There’s a race by tablet manufacturers to make cheap models at bargain prices too good to refuse. But the tablets themselves can be something of a mixed bag, as the latest test results from our lab show. We slammed three such tablets under £100 as Don’t Buys.
You can find cheap tablets from Amazon, Lenovo, Archos, Huawei and Argos own-brand Alba. The prices may be attractive (starting from as little as £55), but we’ve found the performance might not be.
We’ve rounded up reviews of low-priced tablets that will provide you with everything you need. But, with the market bulging with budget models, we show you the ones you’ll want to pick up, and those you’ll want to avoid.
Want to see which tablets we rate the highest? Read our Best Buy tablet reviews.
Is a cheap tablet good value for money?
Gone are the days where buying a decent tablet with good specs meant paying hundreds of pounds. Even the notable ‘cheap’ tablets of a few years ago, such as Google’s Nexus 7, would have set you back £150 to £200. These days, you can get a tablet for under £100 that will do pretty much everything you need, and from established brands, too.
A budget tablet can be a great purchase if you’re not looking to do anything too strenuous. Browsing, emailing, streaming movies and downloading apps is the bare minimum you should expect from any tablet, and we’ve found plenty that will do this for you, even if you have a small budget.
Arguably it was the Amazon Fire, available for £50 (and regularly discounted), that set the bar for cheap tablet pricing. Other manufacturers such as Lenovo, Acer, Asus and Huawei are all looking to compete. This is great news for anyone after a cheap tablet, as long as you know what to look for.
What should I look for in a cheap tablet?
A cheap tablet doesn’t have to mean a compromise. They may not have bleeding edge processors or ultra HD displays, but a good one should be easy to use, with a fast enough processor to run multiple apps smoothly, and a battery that lasts long enough to see you through the day.
A good touchscreen is of utmost importance. It’s the main way you interact with tablet, from scrolling through a web page to writing an email. Our tests make sure a touchscreen is responsive and doesn’t require multiple jabs before it recognises your command. On a daily basis, this is the sort of minor niggle that will infuriate you. We’ve found that some manufacturers install very poor touchscreens on their budget models, so you’ll want to avoid those.
Sound quality is also key. If you’re looking to stream Eastenders through the iPlayer app, you won’t want Danny Dyer’s cockney wisdom sounding like a bee trapped in a drainpipe. We have a dedicated array of audio tests, telling you which tablet speakers are up to scratch.
Recently tested tablets
Our tablet reviews have full results for over seventy models, and are joined by these latest tablets, all of which are under £100:
- Alba AC70PLV4
- Alba AC80CPLV2
- Alba AC101CPLV2
- Amazon Fire
- Archos 101b Xenon 3G
- Huawei MediaPad T1 7.0
- Lenovo TAB3 8
- Lenovo TAB3 7
Read our full tablet reviews to find the perfect model for you.