The best cheap tablets of 2018

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The best cheap tablets in 2018 do a surprisingly good job of blending an inexpensive price with some quality features. Especially handy is the way these tablets manage to stay thin, light, and portable. You should be able to find most under $300, and some for less than $100.

If you’re looking for a device that lets you get productive on the go, or you want to enjoy TV shows and movies on a bigger screen than your phone can offer, then these tablets make a great pick. Some picks even offer iOS 12 and the recent Android 8.0 Oreo.

We’ll keep this list updated as more budget tablets hit the market or as the former best tablets in the US get replaced by newer models, thereby lowering their price into the budget ranks.

1. New iPad

Hands down, the best value for your dollar

Weight: 469g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 97.5mm | OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 9.7 inches | Resolution: 2,048 x 1,536 | CPU: A9 processor | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32/128GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 10-hour battery | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Unbeatable value
Thicker than previous models
Accessories become costly

Thanks to the introduction of the new iPad (2018), Apple's last-gen 9.7-inch tablet will soon sit below the $300 mark. While you can still get it, the 2017 iPad is not only one of the best tablets out, period, but that it's also one of the best values.

Despite its lineup of iPad minis being more affordable and palm-friendly for some, there's no better place for an iOS fan to find a tablet fit than the new iPad.

Stocked with iOS 12, this tablet aligns in terms of performance with the iPhone 7 with its A9 processor, Retina display and FaceTime HD cameras.

Read the full review: New iPad

2. Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)

Not perfect by any stretch, but the best you can get for the price

Weight: 363g | Dimensions: 214 x 128 x 9.7mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: 1,280 x 800 | CPU: Quad-core 1.3GHz | RAM: 1.5GB | Storage: 16GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: 2MP

Sturdy design for the price
Fantastically cheap
Screen lacks sharpness
Sub-par cameras

Amazon keeps new models coming out at a steady, though sometimes little changed between models. The new Amazon Fire HD 8 doesn’t substantially change from the Fire HD 8 (2017), but that fortunately means its incredible price sticks around, too.

For under $100, this is as good as a new tablet gets. It offers an 8-inch screen that’s HD, though not 1080p, and it has a quad-core processor with 1.5GB of RAM. That’s enough to make it a competent media-consumption tablet. And, it’s modest size and weight will help you tote it around with you.

If you plan to use your tablet for serious productivity, you’ll likely be better equipped with a sharper screen and modern iOS or Android (as opposed to Fire OS) tablet. But, for a simple budget tablet to give you a 8-inch screen on the go, this is the tablet to beat.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S

3. Lenovo Tab 4 8

A premium mini tablet with power to spare

Weight: 310g | Dimensions: 211 x 124 x 8.2mm | OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 8 inches | Resolution: 1,280 x 800 | CPU: Snapdragon 425 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 4,850mAh | Rear camera: 5MP | Front camera: 2MP

Decent performance
Quality design for a low cost
May not get Android Oreo
Easily scratched

In a sea of slates and smartphones, crafting a device that has enough personality to stand out and enough quality to be worth caring about is a difficult proposition.

With the Tab 4 8, Lenovo has succeeded in producing something with a flavor of its own, and something that makes the mid-range Android tablet market worth attention once again.

On its own merits however, the Tab 4 8 is an surprisingly solid all-rounder, with great performance, a decent screen, solid battery life and a comfortable design. 

Read the full review: Lenovo Tab 4 8

Samsung Galaxy Tab S

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 (8-inch)

A high-res screen and speedy performance is a potent mixture

Weight: 265g | Dimensions: 198 x 134 x 5.6mm | OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow | Screen size: 8.4 inches | Resolution: 2,048 x 1,536 | CPU: Exynos 5433 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32/64GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2.1MP

Excellent screen
Good battery life
A little behind on design
Small on-board storage

For those who are in love with Samsung's lineup of Galaxy smartphones, this is the tablet for you. The most affordable variant in the Tab S line comes with an 8.4" inch screen, but houses the same powerful specs as its 9.7" counterpart.

When it was introduced it 2015, we called it "serious competition" to Apple's iPad and the claim still stands. The Galaxy Tab S2 features a polished aesthetic and a fairly competent set of specs, but only recently has this been at a price that makes it an excellent tablet for those with less cash on hand.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

Amazon Fire HD 8

5. Amazon Fire 7 (2017)

It's so cheap they're selling it in multi-packs

Weight: 295g | Dimensions: 192 x 115 x 9.6mm | OS: FireOS | Resolution: 1,024 x 600 | CPU: Quad-core 1.3GHz | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 8GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 7 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA

Sturdy design
Amazingly cheap
Poor selection of apps
Washed-out sceen

Amazon's super-affordable Fire tablet is best suited for first-time tablet owners. It's also a perfect fit for parents looking for strong parental controls, or for those already highly invested in the wider Amazon ecosystem.

Even if you're just looking for an extra tablet to have around the space, the Fire is a relatively easy sell. 

But for the wider public, if a premium build and a fat stack of features is what you're after, you won't find it here.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire 7 (2017)

iPad Mini 2

6. iPad mini 4

A powerful, yet portable iPad for those on a budget

Weight: 304g | Dimensions: 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1mm | OS: iOS 11 | Screen size: 7.9-inch | Resolution: 2048 x 1536 | CPU: A8 processor | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 128GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Amazing screen
Unparalleled build quality
Similar-spec rivals are cheaper

The iPad Mini 4 is a solid tablet choice if you're gunning for something small, but powerful. This mini and mighty slate packs in all of the bells and whistles found on the larger iPad, including the TouchID fingerprint sensor, Retina display and a surprising amount of gusto thanks to its A8 processor.

Like the iPad above, the Mini 4 tends to hover slightly above the $300 mark, but it's fairly common to find a deal that plunges it well beneath it. And for that price, it's definitely worth it if sticking to iOS is crucial.

Read the full review: iPad mini 4

Asus ZenPad S 8.0

7. Asus ZenPad S 8.0

A high-res screen and speedy performance is a potent mixture

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: 05MP

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

Asus' ZenPad S 8.0 is a tablet focused on value, but you wouldn't guess as much by looking at it. This 8" slate covers a lot of ground for its asking price, and even goes as far as providing a good-looking, sturdy build and handy features, like a microSD slot and 10-hour battery life.

This is an easy choice if you consume a lot of content and want to look good doing so, but don't want to completely shell out your laptop budget on a tablet.

Read the full review: Asus ZenPad S 8.0

Amazon Fire

8. Huawei MediaPad M3 8.0

An Android tablet with a particular focus on design

Weight: 322g | Dimensions: 215 x 124x 7.3mm | OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow | Screen size: 8.0-inch | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 | CPU: Octa-core | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 8MP

Sharp screen
Fantastic design for the price
Iffy gaming performance
Cameras aren't anything special

The Huawei MediaPad M3 is a tablet with lots of admirable qualities. High screen resolution, ultra-low weight and speakers that go loud enough to become an anti-social menace in some situations earn a big thumbs-up.

It should be known that we encountered some issues with keeping a steady framerate during intensive games. The casual games everyone gets obsessed with for weeks at a time run fine, but those with console-like graphics tend to struggle to an extent that's quite rare for a tablet of this quality.

You'll need to think carefully about whether this is going to be an issue for you before choosing the Huawei MediaPad M3 over, say, the iPad mini 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab S, or any of these other fine options. 

Read the full review: Huawei MediaPad M3 8.0