Best budget tablets of 2024: A guide to finding the best budget-friendly option

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Best budget tablets
In recent years, the tablet market had, more or less, a second shot of being popular. Many people found a new appreciation for a good tablet, as working from home or moving to a hybrid work situation became a thing. A tablet is a very necessary gadget, especially if you like to read a lot online, enjoy binging YouTube on a bigger screen, or even draw digitally.

However, some tablets are pretty expensive, and if you own a smartphone (which probably you do), you may not need to pay that much for an ultra-premium tablet just for reading, drawing or a quick sketch for your new project. If you're looking into cheap tablets and you want to get the best one, then you've come to the right place.

Here, we have compiled a list of the best cheap tablets in early 2024. Now, let's get to business!

Best budget tablets in 2024, summarized list:

Apple iPad 10.2-inch (2021)

The entry-level iPad
Apple iPad 10.2-inch (2021)

Apple iPad 10.2-inch (2021)

The Good

  • The full iPadOS experience at a low cost
  • TrueTone display
  • 64 GB base storage
  • Has a headphone jack
  • Dependable battery life

The Bad

  • Dated design
  • One-sided speakers
  • Lightning port
  • Non-laminated screen
  • Camera is not great
The entry-level iPad 10.2-inch from 2021 is currently the best cheap Apple iPad you can get. It retains a conservative design with the Touch ID button Apple Pencil first generation support. Although this iPad is an entry-level one, it is powered by Apple's powerful A13 Bionic, and this way, its performance is great, stable, and reliable.

During our review, this iPad proved to be quite the performer: it ran all the apps we technically use on a higher-end Pro tablet. It's in our best iPad to buy right now list for a reason, after all.

Comfortable for reading, great for drawing with the Apple Pencil, it can handle almost anything you want to do on a tablet, from basic tasks like social media browsing to watching YouTube or movies. This affordable iPad has a reliable battery life as well, although, the charger that comes in the box is understandably, quite slow at charging it. However, if you have other Apple tech, for example, an iPhone, you can also enjoy the benefits of the Apple ecosystem such as syncing of apps and settings, documents in the iCloud, Apple Music, and seamless connectivity with your Apple gear.

Read more:Apple iPad 10.2-inch 2021 review

Apple iPad 10.9-inch (2022)

The entry-level iPad, redesigned (and yep, a bit more expensive)
Apple iPad (2022)

Apple iPad (2022)

The Good

  • Refreshed design
  • Fast and reliable Touch ID
  • Super performance thanks to A14 Bionic
  • Dual-stereo speakers
  • Reliable battery life
  • USB-C port, goodbye Lightning
  • 5G and Wi-Fi 6 support

The Bad

  • Non-laminated screen that's just okay
  • No more 3.5mm audio jack
  • A serious price hike

Apple has finally redesigned the entry-level iPad. Now, the new iPad sports a 10.9-inch display, comes with a look more reminiscent of the iPad Air and with some gorgeous colors to pick from. It is a bit on the more expensive side, starting at $449, and for some it may go outside of the budget-friendly category. On top of that, Apple still sells the iPad from 2021, so check it out if this one may be on the more expensive side for you.

But nevertheless, if you have some $100 to spend on top for the new iPad, you won't be disappointed. This iPad 10th Gen scores slimmer bezels all around, larger display, a much faster chipset and better performance, a USB Type-C port at the bottom (finally!), a new landscape FaceTime camera, 5G support, Wi-Fi 6, and more. Running Apple's A14 Bionic, this iPad is capable of surviving anything you throw at it. We found in our testing that the iPad will easily go through all the school or work-related tasks you may need to accomplish, and even performed well in 3D mobile gaming.

Read more:Apple iPad 10.9-inch 2022 review

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 (2022)

The rival from Samsung: the best cheap Samsung tablet right now
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8

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The newest iteration of Samsung's entry-level Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 has now been released. This great tablet comes equipped with a 10.5-inch TFT LCD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200, sporting thin bezels and a 16:10 aspect ratio. The 80% screen-to-body percentage gives you a more immersive user experience than past models offered, while the Android operating system provides more tools for customization and flexibility in comparison to Apple's iPadOS.

