Buying Guide: Best cheap tablets: top budget options

Best budget tablets

The iPad Air 2 is still ruling the roost as the best tablet in the world, but with prices starting at £399 and rising to £659, it’s clearly priced in a bracket way above many people’s budget.

Apple’s sky-high prices mean those wanting a more affordable tablet experience will have to look elsewhere, although the iPad mini 2 has seen a price cut since the iPad mini 4 and iPad mini 3 arrived on the scene. It’s still not super cheap, but it can just about be considered a budget tablet now.

Google’s operating system now adorns a multitude of tablets, from those priced at the same lofty heights as Apple’s offerings (many of which will be packing Android Marshmallow soon) to suspiciously cheap tablets that can be picked up for less than £100 at your local supermarket – although we’d advise against purchasing most of these.

Before you get onto the full list of the best cheap tablets, we’ve put together our top five choices into a short but handy video. Here are our favourite choices for the best cheap tablet you can buy right now.

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6. Amazon Fire

It’s the cheapest from Amazon so far

Weight: 313g | Dimensions: 115 x 191 x 10.6mm | OS: Fire OS 5 | Screen size: 7-inch | Resolution: 1024 x 600| CPU: Quad-core 1.3GHz | RAM: N/A | Storage: 8GB | Battery: N/A | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA

See more Amazon Fire deals

Family friendly Sturdy design Poor selection of apps Questionable OS design

Amazon has gone for the lowest price possible on the new Fire tablet, and that means it’s not for everybody. You can pick it up for £50 and Amazon thinks you’ll want six around your home as well as giving one to your kids.

Considering the price, it has some good spec and has a sturdy design that isn’t going to break right away. If money is your biggest factor, the Amazon Fire may be the one for you.

Amazon Fire HD 10

5. Amazon Fire HD 10 and HD 8

Amazon’s latest slates are excellent child fodder

Weight: 432g/311g | Dimensions: 159 x 262 x 7.7mm/128 x 214 x 7.7mm | OS: FireOS 5 | Screen size: 10.1-inch/8-inch| Resolution: 1,280 x 800 | CPU: Quad-core | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 16GB/8GB | Battery: up to 8 hours | Rear camera: 5MP | Front camera: VGA

See more Amazon Fire HD 10 and HD 8 deals

Low price Impressive speakers Sluggish performance Poor screen resolution

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 FireOS) may not be to everyone’s liking, but for less tech savvy users it’s arguably less cluttered and easier to use.

Amazon Fire HD 6

4. Amazon Fire HD 6

If you live on Amazon you’ll want a Fire

Weight: 290g | Dimensions: 169 x 103 x 10.7mm | OS: Android (Fire OS) | Screen size: 6-inch | Resolution: 800 x 1280 | CPU: quad-core | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 8GB/16GB | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA

See more Amazon Fire HD 6 deals

Compact size Prime integration Awful cameras Fire OS can be restrictive

The Amazon Fire HD 6 is one of the most enticing tablets to come from Amazon, mixing efficient integration with the Prime services and a compact footprint that makes it easy to drop in your bag.

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.

EE Harrier Tab

3. EE Harrier Tab

Super low-cost 4G tablet

Weight: 338g | Dimensions: 212.8 x 124 x 8.5mm | OS: Android 5.0 | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: Full HD | CPU: octa-core | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | Battery: 4650mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2MP

See more EE Harrier Tab deals

Good screen 4G mobile internet Limited to EE Poor cameras

The EE Harrier Tab is a tablet of greater taste than its shiny-as-you-like fake metal rear might suggest. It doesn’t have an EE-heavy interface, performs very well, and has a well thought out design that is both light and practical.

If the idea of a 4G tablet appeals, this is one of the best budget options. It is much better than the Vodafone alternative, the Smart Tab prime 6, thanks to its higher-quality screen.

However, if mobile internet is something you can live without, the Tesco Hudl 2 is an even better buy at a jaw-dropping £99, though that budget slate has sadly been discontinued, so it will be hard to find.

iPad Mini 2

2. iPad mini 2

The best value iPad out there

Weight: 331g | Dimensions: 200 x 134.7 x 7.5mm | OS: iOS 9 | Screen size: 7.9-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Dual-core 1.3GHz | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 16/32/64/128GB | Battery: 6470mAh |Rear camera: 5MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

See all prices

Amazing screenBrilliant designSimilar-spec rivals are much cheaper16GB too low storage

What’s this? The iPad mini 2 in a list of the best cheap tablets? Why yes. It may be a premium slate but it’s been superseded by the iPad mini 4 and the already discontinued iPad mini 3 and as such it’s dropped in price to under £250.

