Best budget tablets 2016: The 11 best cheap tablets available to buy in the UK today

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When buying a budget tablet, there are a few things that you need to consider.

The first thing that you need to get your head around is that for less than £100 you’re not going to get a tablet that is going to compete with the iPad in terms of specs and performance.
You'll see reviews of some 'older' tablets here. They may be 18 months old, but you can now pick them up for less than their original price, making some a better deal.
However, few can compete with the Hudl 2 and - thanks to a new 2015 range - Amazon's budget tablets. This is because the hardware is subsidised, or because Tesco and Amazon have such buying power that they can sell higher-spec hardware cheaper than the smaller brands.
(Unfortunately, Tesco has now discontinued its Hudl 2. While you can still buy it from places such as eBay, note that you may pay well over the £99 RRP.)
With this in mind, you should buy a budget tablet with the best specs on offer. The key areas you should be concentrating on are: storage, screen size, pixel density, processor power, battery life, and size and weight.
Screen
Screen size is a personal preference, neither smaller nor bigger is better. Bigger means an easier-to-see screen and (usually) longer battery life, while smaller means a tablet that's more portable: it's smaller and lighter.
The screen itself should be an IPS panel (you won't find AMOLED on a budget tablet) and as high resolution as possible. Anything less than 1280x720 on a 7in display (or larger) isn't ideal as you can see the pixels.
Storage
You won't get much storage for under £100, but that's fine if your chosen tablet has a microSD slot for adding storage. Amazon's (old) tablets don't, which is one big black mark against them. The new range finally has expandable storage.
Consider 16GB a minimum: 8GB without a microSD card is just too restrictive because half (or more) of this can be taken up by the operating system and pre-installed apps which you might not be able to remove.
Cameras
Most tablet cameras (let alone budget models) are relatively poor compared to the best smartphones. Don't expect great quality photos or videos from anything under £150.
Processor
Don't pay any attention to GHz numbers or even RAM. It's easy to be fooled into believing a tablet will - or won't - perform well based on numbers alone. Read our reviews to find out how each tablet performs in the real world.
Software
The last thing that you should know is that pretty much every budget tablet around today comes with Google’s Android operating system. This isn’t a bad thing though, as it’s very easy to use and just as good as Apple's iOS found on iPads.
It's rare to find out without the Google Play store these days, but do check as it's a pain if you buy something and find out it's not approved by Google and you can't access Google's apps.
Amazon's tablets run a custom version of Android with no Google apps whatsoever. That means no YouTube app, no Gmail, no maps and no Google Play store. You get Amazon's equivalents for most things, but you'll have to get a 'fake' YouTube app or use the Silk browser and go to the YouTube website.
That's not to say Amazon tablets are bad. The HD 6 is a great choice for kids, and older versions can be picked up refurbished fairly cheaply compared to their high original prices. The problem - for Amazon - is that it offers its Kindle reader app on Android and you're no worse off shopping on Amazon on an Android tablet, leaving very few reasons to buy a Fire tablet over the Hudl 2. All these are reasons why the Hudl 2 tops our budget tablet chart. And if you have some Tesco Clubcard vouchers, they're worth double face value when used to buy a Hudl 2: a real bonus.
With that said, the new £49 Amazon Fire is half the price of a Hudl 2, so if you can live without Google, it's a good deal.

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