Buying tech on a budget is always tough considering it’s one of the few industries where the old adage “you get what you pay for” stays true most of the time. Whether it is tablets or televisions, forking up extra cash usually results in a better quality device. Thankfully, there are always a couple of aberrations in the mix that provide a fair service for a fair price.
Check out these affordable tablets
Dimensions: 191 x 115 x 10.6mm | OS: Fire OS 5 | Screen size: 7-inch | Resolution: 1024 x 600 | CPU: 1.3GHz quad-core | RAM: N/A | Storage: 8GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: up to 7 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA
It may be more apt to call the Amazon Fire the “My First Tablet” tablet. But for the money, this is a great deal for anyone interested in picking up a handy and reliable tablet on the cheap. While the Fire is light on apps, and caters to Amazon Prime users, you still get a lot for the money when considering this is a quarter of the price of the Nvidia Shield (reviewed below). Because this tablet is specifically geared toward low-budget consumers, almost all the apps available are free to download. Additionally, all the major streaming services are available, and work well on the little device.
Dimensions: 203 x 134 x 6.6mm | OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop | Screen size: 8 inches | Resolution: 2048 x 1536 | CPU: Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core | RAM: 2/4GB | Storage: 16/32/64GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 8 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP
The Asus ZenPad stands out as perhaps the classiest looking tablet on the list, as the device is neatly packaged in a slim and light matte-black and leather case. This isn’t to say that the ZenPad only gets by on its looks, but visual appeal is certainly a valuable asset in the tech world. The ZenPad runs on a reliable Android OS and provides access to all the apps you would expect from a mobile device. However, the big drawback for this tablet is the bloat of pre-installed software. While much of it can be blocked or uninstalled, the initial tedium of rooting it out and removing may be a turn off for casual buyers.
Dimensions: 221 x 126 x 9.2mm | OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow | Screen size: 8 inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1200 | CPU: 2.2GHz ARM Cortex A15 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 8 hours | Rear camera: 5MP | Front camera: 5MP
Easily the most ferocious tablet on the list, the Shield stands out as a powerhouse tablet able to run PC-quality games on the go. Considering the Shield comes with Nvidia graphic technology under the hood and a powerful CPU, it thrives in the visual department and allows users to play a large number of games from their PC catalog. Unfortunately, the Nvidia Shield controller is required to play many of these games, which costs an additional $60. However, the Shield’s graphic fidelity and power also lends itself to other apps available for the tablet. Using Android software and interface, the Shield runs smoothly, and it has access to a number of fundamental tablet apps. While the Shield is the most expensive tablet on the list, it arguably has the longest lifespan.
As this list demonstrates, every tablet carries its own list of strengths and weaknesses, which need to be considered when making a purchase. Lifestyle and intended use are key factors when deciding on a tablet. What works for one consumer may not work for another. While cost is always of utmost concern, it should be weighed by the personal value the device will provide. If long commutes are standard fare, consider battery life and storage space. Used as a home entertainment device, a tablet will need strong multi-device connectivity capabilities and an intuitive interface. A bit of research before purchase will help you avoid any regrets later on.