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Top 5 Best Tablets under $300 (Updated for 2014)

Updated on October 1, 2014

Top 5 Best Tablets under $300

If your budget for buying a new tablet is in the $200-$300 range, then you're at the right place. Here's a list of feature rich tablets with positive reviews that cost under $300. These tablets are ideal for surfing the web, video chatting (for example, with Skype), playing games (Angry Birds and more), reading books, watching movies, listening to music, editing photos and documents, reading email, and more.

All of the tablets on this page are WiFi only and cost less than $300 without a contract. Some of them have versions that can also connect to cellular networks and/or purchased with a contract through AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile etc.

I feel like I am in the future. I would have loved to have a tablet when I was a kid. They are so lightweight and speedy these days that they can replace a laptop or desktop for many tasks. In the evening, my family often hangs out in the living room, laying on the couch or in the recliner, using our tablets in complete relaxation.

Related article: Best Tablet for Kids 2013 - For Toddlers through Teens

1) Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (10.1-Inch, White)

Samsung Galaxy Tab  4 (10.1-Inch 16GB, White)
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (10.1-Inch 16GB, White)

This tablet comes in as the best tablet for under $300 for several reasons.

Most notably, it's a large screen, 10.1" inches, while all of the other tablets in this price range are only 7 or 8 inches. The difference in viewing area between a 7" and 10" screen is about about 40%. That makes a big difference when watching a movie or reading websites. The downside is a decrease in portability, but it's thin and can fit in many medium sized purses and shoulder bags.

The second reason that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is at the top of my list is because it's a Samsung. My family owns a couple of Samsung tablets and I use a Samsung phone and my experience is that Samsung software is better than most competitors. Samsung tablets have extra features like multi window feature for true multitasking, kids mode, universal remote control ability, and more. Some people call Samsung's features "bloatware" but I think they actually improve the Android experience. Furthermore, memory is not an issue with this tablet. It has a microSD clot which allows you to add up to 64GB (currently, a 64gb card costs about $30, and is more space then you probably will need). An extra bonus is Samsung's agreement with Dropbox which gives you 50gb of free storage on the "cloud" which is great for storing photos.

Furthermore, this device runs Android 4.4 Kit Kat OS, which is the latest version, and it has a 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor. It has all that you would expect from a top line tablet: Rear and Front Cameras, GPS, Bluetooth, and a 1280 x 800 Pixel touchscreen.

 

2) Kindle Fire HDX - New Version of Amazon's Tablet, with Impressive Features

Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 3rd)
Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 3rd)

This is a tablet designed for HD video. The 7" screen has a resolution of 1920x1200, which is a pixel density of 323. That's more resolution than most other tablets in the same price range. Plus, it has dual speakers with Dolby Audio, so that you can experience good movie sound too. The fast quad core processor and the dual band antenna help to create a smooth experience all of the time.

It's great for novices because of its "Mayday" button. Maybe you've heard about it? If not, just know that you get fast customer service when you press it. The tech support agent can see your screen and walk you through how to do things. They can draw on your screen to show you exactly what to do. I can't tell you how many times I've been on the phone with someone who's having computer problems and they try to describe their screen to me... It just doesn't work out well.

Amazon has a huge selection of movies, books, and games that you can enjoy on your Kindle Fire HDX. Many movies and TV shows are included with Prime. For an extended kids selection, you can get unlimited Kindle FreeTime for just $2.99/month. It has parental controls and thousands of educational titles. Now there's even a Kids Edition Kindle Fire HD that comes with a protective case and a 2 year worry free guarantee. If it gets broken, Amazon replaces it for free.

 

Prefer a bigger screen?

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 3rd)
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 3rd)

A bigger screen makes viewing movies better, and is also a big plus for anyone with poorer eyesight! Thinking of getting a tablet for Grandpa and Grandma? Consider this new, larger Kindle Fire HD.

 

3) Dell Venue 8 Pro 32 GB Tablet (Windows 8.1)

The Dell Venue 8 Pro may be the best tablet for students and for business because it runs Windows 8 and has Windows Office so you can edit word documents on the go. You can use the apps you already use on your PC.

This tablet has good specs. It has an 8 inch high resolution IPS screen (WXGA 1280 x 800). That's the same resolution as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 but because it's two inches smaller, the pixel density is higher so it should appear sharper. IPS screens also generally have good viewing angles. It runs on an Intel® Atom™ processor Z3740D (2MB Cache, up to 1.8GHz Quad-Core). This really is a powerhouse.

