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Top five cheap tablets for 2018

By Michael Passingham

We reveal five highly rated cheap tablets priced under £200 - quality models from big brands like Asus, Amazon and Huawei that cost less than half as much as an Apple iPad.

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A great tablet can be expensive, but it doesn't need to be. If you want a tablet for casual use, more basic operations, or something to carry around on the go that might get knocked or scratched, it makes sense not to spend a fortune.

Luckily there are plenty of options available today for tablets that tick all the important boxes, and don't break the bank. Pick a good budget table and you'll find it perfectly capable for tasks like:

  • Browsing the internet - even the most basic of tablets should be able to handle a bit of web browsing, but with less capable models this can be sluggish, with annoying delays.
  • Watching videos - all tablets are capable of playing video content, but the difference between a good and bad model is the quality of the screen. We've found plenty of tablets that rate four stars for screen quality, even in the budget market.
  • Using apps - unless you're interested in more power-hungry apps, such as the latest 3D games or video editing suites, budget tablets should be fine for most purposes. Again though, a poorly built budget model could be sluggish and frustrating to use.
  • Taking photos/video calling. Most budget tablets have a camera built in, but this is an area where quality can vary wildly at the lower end of the market. A poor camera will make video calls grainy, and take poor quality photos. 
  • Reading books. Though not as effective as e-readers, tablets can be used for reading. However, a poor quality or low resolution display can make this difficult, and put a strain on the eyes.

Fortunately we've tested all of the above and much more in our labs, and have found many budget models, some of which cost less than £100, that tick most or all of these boxes. 

We've also picked out three tablets that may be cheap, but certainly aren't cheerful - it's also worth checking these out to see what can go wrong with a tablet purchase, and so you know what to avoid.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Best cheap tablets for 2018

Lowest price (in stock) £145.00
Which? score 73%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Ease of use:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Sound quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

An incredibly crisp 10-inch display for a budget tablet, this model exceeds expectations, and also manages an impressive battery life as well. It's not the fastest tablet out there, but if you're just looking to do basic tasks, it's worth seeking out.

Typical price £80.00
Which? score 70%
Reviewed Dec 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Sound quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

A great choice for those on a budget, this 8-inch tablet isn't a power house, but does more than enough for the average user. The battery stamina means you can use it for long stretches away from the plug socket.

Typical price £100.00
Which? score 69%
Reviewed Sep 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Sound quality:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

If budget is your main concern, and not performance, this eight-inch Android tablet could prove a smart choice. It may not have much raw power, but it will suit casual users for Facebook and browsing, with its vibrant screen and excellent battery life

Typical price £120.00
Which? score 66%
Reviewed Nov 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Sound quality:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

It doesn't manage a Best Buy, but this compact tablet is still a great buy if you're looking for a tablet with good performance for watching videos. Sound is a bit weedy, but otherwise it's very capable.

Lowest price (in stock) £99.99
Which? score 63%
Reviewed Nov 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Sound quality:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

A good example of a budget ten-inch tablet, there's a lot to like about this tablet, like its long, ten hour battery life. The processor won't have Apple panicking just yet, but it's a competent chip and gives this tablet plenty of power for daily tasks.

Pricing, recommendations, and test scores correct as of November 2018.

Not found the product for you? Browse all of our tablet reviews

And here's three cheap tablets to avoid

While there's some cheap tablets that you should consider, there are plenty that you shouldn't. Stuffed with bad tech and unpleasant to use, here are three cheap tablets that you'll want to give a wide berth.

Three tablets you'll want to avoid

Typical price £63.00
Which? score 43%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Features:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Battery:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Performance:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Processor speed (GHz):
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

With its pixelated screen, lacklustre audio and slow speed, there's little to say about this tablet, aside from a warning to leave it well alone.

Typical price £100.00
Which? score 42%
Reviewed Sep 2017
Features:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Battery:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Performance:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Processor speed (GHz):
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

Cheap but certainly not cheerful, this tablet has an underpowered processor which struggle to keep up while the speakers and screen are both mediocre.

Typical price £50.00
Which? score 31%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Features:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Battery:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Performance:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Processor speed (GHz):
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

A slow processor and just 1GB of Ram means that this tablet is sluggish and unresponsive, making a for a frustrating user experience.

Pricing, recommendations, and test scores correct as of June 2018.

Saving money with an older model

A lot of manufactures refresh their tablet line-up on a yearly basis, which means that you'll often see deep discounts on the previous years older, less desirable models. 

The launch of the latest tablet can be a great time to pick up the previous version, with stores getting rid of old stock to make way for the latest shiny model. While manufacturers would have you believe that their newest model is the best ever, remember that they would have been parroting exactly that same sentiment the year before, and in many cases, the older version will still be a good tablet.

By ensuring that the software is up to date, you should find that an older tablet will have more or less the same functionally as a new one, but the specifications won't quite be as impressive. Choose wisely, by checking our reviews, and you could grab yourself a bargain.

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