Tablets: Tablet buyers' guide How to choose the best cheap tablet

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Tablets range from around £100 for super-cheap models to around £659 for the latest fourth generation iPad. 

Generally we advise that if a tablet is £100 and seems too good to be true, it's probably best to steer clear, as poor screens and weak batteries can mean you've wasted your money.

However, it is possible to get a cheap tablet which does the job well. Read on to learn how to make a saving and avoid choosing a poor bargain-basement tablet. 

What's it like to use an Android tablet or the iPad? Try our interactive tablet chooser tool

What should I look for? 

  • Make sure you look out for the battery life Cheap tablets sometimes skimp on the battery life, but it is possible to find cheap models that offer an impressive nine hours when watching video. Read our full tablet reviews to find out which are the best and worst tablets for battery life. 
  • Check the screen resolution Even some cheap tablets offer high-resolution 1280x800 pixel screens. In general, a resolution of 1024 x 600 or above will give a sharp display.  
  • A decent memory size This is especially important if you intend to store lots of large files like gaming apps and films on your tablet, as cheaper tablets tend to have smaller memories of 8GB or less. If you have cloud storage or additional memory card slots, this is less of a problem.

What can I do without?

  • Extra-large storage space. Tablets with high memory capacity of 32GB or 64GB come with premium prices. You can make a saving by going for a 16GB model, provided you don't intend to fill it with videos and graphics-intensive games.
  • 3G internet connectivity This adds an extra expense due to the on-going data plan as well as the higher cost of the tablet. A wi-fi only tablet will be fine for use in the house, and even out and about thanks to wi-fi hotspots. 
  • Large screen sizes There are some good cheap tablets in the smaller 7-inch category. This screen size is usually fine for reading, surfing the net and typing the odd email, though 10-inch screens can be easier to work with. 

Best cheap tablet brands

The Apple brand name may be another 'thing' that you can do without, given the premium price that comes with it. Samsung, Amazon and Google offer cheaper tablets that still do the job well. 

The Amazon Kindle Fire HD 16GB, priced at a very reasonable £159, and Google Nexus 7 at £199 (16GB) are good tablets from dependable brand names.  

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