Whether you’re shopping for gifts for people you love or trying to figure out exactly what to put on your own holiday wish list, it’s oftentimes not in the cards to pay top-dollar for a device. That’s particularly true for a tablet, since a tablet is, by nature, a device that plays second fiddle to your smartphone and probably to your computer, as well.
But if you want a tablet for yourself or for a loved one, whether for casual web browsing or for a more specific use, there are plenty of affordable tablets that won’t blow the holiday budget. Read on for our picks of the best budget-friendly tablets. Each one can make the perfect gift for someone on your list, whether that’s a preteen looking for a device to play games and talk with friends, a student who could use a lightweight device for taking notes in class, or a friend or family member who could use another screen for web-browsing or video-watching.
1. Acer Iconia Tab 10
The Acer Iconia Tab 10, which starts at $199, is a great choice for a family or for the accident-prone thanks to its Gorilla Glass 4 screen and grip-friendly casing. The tablet features a Reading Mode to reduce the amount of blue light the tablet emits, and features a touchscreen you can draw on even with an ordinary pencil, and uses NFC to enable you to share content with other capable devices.
2. Amazon Fire
At $49, the Amazon Fire may be the ultimate in affordable tablets. While its build quality of the 7-inch tablet feels decidedly cheap, it can be a good choice for Prime members, who can use it to access all of the free TV shows, movies, and games that are bundled with their subscription. While ultra-cheap hardware makes some inevitable sacrifices, it’s a tablet that will work for casual use, but because it runs Amazon’s Fire OS, its app selection is limited to what’s in the Amazon app store. It’s powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and has 8GB of storage.
3. Asus ZenPad S 8.0
The 8-inch Asus ZenPad S 8.0 sports a sleeker design than you’d expect to get for $199. It features a high-resolution, 2K screen, a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3530 processor, and 2GB of RAM. It’s an ideal tablet for TV and movie lovers, since its screen offers 178-degree viewing angles and accurate color reproduction. It sports a 5MP camera, plus a dedicated low-light mode, and runs Android Lollipop with Asus’s ZenUI on top.
4. Google Nexus 9
The Google Nexus 9, which you can find for about $299 on sale, is an 8.9-inch tablet that’s great for an array of different kinds of users. It packs a 64-bit processor, which enables you to move quickly among apps and tasks, and integrates front-facing HTC BoomSound speakers for distortion-free audio. The cover converts into a stand and a magnetically-attached keyboard enables you to type at a variety of different angles.
5. iPad Mini 4 or iPad Mini 2
At $399 and up, it may cost more than the other tablets on the list, but Apple’s iPad Mini is the most economical option if you or the recipient are set on an iOS device. With a 64-bit chip the TouchID fingerprint sensor, fast connectivity, and all of the features of iOS 9, the iPad Mini 4 is a great option for Apple fans. If you don’t need the latest device, you should consider the iPad Mini 2, which offers you access to iOS and its apps starting at just $269.
6. Lenovo Yoga Tab 3
The Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 starts at $169 and is a great choice for budget shoppers thanks to its practical design and long battery life. The 8-inch tablet features front-facing speakers, which are great for watching TV shows or playing games. The tablet has an 8MP camera that rotates to serve as the front and rear-facing camera. It offers a basic Android experience with few frills, which is a reasonable sacrifice to make for a sub-$200 tablet.
7. Samsung Galaxy Tab A
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A, which starts at $249, is a good tablet for a budget-conscious shopper. While its screen leaves something to be desired and some users have complained of weak audio, the 9.7-inch tablet is lightweight and builds in Samsung’s software to easily sync content among devices. You can also use Microsoft Office apps and take advantage of the Multi Window feature to have two apps open side-by-side. The tablet runs Android Lollipop with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface, and features 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.