iPad Air 9.7 -best cheap tablets: top budget options

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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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Best cheap tablets: top budget options

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

Best cheap tablets: top budget options

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

Best cheap tablets: top budget options

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.

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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

Best cheap tablets: top budget options

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.

Best cheap tablets: top budget options

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.

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Read the full review: Apple iPad mini 2

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

Best cheap tablets: top budget options

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35 thoughts on “iPad Air 9.7 -best cheap tablets: top budget options

  1. Delighted to see you feature the Galaxy 8.9 on your list – but a little perplexed about the Android 4.0 OS? I have been waiting for ages for it to appear, so who is wrong?

  2. Okay how exactly is 300 quid a budget tablet, they’ve put this price range solo so they could crown the underspecced mini king. I’d say 200 is a budget laptop, mines was only 150 for instance but i guess you could raise that to 250 for arguements sake, 300 just isnt budget at all.

  3. apologies for restating poms point i hadnt read it, only saw the comments earlier on

  4. I need a new affordable tablet. I just lost my Kindle Fire Tablet and i really need to buy a new. Great post! It can help me decide. Thanks!

  5. I got an epad tablet a couple of months ago it was basicly and ipad and brilliant , it was also really cheap , except it was very small …..I accidently \r\ndropped it and it smashed , it does not work any more …..should i get another one or is there a good cheap one

  6. I love the idea of getting an ipad although it is way way way to expensive

  7. should i get an epad 10.2 \r\nor a 9 inch epad\r\nor maybe a 7 inch epad which one !!!

  8. I still love my Motorola Xoom 2 ME. It got slated in the reviews when it ran honeycomb but ICS runs like a dream. Light, slim, water resistant, has every feature (barometer anyone?) you could possibly need and massively discounted.

  9. Another Android tabletmaker making strides to offer quality tablets at competitive prices is Ainol Electronics, which recently launched the Novo 9 Spark — which compares to the iPad and Nexus 10 – however is price at \u00a3173 ($269) with one reseller it’s available through is a site called TabletSprint — this Android 4.2 tablet features a 9.7 Inch Retina-quality display, a Quad Core processor, and a 10,000 mAh performance battery; along with a 5MP Rear Camera, a MicroSD Memory card slot and HDMI TV output. One thing Ainol Electronics is previously known for is winning Runner Up for Best Tablet of the Year at the international Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012.\r\n\r\nAlso available through TabletSprint is another brand new model that launches next week — the Icoo 7GS – 3G model for \u00a3128 ($199) which compares to the Nexus 7 – 3G version priced $100 more — the Icoo 7GS – 3G offers a built-in SIM slot for 3G HSPA+ connection with both Internet access and Voice Calling through any GSM Network; and also features a Quad Core processor 16GB/2GB DDR3, an HD 1280×800 IPS Screen, and built-in GPS; as well as a Rear 5 Megapixel Camera, MicroSd slot, Android 4.1 O/S, Google Play store, and an HDMI 1080p port with 4K HD output to stream video & movies to a TV.

  10. I have now had 5 of these and while they are stunning for the money….they fail…ALOT!! All five failed and I have two take two back tomorrow!! Meaning I would have then had SEVEN of these?!?!\r\n\r\nVideo on my YouTube account of my one showing…ISSUES…\r\n\r\nhttp://youtu.be/JsP0Jy2Hync

  11. Apart frm the fact they keep going wrong I do believe these are the best looking (HTC ONE) and very powerful tablets out there.\r\n\r\nIn fact I came on here in the attempt to find one I could swap this with as even if i get one that works I will have to be without one for a couple of weeks and I will constantly think that at any point it will go wrong!\r\n\r\nAfter four of them at the current count out of four going wrong would you not think the same? Lol.\r\n\r\nSo no I do not think they did much of a test on here as two out of three did not last two weeks and the other displying problems in that time, sorry!! Lol.

  12. This is really bad form showing this as an article from 7 days ago when the comments here suggest it’s now well past its best. The LG G Pad isn’t even available at present.

  13. Is the Nvidia Shield K1 still competitive in terms of performance? Very well reviewed, across the board, on launch; it was regarded as the spiritual successor to the Nexus 7 in some places. Available for \u003c\u00a3150 nowadays.

  14. I personal would not spend that much money for Google Nexus 7. There are a lot more people looking for something cheaper and with the similar or same specification. I just bought PIPO S1 7

  15. I’m not even a pirate but I still believe the locked OS of Apple sucks.

  16. Like what? The pain in the ass to play movies and move files??\nI was close to smash my iphone every time I wanted to play movies on the piece of fcuk, I have spend days converting movies.\nAnd why the retarded screen ratio??\n\n\nNow on my new Note 3, find movie download and play.\nIm a pirate for life and Apple suck if you are a pirate.

  17. I have the iPad mini with retina BUT i would still happily take the first iPad mini over any of these other tablets on this list.\r\nDon’t get me wrong i know the nexus 7 2013 is a very nice device but the iPad still has the upper hand when it comes to tablets in my opinion.

  18. How did a 2012 tablet make the list?\r\n\r\nJust because the iPad Mini 2 is way overpriced (remember when the Galaxy Note 8.0 was announced to be over \u00a3300 too?), does it mean TechRadar should be recommending an outdated model?\r\n\r\nBy this token the Nexus 7 2012 has a right to be on the list too. It gets the latest OS updates just like the iPad Mini will. It’s even got a higher resolution screen.\r\n\r\nBoth the Nexus 7 2012 and 2013 models got Android 4.4 KitKat at exactly the same time in fact.\r\n\r\nIt maybe hard to get now (but not impossible) but it’s still a better tablet than many of the 2013 models on this list.

  19. Probably the ipad mini as android low end tablets and phones tend to be laggy.

  20. can anybody recommend a tablet mainly for games for my sister who has chronic multiple mental difficulties but can conquer these games with ease and calm her down no end. I don’t want anything to expensive because she is also very clumsy and has no idea of value thank you Paula Stephens

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