A word about Windows though. There are many tablets with Windows on it, like the Microsoft Surface, and the prices have been dropping across the board. However, if you decide to buy a Windows tablet, you should be aware that there is a difference between Windows RT and Windows 8. Windows 8 tablets run all of the software you can run on a typical Windows computer. Windows RT can only run special apps. Given Microsoft's history of abandoning their products, I am hesitant to buy a tablet that runs the RT version. For many more details about the differences, see this PC World article.

4) Apple iPad Mini

I admit that I am not an Apple fan, but my Mom is. She uses them to write email to me and finds it easier than using the computer. She also uses them for her work with disabled children. My young nephew also uses an iPad and when given the choice between watching YouTube videos on it and watching Sprout TV, the YouTube videos win every time.

Check out the over 2000 customer reviews for the iPad Mini!

Apple has traditionally been more expensive than Android, but fortunately for budget shoppers, there is now an Apple iPad Mini that retails for under $300 without a contract (wifi only).


5) Asus Google Nexus 7 Tablet - Quad-core Tegra 3 Processor, Android 4.1

Asus Nexus 7 2B32 7-Inch 32 GB Tablet, Black (2013 Model)
Asus Nexus 7 2B32 7-Inch 32 GB Tablet, Black (2013 Model)

This is a real rival to the Kindle Fire HDX. They both have the same resolution and pixel density, and they both sell for about the same price.

Since this is Google's very own tablet, it features the Android operating system without any extra software. It has all of the Google apps that you would expect - Chrome, Gmail, YouTube, Hangouts and Google Now - and none of the third party stuff. This can be good and bad. There won't be any Amazon ads or pre-installed apps that you can't uninstall. And the Google Play store is huge. You can download apps, movies, music, books, and magazines from there. There are a lot of free apps, but you will typically have to pay for movies, magazines, and music. Although you can get Google All Access, unlimited music, for $9.99 a month, but there's no equivalent to Amazon Prime and you can't watch Amazon prime video on this tablet.

 

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Some of these tablets are WiFi only.

This can be both an advantage and disadvantage.

The advantage to this is that you don't need a cell phone data plan nor a contract to use the tablet.

The disadvantage is that you need to be in an area that has a WiFi network that you can connect to.

To create a home WiFi network, all you need is a wireless router and an internet connection.

Many cafes, airports, libraries, hotels, and public places have free WiFi connections.

Another option is that if you have a smartphone with a data plan, you may be able to connect to the internet through your phone. For example, I own the Samsung Galaxy S 4G cell phone and in the wireless settings there is something called "Mobile AP" which turns my phone into a wifi hotspot. Other cell phones may have a way to tether the tablet with bluetooth. If you have an Android phone, check the "Wireless and Network" settings. Or, refer to your owner's manual.

Any questions on tablets? - I'll try to help if I can.

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    • profile image

      shatabdi85 3 years ago

      Which one is best in terms of battery backup?

    • profile image

      karenfoster 3 years ago

      I <3 the tab 3 tablet

    • craig57 lm profile image

      craig57 lm 3 years ago

      I have a Samsung note 8 and it is a great tablet. Thanks for sharing!

    • wil4dgc lm profile image

      wil4dgc lm 3 years ago

      One word for this lens, Perfect! Great work!

    • profile image

      MartinTim 3 years ago

      Asus Google Nexus 7 is great. I don't like Samsung and htc much. The Samsung android products do not perform very well. Android is developed by Google. But Samsung and htc make some changes, and the android loses its touch after one or two updates.

    • Invoiceberry Team profile image

      Invoiceberry 4 years ago from London

      Few ago ago got Nexus tablet. So far happy :)

    • sara0129 profile image

      Shamim Rajabali 4 years ago from Texas

      You have a good selection here. Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Please help me find the best gaming tablet for my son... (really, my son!)

      The following minimum specs or better ...

      7" 720p

      1.2Ghz Dual/Quad Core

      8mb Internal memory

      Adobe Flash

      Android 4.0

      I am leaning towards a new Samsung Galaxy 7, Google Nexus, or refurbished?

      Anything else you would prefer in a gaming tablet?

      Thanks!

    • pauly99 lm profile image

      pauly99 lm 4 years ago

      Picked up the Nexus 7 and then a nice case for Christmas. Highly recommended.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Good review!

