×2160 resolution of images your TV can display. Sometimes it’s referred to as Ultra HD or UHD, and can receive signals from gaming consoles such as the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro.
Most 4K TVs come with the High Dynamic Range (HDR) as standard, which processes colors in movies, games, and TV shows, but it’s not just about contrast. It’s mainly about making color differences noticeable, and is used by developers and game makers in their creations to pick out more details.
HDR boosts picture color by contrasting them further and making them more vivid, in turn creating clearer images.
Some TVs come with the OLED or QLED panels, which stand for Organic Light Emitting Diode and Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode respectively.
OLED panels have individually lit LEDs that switch on or off to create pictures, thereby allowing for truer black color in TV sets with such panels as there’s no backlight showing through.
QLED, on the other hand, is a technology by Samsung that involves the use of quantum dots (particles) that light up to create pictures on the TV screen.
This panel sets off brighter colors and contrasts than other types of panels but is still edge-lit or backlit like traditional 4K TVs, producing sharp images and black levels that make them more perfect for gaming than premium OLED panels.
Most 4K TVs have faster response times – the speed at which color changes on a TV – than we may think, though many people prefer TVs with the fastest response time they can get.
As for the refresh rate – the speed at which images can be refreshed on a TV – 4K TVs don’t have anything higher than 120Hz. However, you do get extras like the standard HDMI connection cable to carry the 4K signal.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the best budget 4K TVs for gaming that’ll give you these basics and a few other features.
While gaming, you can enjoy HDR content with the latest HDR10+ content, which adjusts the quality of the pictures with every scene. Plus, the Motion Rate 120 ensures you get smooth action on fast-moving content.
It’s design is slim and stylish, and if you want to relax from your games, you can use the Universal Guide to browse your favorite content from multiple apps and devices with tailored recommendations just for you.
With the SmartThings app, you can manage several devices, and even control and monitor your TV and other connected devices from one screen. You can also sync your smartphone and TV to access and control content from the TV, and stream games without a set top box.
It offers support for HDR10, and comes with a slick design and Dolby Vision support. Other features include a 60Hz panel, 99.8 percent wide color gamut, 1.7 Delta-E rating, and 3 HDMI ports.
Plus, it comes with the Roku OS so you can tap into streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, plus voice control to track your content without scrolling.
3. LG UM7300PUA
This is a smart 4K TV for gaming with a 60Hz refresh rate and LED panel technology. It delivers colorful, sharp picture quality and the sound is fine, but not as super as with premium gaming TVs. Otherwise you can supplement its speaker with a surround system or headphones if audio is a priority for you.
Among the features it brings include an IPS screen for great picture quality even when watching at angles, and a decent processing power. Its design features thinner bezels compared to its predecessors, and is slender and neat.
Alexa voice control and Google voice assistant compatibility are included, which supplement its user interface. Overall, it’s hard to find anything better than this one in its price range.
It comes at a competitive and affordable price with a variety of features for gamers and movie fans alike. The TV is equipped with Vizio’s Spatial Scaling Engine, which spins both FHD and HD content into a
4K UHD so you can enjoy the pictures in fantastic resolution.
Like many other 4K TV options, this too comes with multiple format HDR that can draw more details from low-light scenes such as a slight wall inscription in a dark room. Its refresh rate is an effective 120Hz for smooth action so you won’t miss any of the action in the game.
The D-Series is a smart TV that packs the Google Chromecast Ultra, from which you can access streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Google Play Movies & TV. You can also get the WatchFree service by Vizio to watch over a hundred free live TV channels with one-click access.
Extras include 3 HDMI ports around the TV, two on the rear and one on the side for accessories that you move a lot like a gaming console.
Its features include HDR, 4 HDMI inputs, 240Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision, HDR10, full-array LED panel, and 60 local dimming zones. It’s not as bright as premium panel 4K TVs, but it still looks good, and more affordable than its successor, the H9F.
Additionally, the SDR content ensures you get peak brightness and good reflection handling. However, its response time is very slow, plus motion doesn’t look that good. It also has an optional motion interpolation component, but it constantly cuts out so it’s not that good.
It also doesn’t give similar response times to other Hisense 4K TVs, so you won’t get crisp motion. However, its input lag is very low so it feels very responsive, and the appearance of motion is enhanced by the black frame insertion feature.
Generally, this TV performs well in gaming and other applications, thanks to the low input lag and overall performance for gaming. It’s a well-made mid range 4K TV for gaming, despite downers like flat audio and distractingly inconsistent backlighting.
In its price range though, most people may give up sound and picture quality for the low cost, so it’s not easy to correctly balance between flawless performance and affordability.
6. TCL 55S517
TCL is a leading maker of budget 4K TVs, and it packs an intuitive Roku interface thanks to its current partnership with Roku, a streaming service. Through this partnership, customers can access on-demand content from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Go, live TV channels via DirecTV Now, and others, without needing a separate set-top box and streaming stick.
For gaming, the TV’s standard features like multi-format HDR to tune low-light scenes to more detailed ones, plus voice control and other high-end features come in handy. You can simply command your TV to do something like mute the volume, or play a movie on one of the streaming services, or even turn off at a certain time and it’ll execute them.
Other extras include 3 HDMI slots to hook up your accessories like your gaming console, or a streaming device if you have, and a DVR too.
However, this TV is a bit chunkier than its successor, the 6-series, and it’s plastic bezels are wider. All its ports are on the back left side of the TV, including an Ethernet and USB port, plus an antenna/cable connection.
Also included is a Roku TV remote, and you can play HDR content in HDR10. It doesn’t support Dolby Vision though; neither does it support other HDR content types. Plus, its Dynamic Contrast settings can
only dim or brighten the whole screen at once, and it doesn’t have local dimming capability.
