Some dollar-store items, such as toys and power cords, just aren't worth buying despite their super-cheap prices.
What We Looked For in LCD TV Reviews
In LCD TV reviews, one performance criterion towers over the rest: The picture should look fantastic. In general, a $500 TV can't deliver the stunning image quality displayed by a $2,500 TV.
Color Accuracy.This is a critical part of a good-looking picture. The colors displayed on the screen should be vibrant and accurate and skin tones should look natural. Perfect color accuracy is hard to find even in pricier TVs, and many cheap models struggle on this front. Reviewers seem to adjust their expectations based on the cost of the TV, using phrases like "good for the price."
Deep Black Levels.Perhaps the biggest challenge for inexpensive LCD TVs is displaying deep black levels and depicting shadowy areas without losing any detail. Oftentimes cheap models display more of a dark gray than a deep black. The best TVs create enough contrast for the viewer to make out forms even when the entire screen is dark.
Just be sure to follow the advice of experts: Don't settle for the pre-set, out-of-the-box settings. Take the time to calibrate black levels and white levels, sharpness, color saturation, and color tint to suit the viewing environment and your own visual preferences, rather than a brightly lit store.
Minimal Motion Blur.Any movement on-screen should be fluid and free of lag. LED TVs with 60 Hz refresh rates suffer from motion blur occasionally. If you're watching a fast-paced football game, for example, you might notice a bit of "ghosting" as the players run around the field. LED TVs that advertise 120 Hz refresh rates are much less likely to suffer from motion blur. Again, though, many cheap models that make this claim are 60 Hz TVs that use processing tricks to emulate 120 Hz. Some of these do a pretty good job, but others do not. If you don't watch a lot of action films, sports, or other fast-paced content, you can get by just fine with a 60 Hz screen. There are plenty of cheap TVs that unapologetically declare their 60 Hz refresh rates. Back to top »
Some purchases pay for themselves over time, making them a worthwhile investment.
Pay less at the dollar store for goodies such as stationery, kitchen supplies, and accessories for your favorite gadgets.