Looking to jump into the world of ultra-portable computing but not quite ready to make a big investment yet? In this post, we’ve got you covered the review for the best tablet under $100 in 2021 !
We compared dozens of different budget tablets to find the absolute best models available for less than a single Benjamin Franklin.
Recommendation for January 2021
Best Tablets Under $100 in 2021
Samsung Galaxy Tab Lite – Best Android Option
Just getting started in the world of handheld tablet devices? The “Lite” version of the standard Tab E is an excellent place to begin.
This model gets you close to a high-end tablet experience without paying a high-end price.
While it has an older version of Android and not quite as much RAM as the more expensive models, it otherwise includes all the features you’d want in a tablet.
Samsung’s sleek black design fits well in one hand or two, and the screen is surprisingly crisp for a 1200 resolution display.
While still lightweight, the Samsung Tab E is a durable device, which is why you can still find these Lite models used or refurbished well under $100.
If you prefer a new unit you’ll need to slightly over the $100 threshold if you want a more recent version of the Android OS. That will be particularly important if you want to play the latest version of new games, which may not be compatible with Android 4.4 any longer.
Want to get one of the absolute best devices Samsung has to offer? If you don’t mind bumping up the price, I personally recommend the latest version of the Samsung Tab A, although it is much more expensive.
Recommended configuration for Samsung Galaxy Tab Lite
CPU: 1.3GHz Tablet Processor | Graphics: Integrated Graphics | RAM: 1GB | Screen: 7″ 1024×600 HD Touch Display| Storage: 8GB eMMC | Operating System: Android | Battery Life: 8 hours | Weight: 0.68 pounds
Dragon Touch K10 – Best Display
First off, you should know we’re cheating a bit here. This model usually goes for around $108, so it isn’t technically under $100 unless you wait for a sale.
There are two big draws to this model over any others — a much crisper and more clear screen with a higher resolution, and 2GB of RAM.
That combo means you get a much better experience than with nearly any other tablet in the price range.
The Dragon Touch K10 extends some of the basic features of the Android OS with Dragon Touch’s custom EMUI interface.
That interface speeds up app load times and also includes extra tools for taking photos or connecting to other otherwise devices.
Be ready to install a secondary microSD card if you plan on saving anything on the tablet.
Recommended configuration for Dragon Touch K10
CPU: Quad-Core 1.3GHz Processor | Graphics: ARM Mali-T720 | RAM: 2GB | Screen: 10.1″ 1280×800 HD IPS Touch Display| Storage: 16GB eMMC | Operating System: Android | Battery Life: 6 hours | Weight: 2.05 pounds
Fusion 5 – Best 10-Inch Pick
When you go with a 10” display, you lose out on some of the portability from smaller tablets. While the Fusion5 is harder to hold with one hand, it beats the competition in many other ways.
The IPS panel is top-notch for the price point and offers high quality visuals whether you are playing Android apps or streaming Netflix movies.
The screen size may be the main reason to consider the Fusion5, but it has some extra bells and whistles that may seal the deal for you.
Most notably, this model includes both a mini HDMI port and a full size USB port, which is rare for a tablet.
If you like to have the ability to hook up to other devices and want a larger tablet, this should be your top pick.
Recommended configuration for Fusion 5
CPU: MT8167 Quad-Core 1.3GHz Processor | Graphics: IMG PowerVR GE8300 | RAM: 1GB | Screen: 10.1″ 1280×800 HD Touch Display| Storage: 16GB eMMC | Operating System: Android | Battery Life: 5 hours | Weight: 1.52 pounds
Amazon Fire 8 – Best 8-Inch Pick
The Fire 7 is easily the best tablet under $50, so it should be much surprise that the upgraded Fire 8 would make our list here.
Besides a larger display, this model features a better HD quality screen than the 7, which is on par with the other devices in our list of contenders here.
It also boasts much higher maximum memory capacity than other tablets. The Fire 8 is capable of handling up to whopping 400GB of space with a microSD card.
Like to have control over all your options?
This model is available in multiple color schemes, so you get the tablet that best matches your personality!
Not only is the Fire 8 under $100, but it’s actually up for grabs for under $80!
Considering all the extra bells and whistles you get — like Alexa control and a free month of Prime — that’s a killer deal.
