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Should you buy this off-brand 55-inch 4K TV at Walmart for $230?

If you buy it strategically, it's a great deal. Plus: Return of the Qi-savvy portable power bank for under $20.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read

Who says all the best deals happen on Black Friday ? If you want a big, dirt-cheap TV, you've still got options.

Like this one: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Walmart has the Sceptre U550CV-U 55-inch 4K Ultra HD TV for $229.99 shipped (plus tax). That's the lowest price to date and a pretty amazing deal on a 4K model of this size.

Granted, the Sceptre brand isn't exactly a household name, and it hasn't quite earned the cachet of lesser-known brands like Hisense and TCL -- both of which are riding inexpensive Roku-equipped screens to... well, maybe not fame, but recognition and sales. But comparing prices this week, you'll find 43-inch Roku TVs from TCL and Sharp at Amazon and Best Buy, respectively, for $280 each -- so a 55-inch TV for $230 is notable indeed.

Indeed, you mostly find Sceptre at Walmart, where this model currently has a whopping 2,300 user reviews -- and four-star rating (out of five). It's not a smart TV -- you'll have to BYO Fire TV or Roku, which you hopefully scooped up cheap on Black Friday -- but it does have four HDMI inputs, so you connect all the things: streaming stick or box, game console, maybe even one of those cable-box things.

My advice: Consider adding the three-year extended warranty for $24 or the four-year for $32. You're still saving big on a big TV, but with assurance that it'll last you at least three years. (Speaking from personal experience and anecdotally, it seems like a lot of TV failures happen between years two and three.)

I also recommend getting the TV shipped to your local Walmart store (if you have one) rather than your home. That way you can inspect it for damage, because the user reviews (not just for this TV, but for many of them) are littered with stories of cracked screens.

Some of my CNET colleagues would tell you to steer clear of TVs like this. Not me. I love television, but there's no way I'm going to spend $1,000, $1,500 or more for, say, an OLED model. I say try this and see if you like it. If not, hey, return it to that same local store.

Your thoughts?

Bonus deal rerun (back in stock): Power banks are a dime a dozen, right? Ah, but how about one that incorporates a Qi wireless charging pad along with a more traditional USB output? Now we're getting somewhere.


This power bank includes a Qi charging pad on top (for your phone) and a Qi receiver on the bottom (for itself). Lightning bolts not included.


That's not even the coolest thing about the Jarv 10,000mAh Power Bank with Wireless Charging Pad for $19.47 with promo code CHSKTE10K. It normally sells for $29.99 -- and sold out pretty quickly the last time I shared this deal. The vendor has secured another small batch.

The coolest thing about this mobile charger is the way you recharge it: On a Qi charging pad! Yep, just lay it down on the same pad you use to charge your phone. You can also recharge it via more traditional means, Micro-USB or USB-C. But Jarv only includes a cable for only the former, and you'll have to supply the powered USB port for either option.

When you're out and about, the power bank can simultaneously Qi charge your phone and a second device plugged into its 2.1-amp USB port. I particularly like the big, blinky LED "gas gauge" that shows charging status and remaining power.

Take note that although shipping is free, this is not a Prime-eligible product. Therefore, shipping may take 7-10 days.

Best gifts under $25

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