Best budget tablets to buy in 2014

23 Dec 2013

The market for cheap tablets has rapidly become one of the most competitve for 2014, with the likes of Google, LG and Samsung competing with supermarket tablets such as the Tesco Hudl. Here we review the best budget tablets to buy this year.

The market is now awash with cheap tablets priced under £200, with some even available for under £100. And the good news is there are some great value compact tablets on the market, offering surprsingly impressive sound, video and internet browsing performance.

We've rounded-up the best budget tablets currently available to help you make your buying decision, while also highlighting some which are probably best avoiding...

 

Best budget tablet

Google Nexus 7


Tested at £200 

The Android 4.3 toting Nexus 7 (2013) has pretty much the best tablet screen around at this price, making it great for watching video.

Sound from the stereo speakers is impressive and the 5- and 1.2-megapixel cameras come as a welcome improvement compared to its predecessor.

Team this with a wonderfully easy-to-use user interface and the Nexus 7 becomes not just the best budget, but one of the best tablets currently available.

MORE: Google Nexus 7 review


Best tablet under £150

Tesco Hudl


Tested at £120

The Tesco Hudl offers fantastic value for money. For that low, low price tag you get a staggeringly good spec sheet: a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, a 7in screen with 1440 x 900 resolution, and 16GB of built-in storage with a microSD slot for expansion.

The performance is decent, too. Compare the video quality to the Nexus 7 and the Tesco tablet looks a little washed-out but it's pretty sharp and detailed. The sound avoids being bright but the speakers are a little awkwardly placed so stick to headphones.

Still, the Hudl tablet is easy to use, feels solidly built and it is very cheap. For some, that will be more than enough.

MORE: Tesco Hudl review

 

Budget tablet alternatives

These tablets still come in under £200 and could yet be the best option for you, the Kindle Fire tablets, for example, naturally make a lot of sense if you're an existing Kindle user or regular Amazon customer.

It's also worth looking out for sale deals on these tabs as many older models may become bona fide bargains once they have a few pounds shaved-off their price tags.

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 


Tested at £200 - Latest Prices

The Kindle Fire HDX 7 boasts one of the best spec sheets of any other tablet in this list. It runs on a 2.2GHz Qualcoom Snapdragon 800 processor and offers a full-HD display which puts out 323ppi.

It may not offer access to the Google Play Store, and some key Google apps aren't there, but with access to Amazon's extensive library of media content, the HDX 7 is an awesome tablet for viewing movies and TV shows.

 

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

Tested at £160 - Latest Prices

Alternatively, you could opt for Amazon's previous tablet, the Fire HD. The screen may not have the same pizazz as its latest sibling, and the processor is clocked at a slower speed, but nonetheless, the Fire HD offers a plesant user experience. And now it has a lower price, its definitely worth a look.

MORE: Amazon Kindle Fire HD review


Kobo Arc


Tested at £160

The Kobo Arc, is, for the most-part a fine tablet option. Its 1280 x 800-pixel screen delivers 215ppi, which is better than some other competitors in this list. Android 4.0 is on board, with full access to Google Play's catalogue of movies and TV shows.

e-Books are the Arc's best friend, thanks to an affiliation with WH Smith. The only niggle is the average audio quality.

MORE: Kobo Arc review

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0

Latest Prices

Samsung has its fingers in almost every tablet size category. This 7-inch version is one of the cheapest. However the low price is reflected by its specs.

A 1.2GHz dual-core processor is coupled with 1GB of RAM, and the 1024x600 screen outputs at 169ppi.

It is available in 8 or 16GB variants with microSD expansion. However, for not a lot more money, you can pick up either the Tesco Hudl or Amazon Kindle Fire HD, both of which offer much, much more.

 

More budget tablet reviews

Asus MeMo Pad 8



Tested at £200

The Asus Memo Pad 8 is a tricky one. It's by no means the best tablet money can buy, but neither is it the worst. What is strange is how the brand behind the Nexus 7, can make something of their own with lesser specs.

For those wanting a basic tablet, the MeMo Pad 8 is a fine option, but for the money, we'd always recommend the Nexus 7 or now, the Tesco Hudl

MORE: Asus MeMo Pad 8 review


Archos 80b Platinum


Tested at £170

Archos, like Asus above, is also responsible for one of the better tablets on this list; the Tesco Hudl. And in a similar fashion to Asus, Archos' own effort is somewhat disappointing.

For the money, the specs are below what should be expected, and its nearly 200g heavier than the Nexus 7. Screen and audio are both rather poor, as is the 2MP camera. Considering the competition, its hard to recommend.

 

MORE: Best tablets to buy in 2014

 

by Max Langridge

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