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TVs to avoid buying

Keen for a new screen? Give these models a miss, say our experts.

TV screens with thumbs down symbols signifying poor performance
Last updated: 20 November 2020

If you're looking to nab a new TV, buying one in the end-of-year sales can save you a hefty slice off the original retail price. 

But be careful – while retailers will be clearing some good-quality stock, they'll also be offloading plenty of ordinary models it's best to steer clear of.

Our TV experts test about 80 models in our lab each year, covering more than 90% of the market, including leading brands such as LG, Panasonic, Sony and Samsung, to lesser known brands such as Changhong, Bauhn, Chiq, Ffalcon and Aldi's house brand Bauhn.

Choice lab expert Scott tests a TV

CHOICE test coordinator Scott in our TV labs.

In our most recent lab tests, we reviewed some impressive units alongside some seriously poor performers (see our full TV reviews). 

Here are the models that rated lowest:

1. Ffalcon 40F1

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 58%
  • Size: 40 inches
  • Price: $298

This small TV from the curiously named brand Ffalcon (not a typo) sadly doesn't soar at all. The lowest overall scorer in our test group, it rated a dismal 56% for its high definition (HD) picture quality and an even sadder 51% for standard definition (SD). It's also hard on the ears, scoring just 45% for sound quality.

On the upside, it does have a good user interface and remote, very good energy use, and a sensor to adjust the TV's brightness to ambient light. But they're the only positive things our testers had to say about this one. Read our full review

ffalcon 40f1

The Ffalcon rated just 51% for SD viewing – the lowest in our test.

2. Linsar LS40CFHD

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 63%
  • Size: 39 inches
  • Price: $399

This model performs notably better than the Ffalcon, but that's not saying much really. Overall, it still delivers a fairly ordinary viewing experience, managing just 60% for HD picture quality and 66% for SD.  

But it's not all bad news – it scored well for energy efficiency, user interface and its remote. But those ticks are snuffed out by an abysmal sound quality rating of just 15%, which means you'll need to shell out for a soundbar if you want to enjoy your favourite shows. Or use subtitles. Read our full review

3. Hisense 40S4

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 64%
  • Size: 39 inches
  • Price: $495

We've tested some solid performers from Hisense, but sadly this smaller unit isn't one of them. It had barely passable picture quality for HD (scoring 54%) and didn't do much better for SD (60%).

Like the Linsar, sound quality is severely subpar, with a lowly mark of just 20%. Our experts noted the audio was extremely tinny, low in volume and that "a phone would sound better". Ouch! 

Admittedly, it did perform better for smart TV features, energy efficiency, user interface and its remote. But it's little comfort when the picture and sound quality fall by the wayside. Read our full review

hisense-40s4_5

According to our testers, the Hisense's audio quality sounded worse than a phone speaker.

4. Bauhn ATV65UHDG

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 64%
  • Size: 65 inches
  • Price: $699

Aldi's bargain-brand Bauhn TVs pop up in their Special Buys sales and usually sell out in a day. Their 65-inch model is very cheap for its size, but, sadly, our testers found you get what you pay for. 

It does well for energy use and smart TV features, but all-important picture quality was average at best, scoring a sorry 59% for SD viewing and just 54% for HD. Unlike other models here, this unit also offers Ultra HD (4K) viewing, but with a score of just 50%, it's pretty ordinary too. Sound quality rated equally poorly, with our experts noting muddy, rumbly audio in their tests.

Our experts have also tested Aldi's 58-inch and 48-inch models, and they rated even worse – something to keep in mind if you're tempted to line up for the next TV sale. Read our full review

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact checking at CHOICE.