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Best cheap tablets

Looking for a tablet that doesn't break the bank? We've rounded up the best cheap tablets money can buy.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
3 min read
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Looking to buy a tablet but don't want to spend a lot of money? Never fear -- these days a tip-top tablet can be yours for surprisingly little cash. Read on for our round-up of the best cheap tablets around.

Google Nexus 7 - £199

The Nexus 7 is the gold standard of Android tablets -- packing a gorgeous display and decent battery life into a compact, 7-inch frame that's oh-so portable, and costs more than £100 less than the newest iPad mini.

The Nexus 7 is powered by Google's Android operating system, and because this tablet comes direct from the Big G itself, the interface is clear and reasonably simple to get to grips with.

There are plenty of excellent apps available, including iPlayer, Netflix and Kindle, and if you have a Google account you use regularly, you'll find plenty to like about this powerful little gem.

Tesco Hudl - £119

Tesco may not be a brand you'd associate with high-tech hardware, but the supermarket has still managed to crank out a charming little tablet in the Hudl, at a very-reasonable £119.

To keep the price down, Tesco has compromised on some elements. The Hudl's display is markedly less impressive than the one you'll find on the Nexus 7, and it sometimes feels a little sluggish to use.

On the other hand, the chunky frame means it's fairly sturdy, and should survive in the hands of children. Tesco has installed handy user guides, which make the Hudl more accessible to tablet novices.

Asus Memo Pad HD 7 - £130

Asus is the company that built the Nexus 7 for Google -- both this year and last year's models. The Memo Pad HD 7 may lack a snappy name, but it's almost identical to last year's Nexus 7, and bears a very tempting price tag.

For your money you get a healthy dollop of performance grunt and a rear camera, plus the power to expand the tablet's on-board storage using a microSD card. The 720p screen doesn't pack quite as many pixels as the new Nexus 7 detailed above however, though it's still a decent display in its own right.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD - £119

Amazon offers a series of tablets, all of which are designed to get you splashing out on the company's selection of ebooks, music and movies. The cheapest is the Kindle Fire HD, a 7-inch tablet with a hearty 1,280x800 pixel resolution. It can be yours for £119 from Amazon, though the version at that price will show you ads, or 'special offers' as Amazon puts it.

The Kindle Fire HD is dead simple to use, running a version of Android that's been heavily modified and simplified, and that will appeal to those who perhaps haven't used a tablet before.

With that simplicity comes a lack of flexibility though -- the Fire HD has its own app store, which isn't as well stocked as the Google Play app store you find on other Android tablets. You also can't buy or download movies in the UK -- only stream them over a Web connection via Amazon's Lovefilm service.

Anyone who feels confident using a slightly more complex tablet would be better off with the Nexus 7, but the Fire HD may be worth considering if you're buying for someone after a simple tablet for ebooks and perhaps the odd game.

Which of these tablets tickles your fancy? Will you be buying a tablet this Christmas? Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook wall.