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Best cheap tablets

There are plenty of dirt-cheap tablets floating around out there, but only a handful are really worth your time.

Take a look at some of our top budget tablet picks. Sarah Tew/CNET

The demand for dirt-cheap alternatives to the iPad 2 is undeniable. At the outset of the tablet wars, the majority of sub-$300 tablets being sold were pretty awful. Their bad screens and slow processors fundamentally crippled the entire tablet experience and had us begging for our laptops, or even a decent smartphone.

Fortunately, there's now an abundance of tablets that are both cheap and worthwhile. Sure, their screens are not as big as the iPad's or a 10-inch Honeycomb tablet, and their Internet connections may be limited to Wi-Fi. But through all their skimping, they still preserve the fundamentals of what a good tablet should deliver: Web, e-mail, and fun.

To give these wallet-friendly slates their due, we've created an ongoing feature that rounds up our top budget tablets.