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25 Feb 2022

How to save £100s on a Best Buy tablet

Do you need to fork out for an iPad Pro, or Microsoft Surface, or will a cheaper tablet have the features you want?

There was a time when the days of the tablet seemed numbered, but they've had a resurgence in recent years. Now these versatile devices fill all sorts of roles - from e-readers to laptop replacements.

With so many screen sizes and a huge range of prices and specs, we've broken things down so you can see how much you should expect to spend to get the features you want on a good tablet.

You'll see how much you can expect to spend depending on the screen size you're after, plus how you can get away with paying less than half the average price for a tablet with high-end features if you choose our cheapest Best Buys.

You can easily pay £1,000 for a tablet, so check our top iPad and tablet deals to make sure you're getting the best price.

What size tablet do you need?

The smallest tablets usually have 7-inch screens, which isn't far off many smartphones, and don't get much bigger than 13 inches.

Unlike TVs, where you have all models coming in specific sizes, tablet manufacturers love a decimal point. We've tested models with 10.2, 10.5, 11.5 12.9-inch screens and plenty of others.

So to make comparing them easier, we've rounded them to the nearest whole number. In our table you'll see the average score, based on our independent lab tests, of tablets at each screen size. A tablet needs to score 75% or above to be a Which? Best Buy.

7-inch tablet8-inch tablet10-inch tablet11-inch tablet12-inches or more tablet
Average test score56%74%73%80%81%
Average price£60£161£259£488£893

(Prices correct as of 22.02.22)

Tablet table explained

It won't come as much of a surprise that bigger tablets cost more, but you can see there's a significant jump between 10 and 11-inch tablets.

The quality makes the same leap, as average test scores scores go from 73% to 80%. There are Best Buys at both sizes, though, so don't be put off by that lower average score for the 10-inchers.

With a few exceptions, bigger tablets have more powerful processors than smaller tablets. They cope better with demanding apps and have higher resolution screens.

They need the bump in pixel count because there's more screen to look at. Pixels on smaller tablets are more densely packed, so they can still look sharp even though they aren't as high a resolution as some bigger ones.

Not all big screen tablets are approaching £1,000 either. There are 12-inch models closer to £500 and some 11-inch ones are available for less than £400.

Want to spend even less? Head to our expert pick of the best cheap tablets.

Two men and a dog look at a tablet screen

Popular tablet features and how much you need to pay for them

Slap a keyboard under a tablet and many are indistinguishable from laptops when it comes to features and what you can use them for.

There are plenty of desirable features and here's how much you need to spend for a good tablet that has them.

Here, we tell you what these features are so you can see whether you really need them, and show you the average price versus how much you'll pay for the cheapest Best Buy.

You'll see that by opting for a Best Buy you can save hundreds of pounds, plus know that you've got yourself a great model that excels in our tests.

See all of our Best Buy tablets.

A better than HD screen

We're comparing tablets to TVs again, but bear with us, it does make sense.

In TVs you have HD (1920×1080), 4K (3840×2160) and sometimes 8K (7680×4320 displays). But with tablets the resolutions differ and you end up with numbers like 1920×1200, 2160×1620 and 2880×1920. So it's hard to call them specifically HD or 4K.

It's partly to do with aspect ratios. Again with TVs (sorry), the aspect ratio is always 16:9, so the pixel count is uniform from screen size to screen size. But the aspect ratio isn't fixed in tablets so you see more variance.

To make it simple, we've grouped everything together that has a pixel count that puts it higher than Full HD.

  • £319 - Cheapest Best Buy tablet with a better than HD screen
  • £650 - Average price of a tablet with a better than HD screen

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4G vs 5G data connection

There may be massive 13-inch beasts now, but when tablets first came around they were designed to be portable - and many still are. A 4G or 5G data connection means you can get an internet connection on the go, just like you do with your phone.

It's an essential feature for some.

  • £329 - Cheapest Best Buy tablet with a data connection
  • £488 - Average price of a tablet with a data connection
Someone using a tablet to take a picture

At least 8GB of Ram

If you know you're going to be asking a lot of your tablet with demanding games and apps, then having plenty of Ram will help stop your tablet chugging like a steam train.

  • £370 - Cheapest Best Buy tablet with at least 8GB of Ram
  • £821 - Average price of a tablet with at least 8GB of Ram

Feature-packed Best Buys for less

You can spend a vast amount of money on a tablet, but the good news is you don't need to spend big to get desirable features.

Our Best Buy tablets that sit around the £300 mark are far from basic and often you're spending more for bigger screens, rather than more features.

£300 is still a lot to spend, but there are several decent tablets that cost less than £200 which fall just short of our Best Buy cut off, and have popular features, too. So there are plenty of options.

You can use our tablet reviews to find a great model within your budget.