Beginning with the launch of the original iPad back in January 2010, it didn’t take long for tablets to make a very real impact on our everyday lives. We’ve already seen dozens of variations over the years including convertible laptop-style tablets, tablets with a docking keyboard, and even laptop replacement tablets.
Just like phones, cheap Android tablets have got considerably better in the last few years. We’ve seen an increase in tablets with higher-resolution displays, faster processors, and more memory than ever before.
Tablets that fall in the sub-$200 have over saturated the market and it can often become difficult to determine what options are actually worth the price.
Whether as a gift for a friend, a child, or yourself, there are plenty of choices you can make when deciding on a tablet worth investing in. Luckily for you, we’ve narrowed it down to the top three best cheap Android tablets that work great and won’t break the bank.
Top 3 Best Cheap Android Tablets
When it comes to budget Android tablets, no one offers more bang for your buck, than Amazon. That’s why you’ll find two out of the three entries on this list are Amazon manufactured. When looking for an affordable tablet with unparalleled features and usability, it’d be a difficult task to find a company producing better.
Here are our thoughts on what are the best cheap Android tablets that you can purchase on a budget.
When looking for a combination of a great display, solid performance, and budget friendliness, the Fire HD 8 takes the top spot. Though the hardware is nothing to write home about (it’s an 8-inch tablet for under $100 after all) you can pick one up in one of four colors – black, red, yellow, and blue.
Don’t allow the cheap plastic look and feel deter you from a purchase. The primary focus of any tablet is going to be the display. The Fire HD 8 comes with a 1280×800, with solid viewing angles and sharp colors. It doesn’t hold a candle to the Apple iPad until you realize the iPad has a price tag starting at $800.
People looking for a budget are normally not also looking for top of the line, cutting edge features. At only one tenth of the price, the Fire HD 8 has plenty of worthwhile features for anyone in need of a mobile Netflix player, home-based tablet, or something to occupy the kids.
It has front and rear-facing cameras that you can pretty much ignore outside of video calls. However, to make up for that, the dual stereo speakers provide impeccable sound for watching videos and listening to music.
The base tablet comes with either 16GB or 32GB of storage, which isn’t much nowadays. It also comes with a microSD card slot for expandable storage. The Mediatek quad-core processor isn’t the fastest on the market but it’s more than enough for day to day use, streaming Netflix, or browsing the web.
One of the better specs you’ll find on the Fire HD 8 is the battery life. You can easily spend up to twelve hours watching movies, surfing the web, or jamming out to some tunes, unhindered by low-battery warnings.
The software on the Fire HD 8 is somewhat of a mixed bag depending on expectations. It runs on the Fire OS, which is a combination of Android and Google’s open-source software. That being said, it still does not offer proper support for the Google Play Store or Google’s full suite of applications. Instead, you’re stuck using Amazon’s own Amazon Appstore for software downloads.
However, if you’re interested in using the Google Play Store and Google Play Services on your device, it is possible to have them sideloaded using third-party applications. There’s a ton of modding and customization available, but even without it, the Amazon Appstore has most of the software (aside from YouTube) you could expect on a tablet. For anyone who is consistently using Amazon and Amazon products, this shouldn’t matter much.
Alexa has been integrated into the Fire HD 8 and can be accessed by pressing and holding down the Home key. It will then be activated and awaiting all questions and inquiries you feel the need to ask.
The home screen will include ads, which is why the price is so low, but really doesn’t cause any issues or annoyances. Though, if you do find them irritating, you can cough up a $15 surcharge to have them removed from the device.
Even with its shortcomings, the Amazon Fire HD 8 is an amazing little device. There is plenty of quality packed into an $80 price tag especially if you plan to use the tablet specifically as a media-based device. Amazon Prime subscribers will find it far more appealing but it is still the perfect companion device for anyone in need of a cheap Android tablet.
The Amazon Fire HD 10 is Amazon’s best-selling tablet. Although the original was immensely disappointing, the last two years have seen the value of the Fire HD 10 grow considerably.
The tablet underwent a year of reinvention back in 2017 and emerged with a new design and a lower price. The 2019 model has seen even more additions and alterations in the form of a new processor, a USB-C port, and a few new colors from which to choose.
The new colors include muted blues and reds, which look amazing and give the dated plastic appearance a more mature vibe. The microUSB port has been replaced with a more desired USB-C port, while the processor’s speed has been increased by thirty percent.
In all honesty, this particular device is even better than the Fire HD 8 for media purposes with an incredibly sharp 1080p display and quad speakers along the sides of the device. The only difference is obviously the price.
It does suffer the same problem with its operating system not supporting the Google Play Store, but if you find that an extra $100 is a fair price to pay for better visuals and sound, this could be the tablet that you’ve been looking for.
A slight upgrade to the Lenovo Tab 4, the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 brings along with it a big new feature: a full speaker dock. The Dolby-powered feature will allow you to turn the Smart Tab into a Nest Home-esque device.
It comes equipped with dual front-facing speakers that will allow you to crank up the volume on your favorite movies, tunes, TV shows, and more.
The specs of the M10 are very similar to the Tab 4 but with a bit of a boost. It now runs on a Snapdragon 450 processor, comes with a meager 3GB of RAM, and the 10.1″ 1080p LCD display is perfectly fine for watching Netflix on a budget tablet.
The M10 has Alexa built in, which allows the tablet to work as an Echo-like device, enabling you control over other smart devices in the home that Alexa has been granted access to.
The biggest flaw in the M10 is one that remains left over from its predecessor, and that is its software. The M10 is now sitting on the Android 9.0 update, which it took nearly a year to achieve. Who knows when, or even if, the M10 will see the Android 10 update that is already in use on Pixel and OnePlus devices.
Regardless, the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 is an incredible device on a budget, especially for a media consumer who has a need for loud, crystal clear sound and a large screen.