The phrase 'best tablets under $200 / £250' might sound like a contradiction in terms. After all, high-end tablets from Apple, Samsung and Wacom cost several hundreds, even thousands of pounds. Surely a cheap tablet will be such low quality, it won't be worth bothering with?
Thankfully, that's not the case at all. In 2021, there are a number of sub-$200 / £250 tablets that provide a good customer experience, whether you're looking for a general-use tablet for watching movies, browsing the web and using apps, or a specialised tablet for your art and design projects.
In this article, we'll bring you the best tablets under $200 for both these purposes, ranging from the cheap to the super-cheap. The first five devices on our list are tablets for general use, while if it's tablets specifically for drawing you're after, jump ahead to the best tablets for artists under $200. If you've got a little more than $200 to play with but still want a cheaper tablet, then see our list of the best tablets for students
Bear in mind though, that although the tablets here are all good at what they do, they're not really aimed at creative professionals. So if you do want something more specialist, be sure check out our guides to the best tablets for video editing, the best drawing tablets.
The best general tablets
On a budget? The Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus is the best tablet for under $200 / £200 today, period. With a lovely 10.1-inch LCD touchscreen, with a high resolution of 1920 x 1200, it's great for watching TV and movies, browsing the web, and using apps.
With 4GB RAM, it's a relatively fast performer for the price. Its 32GB storage should be enough for most people. Alexa is built in. And you can get up to 12 hours of battery life from one charge, so it definitely passes the "watch a few films on a long journey" test.
Be aware, though, that the HD 10 Plus runs Amazon's own operating system, FireOS. That means you won't be able to run Google apps such as Google Docs, Google Maps, and YouTube. Amazon's own store has plenty of familiar apps, though, including Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Go, Spotify, Zoom and Audible.
Looking for a tablet that's waaaay under $200? Then you'll be pleasantly surprised by the super-low price of the Amazon Fire 7.
Obviously, this you're getting a pretty basic tablet. So the 7-inch IPS screen has a relatively low resolution of 1,024 x 600, the single speaker offers only limited audio, and with only 1GB RAM, the performance is definitely on the slower side. You also get ads on your screen that you have to pay a one-off cost to remove.
That said, the Amazon Fire 7 does include 16GB storage, which can be doubled to 32GB for only a few dollars more. Alexa is supported. The device is nice and portable. And you get up to seven hours of battery life on a single charge.
Overall then, if you're looking for a reliable tablet that lets you watch TV and movies, browse the web and run most major apps, you'll struggle to find another one as cheap as this.
Want a tablet that runs Windows 10, and that connects up to a keyboard so you can basically use it as a laptop too? Surprisingly, you can get all this for under $200, in the form of the Avita Magus II HD.
Windows is generally resource-hungry, so running it on a low-powered device can be painful. But the Intel Celeron N4000 Processor and 4GB RAM combine here to provide a decent level of performance. The 10.1-inch IPS display offers a high resolution of 1280 x 800, there's a generous 64GB of onboard storage, and you get up to six hours of battery life with a single charge.
The keyboard, which doubles as a case, works well, and it's easy to switch between app-based tablet mode and a desktop-based keyboard experience. Yes, it's a flimsier keyboard than a "proper" laptop, but so are more expensive devices like the Surface Go Type Cover. So all this, at such a low price, is impressive indeed.
Given that the US restrictions on companies working with Huawei remain in place, you may be surprised to see a Huawei device on our list. But they still remain legal to buy, and this cheap and cheerful device is a great choice if you want to watch TV and movies on long journeys, especially if you have kids.
The 9.6-inch screen, boasting 1280 x 800 resolution, provides a nice picture. And the 4800mAh gives you up to 9.8 hours video playback time, which should be enough for even the longest voyages.
The Huawei Mediapad T3 also comes with a blue-light filter and low-light display mode to stop eyes getting too sore, and there's a children's mode to make sure they only access suitable content.
This isn't the best tablet for general use: with just 2GB RAM it runs a little slowly, and you're limited to just 8GB storage. However, if viewing video content is your main interest, this has a lot to offer at a refreshingly low price.
If you're looking for the best tablet under $200 that's specifically aimed at children, we'd recommend the HD 8 Kids Edition.
While the funky, protective case gives it very kid-friendly look and feel, it's definitely not a toy. It comes with 32GB of storage, and the ability to add a microSD card with up to 1TB of extra storage. Battery life is up to 12 hours. And the quad-core, 1.3GHz processor makes everything run pretty smoothly.
As you'd expect, this tablet comes with good parental controls. These allow you to set screen-time limits and educational goals remotely from your smartphone, using Amazon Parent Dashboard, or via the tablet itself.
You also get a two-year "worry-free" guarantee and a year's subscription to Amazon Kids+. This gives your little ones access to thousands of apps, games, videos, books and audiobooks, including content from Disney, Nickelodeon and Sesame Street.
The best tablets for drawing under $200
From here on, we'll switch our attention from general use tablets to tablets aimed at artists. Note that unlike the former, drawing tablets aren't used on their own. Instead, you plug them into your computer and use them in conjunction with desktop software. This allows you to draw on the tablet, and see what you're drawing on your larger PC or Mac monitor.
The best tablet for drawing under $200 today is the XP-Pen Deco Pro. Yes, you won't get the kind of high end performance you can expect from the best drawing tablets overall. But for a low, low price you do get something that can do the basic job well.
This award-winning device features an 11 x 6 inch working area, giving you a decent sized canvas for your artwork. The included battery-free stylus responds quickly and smoothly to your hand movements. And there's support for up to 60 degrees of tilt function and up to 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity.
The software is a bit clunky, the stylus is basic, and you won't get the added extras that come with pricier tablets, such as an eraser. But the XP-Pen Deco Pro still offers a very nice digital art experience, at a surprisingly low price. For more details, see our XP-Pen Deco Pro review.
Want an artist's tablet that also comes with a screen of its own? Then let us point you towards the XP-Pen Artist 12.
This is not a standalone product: like most tablets aimed at artists you still have to connect it to your computer. However, because it has its own 11.6-inch screen, it allows you to view your work both where you're drawing and on a larger monitor simultaneously.
The internal screen boasts a 1920x1080 HD display resolution paired with 72% NTSC Color Gamut and 178° viewing angle. The included battery-free stylus, with a nice hexagonal design, provides 8,192-levels of pressure sensitivity.
You get some nice extras too, including a pen holder, eight replacement pen nibs, a cleaning cloth and a drawing glove. All this means the XP-Pen Artist 12 is one of the best tablets for drawing under $200 you can buy today.
Wacom is known as the premium maker of tablets for drawing around today, used by artists, designers, film-makers, animators, and other creatives at the top of their profession. So it may surprise you to know it does a tablet under $200, and it's well worth investigating.
The Wacom Intuos Graphics Drawing Tablet has been specially designed for beginners in drawing, painting or photo editing, and allows you to draw in conjunction with your Mac, PC, Chromebook or Android device.
Despite its compact size, it offers a good active area of 6.0 x 3.7 inches. You get 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. And the pen, which is designed to suit both left- and right-handed users, has a lovely ergonomic design for ease of use.
Short on cash? The Huion H430P offers a super-cheap way to get started with digital drawing. The battery-free stylus offers 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, and eight replacement nibs are included. You also get four programmable shortcut keys.
The 4.8x3 inch drawing area isn't the largest, and overall, this is a very basic tablet and pen. But even so, to get something that works this well for such a rock bottom price, well it's pretty amazing really.