Recommended configuration for Amazon Fire 8
CPU: Quad-Core 1.3GHz Processor | Graphics: Integrated Graphics | RAM: 1.5GB | Screen: 8″ 1280×800 HD IPS Touch Display| Storage: 16GB eMMC | Operating System: Fire OS | Battery Life: 10 hours | Weight: 0.81 pounds
Asus Google Nexus 9 – Best 8.9-Inch Pick
Looking for a lighter tablet that is easy to hold in one hand? At just over half a pound and 8” in diameter, the Nexus 9 perfectly fits the bill.
Now to be clear, this is an older model, but these refurbished units are still some of the best budget tablets around.
Besides quick speeds from 2GB of RAM, this model has the best display quality of any of our contenders.
You won’t often find a full 2048×1536 pixel resolution screen for this low a price.
There is one potential downside to keep in mind, however.
While this is reliable hardware that’s been working well for years, the Nexus 9 uses an older version of the Android OS.
If you prefer a new version of the Android OS, there’s instead of the Asus ZenPad that’s available for under $100.
While it has similar specs and a newer operating system, it doesn’t have a nearly as high quality of a screen, unfortunately.
Recommended configuration for Asus Google Nexus 9
CPU: NVIDIA Tegra 2.3GHz Processor | Graphics: Integrated Graphics | RAM: 2GB | Screen: 8.9″ 2048×1536 HD IPS Touch Display| Storage: 32GB eMMC | Operating System: Android | Battery Life: 15 hours | Weight: 0.96 pounds
Nuvision Encite Split – Best Windows Option
This tablet features almost the size of a 12” tablet (it’s 11.6” big), but it can achieve a high resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
Needless to say, this display a full HD screen that is very responsive to touch and can even be operated with a pen (which isn’t included).
Nuvision Encite Split is a very lightweight tablet which is very portable even when it’s placed in its keyboard cover.
But it’s a tablet that has an advantage over other tablets when it comes to connectivity too. It features USB-C port that is becoming a new universal port in the laptops.
What we liked the most is the USB-C to standard USB adapter that comes included so you can connect any USB device with this tablet.
While some manufacturers make you pay for additional accessories, Nuvision adds keyboard cover in every purchase. And considering the price – this makes it a really valuable purchase.
The cover integrates the keyboard, allows you to attach the tablet via the USB-C port, and even protects the back cover of the tablet.
We really liked the comfort this keyboard provides as it can be easily compared with Surface Pro Cover keyboard – and yet it costs a lot less.
Recommended configuration for Nuvision Encite Split
CPU: Intel Celeron N3350 | Graphics: Intel Integrated Graphics | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 11.6″ 1920×1080 HD WideView Touch Display| Storage: 32GB eMMC | Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 8 hours | Weight: 1.7 pounds
Dell Venue 8 Pro – 8” Windows Option
Not all tablet users want to figure out a new operating system like Android, Fire, or iOS. If you’re comfortable with Windows and want to stick with it, there are options available.
There is one major caveat to keep in mind, however.
At this price range, a Windows device will always be a bit slower than an Android tablet.
There simply isn’t enough room to cram in all the hardware Windows needs to run at full speed in an 8” tablet.
32GB sounds like a lot for a tablet, but note that most of that is taken up by the Windows installation. If you intend on using this device as a laptop replacement, you will need a microSD card.
Those warnings aside, if you just need a lite secondary device for web browsing or simple tasks, you can’t go wrong here for the low price.
Recommended configuration for Dell Venue 8 Pro
CPU: Intel Atom Z3735G | Graphics: Integrated Graphics | RAM: 1GB | Screen: 8″ 1280×800 HD Touch Display| Storage: 32GB eMMC | Operating System: Windows 8.1 | Battery Life: 8 hours | Weight: 0.81 pounds
Vankyo MatrixPad Z4 – Best Tablet Under $100
With the latest version of Android totally devoid of bloatware and high end specs for the price point, it doesn’t get much better than this.
You can expect quick boot up, fast app response time, and solid wi-fi connections at home or out running errands.
The HD display with IPS panel technology is also a pleasure to look at, whether you are checking up on emails or playing with apps.
One big difference between Vankyo’s offering and our other contenders is in the storage capacity.
Most tablets at this price range will give you 8 – 16GB of internal storage. Here, you get double that with 32GB of space to save files.
With the microSD card slot for extra space, many users run a dual OS setup and install Windows as well, so you can get the best of both worlds.
