avatarby Tab TimesOctober 30, 20160 comments

MiPad 2 Review header

The early days of Android tablets felt a little like a game of catch up with other tablets on the market. Then the plethora of Android tablets became household items with many great options to choose from by many manufacturers. Fast forward and we find that the tablet market has been polarizing in the last few years, creating many great high-end Android tablets, as well as significant growth in the budget minded builds as well. To this end, we’ll be exploring some of the best cheap android tablets here today.

From companies that are willing to sacrifice profits for the sake of market share, to established players looking to improve their game in the mid-range, several companies have brought to market affordable Android tablets that are actually worth buying. Unfortunately, for every great cheap Android tablet, there are tons of poorly made, clunky, and underpowered slates out there, which can make buying tablets on a budget a pain. We’re here to help.

If you’re looking for a good, budget-friendly gift for a loved one, or just want to treat yourself, check out our list of best affordable… sorry, I mean best cheap Android tablets.

Update, October 2016: Cleaned up some wording, updated a few links, and removed an aging LG tablet that we no longer feel is worth recommending. Otherwise not much has changed since the last update.

NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1

aa-shield-k1_front_11-840x504

Update: As of late July 2016, the NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1 has become very rare to find for purchase. Inventory has been depleted or otherwise marked as sold out at almost every major retailer around the web, including NVIDIA’s own website. We’re told that this is a temporary situation, there is no official reason for the supply outage, but that inventory will soon be back for most vendors. We can’t help but speculate that maybe NVIDIA has a new version of their popular tablet on the verge of release, or at least announcement. It is only 1 month until IFA in Berlin.

Did you love the original NVIDIA Shield Tablet? Well, you’ll probably feel just the same about the Shield Tablet K1, its direct successor. The specifications and design are pretty much the same with both tablets, aside from the addition of a rubberized surface next to the speakers and brushed metal lettering on the back of the K1.

NVIDIA also removed the stylus holder on the K1, which brings us to our next point – the stylus is gone! So are the charging cable and wall adaptor. The big news here is that NVIDIA is trying to cut costs, and they did just that by not including a stylus or charger. With that said, this tablet is now only $200, which makes it not only one of the best Android tablets out there, but also one of the most affordable.

Specs

  • 8.0-inch LCD display with 1920 x 1200 resolution, 283 ppi
  • 2.2 GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 128 GB
  • 5 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 19.75 WHr battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 221 x 126 x 9.2 mm, 390 g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

ASUS ZenPad S 8.0

ASUS ZenPad S 8.0

While Asus refreshed their affordable MeMo Pad Android tablet line earlier this year, they have more recently launched an even newer and more powerful tablet in this price range. In this new ASUS ZenPad S 8.0 you’ll find an 8-inch IPS LCD screen with a quad-core Intel Atom Z3560 processor running at 1.8 GHz with 2GB of RAM. There are actually a few different versions of this tablet floating around, we’ll link below to one that has a slightly slower processor but 32GB of internal storage for the same $179 price.

Specs

  • 8.0-inch IPS LCD display with 2048 x 1536 resolution, 320 ppi
  • 1.8 GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3560 or Z3580 processor
  • 2/4 GB of RAM
  • 16/32/64 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 128 GB
  • 8 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 15.2 WHr battery
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 203.2 x 134.5 x 6.6 mm, 298 g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

Amazon Fire line

Amazon-Fire-HD-10-AA-(17-of-19)

Following in the footsteps of the previous Kindle Fire HDX tablets, Amazon has launched not one, but 5 new tablets in recent months. While this sounds like a lot, rest assured, these are all just updates to previous models. And to be fair, two of them are pretty much the same device. What stands out in this new line are the prices, setting a precedent that we’ll talk about later.

The main tablet we’ll be focusing on here is the Fire 7, which comes with a 7.0-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 600 x 1024, a quad-core processor, expandable storage and a battery that allows up to 7 hours of use on a single charge. There’s only 8GB of on-board storage and the display might seem a little fuzzy, but the minimal approach to Amazon’s Fire OS 5 promises smooth performance out of the device. The best part of this deal is the price, by far. You can pick one of these tablets up for just $50, brand new, straight from Amazon. The company is also selling them in 6-packs for $250.

