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For less than $200, you can find a tablet that fits the bill. These fun and portable devices are great for reading, browsing the web, watching your favorite media, and even gaming. When shopping for a tablet, think about how you’d like to use it — small screens can save you money and are perfectly suitable for reading and browsing. But if you want to watch TV and movies, a larger, more high-quality display will make a big difference. Also consider the onboard storage: if you’re primarily planning to stream things and don’t need space for a downloaded library of ebooks, music, or other media, then you may be able to save some money by buying a configuration with less storage.
Great battery life
Expandable storage up to 1TB
Display is not full HD
Lots of Amazon advertising
The latest version of Amazon’s popular Fire HD 8 tablet comes with all kinds of upgrades. It still sports an 8-inch, high-definition display and all your favorite media and music streaming apps. But it’s been given a boost in terms of speed and power with its new 2.0 GHz processor. This means apps will load and switch faster and you’ll generally experience smoother performance. The new Fire HD 8 also allows for speedier USB-C charging and has more internal storage space (up to 64GB internal, expandable up to 1TB with a microSD card). Battery life has also been improved to last for up to 12 hours of use between charges.
With more storage space and faster performance, the Fire HD 8 has become an even better entertainment device, perfect for streaming, reading ebooks with the Kindle app, and downloading shows, movies, and songs for offline enjoyment. It also comes with Amazon’s Alexa assistant so you can use voice commands to queue up your favorite media. If you use Amazon services and want a device for streaming, the Fire HD 8 delivers for a great price. As a final note: The Amazon listings for Fire tablets come with a curious choice: do you want a tablet “with special offers” or “without special offers?” In this case, “special offers” is code for “ever-present Amazon advertising,” both on the lock screen and in many of the pre-downloaded apps. If you don’t mind ads, you can save some money by buying the version “with special offers.” But if you can, we’d recommend choosing “without special offers” to declutter your screen.
Large HD display
Metal build is somewhat heavy
If you won’t really benefit from the Amazon integration on the Fire Tablets, or if you generally prefer the Android OS environment, the 2nd-generation Lenovo Tab M10 Plus tablet is our top pick. With a 10.3-inch full HD display, you have a large screen with lots of real estate for watching your favorite media, browsing the internet, or doing light productivity tasks. There’s also a Kids Mode that allows parents to control what content their children can access and how long they can use it, making this a great choice if you’re planning to share this tablet with the whole family.
The Tab M10 Plus (2nd Gen) runs the Android Pie OS and has octa-core processing for sufficiently fast performance. It’s available in two different configurations, one with 2GB of memory and 32GB of storage, and a slightly more expensive model with 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage. Storage can be expanded with an SD card up to 256GB.
Excellent price point
SD video quality
Weaker specs than other Fire tablets
When it comes to ultra-budget tablets, the Kindle Fire 7 from Amazon is hard to beat. It’s perfect for those who primarily want a tablet for entertainment — this device is made for streaming media, reading ebooks, browsing social media and playing mobile games. If you already use Amazon services like Prime Video or Amazon Music, the Fire 7 will be a particularly streamlined experience. For some, the smaller screen size is more comfortable to hold and read from, and the rugged build makes it a great option for kids.
But when the price is this low, you know that corners have been cut somewhere. For the Fire 7, those corners include processing power and screen resolution. This tablet runs a 1.3 GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, which means it won’t handle multitasking or fast app-switching very well. The lower screen resolution also means it can only manage SD video playback. But if you can live without HD and plan on using this primarily for entertainment, then the Fire 7 is a great deal.
12-hour battery life
Speakers have not been upgraded
If you primarily want a tablet for streaming your favorite shows and movies, the Fire HD 10 is the way to go. Sporting a 10-inch, full HD display with 1080p resolution, this tablet gives you a large, clear picture that lets you enjoy your favorite media in detail. Like the other Amazon tablets on this list, the Fire 10 HD also comes with the Alexa voice assistant and instant access to Amazon services like Prime Video and Amazon Music.
This tablet has had a recent processor upgrade and now has a quad-core 2.0 GHz CPU and 2GB of RAM for speedier, smoother performance. The Fire HD 10 comes with either 32 or 64GB of onboard storage, expandable up to 512GB with an SD card (sold separately). We wish that Amazon had upgraded the speakers to match the quality of the screen and improve the all around media-watching experience. Regardless, the Fire HD 10 is still a good deal for the money.
Expandable storage up to 512GB
Limited processing power
If you’re looking for a smaller, lighter Android tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A from 2019 is a great option. Its 8-inch display and lightweight build make it comfortable to hold for long periods of time, so this device is particularly suited to users who want a tablet for reading. The Galaxy Tab A can also last for up to 13 hours of use between charges, making it one of the longest-lasting batteries on our list. This device comes with a somewhat slim 32GB of onboard storage. But this is expandable up to 512GB with an SD card, so if you need it, you can have plenty of room to download ebooks, shows, and music for offline enjoyment.
Samsung has saved money on the Galaxy Tab A by giving this tablet a lower-resolution screen and limited processing power. If you don’t mind a standard-definition screen, and if you plan on using this for relatively light activities like streaming, reading, or browsing social media, then the Galaxy Tab A should have sufficient specs. If you want something for gaming, complex apps, or multitasking, then you may want a tablet with more power.
If you’re looking for sheer value for the price, the newly-upgraded Amazon Fire HD 8 is an excellent tablet for entertainment. If you don’t really use Amazon or prefer an Android OS, we recommend the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus (2nd Gen) for its large, crisp display.
To test the best tablets under a certain price range, our expert reviewers and testers use a variety of methods. Firstly, we look at design, weight, and portability, to see how easy a tablet is to tote around. We also evaluate the screen size and resolution with a view to streaming video, looking at images, and browsing web pages. Audio and connectivity play an important part in determining multimedia quality.
For objective performance measures, we use common tests like PCMark, Geekbench, and 3DMark, and also try to download some demanding games to see if it can handle it. To test battery life, we stream video at maximum brightness to measure runtime, along with general usage over the course of a day. Finally, we look at the value proposition and competition, to see how the tablet stacks up against rivals in a similar price range. All of the tablets we test are purchased by us; none of the review units are provided by a manufacturer.
Emmeline Kaser is an experienced product researcher and reviewer in the field of consumer tech. She is a former editor for Lifewire’s product testing and recommendation round-ups.
Jordan Oloman has written for Tech Radar, PC Gamer, Kotaku, Eurogamer, IGN, GamesRadar, and RockPaperShotgun, among many other gaming and tech publications. He has an undergraduate degree in History and Archaeology and a master's degree in Media and Journalism from Newcastle University.
Bill Loguidice has more than 20 years' experience writing for a variety of major technology publications including TechRadar, PC Gamer, and Ars Technica. He's passionate about all forms of technology and how they continue to impact and enrich our lives every day.
Screen Size - The average tablet is around 10 inches, measured diagonally, but they can be as small as 8 inches and run up to 13.5. The screen size is really a personal preference, but for productivity purposes, it’s often the bigger the better. If you’re merely streaming a show or reading a book, a smaller screen should suffice.
Performance - You'll want to pay attention to the RAM and CPU that your tablet uses if you're planning on using it for heavy gaming or demanding apps. But these specs typically demand a higher price tag.
Storage - Some tablets allow for additional storage via a MicroSD card, allowing you to store up to 512GB worth of files, photos, and apps. If you're planning on storing a ton of media on your tablet, this is something worth looking into.