Best cheap tablet

Tablets & Accessories

Some models of tablets are powerful enough to perform complex tasks, such as graphic design and video editing.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which cheap tablet is best?

Whether you are looking for an inexpensive tablet as a gift for a young child or simply don’t need a top-of-the-line model such as the Microsoft Surface Pro or iPad Pro, you can find a tablet that offers dependable service and reliability at a more affordable price. 

While the higher end of the tablet marketplace receives the majority of consumers’ attention, there are several models that will meet or exceed your expectations while not burning a hole in your pocket. By purchasing a handsome model such as the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus, FHD 10.3-inch Android Tablet, you can enjoy theater-like multimedia entertainment and the full capabilities of Amazon’s Alexa for less than $200.

What to know before you buy a cheap tablet

Not all tablet operating systems are considered equal

Whether you are looking for a cheap tablet that runs off of Android, iOS or Windows technology, you should consider what kind of user experience you are looking for and which tablet best fits your needs. Android is best suited for cheaper tablets and users looking for a greater degree of control over their devices, iOS is part of Apple’s proprietary family of operating systems, and Windows can give your tablet the full utility of a PC (though optimization may be required). Ultimately, it is highly recommended that you choose a tablet that will most easily integrate into your existing technological ecosystem.

What will be the tablet’s primary purpose?

It is important to think about how your cheap tablet will be used on a day-to-day basis. A smaller tablet is better suited for use as an e-book reader or keeping yourself occupied during travel, while larger tablets are better for work and gaming. However, you should be aware that larger tablets will generally cost more than their smaller counterparts and that any hardware upgrades will also cause the price to increase.

What to look for in a quality cheap tablet

RAM, processor and amount of internal storage

As mentioned above, gamers and professionals should take particular care when purchasing a cheap tablet and will want to focus on models that have the largest amount of internal storage and RAM to handle complex apps and graphics. If you try to run an advanced program on a tablet with insufficient power to fully execute it, you can expect errors such as the app freezing or failing to open at all. If it’s within your gaming budget, look for a tablet that features an octa-core processor capable of handling the workload of a full-size laptop.

Size, weight and display

Keep in mind that while smaller, lighter tablets are much easier to transport for commuting and other forms of transportation, they can sacrifice other aspects of your tablet like viewing angle and pixel density. Other things to consider include the screen-to-body ratio, screen resolution, aspect ratio, and level of definition.

Accessories, peripherals and overall compatibility

While it’s a given that your new tablet will come with a charging cable, you may be surprised to discover that the power supply port is your only option to connect your tablet to other devices. Unlike some of their more expensive compatriots, you may be limited to connecting with purely wireless devices via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Though some models come with peripherals such as docking stations, styli, and detachable keyboards, others will require you to purchase them separately. You should also be aware that some tablets like the Kindle Fire do not allow downloads from the Google Play store, so consider your favorite apps and operating systems before finalizing your purchase.

How much you can expect to spend on a cheap tablet

Depending on your desired features, a quality cheap tablet can cost anywhere from $150-$180, and sometimes more.

Best cheap tablet FAQ

How long can I expect my cheap tablet to keep working?

A. So long as you take good care of your tablet and it doesn’t have any manufacturing flaws, you can reasonably expect your tablet to last up to five years before needing to be replaced.

Can I get by with a tablet that only has 2 GB RAM?

A. As long as you’re not trying to play Elder Scrolls Online or use AutoCAD, 2 GB should be just fine, though you may notice some delay in switching back and forth between apps.

What are the best cheap tablets to buy?

Top cheap tablet

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus, FHD 10.3-inch Android Tablet

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus, FHD 10.3-inch Android Tablet

What you need to know: An impressive tablet featuring incredible technology and performance for the price.

What you’ll love: This unit comes with a 2.3 GHz octa-core processor as well as a 10.3-inch FHD display with dual Dolby Atmos speakers, Wi-Fi 802.11 with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Dual Band, Bluetooth 5.0, rear and front-facing cameras, and charging/docking station with dual 3-watt speakers.

What you should consider: Users have reported display issues as well as problems pairing the tablet and docking station.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cheap tablet for the money

All-new Fire HD 10 tablet, 10.1-inch, 1080p Full HD, 32 GB, latest model (2021 release)

All-new Fire HD 10 tablet, 10.1-inch, 1080p Full HD, 32 GB, latest model (2021 release)

What you need to know: An affordable tablet backed by Amazon with access to many popular apps and services.

What you’ll love: This unit features a powerful octa-core processor and 3 GB RAM, access to apps such as OneNote, Dropbox, and Microsoft Office, hands-free operation with built-in Alexa, expandable storage up to 1TB, and up to 12 hours of battery life.

What you should consider: Users have reported issues with being unable to access specific apps, as well as with the bundled keyboard.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 10.4 Wi-Fi 32 GB Silver

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 10.4 Wi-Fi 32 GB Silver

What you need to know: An excellent tablet for sharing and streaming content with ease.

What you’ll love: This unit comes with a 10.4-inch ultra-widescreen display, Qualcomm SDM865 Plus octa-core processor, and the ability to connect to devices of friends and family members to facilitate the sharing of notes, calendar events, photos, reminders, and more.

What you should consider: Users have reported issues with moving app data to MicroSD cards as well as dropped connections.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Daniel Martin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.