Related: Best tablet for kids

From there, you can find the Fire HD 6, Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10, all of which sport slightly better specs than the Fire 7, with optional larger internal storage capacities and features, priced at $100, $150 and $200 respectively.

Specs

  • 7.0-inch IPS LCD display with 1024 x 600 resolution, 171 ppi
  • 1.2 GHz quad-core processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 8 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion
  • 2 MP rear camera, VGA front camera
  • Up to 7 hours of battery life
  • 191 x 115 x 10.6 mm, 313 g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 8-inch

Lenovo Tab 3 8-inch-3

The Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 8-inch checks a lot of the right boxes many folks are looking for. It has a great design and build quality, exceptional battery life, a near-stock Android software experience, and to top it all off, a very affordable price tag. It does stumble a bit when it comes to the lower resolution display and less capable processor, but for most tasks it will be just fine.

One of the most unique features of this device is its built-in kickstand. It’s extremely convenient for watching movies or YouTube videos. While it does make the whole tablet a bit wonky to hold at times, it’s still a very useful feature we wish more manufacturers would bring to their tablets.

Specs

  • 8.0-inch IPS LCD display with 800 x 1280 resolution, 189 ppi
  • Quad-core 1.1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 128 GB
  • 8 MP rotating camera
  • Non-removable 6200 mAh battery
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 209.8 x 145.8 x 7 mm, 467 g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

 


Nexus 7 (2013)

Nexus 7 2013 back tt

Despite being more than two years old, the Nexus 7 (2013) is still one of the best budget tablets you can buy.

Perhaps the biggest draw to buying a Nexus tablet is that it will, at least for a few years, will receive the latest versions of Android as Google releases them. Currently, the 2013 Nexus 7 is running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which actually runs very well. Thanks to the tablet’s 2GB of RAM and Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, navigating around the device’s interface is still a breeze. There are a few signs of age when playing more graphic-intensive games, but all in all, this tablet can handle most everyday tasks that are thrown at it.

It’s compact, light, and running the latest version of Android. What more could you want out of a budget tablet?! Nowadays you can find this device for around $100, though the current rate on Amazon is hovering just around $140.

Specs

  • 7.0-inch LCD IPS display with 1920 x 1200 resolution, 323 ppi
  • 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16/32 GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 5MP rear camera, 1.2MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3950 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 200 x 114 x 8.7 mm, 290 g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

Xiaomi MiPad 2

Xiaomi MiPad 2 unbox

Fully admitting that the Xiaomi MiPad 2 is not available in all parts of the world and that it runs a highly skinned version of Android that purists won’t care for, we still think it is a great device to consider. The Xiaomi MiPad 2 comes with a 7.9-inch 2048 x 1536 resolution IPS display, for 326PPI. A Quad-core, 64-bit, Intel Atom processor is clocked in at 1.44GHz, 2GB of RAM and there is 16GB or 64GB internal storage options available.

We have this tablet in house, which cost us just shy of $200 to get shipped into the U.S. The price has been known to fluctuate, so be sure to watch for sales. It is not the most powerful tablet we’ve used, nor is it the most powerful tablet in this list here today, but your day-to-day operations should be smooth and snappy, and that is about all we can ask for in the budget device.

Xiaomi MiPad 2

Specs

  • 8-inch IPS LCD display with 2048 x 1536 resolution (326 ppi)
  • 1.44 GHz quad-core Intel Atom X5-8500
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 16GB/64GB internal storage
  • 8 MP rear camera, 5 MP front-facing camera
  • 200 x 133 x 6.95 mm, 322 grams
  • 6190 mAh battery
  • MIUI 7, based on Android 5.x Lollipop – Upgradable to MIUI 8, based on Android 6 Marshmallow.
  • Alternate Windows 10 version available

Read more:

Buy from ebay (international seller)

There you have it – our picks from the best affordable tablets Android has to offer right now. Missed anything? Tell us in the comments!