A tablet may seem like a luxury item to own, but you don't always need to pay extravagant prices to get your hands on a good model. Yes, Apple tends to charge relatively high prices for its top-of-the-line models, but there is a growing range of good tablets that come with a much lower tag.
While these devices aren't likely to blow your socks off, they'll work just fine as home entertainment devices. We've rounded up the best tablets for under $100 in this article, showing that you really can have a dependable device without spending too much. This includes tablets from Amazon and Lenovo, as well as from more budget brands.
Amazon Fire HD 8
- Amazon integration
- Good battery life
- Software can feel like an advertisement
- Sluggish performance
- Under-par display
Why should you buy this? The Amazon Fire HD 8 is a surprisingly good all-around tablet for its price.
Who’s it for? Anyone who wants a cheap tablet that gets the basics right.
Why we picked it: The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) offers a great mix of affordability and usability. As an 8-inch tablet, it’s lightweight and easy to carry, making it ideal for longer viewing or browsing sessions (although consider a kickstand case if you want to watch movies on it). Its display boasts a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, which isn’t quite cutting-edge but is surprisingly good for the price and certainly enough to watch TV and films.
The Fire HD 8 also comes in a range of different colors, so you can spruce up its basic (yet classic) design with options in white, black, Plum, and Twilight Blue. The tablet also packs Dolby Atmos speakers, which provide very pleasing audio quality at the right level. It may also come as no surprise that the Fire HD 8 is heavily entwined with Amazon services and apps, so you’ll find Prime Video and Amazon Music preloaded on the device, as well as Audible.
Any good tablet should have a long-lasting battery, and the Fire HD 8 doesn’t disappoint in this respect. It can manage up to 12 hours of mixed-use, which means a mix of reading, browsing, streaming, and gaming. It also comes with 2GB of RAM and a quad-core 2.0 GHz processor, which does the job when it comes to everyday apps but may struggle a little with more recent and advanced games.
As for downsides, it should be said that the tablet’s Fire OS (Amazon’s own skin of Android) isn’t to everyone’s tastes. It strips out Google’s Android apps, resulting in a pretty bare-bones system that’s populated mostly by Amazon’s proprietary software. Still, people who are regular Amazon customers and users will appreciate the For You interface, which provides your home screen with recommendations for videos, apps, games, and films from Amazon’s vast library.
You won’t find a perfect tablet for less than $100, but the Fire HD 8 is pretty much the best you can get in this price range. It certainly gets the basics right and comes with a sharp enough display, and if you are an Amazon fan, you’ll enjoy its ecosystem of apps.
Lenovo Tab M8
- Decent battery life
- 8-inch LCD screen
- Android 10 Pie
- Subpar camera
- Low RAM
Why should you buy this? The Lenovo Tab M8 offers serious battery power and an attractive display in addition to solid performance and software.
Who’s it for? Anyone who wants a cheap Android tablet with long battery life.
Why we picked it: At $95, the Lenovo Tab M8 just about makes it onto our list, but as far as its specs and performance are concerned, it’s a great cheap tablet. Its main draw is likely its 5,000mAh battery, which is certainly hefty for an under-$100 tablet and will keep you going for two or three days under light to moderate use. Its other big plus is its 8-inch LCD screen, which at 1280 x 800 pixels is clear and crisp enough to make watching shows and movies enjoyable.
It also offers a quad-core 2.0GHz processor and 2GB of RAM, making it a capable tablet for most purposes — but don’t even bother trying any sort of games. However, it runs Android 10 Pie so if you want an alternative to the Fire HD 8 that doesn’t come with all the extra Amazon apps and actually includes software from Google, this is the one to buy.
As a sub-$100 tablet, its cameras are decidedly basic, with a 5MP rear and 2MP selfie. This makes it suited to video chatting and some straightforward snaps in good natural light, although any kind of specialized photography will be beyond your reach.
Onn Android Tablet
- Near stock Android
- Google Play Store
- Slow performance
- Poor battery life
- Chunky, plastic design
- Micro USB port
- Walmart bloatware
Why should you buy this? It offers good performance and a clear display.
Who’s it for? Anyone looking for a cheap Android tablet with basic features.
Why we picked it: For just under $100, the Onn Android Tablet is a decent device. It offers an 8-inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, making it great for watching TV, looking at photos, and reading books. There’s also 2GB of RAM with a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, so it can manage most everyday apps and games.
