When the Apple iPad first came out, people thought the idea of a tablet was ridiculous. It was seen as a really big phone, but today we know that tablets are much more versatile than that. They’re used widely in the creative industry, they’re great entertainment for kids, and they double as eReaders or tiny movie theaters.
However, tablets have only gotten more expensive over the years, so what are your options if you’re on a tight budget like $100 USD? Read our detailed reviews below for more.
- Amazon Fire HD 8: Great 8″ tablet for someone who’s already immersed in the Amazon ecosystem of products and wants their tablet to specifically double as an eReader.
- Dragon Touch 10-inch Tablet: Great 10″ tablet with unique features like a micro HDMI port and expandable storage. Good all-around option for someone who needs a multipurpose device that might be for daily work use.
- Vankyo MatrixPad Z4: Great 10″ tablet with modern features – runs on Android 9, has an 8MP camera, and dual speakers. There’s 32GB of base storage, but it can be expanded with an SD card up to 128GB.
Who Should Get This
10 years ago, $100 towards a tablet wouldn’t have even got you in the door, but today it will give you some pretty solid footing. If you’re planning to use this tablet professionally, you might want to consider expanding your budget a little, and if you’re a diehard Apple fan you probably won’t find something that meets your standards.
Additionally, none of these tablets are going to come with styluses. But, if you just want something that offers you a large screen for reading textbooks or documents, watching movies, or entertaining your kid, then you’ve got plenty of options! Tablets in this price range usually offer HD screens and an average battery life, with sturdy plastic bodies. They may not have the shiniest new features, but they’ll get the job done.
Best Tablet Under $100: What to Consider in 2020
Operating System (OS)
One of the most important things to consider is what operating system a tablet comes with. For Android Tablets, you’ll want at least Android 7.0 (Nougat), but newer is always better because most of these devices may never see a system upgrade. While unfortunate, manufacturers have the final say in if a device can receive updates, so even if its supported officially, you might never have the chance to install it.
Screen & Battery Life
It may be tempting to buy a tablet with a less than HD screen to save a few bucks, but trust me, it’s not worth it. In the age of Youtube Videos, Netflix streaming, and crystal clear Instagram photos, you will definitely notice a low res screen, and you will definitely regret it. You should also look for a tablet with a good battery life- don’t expect 10 hours of watching your favorite show, but don’t settle for just 3 or 4 either.
If a barebones tablet is all you need, then go for it! But if you want extras like a camera, specific ports, or other neat features, don’t be afraid to look for it. Budget tablets tend to vary greatly from each other depending on what the manufacturer chose to focus on- some may boast dual speakers to a competitor’ mono, a higher MP camera, or expandable storage- and with so many tablets on the market, you’re sure to find something that meets your standards.
Best Tablets Under $100: Our Top Picks for 2020
The Fire HD 8 is one of Amazon’s best tablets. It combines the compact and versatile Kindle eReader with a budget friendly HD tablet to give you something altogether new and exciting. To save money, you can buy it with the Special Offers- ads that appear when your screen is locked- or you can pay an extra $20 to have them removed at any time. The tablet offers 16 or 32 GB of storage, and both front and rear cameras.
- Can double as an eReader and encourage you (or your child) to pick up a book more often.
- Clear and sharp 8-inch screen.
- 1.5GB of RAM, 1.3Ghz processor, up to 10 hours of battery life.
- Although some users have sideloaded apps or managed to add the Google Play store to their device, out of the box these devices are limited to content from the Amazon store and run on a special version of Android called FireOS.
You may not have heard of the DragonTouch brand before, but you should definitely listen up now. This tablet brings an incredible amount of features to you, despite the small size. A 10″ tablet, it includes a microHDMI port so that you can easily mirror your screen to a TV, a spot for an expandable storage SD card, and runs on Android 8 Oreo out of the box. It also has 2 GB of built in RAM, which will help you play games or watch videos without stuttering.
- Expandable storage slots mean that the small 16GB base storage isn’t much of a hurdle.
- MicroHDMI port is uncommon and lets you connect your tablet to a larger screen
- Front and rear camera.
- Battery lasts for 5 hours of video playback or 7 hours of reading time.
- Small base storage means you’ll want to buy an SD card and use the expanding storage slot.
- Low quality built in speaker.
This tablet brings some of the best specs available in the price range into one compact device. The 10″ tablet runs Android 9 Pie out of the box and has a 1.5gHz processor with 2 GB of RAM. There’s 32GB of storage, so while you won’t be able to store your whole photo library, there’s plenty of room for books, apps, and games. There’s also an expandable storage slot, so that’s always an option if you need it. Additionally, the rear camera is 8MP, whereas competing tablets usually have a 2MP camera.
- Decent base memory at 32GB, with expandable storage.
- Runs Android 9 out of the box, compared to competitors that are often running android 7 or lower.
- 8MP rear camera, 2MP front camera.
- Dual speakers.
- Plastic rather than glass screen.
Useful Tips and Resources
A tablet can be a big investment, especially if you think your tablet is going to be exposed to various dangers in the world like unexpected falls or water, it’s important to get a protective case. There are many kid-safe, waterproof, and sturdy cases on the market that enclose your device at all times.
Alternatively, a tablet sleeve will protect your device while it’s not in use, especially if you store it for a long period of time. These are also generally easier to find since they don’t require a precise fit to work.
A tempered glass screen protector could also be a good investment – it will shatter before the real device screen does in the event of a fall.
Did you know you can get books to read on your tablet for free from your local library? You should check with your library as to what online service they use, but one of the most popular is Overdrive.
All you have to do is sign in with your library card, and you can download books onto the Overdrive or Kindle app to read on any of your devices! There are lots of other free and useful services that can make your tablet more enjoyable, so make sure to check out your local resources.
A tablet can be a great tool. Whether it’s a tool for keeping your elementary schooler occupied or a tool for you to read work documents, all uses are equally valid (and common)!
Thankfully, purchasing a decent tablet no longer requires shelling out hundreds of dollars, and we hope the options presented here have given you some insight into that. If we missed your favorite model that’s under $100, let us know by leaving a comment down below and we’ll be sure to consider it.
Andreas is a freelance tech writer based in California. He works on a Mac in the office and lives with a PC and many old computer electronics at home. While he is not reading or writing, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends.