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In some ways, tablets feel like they’ve been a product in our lives for far longer than they actually have been. Though the idea of a tablet-shaped computer dates back to episodes of Star Trek and, in reality, can even be traced to the ’90s with products like the Apple Newton, the true idea of what we consider a “modern” tablet began with the launch of the original iPad back in January 2010. Now, more than a decade later, we can say that the tablet is here to stay. Though the idea of a tablet-style computer is still relatively new to the market, we’ve already seen dozens of variations on the basic idea. In addition to the twenty-plus iPad models that have been sold since the launch of the device, we’ve witnessed convertible laptop-style tablets, tablets that can dock into a keyboard, tablets that use phones to power their large displays, and even tablets that are meant to replace your laptop entirely.
Although Google has moved away from the tablet market, Android tablets continue to rule the budget space. The mass adoption of tablets as third devices has slowed over the past two or three years, as phones grew larger and newer tablets began to make only minor incremental changes between generations. However, it’s still a popular tech category, especially for kids or anyone looking for a thin and light device for Netflix. Like phones, cheap tablets have been improving over the past two or three years. Devices that used to be considered “good for the price” are now simply “good,” with higher-resolution displays, faster processors, and more memory than ever before. The sub-$300 market has become overloaded with Android options, and it can be challenging to determine which devices are good for the money and which aren’t.
This brings us to this guide to the best cheap Android tablets on the market in 2022. Whether you’re looking for a gift idea, something to keep your kids occupied in the back of a long car ride, or just a tablet to keep around the house, we have you covered with the best sub-$300 tablets money can buy today. Let’s take a look.
Samsung has been a fighting force when it comes to gadgets, so it’s no surprise that they also have their own line of tablets. They have top-of-the-line models that come with some pretty hefty price tags, but they also have budget-friendly options like the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8. This tablet will only set you back around $140. It features a 10.5-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1200 x 1920. It’s equipped with an octa-core Unisoc Tiger T618 processor that is sufficient for your daily browsing, streaming, and more. It comes with 32GB of storage; if this isn’t enough, you can either expand your storage by inserting a microSD card or spend extra cash for the 64GB or 128GB variant.
The 32GB model comes with 3GB of RAM, while the ones with larger storage get up to 4GB of RAM. Samsung included an 8MP rear camera and a 5MP selfie camera with the tablet, and both cameras can shoot 1080p video at 30 fps. The tablet has four built-in stereo speakers, but you can also listen to your audio by plugging your earphones into its 3.5mm jack. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 uses a USB Type-C 2.0 port for charging and supports up to 15W of wired charging. With its 7,040mAh battery, you can expect around 8 hours and 49 minutes of usage per charge. The tablet is an excellent choice for those who already own other Samsung devices since they will all work hand-in-hand thanks to the Galaxy ecosystem.
In 2019, we recommended Lenovo’s Smart Tab M10 Plus as a unique addition to anyone’s tablet lineup, especially if you’re looking for a hybrid tablet-smart display device. Lenovo has refreshed its M10 Plus over the years, and the 2021 variant of the device is undoubtedly an impressive tablet. Priced at about $200, Lenovo’s M10 Plus features a Mediatek MT6762 Helio P22T processor that brings you faster browsing and app performance. The base model includes 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, but if you’re willing to step up to higher tiers, you can increase your performance with 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage.
For most people considering the M10 Plus, you will love the tablet’s 10.3-inch 1200 x 1920 display, which features improved visuals across the board. With Google Assistant built-in, the M10 Plus also works as a hands-free voice assistant, allowing you to control your smart lights, check the weather, and do anything else a voice assistant will enable you to do. Its rear camera is a bit better than others on this list because it has an 8MP sensor and can shoot up to 1080p video at 30 fps. It also comes with a 5MP selfie camera. This tablet would be perfect for basic work-related tasks, browsing the internet, and watching your favorite movies and TV shows.
Another excellent tablet from Lenovo is the Lenovo Tab P11 Plus. Its 11-inch display is among the best you can find on a budget tablet because it features a 2K resolution. You can do a wide range of tasks on this tablet thanks to its capable octa-core Mediatek MT6785 Helio G90T processor with a speed of up to 2.05 GHz. The device comes with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It has a microSD card slot, so getting more space when needed will be a breeze.
