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The best cheap tablets 2020: the top budget options

Best cheap tablets
(Image credit: Apple; Amazon; Lenovo)

While there are lots of tablets to choose from, the selection of cheap tablets is rather more limited. So this guide to the best cheap tablets doesn’t include a huge number of slates, but you can be sure that all the options we have included are great – as well as being great value.

And while options are limited in number, they’re not overly limited in size, brand or operating system. The iPadOS-toting iPad 9.7 (2018), Android-packing Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5, compact Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus, and big Amazon Fire HD 10 are all present, for example.

So there should be something here to suit. And to help you find the very best cheap tablet for you, we’ve not only listed the top options (from best to worst), but also included a brief guide to each, complete with specs, pros, cons, and a link to our full review.

So take a look, and if nothing catches your eye, consider our guide to the best tablets, best iPad or best Android tablets. The selections in these lists will typically be pricier, other than where there’s overlap, but they’ll all be the best of their respective categories.

Best cheap tablets 2020 at a glance:

  1. Apple iPad 9.7 (2018)
  2. Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus
  3. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)
  4. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5
  5. Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)
  6. Amazon Fire 7 (2019)

Apple iPad (2018)

(Image credit: Apple)

1. Apple iPad 9.7 (2018)

The best cheap tablet you can buy right now

Weight: 469g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm | OS: iOS 13 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Apple A10 Fusion | Storage: 32GB/128GB | Battery: 8827mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Good screen quality
Powerful for the price
Apple Pencil costs extra
Design unchanged

The iPad 9.7 (2018) is the best cheap tablet you can buy right now.

It may not be the newest entry-level iPad on the market (that's the iPad 10.2) but the iPad 9.7 2018 still has an awful lot going for it - not to mention a lower price tag, which makes it a candidate for this list, while the newer model isn’t quite.

You get a 9.7-inch display, making it marginally smaller than its successor for better or worse, plus plenty of power under the hood for your apps and games, and it's been updated to Apple's newest software - iPadOS 13 - ensuring it's right up to date with the latest features and security patches.

The iPad 9.7 also supports the Apple Pencil for all your sketching needs, and has a high-quality display. And while it’s no longer the newest basic iPad, being an Apple device it’s still likely to be supported with updates for years to come.

Read the full review: iPad 9.7 (2018)

Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus

2. Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus

The best cheap Android tablet around

Weight: 300g | Dimensions: 210 x 123 x 7mm | OS: Android 7.0 | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: 1200 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | Storage: 16GB/64GB | Battery: 4850mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

Strong performance
Premium design
Easily scratched
Camera isn't great

In a sea of slates and smartphones, crafting a device that has enough personality to stand out and enough quality to be worth caring about is a difficult proposition.

With the Tab 4 8 Plus, Lenovo has succeeded in producing something with a flavor of its own, and something that makes the mid-range Android tablet market worth attention once again.

If you already have an Android device, commute regularly and want something a little nicer than an Amazon tablet, this is the obvious next step.

Read the full review: Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)

A decent, big screen, cheap tablet

Weight: 504g | Dimensions: 262 x 159 x 9.8mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 10.1-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1200 | CPU: octa-core | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: up to 12 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: 2MP

Large, clear screen
Dependable battery life
Divisive software
Only okay speakers

The Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) is the latest and best of Amazon’s big tablets. Having a 10.1-inch 1200 x 1920 screen makes it a good budget option for media in particular, especially if you have an Amazon Prime subscription.

It’s built to last too, and has decent battery life, so this is a slate you can happily take with you wherever you go – as long as the size isn’t an issue.

Its biggest issue is the same issue all Amazon tablets have, namely the software, which is big on pushing Amazon products and services, and lacks access to the Google Play Store. But if you can live with that then the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) is a strong cheap choice.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 (2018)

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 (2018)

Samsung's best budget tablet

Weight: 529g | Dimensions: 260 x 161.1 x 8mm | OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 10.5-inch | Resolution: 1200 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 450 | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 7300mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

Has a headphone jack
Long battery life
Design a little bulky
Can be sluggish

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 is the South Korean firm's answer to Apple's best cheap tablet, which you've seen above.

If you're looking for an Android iPad rival on a budget, this is the slate you should consider. With Google's Android operating system providing plenty of flexibility, coupled with a large HD display, the Tab A 10.5 is great for movies and web browsing.

It also benefits from long battery life, so you can indulge in a movie marathon. It’s not the most powerful slate around and its size makes it slightly less portable than some, but for media and basic app use around the house it’s a strong choice.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 (2018)

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)

If you live on Amazon you'll want a Fire

Weight: 363g | Dimensions: 214 x 128 x 9.7mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: 800 x 1280 | CPU: 1.3GHz quad-core | Storage: 16GB/32GB | Battery: up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: 2MP

Decent value
Improved speakers
Few meaningful upgrades
A little slow in places

The Amazon HD 8 was rebooted for 2018 with a slightly updated look, better front facing camera and a larger storage option. They are useful upgrades and ensure it remains in our best budget tablet list. 

It's no tablet king, but it does what it sets out to well. Its crazy low price tag means it's perfect to hand off to the kids without the fear that they're wielding an expensive bit of kit around.

It may be too small for some, and the cameras aren't up to much, but the Fire HD 8 gives you the core tablet experience for not very much outlay, making it a budget tablet worth buying.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 8

Amazon Fire 7 (2019)

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Amazon Fire 7 (2019)

Amazon's latest 7-inch slate is a very cheap, very basic tablet

Weight: 286g | Dimensions: 192 x 115 x 9.6mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 7-inch | Resolution: 1,024 x 600 | CPU: 1.3GHz Quad-core | Storage: 16GB/32GB | Battery: up to 7 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA

Durable build
Disappointing non-HD screen
Poor battery life

Notice the lack of 'HD' in the name of the Amazon Fire 7, compared to the other Amazon slates on this list? That's because the screen quality of the tablet is, well, not HD.

That's a compromise you'll have to make if you're wanting Amazon's latest super-cheap device, as it won't grace your eyes with a stunning display or slick performance. However there is enough power under the hood to get you through basic tasks, like streaming content or shopping.

It's also great as a Kindle device, if you want your Kindle to also come with Alexa and the internet and the best books of all, movies.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire 7 (2019)

  • Got a bit extra to spend? Here are the best tablets in the world right now