10 Best Budget Tablets | March 2017

We spent 32 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Tablet technology has come a long way since Steve Jobs descended from Mt. Apple with the iPad. In the intervening years, a slew of competitors has cropped up to offer comparable options to savvy consumers who want to save some money. Don't let their relatively cheap prices fool you; each of these models has something excellent to offer. Skip to the best budget tablet on Amazon.
10 Best Budget Tablets | March 2017


Overall Rank: 9
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Overall Rank: 7
Best High-End
★★★
Overall Rank: 2
Best Inexpensive
★★★★★
10
The Toshiba Encore 2 has a sleek design with a bright, responsive touchscreen, but it costs hundreds of dollars less than some comparable models. If you aren't a fan of Android, then this is the tablet for you, as it runs Windows 8.1, which is great for productivity.
9
While some may argue that the RCA Cambio V2 is more than a tablet, we would say that it's also less than a laptop. It operates Windows 10, and comes preinstalled with mobile versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but it has a slow processor to run it all.
8
Evolving slowly, but surely, from a high-quality e-reader to a genuinely competitive computing device, the Amazon Fire HD 8-Inch runs for up to 12 hours with Alexa cloud-based voice service built in. It comes in either 16 or 32 GB configurations.
7
If you have a little extra cash to spare, but still can't afford one of the top-rated options, the LG E10 LGV700 makes a suitable replacement. It has a bright and vivid 8-inch IPS display, is compatible with AT&T's GSM network, and has a full-sized USB port.
  • seamless connectivity
  • supports dual-window multitasking
  • movie streaming can be choppy
Brand LG Electronics
Model LGV700
Weight 1.8 pounds
6
The Dragon Touch X10 is like a little gaming PC that you can hold in the palm of your hand. It has an octa-core CPU that runs up to an impressive 2.0 GHz, making it great for multitasking, and it features 10-point, multi-touch technology for extreme accuracy.
  • wide 178-degree viewing angle
  • large 10-inch-class screen
  • wi-fi signal seems to fluctuate
Brand Dragon Touch
Model X10
Weight 2.5 pounds
5
The Lenovo Tab 2 A10 is a 10-inch option that has a fast 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of flash memory, giving you a good amount of onboard storage and quick access to your apps. It supports lightning-fast LTE connectivity and has an all-day battery life.
  • dolby atmos sound technology
  • 1920x1200 hd display
  • low-quality earphone jack
Brand Lenovo
Model ZA000001US
Weight 1.8 pounds
4
The Google Nexus 10 is a bit more expensive than most of the other models on our list, but it's worth every penny. It is housed in a slim case, has high-resolution front and rear cameras, and features one of the sharpest screens available.
  • durable corning-fit glass
  • compatible with qi wireless charging
  • 32 gb onboard storage
Brand Asus
Model NEXUS7 ASUS-2B32
Weight 1.2 pounds
3
Thanks in large part to its closed systems, the Apple iPad Mini 2 and its big brothers in the category all enjoy unrivaled smoothness in their operation. This model sports a high-resolution retina display and a seamlessly interactive touchscreen.
  • over 3 million pixels
  • sleek silver finish
  • up to 10 hours of battery life
Brand Apple
Model ME280LL/A
Weight 1.4 pounds
2
You may not have heard of it before, but the NeuTab 10.1 just might check all the boxes you need. It has a stable MTK quad-core CPU, and runs Android 5.1 Lollipop for an impressively smooth gaming and multimedia experience, all while getting nearly 8 hours of battery life.
  • has a mini hdmi port
  • beautiful widescreen display
  • us-based tech support
Brand NeuTab
Model 8.51E+11
Weight 2.2 pounds
1
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A is powered by a quad-core 1.3 GHz Snapdragon 410 processor that gives you blazing fast speeds in the palm of your hand. It also has 1.5 GB of RAM and is equipped with 8 GB of internal storage, as well as dual cameras for your photos and videos.
  • 11 hours of battery life per charge
  • comes with a built-in radio app
  • supports micro sd cards up to 200 gb
Brand Samsung
Model SM-T280NZWAXAR
Weight 16 ounces

Costs Come Down, Quality Stays The Same

Despite calls that there wasn't much of a market to speak of for a device that essentially split the difference between your smartphone and your computer, the tablet has proven that a significant majority of the population sees it as a necessary addition to the technology landscape. It makes sense that they've caught on, as they offer all the functionality of your phone with a lot more screen real estate, and they have the potential to provide all the power and usefulness of our lightest laptops.

