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Best Cheap Tablets 2016: 9 awesome budget tablets

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Vodafone Tab Prime 7

If you're looking for a cheap tablet, you've come to the right place. Our pick of the best budget tablets includes Android, iOS and Windows models ranging between £70 and £200.

There’s a massive difference in price between the cheapest and most expensive tablets on the market, with some, like the Dell Latitude 13 7000 Series, now setting you back over £1,000. The models in our round-up cost a fraction of that amount, but are nonetheless impressive.

Flagship tablets like the iPad Air 2 and stylus-packing Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 are awesome, but too expensive for many consumers. Fortunately, budget tablets are constantly improving and retail stores are increasingly discounting more expensive devices, meaning that you no longer have to pay over £200 for something good.

Watch: Trusted Explains – Tablets vs Laptops: Which is best for you?

However, just because a tablet is cheap doesn’t make it an automatic bargain. If you find something retailing for far less than its product description suggests it should, find out why. The £99.99 Argos MyTablet and £149.99 Aldi Medion Lifetab S10346 are classic examples of this, and scored 3/10 and 4/10, respectively. Be wary.

Hit the dropdown menu above to head straight to our short reviews or read on for more tablet buying advice.

What size tablet is best for you?

Size is one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to buying a tablet. The bigger the tablet, the higher the fee is the general rule of thumb. There are three main size categories to pick from – 7-inch, 8-inch and 10-inch – though smaller and larger tablets do exist. However, there’s a little more to it than that.

Buy a 7-inch tablet if…

…you want something light and highly portable.

The main advantages of 7-inch tablets are price and practicality. They weigh and cost significantly less than larger tablets, but still deliver in terms of battery life, screen quality and performance. This makes them ideal for on-the-go use, whether that’s reading eBooks on the bus to work or taking holiday snaps halfway up a mountain. They’re also a family-friendly choice, since even small children can get to grips with them.

However, they’re not so great for watching movies or working on. This is because they usually feature weak speakers and are too small to type on comfortably for long periods of time.

Buy a 10-inch tablet if…

…you want to use it for both work and play.

Lots of 10-inch Android tablets now come with keyboard docks that essentially transform them into laptops. However, this comes at a price, with 10-inchers and above usually costing more than twice as much as 7-inchers. In laptop terms, however, that’s not a lot of money.

Large tablets’ displays and speakers tend to be far superior to those of small tablets, making them perfect for watching movies and listening to music on. They’re also great for reading the news and browsing the web, though they’re a little too hefty for using on a busy commuter train.

Buy an 8-inch tablet if…

…you want the best of both worlds.

8-inch tablets sit on the pleasant middle-ground. They're better for browsing the web, reading eBooks and watching movies than 7-inch tablets, yet they’re far easier to use on the go than 10-inch tablets.

However, they're also a fair bit more expensive than some of the best 7-inch Android tablets on the market. Still, this hasn’t stopped them from becoming the most popular tablet size amongst consumers.

What’s a cheap tablet good for?

Every entry on this list would be a great option for any first-time tablet owner. The Hudl 2 in particular impresses in this field, thanks to the easy-to-digest user guide that comes pre-installed. The Amazon Fire HD 6, meanwhile, is the best choice if you have small children, because it’s small and super-cheap.

Ease-of-use and affordability aren’t all we’re looking for, though. While cheap tablets are inevitably slightly less impressive than flagships, they haven’t done away with all bells and whistles. The Asus Transformer Pad TF103, for example, doubles up as a slick-looking laptop, and the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 has the best speakers of any tablet at any price. Apple’s iPad mini, while getting on a bit, is still one of the best-looking tablets on the market, and it’s no longer the bank-breaker it used to be.

While performance isn’t searingly quick, the models on this list are good enough for watching TV and movies, reading and browsing the web, which are the key capabilities most consumers look out for. Several models are even powerful enough for high-end gaming, which is a massive bonus.

If you'd like a little more advice on what to look for when buying a new tablet, you should read our tablet buyer's guide, which blasts away the jargon and explains anything else you may need to consider, technical or otherwise.

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