You’ll enjoy using this tablet for work or for your playtime because the audio from your films and shows will come to life with its Dolby Atmos speakers. Users may even use the device to shoot content because it has a 13MP wide rear camera and an 8MP wide front camera. The maximum video resolution it can take is 1080p at 30 fps. The Lenovo Tab P11 Plus supports dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.1. It’s powered by a 7,700 mAh battery that delivers up to 15 hours of usage on a single charge. You charge the device using a USB Type-C cable, and it supports up to 20W charging.
Though the original Fire HD 10 was immensely disappointing, the past years have seen Amazon’s largest tablet become a great value on its own. If you want the best experience possible, we suggest you get the top-of-the-line variant, the Fire HD 10 Plus. The new 2021 edition of the Fire HD 10 Plus looks modern and premium and feels a bit more for adults, despite its plastic build. As mentioned, the aging micro-USB port has finally been replaced with a USB-C port, so you can finally recycle your old cables while the processor has been bumped up to an octa-core processor.
The tablet features a 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 display that still looks as sharp as ever, and at this price point, it’s tough to beat. The same goes for the stereo speakers arranged along the sides of the device. You simply cannot outdo the speakers on this tablet for under $200—hell, even the $329 iPad lacks authentic stereo sound. The Fire HD 10 Plus has 4GB RAM, and you can choose between 32GB or 64GB storage. Like other Amazon tablets, you can save money by going for the model with ads, but you can also spend a little extra for no lock screen ads.
The device features a 5MP primary camera and a 2MP selfie camera, but you shouldn’t expect much when it comes to quality since it can only shoot up to 720p video. Some additional features that will come in handy are its built-in Alexa and split-screen function, allowing you to multitask better. Don’t get us wrong—this is undoubtedly a budget tablet, and you’ll have to make do with installing Google apps manually if you need them. But for under $200, this is the perfect device for watching Netflix around the house.
When it comes to cheap Android tablets, no one offers more bang for your buck than Amazon. As the manufacturers of three different models of Android-based devices—all of which have been placed on this list, by the way—one could even argue that Amazon is single-handedly keeping the Android tablet market afloat with their variations on budget tablets.
Though Amazon’s tablets technically run Fire OS, a customized version of Android designed to offer users a curated Amazon experience, they provide an unparalleled match of affordability, features, and usability. The mid-tier product, the Fire HD 8 Plus, is our top pick of the bunch because it combines a great display, solid performance, and a price under $200. If you’ve got an older tablet you’re looking to replace and don’t mind Amazon’s software, the Fire HD 8 Plus is a near-perfect budget tablet.
Let’s start with the hardware. Amazon has updated its tablets nearly every year since they first arrived on the market, and the Fire HD 8 Plus features a drastic change when it comes to its body. Gone are the hard corners and bright colors of its predecessors. Instead, the new Fire HD 8 Plus features a new rounded design with muted colors that helps to make it the best-looking Fire tablet to date. While it still sports large bezels around the display, the larger sides along the edges of the screen make it easier to hold in portrait mode. The colors also help to make it look more premium than the bright reds and blues of the 2018 model.
A few other hardware changes are apparent as well. Amazon has switched the Fire HD 8 to USB-C for charging, so you can finally start throwing away some of your old micro-USB cables. Likewise, the new Fire HD 8 Plus supports microSD cards up to 1TB in size, up from 400GB in the old model, and a slightly larger battery gives you an extra two hours of battery life for a total of 12 hours off a charge. You’ll also find a matching set of 2MP front and rear-facing cameras—neither of which you’ll want to use on this device for anything outside some quick video calls—and dual stereo speakers for watching videos or listening to music. The speakers are another bright spot of this device, making it a solid media consumption gadget.
Of course, the most important part of a tablet is its display, and the Fire HD 8 Plus has a pretty good one—even if it hasn’t been updated. At 1280×800, it doesn’t come close to competing with Apple’s iPad, but resolution aside, the display has solid viewing angles (as expected for an IPS display), and colors look good. We’ve seen numerous tablets under $200 where the screen is near-unusable, so despite the Fire HD 8 Plus not being technically impressive when looking at the screen, it’s certainly no slouch in this category either. While it may not be up to the standards of “Retina Displays” or other high-res devices out there, it looks good enough for the cost.
