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Best tablets under $200 right now

New versions of popular tablets will soon be released, and now's your chance to take advantage of price drops for last year's models.

If you're tablet-shopping on a budget or looking to find a great deal, now's a good time to buy. We're on the cusp of seeing new, updated iterations of popular tablets, like the Google Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire lineup, and, while the saying goes, "Out with the old and in with the new," if you're looking for a device with good performance at an affordable price, "in with the old" might be your best game plan.

When new and upgraded gadgets are released, they're usually followed by price drops for older models.

Even though new, inexpensive tablets like the Hisense Sero 7 Pro and Acer Iconia A1-810 exist, some of 2012's finest are still better buys for the same amount.

The tablets on this list have already seen price reductions in anticipation of their replacements and offer a bargain to those looking for tablets with good performance.

The 2012 Kindle Fire update featured a faster CPU and lower price. Will the 2013 model follow the same formula? Eric Franklin/CNET

Amazon Kindle Fire (2012)
Amazon's contribution to the tablet market has been consistently fierce with its Kindle Fire line. The 2012 Kindle Fire lacks some standard features like HD video support, a camera, and volume buttons, but otherwise, it provides an affordable media-centered experience at $159.

When does the new model come out?
The 2013 model of the 7-inch Kindle Fire is expected to arrive in the fall with some hardware upgrades (who doesn't add volume buttons!?) and a higher, 1,280x800-pixel resolution. Read the full review.

The addition of the Google Play store increases the Nook HD+'s capabilities and value. Sarah Tew/CNET

Barnes & Noble Nook HD+
Barnes & Noble bowed out gracefully from the tablet race and -- not to be insensitive but -- this is great news for those in the market for a simple tablet on the cheap. The price drop following the announcement adds to the Nook HD+'s value; its high 1,920x1,280-pixel-resolution screen, good performance, and microSD slot cover all of the basics for an entry-level user.

When does the new model come out?
Barnes & Noble will continue developing e-readers with a third-party manufacturer but has no plans to make any more Nook HD+ tablets. The company expects to sell all of its inventory through the holidays. Read the full review.

The Nook HD comes in Smoke (gray) and Snow (ivory) color options. Eric Franklin/CNET

Barnes & Noble Nook HD
The Nook HD is the lowest-priced tablet on this list but not because it offers the least. Sure, it lacks GPS, a gyroscope, a Micro-USB port, and a camera, but it has a light and comfortable design and starts at only $129 for 8GB. It also features a sharp 1,440x900-pixel-resolution screen, a microSD expansion slot, and access to the Google Play store.

When does the new model come out?
The end is near, so those interested in a Nook HD should grab one before they're gone and say goodbye to these Nook tablets, because it might be the last time you see them. Read the full review.

Amazon's Kindle Fire HD is one of the best tablets for media consumption. James Martin/CNET

Amazon Kindle Fire HD
At its new low price of $169, Amazon's Kindle Fire HD is a better value than ever. It features a beautiful screen and myriad things you can do with it. From watching video to browsing and gaming, the 7-inch tablet is a great deal, even with its restrictive app store and interface.

When does the new model come out?
A new Kindle Fire HD is expected to be released in the fall with an upgraded 1,920x1,200-pixel-resolution screen. Read the full review.

The Nexus 7 has been one of the best small tablets since its release. Eric Franklin/CNET

Google Nexus 7
The Nexus 7 is still the best tablet around for $200. Its comfortable design, pure Android functionality, and low starting price make it the best in its category. As a Google-branded tablet, it is expected to receive timely Android updates even when the new model comes out, ensuring that even when your hardware becomes dated, you won't be limited by your OS.

When does the new model come out?
Rumors of the next Nexus 7 are popping up with more frequency. When coupled with rare sale prices and expectations of Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, I can't help but speculate that it will arrive before the end of the year. Read the full review.

Looking for specs and pricing? Compare these affordable tablets head-to-head.