The gorgeous Tab A8 also includes a microSD slot that can add as much as 1TB of additional storage for all your files (something the iPad lacks). And the 7040mAh capacity battery can fast-charge at 15W. On top of that, the Tab A8 features an 8MP rear camera, a 5MP front-facing camera for selfies and video chats, and does support Samsung's screen recorder feature. And yes, it does have a headphone jack. All in all, a great performing affordable Android tablet.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE

Affordable S Pen experience out of the box
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G

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The Galaxy Tab S7 FE is the successor to the S6 Lite, it is a powerful but budget-friendlier Android tablet. The Tab S7 FE comes with an S Pen out of the box, so you can use it to draw and scribble notes. On top of that, it has great battery life. It has a beautiful and big 12.4-inch screen, although it doesn't have the 120Hz refresh rate that the S7 has. Despite that, it is pretty capable of handing productivity tasks, it supports Samsung's DeX (enabling you to use a desktop-like interface). Keep in mind that unlike the previous cheap tablet in this list, the S7 FE doesn't have a headphone jack.

Unlike the iPads on this list, this cheap tablet supports wireless charging for a cable-tangle-free life. Overall, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is great for anyone looking for a very capable Android tablet for less money that premium Galaxy Tabs. It is also one of the best Samsung tablets to buy right now: a place well deserved. 

Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus (2021)

The best overall Fire HD tablet right now
Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus (2021)

Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus (2021)

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If you want an even cheaper tablet, you can go for an Amazon Fire tablet, such as the Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus. Amazon Fire models are cheaper than the Galaxy Tabs and the iPads out there, while still offering good performance for their price and reliable battery life. The Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus supports wireless charging for comfortable charging, and 4GB of RAM.

The Fire HD 10 Plus is great for reading, and has a decent display for video streaming. On top of that, its battery life is very reliable, making it currently the best Amazon Fire HD tablet right now. Also, Amazon's Fire tablets are a great option for your kid or generally someone who won't need all the computing power of more expensive models.

Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus (2020)

Good screen for watching movies

The Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus is a great cheap tablet for $200, with a modern look with thinner bezels than most tablets on our list, as well as a great quality of the display. If you're looking for an affordable Android tablet to casually browse the web or watch YouTube videos, you might like this tablet and its good-looking display. Additionally, it can be used in a 2-in-1 tablet and smart display as the previous entry on our list.

The processor powering the device is the Mediatek Helio P22T and it offers good performance for this price, although keep in mind it is not as powerful as the Snapdragons or Apple's chips. Heavier games will need to run at low quality, so if you're a gamer, this one isn't the best option for you. Overall, this tablet is great for web browsing, studying, reading, and watching videos or movies. All of this makes it a great entry in our best cheap tablets list.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021)

The best Amazon Fire HD tablet for most people, one of the best cheap tablets out there
Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021)

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021)

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The Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet is also one of the best cheap tablets for a reason: it has a decent screen for YouTube video streaming or watching movies, and its big and bright screen is its biggest strength. It won't be able to handle gaming or more power-demanding stuff, but it will still be good enough for web browsing.

It has a good battery life and HD resolution of its 10.1-inch screen: 1920 x 1200, and for its price, you get a lot of perks with it. Just like the previous model on this list, this one also runs Amazon's Fire OS and you need to download apps for it from Amazon's library. This tablet is also a great low-cost option among the best tablets to buy right now.

Budget tablet choices have never been better

Whether you want an iPad that can sync seamlessly with your iPhone, or a Samsung Galaxy Tab with the Galaxy ecosystem, or an ever cheaper variant, we've got you covered. The entry-level iPad can handle almost any task you want to use your tablet from (of course, we aren't talking about Pro-grade video editing, for example), while the Galaxy Tab A8 is a great option for the Galaxy lovers out there, and so is the Tab S7 FE.

If you want a really cheap tablet, then the Amazon Fire tablets are great for you, they're also good for seniors or children, while Lenovo still makes some good tablets despite missing from the smartphone market from quite some years now.

Pretty much, there's a tablet for any needs out there, whether it is reading and browsing, YouTube, or digital drawing. Keep in mind that for more resource intensive tasks such as video editing or gaming, you may need a more expensive tablet to meet your needs.

