Guess what! You can actually buy a decent tablet for only $50. Aside from the $50 Amazon Fire, there's the LG G Pad X 8.0. The catch with the LG? It's only offered for $50 with a two-year AT&T contract. Otherwise, it costs $250 retail, which, in my expert tablet-reviewer opinion, is way too much for such a simple tablet. But at $50? It's a great deal. AT&T also offers monthly installment payments that end up costing you about $12.50 a month for 20 months.
Why buy the LG G Pad X 8.0 instead of the Amazon Fire? Because it has a full USB port to connect a flash drive, an IR blaster to use it as remote control, access to all of the apps in the Google Play store (Fire tablets have Amazon's curated app store) and, in my opinion, it looks a lot better than the Amazon Fire. Unlike the Fire, it doesn't feel like it'll break in half if I sit on it, even though its design is attractively slimmer, and it has a sharper, brighter screen.
Most importantly, the LG G Pad X 8.0 has cellular service. This means you can access the internet on the go, just like your phone. With AT&T, adding a tablet to your plan costs you an extra $10 a month and it shares data with your phone. It's important to note that although you're only paying $50 for the tablet, a service contract means that you're signing up to pay at least an extra $240 for the cellular service over the next two years. All tablets with cell service require you to, you know, pay for the cell service. So if you think you can get away with only paying $50 for the LG tablet, you're wrong. If that's what you want, the Wi-Fi-only Amazon Fire is your best alternative.
For $250, the LG G Pad X 8.0 is disappointing, but for $50, it's impressive. It performs fine for casual use, like reading, rewatching "Stranger Things" and playing games. After two battery tests, the LG averaged 8 hours of battery life. Check back soon for the final result. It's not as fast as the Asus ZenPad Z8, another great affordable tablet with 4G LTE, but that's a more expensive model, starting at $149.
You can only buy the LG G Pad X 8.0 through AT&T with service, so if you're not a customer, or unwilling to become one, you're better off with the Fire. Otherwise, the G Pad X 8.0 is a hard deal to beat. Sure, it's a rather vanilla tablet, but for $50, that's the best you can hope for.