To be honest, its 2MP rear camera is something of a disappointment, particularly when other sub-$100 tablets offer at least 5MP. The performance isn't the best either, with many users experiencing stuttered scrolling and slow speeds. But considering the low price tag, it's good enough for basic tasks as long as you don't play heavy games or keep dozens of tabs open at once.
Vankyo MatrixPad S7
- Super affordable
- Android 9.0 Pie
- 32GB of internal memory with expandable storage
- Light and portable
- Subpar camera
- Can't handle multitasking or heavy games
Why should you buy this? The Vankyo MatrixPad S7 offers everything you need, as long as it’s nothing too exciting.
Who’s it for? Anyone who wants a compact tablet that covers the basics.
Why we picked it: If an 8-inch tablet isn’t quite lightweight and compact enough for you, maybe you should have a look at this 7-inch device from Vankyo. It weighs in at only 8.8 ounces, making it very easy to hold and handle, and while it isn’t as high-powered as other tablets on this list, it still punches above its weight.
Its LCD display offers 1024 x 600 pixels, which isn’t especially sharp (and not quite full HD) but is still perfectly adequate and usable. As for its performance, it carries 2GB of RAM and a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, so it’s capable of handling normal apps and casual games but may not be so adept when it comes to more recent and intensive software. It also offers a 2,900mAh battery, which again isn’t the highest in the sub-$100 category but is still solid enough to give you at least eight hours of mixed-use before needing a recharge.
Other features worth pointing out include the fact that the tablet runs on Android 9, offers 32GB of internal memory, and provides a microSD card that can add an extra 128GB of storage. It also comes with a 5MP rear camera (and 2MP selfie camera) and built-in GPS, so you can use it with Google Maps and the like. In all, it offers plenty for its price.
Hyjoy HB901 9-Inch Tablet
- Large screen
- HD display
- Android 10
- Expandable storage
- Won't offer any exciting features
- Not ideal for heavy tasks
Why should you buy this? The Hyjoy HB901 boasts a relatively large 9-inch screen, a Full HD display, and a very good battery for its price.
Who’s it for? Anyone who wants a larger tablet with a good battery and decent software.
Why we picked it: For a tablet under $100, the HB901 ticks an impressive number of boxes. It offers a relatively large 9-inch LCD display with 1280 x 800 pixels, meaning you can use it to watch videos in Full HD while also using it to read e-books and other content. It also boasts a 4,000mAh battery, so you’ll be able to use it to watch movies and read books for quite a while before you need to top it up.
It runs on Android 10 out of the box, making it more current than other sub-$100 tablets and also more usable (thanks to Android 10’s improvements over Android 9.0 Pie). Its performance is decent enough, with the 2GB of RAM and 1.6GHz quad-core processor just enough to juggle most apps and games with ease.
There’s a microSD card slot that can be used to add an extra 128GB of storage space, in addition to the 32GB of internal memory. There’s also a 5MP rear camera and 2MP selfie camera, which are basically good enough to let you video chat but not quite good enough to take truly impressive photos. That quibble aside, it’s a solid all-arounder, and much better than its price tag might suggest.
Yes, you can certainly print from a tablet, with the process being almost identical to printing from a smartphone. Check out our guide on how to print from an Android tablet for everything you need to know.
Yes, you can make phone calls on a tablet, but in most cases, you’ll need to be connected to the internet. You can connect to Wi-Fi, which all tablets can do for free. That said, if you need to make calls while you’re out and about, beyond the reach of a Wi-Fi network, you can buy a tablet with cellular support and space for a SIM card.
Android tablets now offer a wide and constantly growing range of video-chat apps, similar to how FaceTime works on an iPhone or iPad. Many of them also allow you to make audio calls. However, the person you want to call usually has to have the same app, just so you know. Some apps, like Skype, also allow you to call regular landline or mobile phone numbers, but this usually entails having to pay (either via subscription or some kind of top-up). A good app that will work on Android tablets that gives you a free number for calling, text messages, and voicemail is Google Voice, although it only works in the U.S.
Yes, you can also send text messages from a tablet. There are lots of great text messaging apps that work on Android, while you can also use Google Voice if you’re based in the U.S. since it gives you a free number for calls and text messages.
The tablets we test serve as our daily workhorses, so we use them extensively for at least several days before we sit down to write up our impressions. That means we watch films, play games, download apps, read e-books and webpages, work on them, send emails, and even take the occasional photo and video. While we appreciate new, innovative features, we particularly value tablets and devices that get the fundamentals right since we know this is what most people want above all else. It’s also what we want, which is why you can be sure that when we test and review products, we’ve tested them in pretty much the same way you would.
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