What to consider when picking a new budget tablet?

  • Operating system: Different tablets run on different operating systems, such as Android or iOS. Some tablets run Windows, and Amazon's tablets run Fire OS (based on Android). Consider which one you are most familiar with and which one has the apps you need. Also, you may want to think about interoperability with your other devices such as phone and PC. Apple's quite famous for its closed ecosystem, so if you get an iPad, it will be seamlessly connected to your iPhone and Mac. Samsung Galaxy devices also have great connectivity with other Galaxies. Operating system also ensures how you'll connect keyboards and mouses to your tablet, so do keep that in mind.

  • Available storage: Consider how much storage you will need for your apps, media, and documents. If you plan to store a lot of media, such as photos and videos, you may need a tablet with more storage. We recommend a minimum of 64GB of storage, and more if you're a digital hoarder with lots of photos and vids.

  • Display quality and size: The resolution and size of the display can affect the overall experience of using the tablet. A higher resolution and pixel density (PPI) will generally provide a better viewing experience, but it can also affect battery life. Tablets, including cheap tablets, come in a variety of sizes and weights, so consider how you plan to use the tablet and where you will be taking it. A big tablet may be better for streaming media at home, while smaller tablets may be more portable.

The display quality and size are also important if you're planning to do a lot of school work on a tablet or a lot of reading. If that's the case, you may also want to check out our best tablets for reading selection.

  • Battery life: Consider how long the battery lasts and how often you will be using the tablet. If you plan to use it for long periods of time away from an outlet, a tablet with a longer battery life may be a better choice.

  • LTE connectivity or Wi-Fi only: Consider whether you need cellular connectivity or just Wi-Fi. With a cellular connectivity option, the tablet gets its own SIM and internet connectivity. However, LTE versions are usually more expensive. Wi-Fi only models don't have a SIM card slot and can connect to the internet only via Wi-Fi (Mobile Hotspot from your phone also works) Also, check the tablet has other connectivity options such as Bluetooth and USB-C, important for data transfer.

  • Price: Finally, consider how much you are willing to spend on a tablet. Compare prices and features of different tablets to find the best value for your budget. You may be okay with an extremely cheap tablet if you just want it for reading and social media consumption. You may want to go for more expensive tablets if you plan to do work like digital design and video editing on it.

  • Software updates: Getting the most recent OS and security updates is important, even for a cheap tablet. iPads and Samsung Galaxy Tabs get more love in this department, and are dutifully supported by their creators for years to come. Apple usually supports its iPads for at least five years, and recently Samsung's also promised four years of software updates to its devices. Some of the other Android tablets get less security updates, so do keep that in mind and check before you make your final buying decision. Getting the latest OS and security patches ensures your tablet remains up-to-date, protected, and optimized for years.

Can a budget tablet handle modern multitasking?

Nowadays, mobile chipsets have become surprisingly powerful. Even the more budget-friendly devices are quite capable - yep, this means all the best cheap tablets in this list. Apple's iPads run smoothly for years, and Samsung usually adorns its Tabs with powerful chips as well. Multitasking is a breeze for them. On the other hand, the Amazon Fire HD 10 is a bit weaker at this: it is quite capable of running a video side-by-side with social media, but serious apps may strain it a bit when multitasking.

So, it all boils down to the level of multitasking you would want your tablet to support and the tablet's processing power. If you wish to render videos while simultaneously working on a big Excel sheet, it may... well, take a bit longer than if you were using, let's say, the latest iPad Pro.

What is the best budget tablet right now?

The iPad 10.2-inch from 2021 is the best budget tablet right now. The re-imagined iPad from 2022 may be out of budget for some people (we wouldn't necessarily call it one of the cheap tablets out there) so the iPad (2021) strikes the right balance between price and quality. It is capable, fast, comes with 64GB of base storage and dependable battery life. It doesn't have the best camera out there, but we find it hard to imagine you taking photos with a tablet. All in all, if you want the best in terms of performance and versatility and you don't want to pay more than $400 for it, you won't be disappointed by the iPad 10.2-inch (2021).

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