Recommended configuration for Vankyo MatrixPad Z4
CPU: Rockchip Quad-Core 1.5GHz processor | Graphics: MALI-G31 | RAM: 2GB | Screen: 10.1″ 1280×800 HD IPS Touch Display| Storage: 32GB eMMC | Operating System: Android | Battery Life: 8 hours | Weight: 1.08 pounds
Lectrus Tablet – With Sim Slot
This tablet is capable of running 2 sims at the same time which is great if you are using this for a business like contracting customers so you won’t need to use your personal number.
Though it only sports an Athlon processor and 1GB of RAM it can suffice browsing and other entertainment uses without compromise.
The display is pretty decent equipped with an IPS display so you can use this tablet for watching movies.
You can also use this as GPS a it comes with tracking software pre-embedded on its system, and it has all the necessary wireless connection you may need like Bluetooth, Wifi, etc.
So if you just need a laptop you can use for everyday business transactions then this tablet is your best choice.
Recommended configuration for Lectrus Tablet
CPU: AMD Athlon 1.5GHz | Graphics: Integrated Graphics | RAM: 1GB | Screen: 10.1″ 1280×800 HD IPS Touch Display| Storage: 16GB eMMC | Operating System: Android | Battery Life: 5 hours | Weight: 1.2 pounds
Viking Pro 10.1” Tablet – With Keyboard
The RCA Viking Pro is simply one of the best tablets you can find under $100, it comes with detachable keyboard and IPS display so you can have sharp and crisp images for videos and photos.
Though it only has 1GB of RAM which is pretty small, you can use this for light browsing and even gaming, just don’t open too many apps at the same time and you’ll be fine. Well, what do you expect from under $100 tablets, they’re only good is one process at the time machine.
The keyboard is convenient for writers and students who take notes at a class as it is very portable and you can detach the keyboard anytime you want.
All in all this tablet is worth the price if you’re only looking for a secondary device you can use that has a keyboard in it.
Recommended configuration for Viking Pro 10.1”
CPU: Quad-Core 1.5GHz processor | Graphics: Integrated Graphics | RAM: 1GB | Screen: 10.1″ 1280×800 HD IPS Touch Display| Storage: 32GB eMMC | Operating System: Android | Battery Life: 6 hours | Weight: 2.94 pounds
Picking The Best Tablets Under $100 In 2021
You don’t want to sacrifice visual quality to stay on budget, especially when you’ll be staring at a screen for hours at a time.
100% of your tablet usage time will focus around visual quality, whether you are reading a news story, catching up on that latest thriller, or playing on an app. When comparing reviews from end users, we found that the #2 cause of negative buyer feedback was poor screen quality.
At this price range, we recommend you pick a device with an IPS panel and a minimum of 1200 pixels resolution, but 1900 is a much better option if you want to view HD videos.
You will have to make a few sacrifices on specs to stay under $100, but you still want a reasonably fast device that meets your needs.
Without question, the #1 top reason buyers aren’t satisfied with their budget tablet purchase is slow speed or frequent crashes when using memory-intensive apps.
We strongly recommend a quad core processor and a minimum of 2GB of RAM for any device in this price range. 16GB should be your minimum acceptable storage amount in most cases to ensure you have enough space to save your files and run apps smoothly.
Unlike a laptop, you will be holding your tablet for extended periods so you want the most comfort possible without going over budget.
Tablets come in all shapes and sizes these days, but there are a few designs that tend to be more well received by reviewers than others.
We recommend staying under a pound in weight unless you are picking a tablet that is at the larger 10” size.
Be on the lookout for comfortable rounded edges as well, and always check reviews to see if previous buyers used aftermarket rubber cases for additional comfort.
You don’t want to waste your 0 and end up buying a new tablet after an accidental drop!
Not all tablets are designed in the same way, and most budget tablets don’t include worthwhile warranties. Those that do cover parts usually won’t repair or replace critical components like the screen if they have suffered accidental damage.
We strongly recommend looking for a device with a solid metal chassis that won’t break the first time it gets bumped or spilled on.
Note that you can also alleviate some of this issue by buying an aftermarket case with a screen protector, although you may end up spending more than the full $100 at that point.
You’ll notice many tablets in this price range have the same overall hardware specs, but some offer additional features that make your purchase more worth the price.
You aren’t buying a full computer, but you still want to have as much versatility and usability in your device as possible.
