The best cheap tablet in 2018 makes on-the-go computing easier, and keeps the price inexpensive. They’re thin-and-light in all ways, including their price, which sees many under $300, with some even falling below the $100 mark.
While the top-tier best tablet in the US got a shake-up three times over this year from the iPad Pro 10.5, New iPad 9.7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, the list below benefits from hand-me-downs and tablet price drops. Basically, all of the best tablets around will eventually end up here, so stay tuned.
Here are the best cheap tablets you can buy at this point in the year.
1. New iPad
Hands down, the best value for your dollar
Weight: 469g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 97.5mm | OS: iOS 11 (iOS 12-ready) | Screen size: 9.7 inches | Resolution: 2,048 x 1,536 | CPU: A9 processor | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32/128GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 10-hour battery | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP
Thicker than previous models
Accessories become costly
Thanks to the introduction of the new iPad (2018), Apple’s last-gen 9.7-inch tablet will soon sit below the $300 mark. While you can still get it, the 2017 iPad is not only one of the best tablets out, period, but that it’s also one of the best values.
Despite its lineup of iPad minis being more affordable and palm-friendly for some, there’s no better place for an iOS fan to find a tablet fit than the new iPad.
Stocked with iOS 11 (and ready for iOS 12), this tablet aligns in terms of performance with the iPhone 7 with its A9 processor, Retina display and FaceTime HD cameras.
Read the full review: New iPad
2. Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017)
Not perfect by any stretch, but the best you can get for the price
Weight: 369g | Dimensions: 214 x 128 x 9.7mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: 1,280 x 800 | CPU: Quad-core 1.3GHz | RAM: 1.5GB | Storage: 16GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: up to 12 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA
Sturdy design for the price
Screen lacks sharpness
The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017) is the best tablet you can get for under $100. That alone secures it a recommendation.
This is not a technological upgrade over the last Fire HD 8 (2016), but it takes the last version’s most important bits and lowers the price significantly by degrading a few of the less important parts.
If you’re a true gadget lover, you might want to consider spending a bit more on something with a better screen and more flexible software. However, if you’re happy to fit yourself into the Amazon system and can put up with the budget parts, this is an excellent buy.
Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017)
3. Lenovo Tab 4 8
A premium mini tablet with power to spare
Weight: 310g | Dimensions: 211 x 124 x 8.2mm | OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 8 inches | Resolution: 1,280 x 800 | CPU: Snapdragon 425 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 4,850mAh | Rear camera: 5MP | Front camera: 2MP
Quality design for a low cost
May not get Android Oreo
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, 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.
On its own merits however, the Tab 4 8 is an surprisingly solid all-rounder, with great performance, a decent screen, solid battery life and a comfortable design.
Read the full review: Lenovo Tab 4 8
4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 (8-inch)
A high-res screen and speedy performance is a potent mixture
Weight: 265g | Dimensions: 198 x 134 x 5.6mm | OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow | Screen size: 8.4 inches | Resolution: 2,048 x 1,536 | CPU: Exynos 5433 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32/64GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2.1MP
Good battery life
A little behind on design
Small on-board storage
For those who are in love with Samsung’s lineup of Galaxy smartphones, this is the tablet for you. The most affordable variant in the Tab S line comes with an 8.4″ inch screen, but houses the same powerful specs as its 9.7″ counterpart.
When it was introduced it 2015, we called it “serious competition” to Apple’s iPad and the claim still stands. The Galaxy Tab S2 features a polished aesthetic and a fairly competent set of specs, but only recently has this been at a price that makes it an excellent tablet for those with less cash on hand.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
5. Amazon Fire 7 (2017)
It’s so cheap they’re selling it in multi-packs
Weight: 295g | Dimensions: 192 x 115 x 9.6mm | OS: FireOS | Resolution: 1,024 x 600 | CPU: Quad-core 1.3GHz | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 8GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 7 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA
Poor selection of apps
Amazon’s super-affordable Fire tablet is best suited for first-time tablet owners. It’s also a perfect fit for parents looking for strong parental controls, or for those already highly invested in the wider Amazon ecosystem.
Even if you’re just looking for an extra tablet to have around the space, the Fire is a relatively easy sell.
But for the wider public, if a premium build and a fat stack of features is what you’re after, you won’t find it here.
Read the full review: Amazon Fire 7 (2017)
6. iPad mini 4
A powerful, yet portable iPad for those on a budget
Weight: 304g | Dimensions: 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1mm | OS: iOS 11 | Screen size: 7.9-inch | Resolution: 2048 x 1536 | CPU: A8 processor | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 128GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP
Unparalleled build quality
Similar-spec rivals are cheaper
The iPad Mini 4 is a solid tablet choice if you’re gunning for something small, but powerful. This mini and mighty slate packs in all of the bells and whistles found on the larger iPad, including the TouchID fingerprint sensor, Retina display and a surprising amount of gusto thanks to its A8 processor.
Like the iPad above, the Mini 4 tends to hover slightly above the $300 mark, but it’s fairly common to find a deal that plunges it well beneath it. And for that price, it’s definitely worth it if sticking to iOS is crucial.
Read the full review: iPad mini 4
7. Asus ZenPad S 8.0
A high-res screen and speedy performance is a potent mixture
Weight: 350g | 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: 05MP
Superb high-res screen
A lot of pre-installed apps
Asus’ ZenPad S 8.0 is a tablet focused on value, but you wouldn’t guess as much by looking at it. This 8″ slate covers a lot of ground for its asking price, and even goes as far as providing a good-looking, sturdy build and handy features, like a microSD slot and 10-hour battery life.
This is an easy choice if you consume a lot of content and want to look good doing so, but don’t want to completely shell out your laptop budget on a tablet.
Read the full review: Asus ZenPad S 8.0
8. Huawei MediaPad M3 8.0
An Android tablet with a particular focus on design
Weight: 322g | Dimensions: 215 x 124x 7.3mm | OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow | Screen size: 8.0-inch | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 | CPU: Octa-core | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 8MP
Fantastic design for the price
Iffy gaming performance
Cameras aren’t anything special
The Huawei MediaPad M3 is a tablet with lots of admirable qualities. High screen resolution, ultra-low weight and speakers that go loud enough to become an anti-social menace in some situations earn a big thumbs-up.
It should be known that we encountered some issues with keeping a steady framerate during intensive games. The casual games everyone gets obsessed with for weeks at a time run fine, but those with console-like graphics tend to struggle to an extent that’s quite rare for a tablet of this quality.
You’ll need to think carefully about whether this is going to be an issue for you before choosing the Huawei MediaPad M3 over, say, the iPad mini 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab S, or any of these other fine options.
Read the full review: Huawei MediaPad M3 8.0