Tablets used to be a newfangled tech available at one price point: expensive. These days, you can save bucks with a more attractive entry-level cost and still have a very handy device.
What to expect from an affordable tablet:
- Full HD
The standard resolution for TV and Blu-ray, Full HD screen resolution will allow you to stream your favourite shows anywhere and anytime, right on your tablet. Full HD is also known as 1080p or 1080i. It’s 1920 pixels across and 1080 pixels down the screen. Any tablet that surpasses those specs should do the trick and then some.
- Screen Size
Not to be confused with resolution, screen size is the actual viewing area. Look for at least 10 inches of screen real estate for that balance of portability and practicality (read: visibility without squinting or an over-reliance on zooming).
- Battery life
Thanks to improvements in energy use across the board, you can expect tablets to last a day even with sustained usage. However, there’s no going past decent battery capacity, so you want to look for tablets boasting 5,000mAh batteries (or thereabouts). You should also look for fast charge as a feature.
The combination of RAM and CPU to deliver performance is tricky to put into hard and fast rules. Ideally you should look for around 4GB of RAM or more, especially for gaming.
If your needs are simple and you plan to stick to a standard suite of well-used apps for keeping in touch, bingeing shows and some gaming, then 32GB internal storage will be fine. If you plan to shoot videos, look for 64GB or more. Even in this case you should be able to get a feature-loaded tablet that’s under $500. Most of the tablets in this range also have a microSD slot for expandable storage options.
Lenovo Tab M10 10.1” 32GB
A smidge more than a couple of hundred bucks gets you a 10.1-inch HD IPS display (1200×800), which comes with 32GB of storage. A Dolby Audio speaker offers great sound, while there are respectable innards with 2GB of RAM and a quad-core CPU. The 4,850mAh battery also offers decent longevity.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 10.4” Wi-Fi 32GB
Around the same price point as the Lenovo M10 Tab Plus, you’ll also find the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7. This budget-friendly tablet has a great WUXGA+ (2000×1200) resolution as part of a spacious 10.4-inch screen. That great looking display is paired with quad-speaker Dolby Atmos surround sound, and up to 13 hours of battery life. The innards are built to keep up, too: 4GB of RAM, an Octa-core CPU, and 64GB of storage that’s easily expandable by up to 128GB via the microSD port.
Lenovo M10 Tab Plus 10.3” 64GB Gen2 Tablet
For around $100 more, you can upgrade to the Lenovo M10 Tab Plus. The “Plus” part adds a larger and higher-res 10.3-inch, Full HD (1980×1080) display. It also doubles down on some of the other key features: Octa-core CPU for faster processing, double the internal storage at 64GB, 4GB of RAM for faster multitasking, and dual Dolby Atmos speakers. The full metal body adds to the overall style and durability, and there’s a 5,000mAh battery to keep you powered for longer.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Wi-Fi 64GB
Venture past the $500 threshold – but not by much – and you can tap into the lightweight but durable Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Wi-Fi 64GB, which includes an S Pen for digital handwriting and drawing. The 10.4-inch Full HD (1200×2000) display offers plenty of screen real estate, and Dark Mode saves the battery while making night-time use easier on the eyes. Speaking of battery life, there’s around 11 hours of charge here, which is plenty, plus the combination of Octa-core CPU and 4GB of RAM is great for multitasking.