Like all forms of such technology, however, manufacturers spend more time innovating toward the next great evolution of their tablet than they do bothering to market the ones they already have. Newer, faster processors; brighter, crisper screens; and smaller, longer-lasting batteries come out at such a pace that what's cutting edge today seems almost ridiculous to behold tomorrow.

All this spells good news for the savvy consumer, as manufacturers of specific parts are willing to dump loads of hardware off to their tech company clients the second that something newer (sometimes better) comes along. When those tech companies get a deep discount on the most slightly outdated parts on the market, they put them together to form the budget tablets you see on this list.

That means that the combination of speed, features, screen technology, and functionality that these companies combine to create their budget systems were the pinnacle of technical achievement just a few months prior. The only thing that changed is that something slightly fancier came along, knocking the price of these units way down.

Budget For The Future

Given the rate at which the hardware behind our favorite technologies changes, it still makes sense to look for a tablet that has specifications that will keep it competitive and functional for the next few years. It'd be a bad idea to take the notions expounded upon in the section above and apply them to tablets from 2012, expecting them to be anywhere near as capable as today's budget models.

When evaluating the budget tablets on our list, it's important that you do so with an eye toward the future. I have a 13-year-old Powerbook G4 by Apple that still runs. Running, however, isn't enough. Sure, it'll power on, but its batteries don't hold a charge, everything takes minutes to load, and if you attempt to utilize any of the busier contemporary websites out there, its RAM dries up in an instant and the unit crashes. Still, it makes a fine word processor.

My point is that there's a limit to how far back you can reach for technology to operate within reason, and the tablets on this list are at the most recent end of that spectrum, giving you the longest theoretical lifespan from each. Maximizing certain stats will help ensure that that life lasts a good long while.

For example, a tablet with a great screen and a killer graphics card may sound like a steal, but if it only has enough RAM to handle streaming in 1080 HD, you're going to be out of luck when 4K finally takes over all the platforms. You'd have been better off upgrading to a tablet with more RAM or getting something less flashy for now that wouldn't hurt your budget to offload later in favor of a more recent budget tablet.

With all those stats in mind, you still have to consider the same basic features that any tablet consumer would consider, like which operating system you'd prefer, or whether you'd want a detachable keyboard to be a part of the system. If you don't own a laptop already, I'd say go for the keyboard. With it, your tablet will become your primary personal computer.

As for the operating system, the first place you should look is your home computer (if you have one), and then your phone. If you're a Windows user at home or on your phone, going with a tablet that also runs Windows will give you the smoothest experience when syncing devices and sharing information across your network. Mac users would likely prefer an Android system, both for the slightly more familiar layout and to satisfy the excellent brainwashing job that Apple has done to get so many users to disdain Windows.

Believe The Hype, Or Don't

Before Apple released their first iPad, I remember reading a sentence in the Wall Street Journal that Steve Jobs actually quoted for the unveiling. It said, "The last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it." Truthfully, the reason I never forgot it was that I thought it was inaccurate. In my memory, Moses came down from Mount Sinai with two tablets of stone containing the ten commandments, not one.

Either way, it was an exciting time, when half of the tech industry was sure that the device would fail, and the other half was sure that Jobs could put anything in front of his consumer base and they'd become instant acolytes. Sure enough, the latter bunch was right, but not just because of the cult-like following Apple had developed over the years, a following that exploded after the release of the iPod and the iPhone. He may have been the only one to see it, but Jobs correctly predicted that there was a definite place in the market for tablet devices.

Since then, a few major competitors have come along to chip away at Apple's share of that market, sometimes offering innovations beyond what Apple had originally envisioned, other times falling well short of successful bids. In either case, the increase in competition has led to an environment in which near-monthly technical improvements leave behind hardware that makes for some great budget machines.



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Last updated: 03/25/2017 | Authorship Information

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