Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Best Overall: Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet at Amazon
"Sports an impressive collection of features for an impressively low cost."
Best Android: Lenovo Tab 4 8 at Amazon
"Gets the edge in terms of clarity."
Best Budget: Amazon Fire 7 Tablet at Amazon
"Gives you a lot of portability while providing a larger screen than a standard smartphone."
Best Display: Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet at Amazon
"It’s brighter and more colorful than the smaller Fires."
Runner-Up, Best Android: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 at Amazon
"An opportunity to get the company’s trusted brand, design, and build quality for an affordable price."
Best for Gaming: Huawei MediaPad T5 at Amazon
"Enough to play most games very smoothly, including ones with heavier graphics."
Best for Kids: Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet at Amazon
"Embodies a 'just-right' feature set at an ideal size and weight for little hands."
Best Design: Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 8 at Amazon
"Has a distinctive cylinder shape along one long edge that makes for an easy spot to hold."
Best Voice Controls: Lenovo Smart Tab M10 at Amazon
"The dock’s three far-field microphones will pick up your Alexa voice commands from around the room."
The best tablets under $200 put a ton of functionality in the palm of your hand. While they may not have the same specs or features as a true laptop, they still give you access to a litany of apps and web-browsing for a fraction of the cost.
Tablets have displays that can range in size from 7 inches all the way up to 12, and which one works best for you will depend on its intended use. If you're looking for a glorified e-reader, 7-inches will suffice, but if you're watching lots of media or playing games, bigger is definitely better.
Can double as an echo show
Amazon app store is a bit lacking
UI is really about selling you stuff on Amazon
Amazon’s line of Fire tablets remain hard to beat for overall value, and the Fire HD 8 sports an impressive collection of features for an impressively low cost. Its eight-inch, 1280 x 800-pixel screen nicely balances size, display quality, portability, and battery life (listed at 10 hours). Unfortunately, our testing proved that the 1.3-GHz processor and 1.5 GB of RAM can’t match the quicker, smoother performance of higher-end tablets, but it’s more than enough for day-to-day browsing, reading, viewing, and playing.
While the Fire OS is built on an Android platform, you’re limited to Amazon’s more pared-down interface and app store. The selection isn’t as vast as Google Play or Apple’s stores, but as you can imagine, Amazon offers no shortage of movies, TV shows, and books—especially for its Amazon Prime subscribers. All Fire tablets will try to sell you content through ads on the lock screen, so if that’s bothersome for you, you can purchase the device “without special offers” for an extra $15.
This model of the Fire HD 8 upgrades its front-facing “selfie” camera to 2 megapixels (MP), matching the 2-MP rear camera, but you still shouldn’t expect amazing photo or video quality out of either one. A more handy—and “hands-free”—feature is access to the Alexa voice assistant, letting the tablet serve as a sort of smart display like the Echo Show. Put it in Show Mode and you can ask Alexa to display the news, pull up your calendar, play music on the device’s decent built-in stereo speakers, or control smart home devices around the house.
"If you’re looking to read an ebook on your commute or stream some YouTube videos before bed, it’s a nice alternative to your smartphone screen." — Jordan Oloman, Product Tester
Decent battery life
Front facing camera isn't great
Only 16GB of internal storage
With today’s iPads and Google tablets commanding premium costs, you’ll find that many options for affordable tablets run on the Android operating system. And while Amazon uses a heavily modified version of the OS on their immensely popular and low-priced Fire devices, our testing revealed that the Lenovo Tab 4 ships with a very pure version of Android 7.1 Nougat, complete with the Google Play Store and its full selection of apps. It runs the software, apps, and most media and games smoothly enough with its 1.4-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor and 2 GB of RAM, about on par with competitors at the price range.
The eight-inch Tab 4, while not benefiting from as large a display as the 10-inch model Lenovo also offers, actually gets the edge in terms of clarity. Both have a 1280 x 800-resolution in-plane switching (IPS) panel, giving the Tab 4 8 a nice 189 ppi pixel-density. The eight-inch size also balances in good portability with its 0.68-pound weight and above-average battery life. Having dual front-facing Dolby Atmos speakers gives it stronger sound than many other tablets, too.
