avatarby Jonathan FeistJuly 7, 20161 comments

iPad Nexus MiPad MediaPad tablets 2

The struggle is real, there are so many tablets out there, and many of them are well worth your time and consideration, but if you do not know what you’re looking for, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. If you are operating on a budget, looking to avoid profligacy, we’ve got a few tablet suggestions to get you started.

Join us for our rundown in search of the best tablet under $200.

Editor’s note: We have several lists for best tablets in the various OS offerings, as well as at different price points. Be sure to check out a more specific list if you want to narrow your search to a more specific range.

Best tablets under $100
Best Android tablets
Best cheap Android tablets
Best Windows tablets
Which iPad should I buy?

We will regularly update this article with new tablets for your consideration. Stay tuned.

Before we dive in, let’s set some ground rules: this is an all inclusive list for tablets that fall in the price range either at their initial retail value or at their current average market price. All OS options are considered fair game. We will attempt to stick with tablets that are still available for sale as new devices, else we’ll be sure to mention which devices are beyond their initial sales period.

Best tablets under $200

NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1

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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

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Nexus 10

Samsung Google Nexus 10

Bending our rules a little, you will be hard pressed to find this tablet in new condition for under $200, it was retired years ago after provenance in 2012 and is now a bit of a collector’s item, of sorts. Just like our favorite little Nexus 7, the Nexus 10 was the first of its kind for Google’s Nexus line, bringing the pure Android experience to those looking for an Android powered iPad alternative.

We are not disillusioned into thinking the Nexus 10 is a great tablet, but it still runs strong today, even if it has no new software updates coming. Best of all, you can often find this tablet for sale for under $100. Just remember, it’ll have a few bumps and bruises, but it should still serve your more basic tablet needs.

Samsung Google Nexus 10

Specs

  • 10.055-inch display with 2560 x 1600 resolution
  • 1.7 GHz Dual-core Samsung Exynos 5 processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16/32 GB of on-board storage
  • 5 MP rear camera, 1.9 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 9000 mAh battery
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 263.9 x 177.6 x 8.9 mm, 603 g

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Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0

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Also available with a 10-inch display, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0-inch is a little bit of an older tablet again, launching in April of 2015. With a focus on providing a decent experience for a rather budget level price, you can find this tablet for just under $200 new from Samsung. Packed with a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor, 1.5GB of RAM with 16GB of internal storage, this 1024 x 768 resolution tablet has a 4200 mAh battery and microSD card slot.

With a typical price of just $199, Amazon currently has it on sale for $169.00.

Specs

  • 8-inch display with 1024 x 768 resolution
  • 1.2 GHz Quad-core Qualcomm processor
  • 1.5 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion to 128 GB
  • 5 MP rear camera, 2 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4200 mAh battery
  • Android Lollipop
  • 8.2 x 5.43 x 0.29 inches, 0.69 lb

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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

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Lenovo Tab 2 A10

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The first of two Lenovo tablets to make our list, the Tab 2 A10 is a larger tablet with a focus on being everything to everyone. That is, there is nothing remarkable about this tablet, it’s just down and dirty tablet. Now, you may debate that the Dolby Atmos multi-speaker sound bar is something to remark on, and we cannot deny this is an excellent addition to an otherwise budget device, but those speakers do still fire out the back, sadly. Perhaps we are just spoiled by the front facing speakers on some of our other favorite tablets.

One of the best reasons to consider this tablet for your sub-$200 needs is that $149.99 entry level price tag for a model with 1.3GHz processor, and $189.99 for the model described below.

