Best cheap tablets: top budget options

The best tablets £250 can buy you

5. Asus MeMoPad 7 ME572C

Asus MeMoPad 7

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Review score: 4/5

It may not have a catchy name, but with the company behind the Nexus 7 making it the Asus MeMoPad 7 ME572C was always likely to be good.

A full HD display, stereo speakers and 2GB of RAM are a good start. A slim, attractive design and solid battery life don't hurt either and it even one-ups the Nexus 7 with the inclusion of a microSD card slot.

With the Nexus 7 now off sale the 7-inch MeMoPad 7 is perhaps the closest alternative and it's one of the best options for fans of small-screen Android slates.

4. Nvidia Shield Tablet

Nvidia Shield Tablet

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Review score: 4.5/5

The Nvidia Shield Tablet has been built from the ground up with gamers in mind, as such it's definitely not a tablet for everyone.

But if gaming on the go is important to you you'll struggle to do much better and it's downright impossible to beat it for under £250. High end performance and solid battery life ensure it will keep you gaming through the day and its impressive 8.0-inch 1920 x 1200 display will show your games off in all their glory.

If you're serious about gaming on it you might want to invest in the Shield controller, which is sold separately and pushes the total cost above £250, but it's still a great slate even without it.

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8 4

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Review score: 4/5

This is a bit of a surprise - a fairly high-end Samsung slate making it into the "best cheap tablets" roundup - but the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 does just that.

It's obviously towards the upper end of the £250 boundary, but you get a lot for your money, including an 8.4-inch 1600 x 2560 Super AMOLED display, 2.3GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, Android KitKat and a microSD slot, plus front and rear cameras.

The plastic construction isn't the best we've seen on the tablet, and the speaker placement could be better, but if you want a supremely powerful tablet with an impressive screen the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 is a decent shout.

2. LG G Pad 8.3

LG G Pad 8 3

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Review score: 4.5/5

If the 7-inch tablet range is a little too small for your liking, and the iPad mini 2 is just out of your price range then you'll love the LG G Pad 8.3.

As you may have already guessed it sports an 8.3-inch display, a full HD affair which looks great and with a 1.7GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM the G Pad 8.3 has no trouble running Android KitKat.

The metal finish means the G Pad 8.3 also feels great, almost putting it on a par with the premium design of the iPad mini 2 - it's a lovely tablet which won't disappoint.

1. iPad mini 2

iPad Mini 2

OS: iOS 8
Review score: 4.5/5

What's this? The iPad mini 2 in a list of the best cheap tablets? Why yes. It may be a premium slate but it's been superseded by the iPad mini 3 and as such it's dropped in price to a slither 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.

For those of you saying "what about the Nexus 7" - well Google has stopped making its budget slate and has taken it off sale. You'll still be able to find out in some retail outlets, but stock will be limited and it won't be long before it's gone completely.

With a brilliant screen, a stunning design and quite a lot of power the iPad mini 2 really is impossible to beat at this price point. It looks, feels and performs like something far more expensive.