You don’t have to pay hundreds of pounds for a tablet these days, and there are a number of top cheap tablets available.
[Update: A new year, and perhaps a new dawn for cheap tablets? 2018 will likely bring us an updated fleet of Amazon’s low-cost slates, alongside a handful of budget Android tablets from some of the main players. Anyone hoping for a low-cost iPad, well you’ll need to keep your fingers crossed Apple launches a new iPad Mini and as a result slashes the price of the iPad Mini 4 (currently £419).]
It’s a strange time for cheap tablets, and even tablets in general. Exciting releases are few and far between these days, and the most fascinating tech is restricted to the top end of the market.
In fact, none of Apple’s current fleet of slates manage to break the £250, but if it’s iPads you desire you’ll want to check out our best iPad roundup.
All hope is not lost though, and we’ve got the list of the best cheap tablets you can buy right now below – but let’s make one thing clear. There aren’t many to choose from.
It’s slim pickings for anyone looking to pick up a cheap tablet these days as the market for low-cost slates has somewhat fallen away, but the ones below offer excellent value for money.
1. Huawei MediaPad M3 8
The best cheap tablet you can buy right now
Weight: 322g | Dimensions: 215.5 x 124.2 x 7.3mm | OS: Android 6.0 | Screen size: 8.4-inch | Resolution: 1600 x 2560 | CPU: Kirin 950 | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: 5100mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 8MP
Super-loud stereo speakers
Slim, light, fancy aluminium shell
Pedestrian rear camera
Poor gaming performance
The Huawei MediaPad M3 8.0 is the best cheap tablet right now, combining an excellent screen, a whole heap of power and slick Android interface in a slate that offers great value for money.
One of the best things about the MediaPad M3 is its slim, light aluminium frame that looks and feels good while being seriously practical.
The screen is sharp, and has colour modes that provide both more natural and saturated tones, while the speakers are another high point, delivering impressive volume for a tablet this slim.
Read the full review: Huawei MediaPad M3 8.0
2. Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus
The perfect cheap tablet for your commute
Weight: 300g | Dimensions: 210 x 123 x 7mm | OS: Android 7.0 | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: 1200 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | Storage: 16GB/64GB | Battery: 4850mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP
Camera isn’t great
In a sea of slates and smartphones, crafting a device that has enough personality to stand out and enough quality to be worth caring about is a difficult proposition.
With the Tab 4 8 Plus, Lenovo has succeeded in producing something with a flavor of its own, and something that makes the mid-range Android tablet market worth attention once again.
If you already have an Android device, commute regularly and want something a little nicer than an Amazon tablet, this is the obvious next step.
Read the full review: Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus
3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
A powerful Android slate that’s witnessed a significant price drop
Weight: 265g/389g | Dimensions: 198.6 x 134.8 x 5.6mm/237.3 x 169 x 5.6mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 8-inch/9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Exynos 5433 | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: 4000mAh/5870mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2.1MP
Thin, light design
So-so battery life
Camera is mediocre
When the Galaxy Tab S2 launched, it was Samsung’s thinnest and lightest tablet. While that’s no longer the case, it remains a highly portable option in its 8-inch form factor.
There is a larger (and more expensive) 9.7-inch option, but the only really difference is screen and battery size – the 8-inch version still boasts top notch power and a high definition display.
The metal frame adds a premium touch, there’s a comfortable, soft touch plastic back and a microSD slot to expand on the internal storage.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
4. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)
An excellent, big screen cheap tablet
Weight: 500g | Dimensions: 262 x 159 x 9.8mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 10.1-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1200 | CPU: quad-core | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: up to 12 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA
Large, full HD display
Plastic design isn’t premium
Cameras are poor
If you have an Amazon Prime membership and you want a big screen tablet for watching movies and TV, reading, and a spot of gaming, the Fire HD 10 is a great option. If you also have a limited budget, then it’s your best option.
It’s a great value package for a 10-inch screen tablet. It does have obvious weaknesses, like the plastic design and useless cameras, but they’re understandable in a tablet at this price.
Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)
5. Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017)
If you live on Amazon you’ll want a Fire
Weight: 369g | Dimensions: 214 x 128 x 9.7mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: 800 x 1280 | CPU: 1.3GHz quad-core | Storage: 8GB/16GB | Battery: up to 12 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA
Few meaningful upgrades
A little slow in places
The Amazon HD 6 may be showing its age, but it’s still a top-notch tablet for the money, which is why it features so highly in our best budget tablet list.
It’s no tablet king, but it does what it sets out to well. Its crazy low price tag means it’s perfect to hand off to the kids without the fear that they’re wielding an expensive bit of kit around.
It may be too small for some, and the cameras aren’t up to much, but the Fire HD 6 gives you the core tablet experience for not very much outlay, making it a budget tablet worth buying.
Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 8
6. Amazon Fire 7 (2017)
Amazon’s latest low-cost slate is excellent child fodder
Weight: 295g | Dimensions: 192 x 115 x 9.6mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 7-inch | Resolution: 1,024 x 600 | CPU: 1.3GHz Quad-core | Storage: 8GB/16GB | Battery: up to 8 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA
Crazily cheap price
Strong battery life
Amazon Appstore still lacking
Screen dull and low-res
If you’re in the market for a low cost tablet with up to date specs then the new Amazon Fire HD 8 and HD 10 deliver.
They won’t bless you with a stunning display, sultry design or slick performance – but they will give you enough grunt under the hood to play even the most demanding of games.
The heavily modified Android interface (known as Fire OS) may not be to everyone’s liking, but for less tech savvy users it’s arguably less cluttered and easier to use.
Read the full review: Amazon Fire 7 (2017)