Its input lag in normal viewing conditions is a modes 31.3 milliseconds, but in Game Mode, input lag improves to an excellent 15.2ms, which is below the 20ms threshold for good gaming TVs.
It isn’t the most impressive budget 4K TV for gaming, but you get more screen at a budget price, which makes good value if you want to level up to 4K and HDR 10 without breaking the bank.
If you want a large TV that can handle your games but you’re on a budget, this Samsung NU7100 series should be among your list of options. The viewing angles are average and its contrast and colors aren’t so great, but its performance is well above average.
It features game mode, in which you can get 15ms response time and 120Hz refresh rate, which is pretty much the average for other TVs that are more expensive than this one, so you’re actually benefiting from great performance at a reasonable price.
Picture quality is good in HDR and 4K, though not as crisp as the quality on OLED or QLED TVs, but at its budget price, you wouldn’t expect such high quality.
Samsung’s smart features are included in the TV like a universal TV guide, Bluetooth sharing, a mobile app and more, plus a fast enough panel so you can keep up with your games.
It’s a great TV for replacing your old monitor or screen, and its value is good if you’re looking to have it as a second TV or a PC display that’s not so powerful.
If you’re a gamer that wants to spruce up your gaming gear and entertainment setup in your space on a lean budget, you can go for this Vizio 4K TV.
It’s a 55-inch set whose features deliver an immersive experience from your gaming console with features like multi-format HDR, and a refresh rate of 120Hz. Together, these features ensure you get the clearest and smoothest picture while gaming, no matter the game you’re playing.
You can hook up any of your gaming consoles like the PS4 Pro, Nintendo Switch, or Xbox One X simultaneously, and switch between them using commands to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
This way, you won’t have to reach for the remote control and interrupt your gameplay.
Vizio offers a bevy of features in this TV including the Google Chromecast Ultra through which you can stream shows and movies from streaming services like Netflix, HBO Go, or Google Play Movies & TV or Hulu when relaxing.
Its IPS screen with plane-switching ensures you don’t suffer notable contrast or color degradation. Plus, it has lots of smart software features that you’d normally find in high-end TVs for higher prices, including voice and gesture control, and LG’s latest webOS smart software.
You also get a Magic Remote through which you can interact with the TV using gestures, or its buttons, or even the Intelligent Voice Control, which is a LG’s trademark feature.
By default, you need to wave the remote if you have to move the cursor to the option you want on the menu, but you can still dictate commands at the touch of a button. For instance, you can give commands like mute volume, switch to HDMI 1, turn off after this episode, or find a program.
The webOS helps you get into streaming services with live and on-demand content, plus you can find more niche services like YouTube TV, SlingTV and others within a few clicks.
10. TCL 6-Series
Picture quality may have some minor flaws like the colors aren’t as deep as on OLED or QLED panel TVs, plus there’s some loss of darker details. However, the TV is impressive nonetheless.
The 2018 model is a bargain at full price as it doesn’t suffer from the screen flaws and poor build quality of its predecessors, so you’ll be getting an ace Roku-powered 4K TV for gaming.
It manages a response rate of 6ms-12ms, which for its size and pricing is above average, plus it packs full-array local dimming so you’re getting better contrast ratios. The color range may suffer a bit but it’s still at average for budget 4K TV ranges.
Its HDR is decent though, and though it doesn’t mask the images’ lower vibrancy as such, you may not even notice the difference unless the games you’re playing are the most colorful of the bunch.
Voice control is included if it’s a priority for you when searching for a gaming 4K TV.
What To Look For In A Budget 4k Tv For Gaming
When scouting around for a budget 4K TV for gaming, you’re going to have to sacrifice some things because a few concessions are made to cater for low budget buyers. These include screen size, lack of OLED and higher screen technology that demands premium prices.
You can either pick a big screen and live with the poor image quality, or find a good quality screen that’s not the big size you want for playing your favorite games. You’re better off going with the latter – a smaller screen with good picture quality – but with 4K resolution and accurate colors.
A big screen is good but if the color isn’t accurate enough, moving further away from it while gaming won’t correct the flaw.
Here are a few things to consider when shopping for a budget 4K TV for gaming:
- Shorter lag time, for action to show on your screen immediately you press a button
- Minimum of 60Hz refresh rate to 120Hz, which is better for gaming
- Dedicated game mode for better speed over fine-tuned processing of images
- Bigger screen for a more immersive gaming experience
- 4K and HDR in one TV gives you richer color and depth, though the HDR may add a few bucks to the price. If you want to save, you can ditch the HDR.
- Smart features so you can use your favorite content streaming services and apps with your smartphone or tablet
- Budget-friendly pricing along with satisfying performance
Budget 4K TVs are still good, and you have plenty of great options to pick from. Most of them are 60 inches or less, and you can get some with HDR performance though not as good as premium 4K TV HDR.
As far as gaming goes, the quality of the 4K TV for gaming is pegged on the TV itself, but if you get one with minimal input lag, it should serve you just fine. Additionally, you can use a 4K TV with a PC as long as the latter has an HDMI output.
There are several benefits you can enjoy from buying a 4K TV besides the HDR feature. For instance, today’s games are now starting to support HDR on gaming consoles, which can impact on image quality and look really good on 4K TVs with HDR support.
Similarly, HD sets aren’t as dominant as they were before, so you’re probably going to have to get a 4K TV anyway. Most options available are overwhelmingly 4K, and there are budget prices that can suit your pocket, especially the TCL and Vizio brands that helped push 4K TV set prices down.
4K is taking over pretty fast, so you can take advantage of the pixels with good picture quality and minimum input lag so you can enjoy the high-resolution gaming you crave.