Better yet, as the iPad mini 3 is basically the same tablet with added Touch ID you hardly miss out on anything by buying this older model, though you do miss out on the power-boost found in the iPad mini 4.

Still, with a brilliant screen, a stunning design and quite a lot of power the iPad mini 2 is difficult to beat at this price point. It looks, feels and performs like something far more expensive.

Nexus 9

1. Google Nexus 9

Pure Google in a tablet, at a new low price

Weight: 425g | Dimensions: 228.2 x 153.7 x 8mm | OS: Android 5.1.1 | Screen size: 8.9-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: 2.6GHz dual-core | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB/32GB | Battery: 6700mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.6MP

See more Google Nexus 9 deals

Ideal 4:3 aspect ratio Strong speakers Subpar display quality Uninspiring design

When the Nexus 9 launched it was going toe-to-two with the iPad in terms of screen size and price. However that was back in 2014 and the Nexus 9 can now be picked up for a lot less.

Buy it direct from Google and you’re faced with a steep £319 charge, but shop around and you can get it for just a touch over £200 now, which makes it an incredibly attractive offering. Issues with screen quality are easier to handle at this price – it’s still great, just not up to iPad Air 2 standards.

There’s a decent slug of power, Android Marshmallow inbound and HTC’s BoomSound speakers for excellent sound quality – and it’s now super cheap price tag means it’s the best budget tablet around.

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  1. Reply Deondre Shanahan Jr. January 28, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Good list, can't really argue with it.

  2. Reply Jessy Rice January 28, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    I'm not even a pirate but I still believe the locked OS of Apple sucks.

  3. Reply Marilie Rath January 28, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    can anybody recommend a tablet mainly for games for my sister who has chronic multiple mental difficulties but can conquer these games with ease and calm her down no end. I don't want anything to expensive because she is also very clumsy and has no idea of value thank you Paula Stephens

  4. Reply Mrs. Aglae Jenkins January 29, 2016 at 12:38 am


  5. Reply Samanta Johnson January 29, 2016 at 4:19 am

    Kindle fire HD kids edition.

  6. Reply Zoie Hagenes DVM January 29, 2016 at 4:23 am

    Actually,there are many cheap and good Google android tablet pc in China.But how to choose the best one ?We must have a pair of fire eyes with golden pupils!Andytang here hope you all guys good luck.Best wishes from

  7. Reply Kim Abbott January 29, 2016 at 5:47 am

    Apart frm the fact they keep going wrong I do believe these are the best looking (HTC ONE) and very powerful tablets out there.

    In fact I came on here in the attempt to find one I could swap this with as even if i get one that works I will have to be without one for a couple of weeks and I will constantly think that at any point it will go wrong!

    After four of them at the current count out of four going wrong would you not think the same? Lol.

    So no I do not think they did much of a test on here as two out of three did not last two weeks and the other displying problems in that time, sorry!! Lol.

  8. Reply Reid Ward January 29, 2016 at 5:47 am

    Probably the ipad mini as android low end tablets and phones tend to be laggy.

  9. Reply Liana Tillman II January 29, 2016 at 9:53 am

    I have the iPad mini with retina BUT i would still happily take the first iPad mini over any of these other tablets on this list.
    Don't get me wrong i know the nexus 7 2013 is a very nice device but the iPad still has the upper hand when it comes to tablets in my opinion.

  10. Reply Dayna Rolfson January 29, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    This is really bad form showing this as an article from 7 days ago when the comments here suggest it's now well past its best. The LG G Pad isn't even available at present.

  11. Reply Miss Brandi Beahan January 29, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Another Android tabletmaker making strides to offer quality tablets at competitive prices is Ainol Electronics, which recently launched the Novo 9 Spark — which compares to the iPad and Nexus 10 – however is price at £173 ($269) with one reseller it's available through is a site called TabletSprint — this Android 4.2 tablet features a 9.7 Inch Retina-quality display, a Quad Core processor, and a 10,000 mAh performance battery; along with a 5MP Rear Camera, a MicroSD Memory card slot and HDMI TV output. One thing Ainol Electronics is previously known for is winning Runner Up for Best Tablet of the Year at the international Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012.