    • profile image

      mistaben 5 years ago

      nice collection of the best tablets =)

    • rooshoo profile image

      rooshoo 5 years ago

      The Samsung Galaxy looks pretty sweet!

    • spids lm profile image

      spids lm 5 years ago

      These are great! What a fun talent to have!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      hello, my name is paul, I have been going to many doctors and i found out i have cancer of the liver. The point my ins. is killingme ha ha but the bills are too. Well i have a montgomery catalog and i was going to order a colby 10'' tablet but they want $479 and no good reports on them, they areI bad. I am on a fixed income and i really want one so when i go threw treatments i have it to take my mind off of things.I really wish i had enough money to get a nice tablet is there any way i can get one somehow to help me/ i am on a fixed icome and i barely barely make it!!! Please if possible send me some ideas on how i might work a little to save for one.I am not a scam but poor please help with some ideas. thank you so much, paul zacharski 2116 ellsworth westland mi 48186 my e-mail is prz6829@ gmail.com

    • ArthurF LM profile image

      ArthurF LM 5 years ago

      Time to add the Nexus 7 to this awesome list! Great lense!

    • profile image

      tax3612 5 years ago

      Good lense. After owning 10 tablets from the Apple to the Hp Slate I have decided that my Veiwsonic Gtab is by far my favorite one of them all. Its the cheapest one out of all the real tablets owned but its by far the most versatle and biggest bang for the buck!

    • kpp2385 profile image

      kpp2385 5 years ago

      very helpful information.. who wouldn't like to know these much about tables at such good prices!

    • HenkWillemse profile image

      HenkWillemse 5 years ago

      Thanks for this great info, I would really like to get myself the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 5 years ago from Florida

      I would love to own a tablet. I hope you get yours soon. Hopefully Squdoo will help you get it. Great lens.

    • cheapmicrowave lm profile image

      cheapmicrowave lm 5 years ago

      Love the selections you recommend. I personally went with the kindle fire, love it immensely.

    • hotbrain profile image
      Author

      hotbrain 5 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      @anonymous: Sorry to hear about your husband. I think you are right in thinking that a tablet might stimulate his mind. Tablets are so easy to use because of the touchscreen interface. The Le Pan II has a big screen - almost 10 inches. Or you could even look at the older model, the Le Pan TC 970, which is even cheaper. Most tablets have wifi so it seems the main limitation is the screen size. I have a relative who had a stroke and has very limited abilities and I brought my tablet over to her house and she really enjoyed looking at pictures on it. I was so impressed with the way it encourages interaction. I wish all the best to and your husband.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My husband had a massive stroke, can only use one hand. Cannot operate keyboard.Hoping a tablet might stimulate his mind. Need tablet with capacitive screen & wi-fi. Like the galaxy 8.9 with the gorilla screen and a little bigger than 7" But too spendy. Any suggestions?

    • hotbrain profile image
      Author

      hotbrain 5 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      @anonymous: Hi Steve,

      The only tablet that meets your criteria is the HP Touchpad. It has a large screen, it's under $300, and has pretty good reviews. Most tablets that have 10 inch screens are closer to the $400 price tag. All of these tablets can be hooked up to an amplifier through the headphone output. Two things to consider are battery life and the file type compatibility. If you ever decide that a smaller screen size could work for you, then I'd recommend the Blackberry Playbook. Its sound quality is superb and it's a very dependable tablet aimed at professionals.

      Also, you may want to research the software that would work for you and then look at the tablets that use that software.

      Hope this helps!

      Heidi

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm a singer who singings with tracks on my laptop. I want to go tablet 10 inch basically to play tracks plugged into a pa system. The 7-8 inch seem a little small. I want to spend under $300. I don't need anything special just a dependable system to play the tracks. Thanks for your advice. Steve

    • BloggingMogul profile image

      BloggingMogul 5 years ago

      I definitely need one. Thanks for info

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      One of these days I will purchase a tablet. Thanks for the information!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great idea for creating excellent lens.

    • Nimsrules LM profile image

      Nirmal Shah 5 years ago from India

      Wonderful lens. I like your presentation!

    • stylingparts profile image

      stylingparts 5 years ago

      brilliant lens there great work

    • reaphavok profile image

      Joey McClurg 6 years ago from Illinois

      great way to save some cash but get your techno-boost!

    • three rexer profile image

      three rexer 6 years ago

      nice collection aha....