Lenovo Tab 2 A10

Specs

  • 10.1-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • MediaTek MT8165 QC 1.5 GHz processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16/32 GB of on-board storage
  • 8 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 7200 mAh battery
  • Android Lollipop
  • 9.72 x 6.73 x 0.35 inches, 1.1 lb

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ASUS Transformer Book Chi

ASUS Transformer Chi

While we will have a few Windows tablets on our best under $100 list, it remains that there are few tablets in the $200 range that rock Windows quite like the Transformer line from ASUS. Available in models with Android as well, the Transformer Book Chi is our choice today, coming in at just one penny below this list’s upper range. Windows 10 is a powerful computing option, ideal for those with much invested in legacy software, it actually feels silly to put this device here, as it belongs on the affordable end of a laptop list, but it is a tablet, and it will keep you connected on the go.

Equipped with a 10.1-inch display at 1920 x 1200 resolution, this Intel Atom powered tablet has a bunch of ports that you just don’t find on an Android or iOS tablet. Do keep in mind that there are various models in the Transformer line – while this model does come in under $200, you may want to consider a higher model, or rather, a newer model, but for now, this will get you by.

Perhaps one of the best features of the Transformer series is the detachable keyboards. You usually pay extra for that action.

Specs

  • 10.1-inch IPS display with 1920 x 1200 resolution
  • Intel Atom 1.46 GHz processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of on-board storage, microSD slot
  • 5 MP rear camera
  • “up to 10 hours battery life”
  • Windows 8.1 – upgrade to Windows 10
  • 10 x 6.9 x 0.3 inches, 2.4 lb

Related reading

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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

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Amazon Fire line

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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

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iPad Mini 2

iPad Mini 2 iPad Mini 3 Stonehendge1

Now and then you can find the iPad Mini 3 on special for under $200, used, but the iPad Mini 2, on the other hand, is a little easier to stumble across for the lower price tag. It is still $269 to purchase new from Apple, but you know how to hunt for deals, you’ll find it for less. What are you getting for the money? Well, the 7.9-inch display at 2048 x 1536 pixels of resolution has the Apple A7 chipset in behind to power through all the but the most strenuous of games and productivity apps. Of course, if all you need is a web surfing companion, or maybe something to catch the latest Android Authority Podcast, the Mini 2 is more than capable of getting you by.

As a quick history lesson, the later iPad Mini 3 has already been basically discontinued. It offered a bit more power and the addition of a fingerprint scanner, but was removed from Apple’s site when the iPad mini 4 was introduced in the fall of 2015. With the mini 4 on deck, the iPad Mini 2 remains the tablet of choice if you are not interested in an iPad with a fingerprint scanner.

Let’s not pretend that the iPad Mini 2 can come close to out performing the iPad mini 4, let’s just say that if you can find the mini tablet for under $200, it’s worth consideration.

iPad Mini 2 iPad Mini 3 Stonehendge2

Specs

  • 7.9-inch display with 2048 x 1536 resolution, 326 ppi
  • A7 processor, 64-bit with M7 coprocessor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 16/32 GB of on-board storage
  • 5 MP rear camera, 1.2 MP front camera
  • Up to 9 hours of battery life
  • 200 x 134.7 x 7.5 mm, 331 g

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Buy now from Amazon

Which is the best?

I hope you know by now that we always hesitate to make a single suggestion on lists like this. This task is made especially hard when there are more than one operating systems to look at. The truth is, at this price bracket, the operating system and accompanying ecosystem for apps, music and more should be a larger factor than the individual prowess of the tablets. If, however, you somehow have no attachment to any of these ecosystems, I hope that the above listed tablets give you an idea of where you can spend your money.

If there were but one device from the list above that we think you should consider, I would have to say the NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1. We think there are more productive tablets in the list, not to mention more portable devices, but as a well rounded option with enough size, power, capacity and expected future support, you’re in good hands here.

What do you say, is the NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1 a worthy tablet? Is there another sub-$200 tablet that you think we should have included?

What’s next?
Best Chromebooks
Best 10-inch tablets
Best tablets with keyboard

  • Bryan X86

    I got my Nexus 9 off eBay for $120. Got very lucky to find it though, as it was stuck in a bootloop due to OTA firmware update. Flashed stock marshmallow and has been a great tablet since. Sometimes it you look hard enough you can find some really good deals!