"This multi-user feature is perfect for families and makes this a great general-usage tablet." — Bill Loguidice, Product Tester
Expandable storage up to 512GB
Hands-free Alexa support
No Google apps
Ads on the lock screen
For a budget tablet among budget tablets, Amazon presents the Fire 7. It might be hard to believe given such a rock-bottom price, but you’re actually getting a very useable device. The seven-inch screen fits into a 7.6 x 4.5 x 0.4-inch frame, weighing about two-thirds of a pound. With battery listed at eight hours for standard use, it gives you a lot of portability while providing a larger screen than a standard smartphone.
You won’t get high performance out of the Fire 7’s lower-end hardware and operating system, but it does what it’s meant to do: give you easy access to the movies, shows, music, and books in Amazon’s collection (whether they’re already part of your account or you have to buy them). It also includes Alexa voice features, but you can’t use it hands-free while the device is off like you can with the larger Fire models. You can get the Fire 7 in black, red, blue, or yellow colors, and with either 8 or 16 GB of storage, though you’ll probably want to take advantage of the micro SD card slot to expand up to 256 GB.
Excellent stereo speakers
Weak app selection
FireOS isn't great
The Fire HD 10 is Amazon’s largest, most premium tablet, so it’s understandably not as huge a steal as the Fire HD 8 and Fire 7. But it still comes at a much lower cost than top units from competitors like Apple and Samsung, while getting close in size and performance. The Fire line’s strength is giving those with Amazon Prime subscriptions in particular a way to enjoy their media collection, and the Fire HD 10 is an ideal tablet display for the purpose.
Besides its ample 10.1-inch diagonal, the screen benefits from a full-HD resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, giving it a sharp 224 pixels-per-inch (ppi). It’s brighter and more colorful than the smaller Fires. There are some limitations to its viewing angles and you won’t get the richest sound from its speakers, but overall, it provides an excellent video-watching experience. And, if you have it propped up on a stand or dock (sold separately), the built-in Alexa voice assistant makes it easy to call out a command and control playback or display info about what you’re watching.
The Fire HD 10 also got a much-needed performance upgrade with a 1.8-GHz CPU and 2 GB of RAM. In our tests, it was quick to navigate home screens or use the app switcher, and it kept up well with most games. It’s still very portable at just over a pound in weight, and battery life is solid, though it likely won’t last as long as the Fire 8 or other smaller tablets.
"The 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD screen is the crown jewel of the Fire HD 10." — Jordan Oloman, Product Tester
Good build quality
Access to Google apps
Samsung may be better-known for its higher-end tablets, but the eight-inch Galaxy Tab A presents an opportunity to get the company’s trusted brand, design, and build quality for an affordable price. The sleek and solid device weighs 0.79 pounds—a little heavier than some competitors but easy enough to hold and carry around. A convenient USB-C charging port is at the bottom and a micro SD slot lets you upgrade storage space by up to 256 GB. The 1280 x 800-pixel screen doesn’t offer the highest resolution around, but it is one of the brightest, so using it out on a sunny day is no problem.
The Galaxy Tab A’s 2 GB of RAM and 1.4-GHz Snapdragon 425 CPU matches others at the price level, and it holds up fine for not-too-intensive gaming and multitasking. It comes with version 7.1 of Android and some “Samsung Experience” customization to the interface. It also includes the Bixby Home digital assistant to help you see info like the news and weather as well as visualize your day at a glance.
Good system performance
Easy to get rid of pre-installed apps
Poor camera quality
No quick charge capability
Poor battery life
While it’s hard to get top-end tablet gaming performance without paying for top-end tablet hardware, the Huawei MediaPad T5 provides plenty of power for gaming on a budget. It easily surpasses most units in its price range with its Kirin 659 octa-core processor that hits speeds of up to 2.36 GHz. That’s enough to play most games very smoothly, including ones with heavier graphics when turned down to lower settings. It keeps up decently in terms of software as well, shipping with Android 8.0 Oreo. Huawei’s EMUI 8.0 interface on top of it is easy to navigate, with some additional apps and settings.
