The best tablets for under $250

Budget tablets are a dime a dozen, so we rounded up the affordable slates worth catching your eye.

These days, it's not too hard to find a good tablet under $250. It might not pack all of the latest bells and whistles, but for those on a budget, dealing with old hardware is part of the bargain.

Buying a relatively inexpensive tablet doesn't mean that you sacrifice a solid slate experience. There are quality tablets around $100, like the $139 Amazon Kindle Fire HD, but the sub-$250 tablet category is bursting with a bevy of budget options.

To that end, here are the best tablets currently available with prices under $250. If any of the products here interest you, be sure to read the full reviews for details on the quirks and idiosyncrasies of each. Also, check out our Tablets Buying Guide for an overview on tablet-buying best practices.


Asus packs the 10-incher with goodies to enhance your tablet experience. Josh Miller/CNET

Asus Memo Pad FHD 10
Large tablets usually cost more than their 7- and 8-inch counterparts, but thanks to a price-cut on Amazon, the Asus Memo Pad FHD 10 manages to make the cut. The 10-inch slate rocks a comfortable design, sharp screen with good viewing angles, and a microSD card slot. Asus also packs the tablet full of softwares goodies to enhance your movie watching and multi-tasking capabilities. If you're looking for an inexpensive large tablet, the Memo Pad FHD 10 will comfortably meet modest needs.Read the full review of the Asus Memo Pad FHD 10.


If your needs are modest, there's a good chance the Venue 8 will meet them. Josh Miller/CNET

Dell Venue 8
The Dell Venue 8 won't set your world afire, but if you have modest needs you...won't need it to. It's a comfortable tablet with an always-appreciated microSD card slot and includes 16GB of storage for $179.99. If an 8-inch tablet is a bit larger than what you had in mind, there's the 7-inch $149.99 Dell Venue 7 as well. It, too, meets modest needs for a reasonable price. Read the full review of the Dell Venue 8.


A 9-inch tablet for $149. Yep, that's pretty much why the Nook HD+ made the list. Eric Franklin/CNET

Barnes & Noble Nook HD+
The Nook HD+ was released in 2012 and, with its inclusion of the full Google Play Store, it's still a steal at $149. Its performance is no longer impressive, but it remains a well-designed tablet with a sharp screen, a storage expansion slot, and a great magazine feature. There's also the 7-inch version with a much lighter, more e-book-friendly design. Read the full review of the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+.


Impressive gaming performance and stylus functionality in one. James Martin/CNET

EVGA Tegra Note 7
The Samsung Galaxy Note line is the only line of stylus-based tablets you should care about. Or at least it was until now. Besides Samsung's Notes, the EVGA Tegra Note 7 is the first tablet to offer stylus integration at a level even approaching what Samsung has accomplished. It doesn't wholly succeed, but at $199 it's also nearly half the price of its closet stylus competitor. Gamers looking for a cheap but capable entry point into Android gaming will appreciate the Tegra Note 7's inclusion of a 1.8GHz Tegra 4 processor, which catapults it to fantastic graphical heights. Read the full review of the EVGA Tegra Note 7.


Thanks to a current deal at Amazon, the Galaxy Tab 3 (8-inch) is just cheap enough to make the list. Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 (8-inch)
The 8-inch Galaxy Tab 3 is one of the best Samsung tablets around. It combines a bright colorful screen, a comfortable design, plentiful of useful features, and a reasonable price. Actually, the usual price is $299.99, which is a tad high, but right now Samsung and other sites have the 8-incher for $249. That's a fantastic deal for an 8-inch tablet with as many features as this one offers. Make sure it's the 8-incher though. Neither the 10.1-inch Tab 3 nor the 7-inch version is nearly as compelling. Read the full review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab (8-inch).


The Kindle Fire HDX 7 is one of the best tablets of the year. Josh Miller/CNET

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7
Not only is the Kindle Fire HDX 7 one of the fastest gaming tablets on the market; not only does it serve as one of the two best ways to take advantage of your Amazon Prime account. But thanks to its Mayday service, if you ever have trouble with any aspect of the tablet, live video-based customer service is only 15 seconds away. That's something no other product -- tablet or otherwise -- can boast. However, if its $229 price sounds like a bit too much, the $139 Fire HD (2013) is available as well. It's not as pretty and doesn't offer the same customer service features, but it's the cheapest way to access Amazon's well-groomed tablet world. Read the full review of the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7.


The Grand Pooh-Bah of small cheap tablets. Josh Miller/CNET

Google Nexus 7 (2013)
OK, so what makes the $229 Nexus 7 better than the Kindle Fire HDX 7? A few things: full support for the latest version of Android, including access to the entire Google Play store; its buttons are on the side instead of, annoyingly, its back, as they are on the Fire HDX; and its screen is brighter and its colors more accurate. Either tablet is a worthwhile buy, so no matter which you choose, you're getting a satisfying tablet experience. Read the full review.


Want to see more? Check out our list of best tablets overall.

 

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