This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.
How To Video: Choose the right cheap tablet
About Video Transcript

How To Video: Choose the right cheap tablet

2:37 /

There are some great tablets to be found under $300, but there's also plenty of garbage. CNET's Donald Bell offers his buying advice for choosing a low-cost tablet for your needs.

A year ago, if you spend less than $300 on a tablet, you are basically investing in a door stop. Nothing good can be found that cheap but today there are a handful of great options out there and then the CNET helps you, I'm gonna show you how to choose the best one for your needs. My first piece of advice is to stay away from the off brand stuff. I reviewed tons of this stuff last year, site like eBay are littered with cheap tablets that you have never heard of. They're always too good to be true. Maybe it's the battery life or a screen with a bad viewing angle or a goofy custom software. There's always something wrong. You're also giving up tech support or any hope for software updates. Now on the high end, you have products like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 or the Acer Iconia Tab A100 and these are full fledged Android tablets backed up by companies who have a reputation to keep. These also offer the broadest range of apps and the broadest range of features. You get Google's App Store, music, books, videos, Gmail, maps. All the stuff you'd find on a typical Android phone. The hardware and you're also getting things like cameras, GPS, Bluetooth. Sometimes even a video output. Now these make a lot of sense if you already own an Android phone or if you're used to the away Android works and if you already invested in Android apps. The bad news is these can be confusing to use and they're really overkill if all you want is a way to check e-mail, watch videos and play games. If you want a more streamlined option, that's when these come in. Devices like the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet cut the hardware down to just the essentials and run custom software. These are the least intimidating tablets you can buy. They have all the essentials like e-mail and web browser. They even have high quality screens. The catch is that they're both locked down to more limited app stores. Neither are gonna offer all the latest and greatest games but they both still have an impressive selection of entertainment. Now choosing between these two in particular comes down to whether or not, you're already happy Amazon customer or a Kindle owner in which case you go to Kindle Fire or whether or not you prefer the extra storage options offered by the Nook. Both of them have generous return policies, so try them both. So, that's the way of the land when it comes to tablets under $300. If none of these meet your standards, my advice is to wait. The category is moving very fast and there are bound to be more options by the end of this year. For CNET.com. I'm Donald (??).

New releases

The Armor A60 portable drive can...
2:10 October 24, 2014
CNET editor Dong Ngo did some blah blah talking and then a real-world drop test on the Silicon Power Armor...
Play video
Macan: Meet the very different...
21:47 October 24, 2014
Porsche Macan marks the beginning of several chapters for the carmaker, plus a new list of the safest cheap...
Play video
Help battling robots cause even...
6:03 October 24, 2014
This week on Crave, we take a closer look at the Hendo hoverboard, fly on a Virgin Galactic spaceship, and...
Play video
Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2: A...
2:00 October 24, 2014
The C5 Series 2 sounds better than the original and is one top in-ear headphones for less than $200.
Play video
Mr. Coffee gains some smart home...
2:27 October 24, 2014
The $150 Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew Smart brews 10-cups at a time and can be controlled by the Wemo mobile a...
Play video
The Philips 100W Equivalent LED...
1:20 October 24, 2014
We tested this bulb to see if it's a better buy than GE or Cree
Play video
Breaking open iPads, Groupon's...
2:54 October 24, 2014
The iFixit team reveals the secrets inside the new iPads, Groupon mimics Yelp, and Microsoft kills the free...
Play video
Vizio P series: Good and cheap...
2:31 October 24, 2014
The highly anticipated Vizio P series is among the cheapest 4K TVs available and delivers a very good picture,...
Play video