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5 Great Tablets On A Budget

Posted by Andrea Baker on

With new top of the range tablets like the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro stealing the limelight in recent months, it's easy to assume that having portable technology will set you back on the finance front. The truth is you don't need to spend a fortune to have adequate technology at your fingertips. Here are the top five budget tablets to have you functioning fully on the cheap.

Your tablet may be a budget model, but that doesn't mean it has to be subject to the hardships of everyday life. We have a host of tablet enclosures to protect your device in a range of compatible sizes. 

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Amazon Fire.

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It's easy to get lost in the extensive Amazon Fire range that includes standard and HD varieties in a number of sizes. But if you're after a super cheap barebones tablet to surf the web, e-read and do only a little entertainment streaming, Amazon is worth a mention according to experts like CNET, PC Advisor and Tech Radar.

In Australia, you can hunt around and get the base non-HD model for around $85 (it's $50 in the US) or amazon.com.au offers the Fire 7HD model for AUD$179. This slightly more upmarket, but still affordable model, features a 7-inch display, better screen resolution than the base model, dual speakers, 8GB internal storage, MicroSD slot, and up to seven hours battery life. It also includes two cameras with a VGA front facing camera and 2MP rear facing.

The Fire range runs on the Fire OS5 operating system, similar to Android lollipop, but without the perennial favourites like GMail, YouTube or Google Maps installed. These can be accessed via browser instead.

Noted as not fabulous, but fine for everyday tasks, the budget Fire range is still a solid option, although users may find the Amazon-centric advertising and operating system push the friendship a bit. 

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iPad Mini 2

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First launched in 2013, the iPad Mini 2 still holds its own in the greater tablet market, but particularly now it's shifted into budget range. Available from Apple and a host of other retailers, it sells from AUD$369, and boasts all the major features associated with the acclaimed iPad range.

These include the iOS9 operating system, 5MP main camera, 1.2MP webcam, 7.9-inch Retina display and slim design, measuring just 7.5mm thick.

Although the Mini 2 features the slightly older A7 processor chip that has now been superseded by the A8 and recent A9, it's still nimble in the processing department, and has up to 10-hours battery life. This makes it a viable, if not recently released, option for an all round tablet to suit entertainment, reading and web surfing needs. 

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Samsung Galaxy Tab A8

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Currently available for AUD$279, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is another solid option of the Android variety, with access to pre-installed Microsoft apps like Word.

It features a quad core processor, 5Mp main camera and 2Mp front-facing number along with 1.5GB storage. A key component is its MicroSD slot for additional storage. Combine that with access to MS Office apps, and this makes it easy to use for limited work on the go.

This is also billed as a "family friendly" all-rounder, so the Galaxy Tab A8 also has kids’ mode available.

On the battery front the Galaxy Tab A8 isn't the longest lasting tablet on the block but can run up to 12 hours, with power saving and ultra power saving modes.

As it's part of the Samsung range, the Galaxy Tab A8 can sync with other Samsung devices like mobiles, and it's available courtesy of all major retailers. 

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Google Nexus 7

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These days the Google Nexus 7 is getting a little harder to find as the second generation model discussed here was released in 2013, but three years later experts like androidauthority.com and pcadvisor.co.uk still rank this android device as one of the best budget buys available.

With a little scouting around you can find it for around AUD$210. The features that keep this widely popular tablet in the running are its build quality, pixel density, and quad core processor. The Nexus was built by ASUS with an HD screen, 5MP main camera, and 1.2MP webcam. It comes with 16GB or 32GB capacity and 9 hours battery life, with PC Advisor noting "it may even be the best value tablet there is".

If you need an alternative, the ASUS Zenpad S8 strikes a similar balance between price and performance. Boasting a MicroSD slot, 64-bit Intel quad processor, a variety of storage sizes and 4GB RAM, it looks a lot like the iPad Mini. It's not available via major retailers but can be found online at around AUD$278 for the 16GB version. 

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Lenovo Yoga Tab 3

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With the 8-inch model retailing for just AUD $247, the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 gets a solid wrap from a sources like cnet.com and androidauthority.com as an all-round performer.

This Android tablet appears different to your average hand-held device to its aluminium-clad spine on one side that houses an inbuilt kickstand and 180 degree rotating camera. The spine allows you to hold the tablet easily like a book, then provides stability when you turn it to landscape mode and utilise the kickstand for activities like watching movies or streaming TV.

Widely available in Australia, the Yoga Tab 3 also boasts an HD display and up to 20 hours battery life. The 8MP camera also takes a pretty good image, and as it rotates, it doubles as the front and rear-facing camera. The Android operating system allows good performance and gaming, with Dolby Atmos technology taking care of quality sound. 

The Roundup

Ultimately finding the right tablet to suit your budget and needs takes a little hunting around. The Australian market tends to favour Lenovo, Samsung and iPad when it comes to finding real-world retailers who readily stock products. But with a little research and willingness to compromise in an area or two, there's an affordable tablet available to cater to your mobile needs.