With the holiday shopping season kicking off, everyone’s on the lookout for good deals. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best tablets under $250. This will help you find a great gift for anyone, including maybe yourself, without breaking the bank.
Asus MeMO Pad 7 or MeMO Pad 8
When shopping for a tablet, Asus probably isn’t the first name that springs to mind. However, the company has been working hard to break into the U.S. tablet market this year, and has produced a pair of powerful but inexpensive devices.
The MeMO Pad 7 (2014) is a small tablet that sells for $149, while the MeMO Pad 8 (2014) is a mid-size model that goes for $199. Those are just the list prices; these products can be found online for less.
What sets them apart from typical budget tablets running Android 4.4 KitKat is their performance. Both are built around an Intel Atom processor so they work as well as more expensive models. And the rest of their features are decent, and the hardware is well made. Asus included all the features one expects in a tablet, even ones this affordable, like front-and rear-cameras and a memory card slot.
Apple iPad mini
Although Apple has introduced two newer versions of its mid-size tablet, the original is still around for just $249. This makes the device more appealing to those who might be giving it as a gift, especially to a teenager.
The first-generation iPad mini has a 7.9-inch, 1024 x 760 screen. It uses an older Apple A5 processor, but is still capable of handling the latest version of Apple’s operating system, iOS 8.1.
Those who have a recent iPhone will see definite advantages to getting an iPad, as Apple included features to let users of its phones easily switch tasks to tablets, and even make and answer calls calls on the iPad.
This version of the iPad mini is available in only one configuration, with 16 GB of built-in storage.
Find out more in our Apple iPad mini Review.
Amazon Fire HD 6 or Fire HD 7
Amazon offers a pair of very inexpensive models designed to help consumers read ebooks, do social networking, and shop online. They run a version of Android that has been modified so that these tablets are simpler to use.
The main difference between these two is size of the display — the 6-inch model starts at $99, while the 7-inch one starts at $139. Internally, both have quad-core processors and dual cameras, but neither has a microSD slot.
These tablets have beautiful screens, but are strongly tied to Amazon’s ebook store, and don’t have access to the apps Google writes for standard Android devices.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 or Galaxy Tab 4 8.0
Samsung is the premier maker of Android tablets, and it has two recently-released inexpensive models to choose from: one with a 7-inch display for $179.99 and another with an 8-inch display for $239.99. Like the ones from Asus and Amazon, the internal components of these are nearly identical, so the only real difference is the size of the display.
There are built-in advantages for those who have a Samsung phone to also get a tablet from the same company – they come with an app designed to make it easy to move files between the two devices, for example. Aside from this, however, these are fairly average tablets, with decent screens and acceptable performance. Naturally, they have all the expected components on a typical Android device, like dual cameras and a microSD memory card slot.
Don’t miss our Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 and Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 Review
Dell Venue 8 Pro
Dell’s Venue 8 Pro runs the full version of Windows 8.1, giving it access to desktop-class apps, including the Venue 8 Pro’s bundled copy of Microsoft Office 2013.
It’s been on the market for a year, but that doesn’t mean it’s obsolete. Instead, it has just made it a better deal — the list price is $249.99, but it’s widely available for $199.99.
The Venue 8 Pro is powered by a 1.8 GHz quad-core processor, 2 GB of memory, and a solid 32 GB of storage. Anyone with a need for specialty desktop apps, or who finds Android and iOS too limiting, should consider this model.
Our Dell Venue 8 Pro Review gives an in-depth look at this device.
Most inexpensive tablets have 7- or 8-inch screens, but the Lenovo A10-70 is an exception. It sports a 10-inch display and a list price of $249.99… and is widely available at $219.
This device has just average performance, and its screen resolution isn’t very high, but it’s combination of large screen and relatively low cost means it’s still a good value.
Read our Lenovo A10-70 Review to learn more.