The best inexpensive tablets are capable of letting you comfortably browse the web, watch videos, and play games without costing an arm and a leg.
You don’t need to pay that much to have a nice tablet that will last you for years, even if the greatest tablets can cost upwards of $1,000 and include a host of premium features. A buffet of slates from Amazon, Samsung, and other firms are available that will provide you with a ton of value for not a lot of money, even though all iPads are out of the price range of someone seeking for an affordable tablet except for the lowest models.
To identify the greatest choices for consumers on a budget, we tested and assessed many tablets from the leading producers. The greatest inexpensive tablets available today, in a variety of price ranges and styles, are listed below.
The top inexpensive tablets available currently include:
Apple iPad 2021
The entry-level iPad is the cheapest iPad option available and is also Apple’s most cost-effective tablet. Fortunately, the A13 Bionic CPU from Apple still provides plenty of power. The battery life won’t abandon you in the dark, and the screen is still vivid and bright. However, Apple is continuing to support its first-generation Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio, which many people may find more convenient to use than alternative Bluetooth choices made by third parties.
The only thing we don’t like about the iPad is that the iPad mini and iPad Air are making it appear even more dated than its design already is. But, the speakers also provide good sound quality. Although additional support for Apple’s more expensive accessories would be ideal, the fact that it still includes a headphone jack (something no other iPad has) is a boon for users of wired headphones.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7
The Samsung Tab A7 is an excellent 10.4-inch tablet for content consumption that retails for $229 (and is frequently on sale for considerably less). Because to its small bezels, which are thinner than what you get with Apple’s $329 iPad, you get to focus on your content more whether you’re browsing the web or streaming movies. Oh, and the Tom’s Guide battery test showed it to have ample endurance, lasting 13 hours and 13 minutes. Also, it has the expensive iPad Pro function of facial recognition for unlocking the device.
Also, the Galaxy Tab A7 charges via USB-C, just like Apple’s more expensive tablets, allowing you to continue eliminating non-reversible microUSB connections from your life. At this price, none of those shortcomings—while it is slower than the iPad and its screen is less bright—represents a significant issue. Even more so when Samsung offers you authentic Android with the Google Play app store rather than the toned-down Amazon Fire tablet experience.
Amazon Fire 10 HD
With the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021), an excellent tablet receives minor improvements including a slightly brighter screen, 1GB additional RAM, and a more compact and lightweight design. Although though it’s definitely not a must-have for anyone who purchased the 2019 model, it serves as an excellent example of Amazon’s capacity to produce a value-driven slate that will satisfy most customers.
Consider investing an extra $30 to buy the $179 Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus, which is perhaps the greatest Amazon tablet ever, if you anticipate being annoyed by tiny performance lags. In spite of this, the Fire HD 10 (2021) will be excellent for people seeking for a gadget to idly browse the internet, read e-books, and watch videos. But its major shortcomings are nothing new. The Google Play app store is still absent from Amazon’s Fire OS, making it particularly app-challenged. As a result, you can’t fully utilize Gmail or YouTube, for example, and you’ll miss out on many other excellent apps that aren’t offered in Amazon’s app shop.
Microsoft Surface Go 2
It sometimes takes a second attempt to make anything work. The Surface Go 2 aims at and eliminates every shortcoming of its predecessor. To begin with, thinner bezels allow for a larger screen, which is perhaps the most crucial component of a tablet. The Surface Go 2’s screen is 10.5 inches instead of the first model’s 10 inches.
The Surface Go 2’s 11 hours and 39 minutes of battery life—more than 5 hours longer than the Surface Go’s first iteration—is the largest improvement. Microsoft additionally granted my wish for a laptop with an excellent webcam. For the era of internet video calls, the 5-megapixel 1080p camera in its top bezel is excellent, and the second front camera sensor offers Windows Hello biometric login.
Kindle Fire HD 8
For some uses, the Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet is excellent. Its brilliant display and long battery life (13+ hours) make it ideal for watching videos, and its reversible USB-C port is a feature we wish the less expensive Fire 7 tablet had. However, this $90 tablet offers adequate performance and decent acoustics for its budget, so I can’t deny that many people will consider it to be a terrific value. When I took some selfies while writing the review, I was also pleasantly surprised by how crisp the front camera was considering that much more costly laptops had much inferior webcams.
Having said that, those who desire the comprehensiveness of the iOS app store on the iPad or the Google Play Android app store may feel a little miffed with Amazon. Those who dislike using subpar web-based versions of those apps are frustrated by the lack of Google’s own apps, which you must sideload to utilize.
How to select the ideal tablet for your needs
Open your pocket and consider how much your smartphone is used to begin thinking about the operating system you live in. Owners of iPhones might immediately switch to the iPad, and they’d be wise to do so since iMessage connectivity and the common app ecosystems between iOS and iPadOS make for the perfect pairing.
Users of Android have more options, but since Android apps aren’t doing as well on tablets as everyone would want, now is a good moment to think about all of your choices. With all of its Android apps, the Galaxy Tab A7 is undoubtedly handy, but isn’t Windows 10 a more powerful operating system? The Surface Go 2 is the ideal tablet for you if you nod in agreement.
In light of everything stated above, choose the Fire 7 if you’re on a budget (or simply need a cheap tablet for the kids to use) and the Fire HD 10 if you want a little more power and a nicer screen if you have a large enough family and you’re all a part of the Amazon Prime ecosystem.
How we evaluate pills
In order to compare their performance directly to that of rival tablets, we first run as many benchmarks as the tablet will support. We use the word “will allow” because some tablets, like the Fire slates from Amazon, have issues running side-loaded Android apps. Then, to gauge how vivid and dazzling the screens of these tablets can become, we utilize colorimeters and light meters. After that, we put them through our own battery test, which measures how long it takes for a tablet to run out of battery power while using it to browse the web at 150 nits of brightness.
After that, we engage in a variety of activities, including web browsing, YouTube watching, gaming, email writing, and much more. If a keyboard is available, we try to write some (or all) of our tablet evaluations on the devices we’re testing. On a glass screen, nobody wants to compose their masterpiece, I assure you.