avatarby Jonathan FeistDecember 25, 20160 comments

Nexus 7 Huawei MediaPad X2 tops

We know what you’re looking for, an inexpensive little tablet that is, for better or worse, disposable. Not that we think you should abuse and neglect a tablet, but if you are going to do so, why not make it something that costs you less than a hundred bucks. Join us as we take a look at the best tablets under $100.

Best tablets under $200
Best Android tablets
Best cheap Android tablets
Best Windows tablets
Which iPad should I buy?

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.

We will regularly update this article with new tablets for your consideration. This month we’ve added the Amazon Fire HD 6 and the Lenovo Tab3 7. We’ve also demoted the HP Stream 7 to an honorary status, as it is nearly only available as a used or refurbished unit these days and we’ve removed the Acer Iconia tablet, it was just a little past its prime.

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 $100

Amazon Fire 7

New Amazon Fire family

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 was originally only 8GB of on-board storage, but you can get 16GB now, 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

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 or 16GB 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 the Amazon Kindle Fire 7 now

Lenovo Tab3 7

TAB3-7-colorsfull-option-840x472

Available in two versions, the lighter of the two rocks a very affordable price tag. This is the Lenovo Tab3 Essential 7, a 7-inch tablet with 1024 x 600 resolution, a 1.3GHz Quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. The 3450mAh battery promises up to 10 hours of battery life, and expandable storage via microSD is a welcome addition.

As we say, this Essential version lives within our $100 price point, but if you have just $14 more to spend, check out the Lenovo Tab3 A7 that bumps up the cameras, runs a MediaTek processor and has specific software enhancements for children.

Specs

  • 7-inch IPS display with 1020 x 600 resolution
  • 1.3 GHz Qualcomm Quad-core processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 8 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion to 64 GB
  • 2 MP rear camera, 0.3 MP front camera
  • 3450mAh battery
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 9.7 x 6.7 x 0.35 inches, 1.1 lb

Read more

Buy the Tab3 7 nowBuy the Tab3 Essential now


ASUS Zenpad 7

ASUS ZenPad C 7

As huge fans of the original Nexus 7, we have a soft spot for 7-inch Android tablets made by ASUS. While there are newer and better options out there, keeping to this price range brings up the ZenPad Android tablet. Let’s be clear, this is a tad of an upgrade from the original Nexus 7, but a bit shy of keeping up with the newer 2013 Nexus 7.

With a simple 1024 x 600 resolution 7-inch display, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, this is a solid little Android tablet to cover your basic needs. Powered by an Intel processor, do not expect the power of a newer high end Snapdragon powered device, but as with most tablet in the list today, listening to music, navigating maps or just surfing the web will perform admirably.

We’re just in under the line with this one, snap up the ASUS ZenPad just $99.

Specs

  • 7-inch display with 1024 x 600 resolution
  • 1.2 GHz Intel Atom x3-C3200 processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion to 64 GB
  • 2 MP rear camera, 0.3 MP front camera
  • Android Lollipop
  • 7.4 x 4.3 x 0.3 inches, 0.6 lb

Read more

Buy the ASUS ZenPad 7 now

Toshiba Encore 2

Toshiba Encore 2

The $100 range seems destined to offer up small Windows tablets, including this Toshiba Encore 2 offering, another in a long string of Intel Atom powered devices with 1GB of RAM and sub-HD graphics. This time out you get a 8-inch display with 1280 x 800 resolution, 32GB of internal storage and Windows 8.1. Basically, if the HP Stream 7 appeals to you, but you’d like a slightly larger display, Toshiba is here to assist.

Check out the Toshiba Encore 2 Windows tablet for $99.99 from Amazon today.

Specs

  • 8-inch display with 1024 x 768 resolution
  • 1.4 GHz Intel Atom Z3735G processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion to 128 GB
  • 5 MP rear camera
  • Windows 8.1, upgrade to Windows 10
  • 8.3 x 5.2 x 0.4 inches, 0.84 lb

Read more

Buy the Toshiba Encore 2 now

Chuwi Hi8

Chuwi Hi8

Now that I’ve lulled you into the idea that all sub-$100 Windows tablets are of low-end specifications, let’s step it up a notch with the Chuwi Hi8. To be fair, this is not a well known brand, coming out of China with some difficult OS configurations for North American patent law. Why is that, you ask? This tablet is made to run Windows and Android simultaneously. If you need more convincing, this tablet has much newer specs than the Toshiba and HP options here. Look for 2GB of RAM on top of a faster Intel Atom processor and 32GB of internal storage. Not to mention the USB Type-C and micro HDMI ports.

With a $99.99 price tag, the Chuwi Hi8 just squeaks onto our list, but is an intriguing offering with that dual-OS configuration.

Specs

  • 8-inch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.16 GHz Quad-core Intel Atom Z3736F processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion to 128 GB
  • 2 MP rear camera, 0.3 MP front camera
  • Android Lollipop and Windows 10
  • 8.3 x 4.84 x 0.4 inches, 0.88 lb
Buy the Chuwi Hi8 now

Amazon Fire HD 6

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

The second contender of Amazon’s latest round of tablets is the Fire HD 6, a 6-inch device with a bit more power than the absolute budget Fire 7. That display packs 1280 x 800 resolution, the processor is bumped up to 1.5GHz. 1GB of RAM is on-board, along with 8GB or 16GB of internal storage. For the home media consumers, keep in mind that this tablet taps into your Amazon Prime streaming and is SlimPort enabled, to easily get that content onto the big screen.

For those that are concerned with such things, this is the tablet that also comes in a child friendly version. Check that out in our Best tablet for kids article.

Specs

  • 6.0-inch IPS LCD display with 1200 x 800 resolution, 252 ppi
  • 1.5 GHz quad-core processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 8 GB or 16GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion
  • 2 MP rear camera, VGA front camera
  • Up to 7 hours of battery life
  • 169 x 103 x 10.7 mm, 290 g

Read more

Buy the Amazon Fire HD 6 now

There you have it, a selection of decent devices that clock in under $100. I beg you not to think of these devices when you need a powerful computer to handle your productivity of gaming tasks, but you can happily fling some birds or surf the web with these little tablets. On the flip side, at this price point, it is hard to complain over a few delays and a bit of lag in return for this level of computing on the go.

Is there a clear winner in this list today? I hesitate to answer this. I have had a great experience with my Amazon Fire 7 tablet for $50 – I actually got it for $35, watch for sales! As a window into the Amazon ecosystem, both in terms of the shopping and app store, as well as the streaming services included with a Prime membership, it is hard to beat an Amazon tablet. In terms of Windows, the Chuwi tablet appears to have some of the most versatile and high-end specifications in the entire list today. Really, the choice is your.

iPad Nexus MiPad MediaPad tablets 18

Luckily, there are always great deals to be found out there for under $100. Keep watching your favorite sales sites for more great options. A great example, my Google Nexus 10, while it landed itself in our best tablet under $200 list, I managed to find a used unit with only minor wear and tear for just shy of $100. I would easily recommend the Nexus 10 or the 2013 Nexus 7 to anyone that can find a quality unit under $100.

What do you say, do you have a tablet in your life, that you paid less than $100, that you would highly recommend to others?

What’s next?
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