The best cheap tablets and deals 2017: the top budget options

Update: It's a quiet period of top cheap tablets, with few new budget options making their way onto the market. Amazon's duo of new slates are the only real launches of note so far this year.

It's a strange time for cheap tablets, and even tablets in general. Exciting releases are few and far between these days, and the most fascinating tech is restricted to the top end of the market. 

The best tablet in the world is the new iPad Pro, and that will set you back an awful lot of cash. Best budget tablet it is not.

All hope is not lost though, and we've put a selection of the most affordable tablets together - but let's make one thing clear. There aren't many to choose from.

It's pretty much slim pickings for anyone looking to pick up a cheap tablet, but the slates below do offer excellent value for money.

Asus ZenPad S 8 0

4. Asus ZenPad S 8.0

A slick, professional slate with a great screen and performance

Weight: 350g | Dimensions: 203 x 134 x 6.6mm | OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop | Screen size: 8 inches | Resolution: 2048 x 1536 | CPU: Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core | RAM: 2/4GB | Storage: 16/32/64GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 8 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

Low price
Superb high-res screen
A lot of pre-installed apps
Average camera

The Asus ZenPad S 8.0 - also known as the Asus ZenPad Z580C - is a great value tablet with a premium looking design. 

It's one of the best looking slates on this list and packs a surprising 10 hour battery life, microSD support as well as a great 8-inch screen. The best part though is the price, it's only £129.99.

Don't want to spend much on your new tablet? This choice from Asus is one of the best options for you.

Read the full review: Asus ZenPad S 8.0

  • What's next? If you're looking for something newer from Asus, check out our ZenPad 3S 10 review - it's not cheap enough to feature in our best budget tablet list, but it does represent great value for money. In terms of a follow up to the ZenPad S 8.0, we're currently looking at IFA 2017 in September.

3. Amazon Fire 7 (2017)

Amazon's latest low-cost slate is excellent child fodder

Weight: 295g | Dimensions: 192 x 115 x 9.6mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 7-inch | Resolution: 1,024 x 600 | CPU: 1.3GHz Quad-core | Storage: 8GB/16GB | Battery: up to 8 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA

Crazily cheap price
Strong battery life
Amazon Appstore still lacking
Screen dull and low-res

If you're in the market for a low cost tablet with up to date specs then the new Amazon Fire HD 8 and HD 10 deliver.

They won't bless you with a stunning display, sultry design or slick performance - but they will give you enough grunt under the hood to play even the most demanding of games.

The heavily modified Android interface (known as Fire OS) may not be to everyone's liking, but for less tech savvy users it's arguably less cluttered and easier to use.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire 7 (2017)

  • What's next? Amazon's only just launched the new Amazon Fire 7 and Fire HD 8, so it's unlikely to give us any other major tablet upgrades this year. There's a small chance of the Fire HD 10 getting a reboot, but don't hold your breath.

2. Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017)

If you live on Amazon you'll want a Fire

Weight: 369g | Dimensions: 214 x 128 x 9.7mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: 800 x 1280 | CPU: 1.3GHz quad-core | Storage: 8GB/16GB | Battery: up to 12 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA

Decent value
Improved speakers
Few meaningful upgrades
A little slow in places

The Amazon HD 6 may be showing its age, but it's still a top-notch tablet for the money, which is why it features so highly in our best budget tablet list. 

It's no tablet king, but it does what it sets out to well. Its crazy low price tag means it's perfect to hand off to the kids without the fear that they're wielding an expensive bit of kit around.

It may be too small for some, and the cameras aren't up to much, but the Fire HD 6 gives you the core tablet experience for not very much outlay, making it a budget tablet worth buying.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 8

  • What's next? The same message as above really, with Amazon only just launching the new Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 it's unlikely to give us any other major tablet upgrades this year.

iPad Mini 2

1. iPad Mini 2

The best value iPad out there

Weight: 331g | Dimensions: 200 x 134.7 x 7.5mm | OS: iOS 9 | Screen size: 7.9-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Dual-core 1.3GHz | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 16/32/64/128GB | Battery: 6470mAh | Rear camera: 5MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Amazing screen
Brilliant design
Similar-spec rivals are much cheaper
16GB too low storage

The iPad Mini 2 is still in our best cheap tablets list, but only just.

Apple has now stopped officially making it and selling it on its website, which means new iPad Mini 2 tablets are fast becoming hard to find. You'll want to act fast, because when they're gone, they're gone.

The iPad Mini 2 is something a bit special. It was superseded by the iPad Mini 4 and the already discontinued iPad Mini 3, seeing its price dropped to under £250.

Better yet, as the iPad Mini 3 is basically the same tablet with added Touch ID you hardly miss out on anything by buying this older model, though you do miss out on the power-boost found in the iPad Mini 4.

 It looks, feels and performs like something far more expensive making it our favorite budget tablet you can buy in 2017.

Read the full review: Apple iPad Mini 2

  • What's next? The iPad Mini 2 isn't the latest pint-sized slate from Apple, we've seen the iPad Mini 3 and iPad Mini 4 launch since the 2's arrival back in November 2013 - but the Mini 3 is dead and the Mini 4 is still more than the magic £250. We are due a new small slate though, with it being nearly two years since the fourth gen launched. Keep an eye out this September/October.