Amazon doubled the storage across the board this year, including 32GB of storage with the entry-level model and 64GB if you upgrade your purchase. While the Fire HD 8 Plus is still using a processor from MediaTek, they’ve stepped up in terms of performance, bumping clock speed up to 2GHz for the first time since the launch of the Fire HD line. In terms of memory, the tablet comes with 3GB of RAM.
So for about $120, you’re getting some decent hardware, albeit with some imperfections included in the device. What we need to talk about is the software on the Fire HD 8 Plus because it might be a mixed bag depending on what you’re expecting. Up top, we mentioned this device is running Fire OS, a fork of Android that uses Google’s open-source software as the building blocks to Amazon’s own operating system. Fire OS has improved a lot since it was first released, and the newest release is even based on Android 9.0. Despite running a heavily-skinned version of Android without proper support for the Google Play Store and Google’s full suite of applications (Amazon uses their own Amazon Appstore to download software onto the device), we still consider the tablet an Android device.
With about ten minutes and a few easy steps, you can easily sideload the Google Play Store and Google Play Services onto your device. You can even use a third-party launcher like Nova to give the entire device a distinctly-Android feel if you wish. There’s a ton of modding and customization that can be done with these devices, but even without it, the Amazon Appstore has most of the software you could expect on a tablet—Google apps and YouTube notwithstanding.
However, there are two software tweaks we need to mention about the Fire HD 8 Plus. The first is the included Alexa integration, which works nearly identically to how Google Assistant operates on modern Android devices. By pressing and holding the home key on your tablet, you activate your Alexa assistant, which you can then use to ask questions, inquiries, and anything else you’d expect from a modern virtual assistant tool. Hands-free Alexa is also included, allowing you to issue commands when your device is docked or charging across the room.
Second, that $120 price point is only met when buying the device with ads included from Amazon on the lock screen. Most consumers seem to feel okay about the ads; they often provide solid deals for Amazon Prime members that you might not otherwise know about. Still, if you’re hoping to remove the ads on your lock screen, it’ll be an additional $15 surcharge. The good news is that you can upgrade to the ad-free version at any time, which means if you’re on the fence about buying the “Special Offers” version of the Fire HD 8 Plus, there’s no harm in simply removing the ads at a later date inside the settings menu.
Really, what else is there to say about the Fire HD 8 Plus? It’s a solid, Android-based tablet that you can pick up for an affordable price. It’s one of the easiest ways to access a quality 8″ tablet, complete with dual stereo speakers and a good display that’s perfect for browsing the web, watching a movie, or reading a book. If you’re a regular Amazon customer, you’ll likely find the device ideal for consuming the media that Amazon Prime includes with your membership, including instantly-streaming films, television shows, books, music, and more. It’s the perfect companion device for anyone looking for a cheap tablet, and it’s our recommendation for most users on the market today.
If you have a tight budget and want the cheapest option available, you can check out the Amazon Fire 7. It has been refreshed several times over the years, and a 2022 model with 32GB of storage would cost you about $79.99. 32GB might not be enough for many of you, but the great thing is that you can use a microSD card to get up to 1TB of extra storage. The device features a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, up to ten hours of battery life with mixed usage, and an IPS display that, while relatively low-res (1024×600), is capable of displaying decent colors and solid viewing angles. Even though the tablet costs more than one-sixth as much as an iPad, performance on the device is actually pretty solid. So long as you go into the Fire 7 expecting a budget experience, you’ll be pleased with what comes your way with the device.
Of course, we must nitpick some of the tablet’s weak points. As we’ve seen across the board, the actual cameras included on the device are terrible, to say the least, and the build quality on the cheapest Fire is about equal to the other three devices. That 2GB of RAM means multitasking on this device is basically a no-go, and even keeping apps in your Recent Apps list will be a real pain when using the device. The device only has a mono speaker on the back, making watching media on the go a real pain if you don’t have headphones. There’s also the problem that comes with purchasing a 7″ tablet in 2022 since it isn’t all that much larger than some smartphones on the market today. Still, the Amazon Fire 7 is a great starter tablet, especially for something you’re looking to keep around the house for quick browsing or the occasional YouTube video.
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