We recommend looking for tablets with extra ports (such as full sized USB or HDMI), higher end full HD screen qualities, or that include free perks like a stylus to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
Some tablets include free trials of streaming services as well, such as Amazon Prime.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to look for when picking a tablet?
You might be tempted to solely look at the starting specs and try to find the tablet with the best speed, but that’s a common mistake for new buyers.
There are several other features that should be more strongly considered first.
First up, you should decide on which specific OS will work best for your needs.
For instance, do you want access to a stable of apps from the Google Play store? Or do you instead prefer to stick with the Windows platform you already know how to use?
Will your device primarily be used for entertainment like reading books and streaming movies? Or do you instead plan to utilize graphic design apps or image editing tools?
In most cases, you can use these broad categories to find the device that fits your needs:
1. For the quickest speeds at this price point and the widest range of apps, go with an Android device. The newer the Android OS version, the better.
2. For basic web browsing and using a few programs you already know well, consider picking a Windows device.
3. For hooking up to your Prime account to stream music & movies or read your eBook collection, go with an Amazon Fire OS device instead.
Besides OS, size is the next most critical factor to keep in mind.
Tablets are available as small as 7 inches, which is great for portability but doesn’t offer much display area for viewing videos or playing games.
On the opposite end, 10 inch tablets require two hands to hold, but give you significantly more viewing room.
If you want a good compromise, we recommend going with an 8 inch device that gives you the best of both worlds.
After you have your OS and size decided, you can then drill down into the specs and look at other features that will determine how much money you should spend.
Before you start considering specs like RAM and graphics chips, make sure to take a close look at the projected battery life of a tablet.
You don’t want to have to plug in multiple times a day, and some models offer faster charging than others.
In general, we recommend sticking to any device with 8 – 10 hours of projected battery life, unless there’s a compelling reason to go lower (such as higher specs).
Always keep in mind that those projections are based on dimming the screen brightness while running a single app at a time.
If you keep multiple apps going, crank the brightness to max, and use memory-intensive apps like games, your battery life expectancy will drop significantly.
Don’t forget to carefully compare screen resolutions between models, either. Even budget models that are $99 or less can be found with full HD screens.
Be on the lookout for any device with IPS panel for better viewing angles and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
Those specs are particularly important if you plan on streaming a lot of movies or want less eye strain when reading for hours at a time.
After finding your ideal battery life and screen resolution, it’s time to finally decide on the basic hardware.
If you are going to spend up to $100, you should expect a minimum of 2GB of RAM and a quad core processor. Those two specs together will be necessary to run most Android apps without any lag.
What other features should I keep an eye out for when tablet shopping?
We’ve covered quite a few features that can change your decision when buying a tablet, but there are still a few other aspects to consider.
Like with a laptop, different tablet brands can come with varying port configurations. One might only have a mini USB for charging, while another could have a full USB port and an HDMI port for hooking up to an external monitor.
Take careful stock of how you intend to use your tablet before making that final buying decision so you don’t end up losing out on features you need!
Most tablets at this price point will include a microSD card slot for extra storage space, but not all tablets can accept the same amount of storage.
If you intend on storing plenty of PDFs, eBooks, and photos on your tablet, make sure it can use a large maximum amount of SD space to keep up with your collection!
Finally, be sure to check the reviews from previous buyers to see what extra features may have been installed by the manufacturer.
Some manufacturers include extra tools to extend the basic functionality of the Android OS. Others may include a host of “bloatware” from third parties, which helps them lower the price but also reduces overall tablet performance.
Will you have to sacrifice a few things along the way to find the most affordable tablet?
You definitely will have to sacrifice a few things along the way – but that shouldn’t discourage you from finding a quality tablet because it’s still possible to find one. And things you will have to sacrifice are mostly additional accessories on some models and improved storage or such components. But you still get a fully working tablet.
How to deal with loads of bloatware on cheaper tablets?
The simple way to deal with bloatware is to simply uninstall it before installing any other apps on your tablet. Bloatware is always easy to uninstall, and once you uninstall it – you will have plenty of space to install newer apps. However, make your choices wise – since not all apps that come included are bloatware, yet you might delete some.
Which OS is the best for a $100 tablet?
The best OS for such affordable tablets is definitely Android – but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a Windows OS or even an iOS. Android is known world-wide and you will always get the support you need regarding the apps and system itself. But if you look hard enough, you might even find some refurbished iPads with iOS which is another great option.