The best cheap tablets won't set your bank account on fire, but at the same time, perform smoothly and efficiently for daily use. They also have sleek, compact and lightweight chassis. Keep in mind, though, that the best cheap tablets run on Android or FireOS. In other words, don't expect to get a cheap slate from Apple's pricey portfolio of tablets — even the iPad mini (opens in new tab) costs a pretty penny.
Don't worry, though! For under $200, you can get some of the best tablets around, such as the Amazon Fire HD 8 and the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus. These are two heavy hitters if you're looking for some of the best cheap tablets on the market. Don't forget to check out our best kids tablets page, too, if you have little ones.
What is the best cheap tablet?
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The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus is the best cheap tablet you can get. It's the most fun and engaging tablet I've ever had the experience of reviewing. It doubles as a smart display, which means you can turn on Google Assistant Ambient Mode. This means you can pop it up on a surface to display your favorite photos, upcoming calendar events, weather information and news updates. You can even control smart-home devices from the tablet.
Another reason why the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus is the best cheap tablet around is because it ships with a Lenovo Charging Dock, so you can prop it up on the Charging Dock for a hands-free experience, and your tablet is getting charged up along the way.
The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus is the best cheap tablet because of its vivid, colorful display. It also has a nice variety of ports for a cheap tablet, including USB Type-C, a microSD card slot and a headset jack. You'll also find yourself playing a lot of fun games on this tablet, whether it's PUBG Mobile or Fortnite.
The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus has a starting price of $169.99, and the unit I reviewed cost $229.99 as it has more RAM and storage.
See our full Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus review.
The Xiaomi Pad 5 is a significant upgrade from its 2018 predecessor: the Mi Pad 4. It comes with a host of improvements, including an 11-inch, 120Hz display, an upgraded Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 chip, and a refined Mobile Internet UI (MIUI). What's an MIUI, you ask? It's another variant of Android OS developed by Xiaomi, which we really enjoy on the Pad 5.
We loved its long battery life. It lasted a whopping 14 hours and 11 minutes before tapping out and giving up on us. We also gave the Xiaomi Pad 5 a thumbs up fro its brilliant display, excellent audio setup, and fluid, adaptable OS. The Pad 5 provides an even more seamless experience when paired with the Xiaomi Smart Pen and compatible keyboard, but unfortunately, those accessories are sold separately (hey, it's one way Xiaomi helps to keep the Pad 5's cost down).
Overall, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is a fantastic option for those in need of a quality (but affordable) tablet.
See our full Xiaomi Pad 5 review.
The Lenovo Yoga Tab 11 has a pretty sweet design, from its half-fabric, half-aluminum chassis to its sleek, lightweight footprint. We also can't forget its unique, built-in kickstand. The kickstand even doubles as a hanger, allowing users to hang the slate on a wall for hands-free movie watching.
We also loved the 11-inch, 2K display's sharp, vivid, well-balanced colors. The Yoga Tab 11's loud, crisp speakers are also a big selling point for the Lenovo tablet. Its battery life is also pretty darn good, lasting nearly 12 hours.
Of course, because it's priced at around $200, the Yoga Tab 11 does cut some corners, and users may see that with its average, so-so cameras. Overall, the Yoga Tab 11 earned a 4.5-star review because it gives users a lot of bang for their buck.
See our full Lenovo Yoga Tab 11 review.
The Amazon Fire HD 8 2020 is the best cheap tablet you can buy in Amazon's FireOS portfolio. It's got a camera located on the side bezel for landscape-view photos and video calls for Zoom, Google Meet and other apps. It also has Alexa integration for fun and engaging voice controls.
The Amazon Fire HD 8 2020 is best for those who have a Prime subscription since it is a tablet that is filled with the Amazon ecosystem, such as the Audible and Prime Video apps. The Amazon Fire HD 8 2020 tablet has its own Amazon-built app store, so don't expect to find the familiar Google App Store on this tablet.
And of course, the best part of the Amazon Fire HD 8 2020 tablet is that it's super, super cheap. It will only set you back $89.99.
See our full Amazon Fire HD 8 2020 review.
The Lenovo Tab 4 Plus is the successor to the Lenovo Tab 4.
This 10.1-inch tablet provides an eye-catching, vivid display, features a comfortable design that is easy on your hands and has superb battery life. However, the downside is that you get an older version of Android. At the same time, the Tab 4 10 Plus is a highly rated media tablet for the price, especially since you also get a nice pair of cameras and solid speakers. No wonder it has 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
See our review of the full 10-inch Lenovo Tab 4 Plus.
If you want to get your kid something a little bigger and stay under $200, we recommend the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition. Its battery lasted an epic 13 hours and 29 minutes and it's packed with a ton of parental controls as well as a 2-year warranty, like its predecessor. Its 10-inch display is super bright, at 411 nits, and offers decent color, covering 103% of the sRGB color gamut. It's by far among the best cheap tablets for kids.
See our full Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition review.
If you're a Samsung fan, whether you enjoy their phones, TVs or monitors, you'll likely also be impressed with the Galaxy Tab A7 tablet. It's particularly ideal if you need a tablet that can be easily paired with a Galaxy device. The Galaxy Tab A7 can receive your phone's notifications and texts. You can even make calls and send messages with it.
If you have a Samsung TV, you can use the Galaxy Tab A7 to control and manage it.
The Galaxy Tab A7 also wow-ed us with its excellent battery life, lasting more than 13 hours. It also has sweet-sounding, Dolby Atmos quad-speaker system, and a colorful, vivid 10.4-inch, 2000 x 1200-pixel display.
One downside we discovered is that it doesn't have the brightest display. It also has middling performance, but to be fair, you can't expect too much from a sub-$250 tablet. Overall, it's a great buy.
See our full Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review (opens in new tab).
How to choose the best cheap tablet for you
If you're a huge Amazon consumer, and perhaps you've got a Prime account, an Amazon tablet such as the Amazon Fire HD 10 is a perfect fit for you because you'll have easy access to all your favorite Amazon features, including Audible, Prime Video, Amazon Photos and more.
If you're not a big Amazon shopper, perhaps Amazon tablets aren't the best pick for you because you won't be utilizing many of the pre-installed apps on the tablet.
Perhaps you'll prefer having access to the Google Play store so that you can download all of your favorite Android apps and games. In that case, perhaps you'll want to opt for the 10-inch Lenovo Tab 4 Plus, which has an impressive 13 hours of battery life. You'll get all the features similar to any other Android-based phone, but on a bigger, more interactive screen.
How we test the best cheap tablets
To offer our readers a thorough and exhaustive review of the tablets that come through our labs, we dive into testing battery life, display quality, performance, audio quality and more. If there is a camera or two, we give it a whirl through real-world testing to give our readers the best description of what they can expect from our tablet review unit.
For performance, for example, we use the Geekbench benchmark to test the tablet's processing power. We also measure tablets' graphics capabilities using the 3DMark benchmark.
We sift through the tablets' software to see what pre-installed apps and programs you'll get to play around with -- or delete -- once you get the best cheap tablet for yourself.
We also compare tablets with other competitors, such as MediaPad M5 Lite vs. iPad: Why Huawei Almost Beats Apple, to give our readers a better perspective on which tablet would be the best slate for their needs.