Smartphones may be larger than ever, but they still can’t hold a candle to tablets when it comes to media streaming on any operating system. On the bright side, you won’t have to splash too much cash to get a solid tablet in 2021. Here are some of the best cheap tablets you can get right now!
See also: The best cheap Android tablets of 2021
Buying the right cheap tablet for your needs
Choosing your next cheap tablet isn’t terribly difficult, you just have to keep a few things in mind. Price comes above all else, as these are cheap options, after all. We’ve done our best to limit this list to $300, though you can find some options for closer to $100. Remember, the more you spend, the better features you’ll have access to.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on your screen size and resolution. If you’re hoping to binge-watch the day away, a larger high-resolution screen is a must-have — though it will cost you a bit more money. As you inch towards a larger screen, you may have a tougher time toting it around with you, too.
We’re committed to cheap options on this list, so you can’t expect top-notch power. These tablets will treat you well through everyday tasks like browsing and streaming, but you may want to turn to the best Android tablets list if you need a little more punch.
Best overall: Apple iPad (2020)
The Apple iPad barely qualifies for our cheap tablet list, but it’s packed with some of the best features around. This 2020 version of the classic tablet pairs impressive battery life with a crisp display to excellent results.
The Apple iPad runs on the A12 Bionic processor, backed by 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage if you want to stay within budget. You can kick that up to 128GB, which will last you a lot longer, but it will cost you dearly. Eric Zeman was more than pleased with Apple’s latest iPad in his Android Authority review, declaring it the only tablet to buy for casual use.
Its seamless integration, excellent display, and solid battery life more than balance out the Apple iPad's thick bezels.
Even though Apple is rather secretive with its iPad batteries, the cheap tablet is rated for 10 hours and Eric managed to achieve as much in his testing. Unfortunately, the tablet still relies on a Lightning cable and there’s no real fast charging to speak of. You’ll also have to work around the hefty top and bottom bezels, though the bottom one does house the Touch ID Home button.
The Apple iPad starts at $329.99, but you can easily hike that price up. You won’t get an Apple Pencil or a Magic Keyboard, but those aren’t strictly necessary. If you’re just hoping for a well-rounded tablet experience, the iPad has it in spades.
- Good display
- Solid battery life
- Touch ID
- Chunky bezels
- Limited storage at $329
- Some apps not optimized for iPadOS
Check out our full review to learn more about the Apple iPad (2020).
Other products worth considering
Looking for other recommendations? While the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 is our top recommendation, keep reading below for other choices worth considering.
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A7: This Samsung tablet is your best overall Android option. It packs the best performance with a solid display and long battery life.
- Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD: If you’ve considered a smart display, look no further. Lenovo’s cheap tablet includes a display dock that essentially transforms it into a Nest Hub.
- Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus: The Fire HD 8 Plus is the best iteration of Fire OS to date. It offers enough RAM and decent performance at an approachable price point.
- Amazon Fire HD 8: Amazon’s other 8-inch tablet is our most affordable pick. It packs many of the same specs as above, just with less RAM and no wireless charging.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7: The best cheap Android tablet
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A7 is our most expensive Android pick for this list, but it’s also the best one. This entry into the Tab A series blends a premium-feeling design with capable performance and a nice display.
The Tab A7 relies on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor and 3GB of RAM with 32 or 64GB of storage. You won’t see it come first across the line in any speed tests, but it can hold its own. The cheap tablet impressed us with its 7,040mAh battery as well, lasting for more than 10 hours of video playback. We’ve long lauded Samsung for its impressive displays, and the Tab A7 delivers once again. It measures 10.4-inches across with a 2000 x 1200 resolution that is crisp, colorful, and bright.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 starts at $229.99, and it’s more than worth the money. It’s no gaming machine; you’ll have to boost both the RAM and processor if you have dreams of Fortnite. Otherwise, the Galaxy Tab A7 is going to deliver on your needs.
- Durable construction
- Crisp display
- Excellent battery life
- On the heavy side
- Software is lagging behind a bit
- Lack of kids mode
Check out our full review to learn more about the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7.
Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD: A tablet and a smart display
Lenovo’s Smart Tab M10 HD is a textbook example of a cheap tablet as far as specs are concerned. It keeps moving thanks to a MediaTek Helio P22T processor backed by up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. If you want to save some green, you can try 2GB and 32GB on for size. The Smart Tab M10 HD won’t blow you away with its speakers or battery life, but the 10.1-inch display is just the right size for long streaming sessions. It’s not a surprise, but this cheap tablet won’t be your go-to for gaming, either.
If you’ve been thinking about a smart display for your home, that’s all the more reason to turn to the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD. It doubles as a Google Assistant-powered display thanks to the included charging dock, essentially transforming into a Nest Hub. The display feature works remarkably well, and it can even become your kids’ new favorite gadget thanks to Google Kids Space.
The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD with the charging dock will set you back $129.99 at Walmart. This is one cheap tablet where you may want to consider another configuration, though. You can pick up versions directly from Lenovo with more RAM or more storage for not much extra dough. However, we’d recommend the option with the charging dock.
- Expandable storage slot
- Comes with a charging dock
- Google Kids Space
- Doubles as a smart hub
- Battery life is lacking
- Speakers are on the week side
- Not for gamers
- Haptics could be improved
Check out our full review to learn more about the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD.
Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus: The non-iPad casual tablet
Amazon has figured out the cheap tablet segment with its line of Fire tablets, and none is better than the Fire HD 8 Plus. Sure, the name is a mouthful, but it tells you everything you need to know. You’re looking at an 8-inch display, a crisp HD resolution, and Amazon’s Fire OS. The tablet is made of plastic, which underwhelms, but it’s great to have the power of Amazon Alexa at your fingertips. The tablet is even better if you have Amazon Prime, as it brings Prime Video, Audible, and more into the picture.
Amazon packed decent speakers into its Fire HD 8 Plus, but we’re more excited by expandable storage and the impressive battery life. Of course, performance could use a boost and the display isn’t the best on the list despite its HD resolution. The Fire HD 8 Plus hides a MediaTek MT8168 under the hood, as well as just 3GB of RAM.
Where you can’t top the Fire HD 8 Plus, however, is on price — it will run you just $109.99, taking some sting out of the shortcomings. You can double your storage for another $30 or knock out ads for the same increase. In our opinion, ditching the ads but staying at 32GB of storage is the best option. After all, the storage is expandable, so you can always get a microSD card.
- Alexa at your fingertips
- Value for the cost
- Solid battery life
- Decent stereo speakers
- Headphone jack
- Underwhelming screen despite the HD
- MT8168 comes up short
- Low-res cameras
- Slow to pick up a charge
Check out our full review to learn more about the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus.
Amazon Fire HD 8: The kindest on your wallet
The Amazon Fire HD 8 is basically the same tablet we discussed above, just minus a few things. Namely, 2GB of RAM instead of 3GB and wireless charging is out the window. Amazon tapped the same MediaTek MT8168 processor and the same 8-inch HD display, but at least it kept the stereo speakers, too.
This isn’t a premium tablet by any means, but it’s a good pick if you’re already ingrained in FireOS. Provided you shop on Amazon, binge with Prime Video, rock out on Amazon Music, and like to read e-books, you’ll feel right at home on the Fire HD 8. Sure, you could use the same apps on other tablets, but this is all about the FireOS platform.
Now, the price — Amazon’s entry-level machine kicks off at $89.99 for the 32GB version with ads. To ditch the ads, you’ll have to chip in an additional $15, but it’s definitely worth the surcharge. It may not be the best, but the Amazon Fire HD 8 is easily the cheapest pick among the best cheap tablets to buy.
- Lowest price around
- Great Amazon apps
- Similar specs to Amazon Fire 8 HD Plus
- Headphone jack
- Charging takes a while
- Display isn’t the best
- MT8168 is underpowered
Check out our full review to learn more about the Amazon Fire HD 8.