Apple would have you believe otherwise, but there's no law that says you have to spend over $300 for a tablet. In fact, you don't even have to pass the $200 mark. A growing number of tablets aim to take it easy on your budget, with price tags that fall below $150. You might think that means sacrificing quality and/or features, but these bargain tablets offer impressive bang for the buck.
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
At first blush, it's easy to mistake the Memo Pad HD 7 for the beloved Google Nexus 7 tablet--and that's a good thing. Except that Asus' model costs just $149.99 and includes both a rear-facing camera and a microSD expansion slot, two features the Nexus nixed. The 7-inch screen's resolution is a decent 1,280 x 800, and the Android 4.2 operating system affords most of the latest software perks.
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Dell Venue 7
Many sub-$150 tablets come from no-brand manufacturers, but it's a good bet you've heard of Dell. The company's new Venue 7 offers a solid set of specs, including a dual-core processor, 7-inch display, and dual cameras. And while it will ship with Android 4.2, Dell promises you'll be able to upgrade to Android 4.4 ("KitKat") soon after it's available. Dude, you're getting a Dell tablet, and for the surprisingly competitive price of $149.99.
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It's great to see 7-inch tablets finally dipping below the $150 mark. So what's this 8-inch model doing selling for $129.99? Smoking the competition, for starters. Although the EGP008's screen resolution is on the low side at 1,024 x 768, it does come with a dual-core processor, quad-core graphics chip, 8GB of expandable storage, and a pair of cameras. And unlike some no-brand tablets, this one runs Android 4.1 with full access to the Google Play store.
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Amazon Kindle Fire HD
Last year's Kindle Fire is this year's tablet bargain. Sure, there are newer models, but the Fire HD is a steal at $139. It includes not only a beautiful 1,280 x 800-pixel screen, but also Amazon's user-friendly carousel interface, which makes for easy consumption of books, movies, music, apps, and the Web. Plus, if you add an Amazon Prime subscription ($79 annually) you get all kinds of extra goodies. As media-savvy 7-inch tablets go, this one is hard to beat.
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Hisense Sero 7 Pro
With a no-name brand (Hisense), a suspiciously low price ($129), and only one retail option (Walmart), the Sero 7 Pro doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. But the specs don't lie: this 7-inch slate competes favorably with pricier models, and even ups the ante with a quad-core processor, high-resolution front and rear cameras, and higher-end technologies like near-field communications (NFC). For the moment, no other tablet offers this much bang for the buck.
Related: The Hisense Sero 7 Pro