    Also available through TabletSprint is another brand new model that launches next week — the Icoo 7GS – 3G model for £128 ($199) which compares to the Nexus 7 – 3G version priced $100 more — the Icoo 7GS – 3G offers a built-in SIM slot for 3G HSPA+ connection with both Internet access and Voice Calling through any GSM Network; and also features a Quad Core processor 16GB/2GB DDR3, an HD 1280×800 IPS Screen, and built-in GPS; as well as a Rear 5 Megapixel Camera, MicroSd slot, Android 4.1 O/S, Google Play store, and an HDMI 1080p port with 4K HD output to stream video & movies to a TV.

  12. Reply Gilberto Macejkovic January 29, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Should check out – They have a couple of cheap tablets that I never knew actually existed, definitely worth a look if you are on a budget.

  13. Reply Chad Mueller DVM January 29, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    want more cheaper but good quality android tablet pc?just email me at ,andy will give you something value for your reference.

  14. Reply Prof. Jany Reichert MD January 30, 2016 at 1:30 am

    Like what? The pain in the ass to play movies and move files??
    I was close to smash my iphone every time I wanted to play movies on the piece of fcuk, I have spend days converting movies.
    And why the retarded screen ratio??

    Now on my new Note 3, find movie download and play.
    Im a pirate for life and Apple suck if you are a pirate.

  15. Reply Wilhelm Swift January 30, 2016 at 2:13 am

    How did a 2012 tablet make the list?

    Just because the iPad Mini 2 is way overpriced (remember when the Galaxy Note 8.0 was announced to be over £300 too?), does it mean TechRadar should be recommending an outdated model?

    By this token the Nexus 7 2012 has a right to be on the list too. It gets the latest OS updates just like the iPad Mini will. It's even got a higher resolution screen.

    Both the Nexus 7 2012 and 2013 models got Android 4.4 KitKat at exactly the same time in fact.

    It maybe hard to get now (but not impossible) but it's still a better tablet than many of the 2013 models on this list.

  16. Reply Nils O'Hara January 30, 2016 at 7:13 am

    its #1 on here too

  17. Reply Layne Greenfelder January 31, 2016 at 12:34 am


    Get the budget tabs here

  18. Reply Thalia Beahan III January 31, 2016 at 1:12 am

    What about the Nexus 7? I love mine and its ranked #1 here

  19. Reply Prof. Skye Morissette January 31, 2016 at 9:52 am

    I still love my Motorola Xoom 2 ME. It got slated in the reviews when it ran honeycomb but ICS runs like a dream. Light, slim, water resistant, has every feature (barometer anyone?) you could possibly need and massively discounted.

  20. Reply Lucie Gleason January 31, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    I bought myself the T-Roid 705A – 7-inch Tablet PC with Anroid operating system for under$200 from htttp:// and I'm very impressed with it's speed Peeping joe is actuallly selling quality tablet and smartphone cheap, definitely the best cheap tablet on the market.

  21. Reply Ms. Johanna Rohan January 31, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    look i researche for i guess 3 weeks n after that i fouNd an excellent is AINOL NOVO8 DISCOVER TAB.i m so pleased wth it…u wont regret buying i**** quad core. ram is double , affordable n dual camera

  22. Reply Etha Okuneva February 1, 2016 at 5:42 am

    Best tablet recommended
    read more :

  23. Reply Dr. Winnifred Daniel II February 1, 2016 at 6:20 am

    I have now had 5 of these and while they are stunning for the money….they fail…ALOT!! All five failed and I have two take two back tomorrow!! Meaning I would have then had SEVEN of these?!?!

    Video on my YouTube account of my one showing…ISSUES…

  24. Reply Cathrine Ryan February 1, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Other 2 cheap tablets,but real cheap under 100 are Acer Iconia B1 and Asus Memo.Standard tablets ,Acer even has GPS and bluetooth and Asus Memo comes with 1Gb Ram plus cloud service.
    You can check those other two cheap Andorid tablets reviewed here :

  25. Reply Caden Fahey February 1, 2016 at 11:38 am

    if u r planning to buy a tablet i ll prefer uplay tablet c70 its having more features like Google Android 4.0 ICS, has a powerful ARM based 1.2GHz CPU with GPU, capacitive multi-touch screen, front-facing camera, expandable memory, and HDMI port to output video and game to your big screen TV. uPlay is the leader of high quality low price tablet. its nice to use……

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