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The best cheap tablets of 2022
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 out too much cash to get a solid tablet in 2022. Here are some of the best cheap tablets you can get right now!
See also: The best cheap Android tablets
Buying the right cheap tablet for your needs
Choosing your next cheap tablet isn’t tricky if you keep a few things in mind. Price comes above all else. These are affordable options, after all. We’ve done our best to limit this list to $400, though you can find some possibilities 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.
Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this list of the best cheap tablets as new ones launch.
The best overall: Apple iPad (2021)
The Apple iPad barely qualifies for our cheap tablet list, but it’s packed with some of the best features around. This lightly updated 2021 version of the classic tablet pairs impressive battery life with a crisp display to produce excellent results.
The Apple iPad moved to the A13 Bionic processor, backed by 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage if you want to stay within budget. You can kick that up to 256GB, which will last you a lot longer, but it will cost you dearly. Eric Zeman was more than pleased with Apple’s latest refresh in his Android Authority review, deciding that the light update still keeps it ahead of the rest.
Its seamless integration, excellent display, and solid battery life more than balance out the Apple iPad's dated design.
Even though Apple is somewhat secretive with its iPad batteries, the cheap tablet is still rated for 10 hours, and Eric managed to achieve as much in his testing. Unfortunately, the tablet is the last to rely 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 MSRP starts at $329.99, but you can easily increase that price. You won’t get an Apple Pencil or a Magic Keyboard, but those aren’t strictly necessary. If you’re hoping for a well-rounded tablet experience, the iPad has it in spades.
- Improved camera
- Solid battery life
- Touch ID
- Dated design
- Limited storage at $329
- Mono speakers
Check out our full review to learn more about the Apple iPad (2021).
Other products worth considering
Are you looking for other recommendations? While the Apple iPad is our top recommendation, keep reading below for additional choices worth considering.
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A8: This Samsung tablet is your best overall Android option. It packs good performance with a solid display and long battery life.
- Lenovo Yoga Tab 11: If you’re looking for a slightly larger display, this tablet comes with an 11-inch screen with an excellent 2K resolution and a pretty good set of specs. IT also comes with a built-in kickstand.
- 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 7: Amazon’s 7-inch tablet is our most affordable pick. It packs many of the same specs as above, just with less RAM and no wireless charging.
- Microsoft Surface Go 3: Those looking for a Windows tablet on the cheap have a great option coming straight from Microsoft.
Also: The best cheap laptops
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8: The best cheap Android tablet
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A8 is the best Android pick for this list, and its price starts at a surprisingly low cost. This entry into the Tab A series blends a premium-feeling design with capable performance and an excellent display. It also has an impressive battery life, and we managed to keep it alive for nearly two days under reasonable use.
The base version of the Galaxy Tab A8 comes with a Unisoc Tiger T618 processor and 3GB of RAM. There’s also a 7,040mAh battery, 32GB of storage, and a gorgeous 10.5-inch 1,200 x 1,920 display. These specs are far from impressive, but the MSRP starts at just $229.99. Pay a hundred more, and you’ll get 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. That’s still super affordable for a good tablet.
Our only real complaints are that charging is slow at 15W, and the cameras are lacking (as it goes with all tablets). Otherwise, the price is very attractive, making this one of the best cheap tablets.
- Durable construction
- Crisp display
- Excellent battery life
- Slow 15W charging
- Cameras are lacking
- Specs on base version are not good enough
Check out our full review to learn more about the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8.
Lenovo Yoga Tab 11: For those who want a larger, higher-resolution screen
The Lenovo Yoga Tab 11 is the best option if you want a slightly larger and better screen. It has an 11-inch 2K (2,000 x 1,200) display with 400 nits of brightness and a 60Hz refresh rate. That’s a lot for a budget tablet.
That said, other specs aren’t as impressive. It comes with a Mediatek Helio G90T octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. The battery is hefty at 7,500mAh, offering about 15 hours of video playback.
There are a few other features that make this tablet special. The four speakers come optimized by Dolby Atmos, and the pin connector on the bottom makes it possible to attach a physical keyboard. It even comes with a microSD card slot, a feature that’s becoming very rare in the tablet market. We can’t forget the integrated kickstand, which makes this an excellent device for multimedia consumption.
- Good-looking design
- Outstanding large screen
- Expandable storage
- Good battery life
- Built-in kickstand
- Bad for gaming
- It needs better hardware for creative apps
- Performance could be improved
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. 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.
Related: The best Amazon devices you can buy
However, where you can’t top the Fire HD 8 Plus is on price. You can double the storage or knock out ads for a slight price increase. We think 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 7: The kindest on your wallet
The Amazon Fire 7 is similar to the tablet we discussed above, minus a few things. For starters, it has a smaller 7-inch screen with a 1024 x 600 resolution. It also has 2GB of RAM instead of 3GB, and wireless charging is out the window. Amazon tapped a quad-core 2.0 GHz processor.
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 7. Sure, you could use the same apps on other tablets, but this is all about the FireOS platform.
You’ll also find no cheaper tablet that’s still a worthy option. The Fire 7’s MSRP starts at just $59.99.
- Lowest price around
- Great Amazon apps
- Pretty good specs for the price
- Headphone jack
- Charging takes a while
- Display isn’t the best
Check out our full review to learn more about the Amazon Fire 7.
Microsoft Surface Go 3: The best cheap tablet running Windows
The best cheap tablets don’t have to stick with mobile operating systems. The Microsoft Surface Go 3 breaks all standards, offering a pretty good tablet for the sub-$400 starting MSRP.
Aside from running full Windows 11, the 10.5-inch tablet has a 1920 x 1280 resolution. The base version comes with 4GB of RAM, an Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y processor, and 64GB of storage. Microsoft also promises “all-day” battery life.
Also consider: The best Windows tablets you can find
This won’t be a powerful tablet, and you might get more performance from some of the other options on this list, but having Windows brings plenty of advantages. You’ll be able to enjoy desktop-level apps, a complete computer ecosystem, and everything Windows 11 has to offer.
- Runs Windows 11
- Access to desktop apps
- Great design
- Available Surface accessories
- Low specs for a Windows machine
- Limited performance
- The priciest on this list
Next: The best gaming laptops
Which OS you should pick will depend on your needs. If you absolutely need a full desktop OS or full applications, your best bet will be Windows. Windows is a resource hog, though, and the chances are performance will be hindered. iOS will probably offer the best performance-per-dollar ratio, as no modern iOS devices are slow. If you want more flexibility and would rather save some money, you should go with Android.
You should be able to game with these, to a certain extent. Just don’t expect too much. If you want a cheap tablet for gaming, your best bet is probably to go with the iPad.
Chances are students and office workers will need more desktop apps like Microsoft Office, PowerPoint, Excel, and others. While the other devices have alternatives to most of these, Windows has native support for all. Alternatively, you should opt for a higher-end iOS or Android tablet.