Games will look as good as they perform on the 10.1-inch display. Its aspect ratio is 16:10 with a full-HD 1920 x 1200-pixel resolution (a 224-ppi density at the size). The IPS panel allows for great viewing angles, but it’s not the brightest, and reflections can be tough to deal with in a lot of sunlight. Two speakers at the bottom get decent enough volume and audio quality for a tablet to round out your gaming experience.
Excellent battery life
Poor display quality
There’s always the option of kid-proofing a full tablet, including putting on a durable case, setting parental controls, and hoping for the best. With the “Kids Edition” of the Fire HD 8, though, you get a true entertainment device bundled with plenty of peace of mind. Amazon offers child-friendly versions of all their Fire models, but the latest eight-inch version embodies a “just-right” feature set at an ideal size and weight for little hands. While the screen resolution and performance doesn’t provide as refined an experience as an iPad or other higher-end “grown-up” devices, odds are, you won’t hear the intended users complain.
The most noticeable difference with the Kids Edition is the very brightly colored, very durable foam case designed to protect it from drops and typical kid use. But even if your child gets past that line of defense and breaks the tablet, its two-year “worry-free guarantee” lets you replace it for free, no questions asked.
Also included is a free first year of FreeTime Unlimited, Amazon’s collection of age-appropriate games, books, shows, and apps that typically runs $2.99 per month. The interface is simple enough for kids to navigate, and the selection is generally well-curated, but parents have full power to customize, limit, or add to the content as they like.
Slow load times for performance heavy apps
Heavy for its size
While most budget-level tablets are built with a basic structure and economical materials, Lenovo applies a number of design innovations to the Yoga Tab 3 that lead to functional benefits. Rather than try to be as slim as possible all around, the eight-inch tablet has a distinctive cylinder shape along one long edge that makes for an easy spot to hold. Many of the device’s unique features are built into this cylinder, including a fold-out kickstand that props the screen up or lets it lay at a slight angle. There’s also a hole in the kickstand for hanging the tablet on a hook. These four modes—Hold, Stand, Tilt, and Hang—are supported with specific display settings in Lenovo’s version of the Android OS.
But the cylinder isn’t just for balance and aesthetics. It also hides some serious hardware. The space can house a larger battery than other tablets, powering it for an impressive 15 to 20 hours. Also unlike most tablets, it holds a pair of front-facing speakers with strong Dolby Atmos sound to go along with your movies. Finally, having the camera on the cylinder lets you rotate it around and take advantage of its nice 8-MP quality in either direction. The Yoga Tab 3 doesn’t stand out much in terms of its display’s picture quality and its hardware’s performance, but it certainly draws attention with its one-of-a-kind features and flexibility.
True HD display
Light and thin design
No fingerprint sensor
No ambient light sensor
With its built-in Alexa voice assistant, an Amazon Fire tablet can serve as a smart display much like the company’s Echo Show. The Lenovo Smart Tab, however, is designed specifically for the task. The M10 is the budget version of the 10.1-inch tablet, but it and the P10 both come with the same Smart Dock to give it a “2-in-1” tablet/smart screen functionality. Docking the tablet puts it into Show Mode, and the dock’s three far-field microphones will pick up your Alexa voice commands from around the room. You can have the tablet display the latest news, pull up recipes, or play a movie. If you want to listen to music, the Smart Dock serves as a Bluetooth speaker with richer sound quality than most tablets can muster.
As a standalone tablet, the M10 provides decent performance all around. It runs on a 1.8-GHz Snapdragon 450 octa-core processor and Android 8.1 Oreo. You can opt for 2 GB of RAM with 16 GB of storage, or 3 GB RAM with 32 GB storage. It’s a fine device either way, but what you really pay for with the Smart Tab M10 is an Alexa smart screen that you can take along with you as needed.
If you're looking for a tablet under $200, Amazon's Fire HD 8 is a tough one to beat, with its solid compromise of performance and price. However, if you're willing to loosen the purse strings a little, the Lenovo Tab 4 8 offers better performance and a true Android OS.
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.