Best cheap tablets: top budget options

The best tablets £250 can buy you

Best cheap tablets top budget options

The iPad Air 2 is ruling the roost as the best tablet in the world, but with prices starting at £399 and rising to £659, it's clearly priced in a bracket way above many people's budget.

Apple's sky-high prices mean those wanting a more affordable tablet experience will have to look elsewhere, although the iPad mini 2 has seen a price cut since the new and only slightly improved iPad mini 3 came onto the scene.

Google's Android operating system now adorns a multitude of tablets, from those priced at the same lofty heights of Apple's offerings such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S and Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet, to those that can be picked up for less than £100 at your local supermarket – although we'd advise against purchasing most of these, and instead check out the superior options below.

We're also seeing Windows 8.1 tablets dropping in price, although for the most part they're still not at the level of the Android slates. Be sure to check out our tablet buying guide too.

If you can't quite hack the lower offerings, and you've managed to scrape together enough money to indulge in a pricier tablet experience, then take a gander at the following:

For those of you who are still with us, well done. To reward you for your loyalty, here are some top tablets for under £250.

10. Acer Iconia W4

Acer Iconia W4

OS: Windows 8.1
Review score: 4/5

We always knew it was going to happen, and at last it has. We now have several low cost Windows 8.1 tablets, and the Iconia W4 is now sitting comfortably within the £250 threshold.

The big selling point of the Iconia W4 is its full blown Windows 8.1 operating system, giving you all the functionality of a PC on an 8-inch display and wrapped in a portable chassis.

Its 1.33GHz quad-core processor may not be the most powerful around, and with 2GB of RAM it's less powerful than some high-end smartphones, but with a decent display and reasonable battery life the Iconia W4 is a solid performer.

9. Linx 7 / Linx 8

Linx 7

OS: Windows 8.1
Review score: 4.5/5 / 4/5

The Linx 7 isn't the most powerful slate around, but at roughly £65 it doesn't need to be, especially as for that money you get both Windows 8.1 and a year's subscription to Office 365 Personal.

You've arguably got your money's worth on the strength of those things alone, but it also has a decent screen and a solid build quality. With just 1GB of RAM it might struggle with more demanding tasks, but for basic use this 7-inch slate really is fantastic and it's got an impulse purchase price tag.

If you'd rather have a slightly bigger screen you can stump up an extra £25 and grab the Linx 8, which has an 8.0-inch display and is otherwise similar.

8. Pipo W2

Pipo W2

OS: Windows 8.1
Review score: 4.5/5

There isn't a huge selection of affordable Windows slates around and to get the most bang for your buck you have to look away from the big name manufacturers.

The Pipo W2 is a case in point, it's an unknown name in England and in fact it dispatches from Hong Kong, but it's excellent value for money, with a solid build, decent battery life and reasonable performance.

Of course it runs Windows 8.1, so whether you want to stream videos, browse the net or get some serious work done it's up to the task.

7. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7

OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Review score: 4/5

The Kindle Fire HDX 7 may be an Android tablet at heart, but fire it up and you wouldn't recognise Google's work. That's because Amazon has completely rebuilt Android to its own liking, giving you instant access to all the services the online retailer offers.

This means browsing Amazon's huge collection of eBooks, watching a movie on Amazon Prime Instant Video or even just browsing the web is simple on the full HD display - but anyone looking for flexibility here will be sorely disappointed - the Kindle Fire HDX is almost as locked down as an iPad.

In short, if you're heavily invested in Amazon's ecosystem, or want a hassle free (yet limited) user interface, the Kindle Fire HDX 7 could be the perfect tablet for you - if you want something more, keep reading.

6. Tesco Hudl 2

Hudl 2

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Review score: 4.5/5

A few years ago the prospect of a Tesco-brand tablet wouldn't have filled us with confidence, but the impressive Hudl changed our minds and the Hudl 2 has impressed us all over again.

At just £99 it's incredible value for money, thanks to an 8.3-inch HD screen and stereo speakers. The low cost combined with handy parental controls also make it a great choice if you've got kids around.

There's not much built in storage, but a microSD card slot makes up for that somewhat, and the battery life could be better, but this is about as cheap and cheerful as a tablet gets.