The iPad Air 9.7 is ruling the roost as the best tablet in the world, but with prices starting at £499 and rising to £839, it’s clearly priced in a bracket way above many people’s budget.
Apple’s sky-high prices mean those wanting a more affordable tablet experience will have to look elsewhere, although the iPad mini 2 has seen a price cut since the iPad mini 4 and iPad mini 3 arrived on the scene. It’s still not super cheap, but it can just about be considered a budget tablet now.
Google’s operating system now adorns a multitude of tablets, from those priced at the same lofty heights as Apple’s offerings (some of which will be packing Android Nougat soon) to suspiciously cheap tablets that can be picked up for less than £100 at your local supermarket – although we’d advise against purchasing most of these.
There are a number of high quality affordable slates available too though, and the following are our favourite choices for the best cheap tablet you can buy right now.
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Amazon has gone for the lowest price possible on the new Fire tablet, and that means it’s not for everybody. You can pick it up for £50 and Amazon thinks you’ll want six around your home as well as giving one to your kids.
Considering the price, it has some good spec and has a sturdy design that isn’t going to break right away. If money is your biggest factor, the Amazon Fire may be the one for you.
Read the full review: Amazon Fire
If you’re in the market for a low cost tablet with up to date specs then the new Amazon Fire HD 8 and HD 10 deliver.
They won’t bless you with a stunning display, sultry design or slick performance – but they will give you enough grunt under the hood to play even the most demanding of games.
The heavily modified Android interface (known as Fire OS) may not be to everyone’s liking, but for less tech savvy users it’s arguably less cluttered and easier to use.
Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 10 and HD 8
The Amazon Fire HD 6 is one of the most enticing tablets to come from Amazon, mixing efficient integration with the Prime services and a compact footprint that makes it easy to drop in your bag.
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 6 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 6
You might not expect much from a network branded tablet, but the EE Jay defies expectations, with a surprisingly premium metal body which looks more than a little like an iPad.
While the EE Jay can’t match Apple’s slates it also doesn’t have to, since you can grab it for around £120, which is £100 less than even the iPad mini 2.
And there’s more than just good looks and a low price here, as the Jay also supports fast 4G if you add an EE SIM card, while a microSD card slot gives your apps and media room to breathe.
The 7.85-inch screen could be sharper and performance is slightly sluggish, but for the money they should be acceptable compromises. We’ll bring you our definitive verdict on the EE Jay soon, with a full review.
What’s this? The iPad mini 2 in a list of the best cheap tablets? Why yes. It may be a premium slate but it’s been superseded by the iPad mini 4 and the already discontinued iPad mini 3 and as such it’s dropped in price to under £250.
Better yet, as the iPad mini 3 is basically the same tablet with added Touch ID you hardly miss out on anything by buying this older model, though you do miss out on the power-boost found in the iPad mini 4.
Still, with a brilliant screen, a stunning design and quite a lot of power the iPad mini 2 is difficult to beat at this price point. It looks, feels and performs like something far more expensive.
Read the full review: Apple iPad mini 2
Got a bit extra to spend? Here are the best tablets in the world right now