If you’re unwilling to spend £500 on an iPad HD you didn’t used to have many of affordable alternatives, but thankfully in 2012 we’ve seen numerous new budget tablets enter the market, which has seen the overall price of tablets become a lot more affordable. Sure they might not be as quite as good, but for half the price they make for compelling alternative to Apple’s premium tablet.
And there is, of course, Apple’s own budget offering, although, £279 in our book is nearly budget enough. But if your looking for a tablet this Christmas be sure to check the competition, you won’t find any of those nasty £100 tablets on this lists, but tablets we’d be personally over-the-moon if we were given them this Christmas.
Price: from £269
The iPad Mini is probably the best looking tablet Apple makes. Now this might be a bold statement, but hear us out: it’s incredibly light, if fact, it’s so light it’s essentially an e-reader with all the functionality of a full-fat iPad. Yes, it’s not cheap, but you do get the best app store on the market, the biggest selection of music, videos, podcast and just about any form of entertainment. The downside comes in the form of the rather lacklustre screen, and the pice – but apart from that it’s almost the perfect tablet for anyone who wants to buy Apple, but doesnc’t want to spend a small fortune.
Google Nexus 7
Price: from £159
As we’ve already mentioned, 2012 has been the year of budget tablets, but when it comes to the Nexus 7 the budget label only applies to price. That’s because it has a top-of-the-range quad-core processor, 12-core GPU, 7-inch HD screen and was the first device to run Google’s latest Android opertating system – all for a ridiculously cheap price of £159 or £199 for the 32GB version. There are a few shortcomings though; the build quality isn’t a patch on Apple’s; there’s no micro-SD card slot if you run out of space; and there’s no rear camera – but all of these can be squared away when you consider the price.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD
Price: from £159
Google’s isn’t only the company touting their cheap tablets this Christmas, as Amazon has finally brought their Kindle Fire HD to British shores. For the £159 price tag you get a HD screen, and the choice of 16GB or 32GB of storage. There are downside though, it’s quite a simplistic tablet, as it’s running a strip down version of Google’s Android – so you don’t get Google Maps, the Android app store, but you do get Amazon’s bullet-proof collection of books, films, tv shows, games and apps. If you can live without the customisation and depth of proper Android experience, then you can’t go wrong with Amazon’ Kindle Fire.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9
Price: from £249.99
Samsung are also trying to seduce the masses with a cheaper tablet range, and their Galaxy Tab 8.9 is their latest effort. It’s basically the same as their 10.1 Galaxy Tab, but has a 8.9-inch screen. It’s thinner, lighter and more of a convenient tablet that’s it’s bigger brother – but for a much more affordable price of £249, which is a lot of tablet for the price. If you find 10-inches too big, and 7-inches too small – then you’re best bet is to go for the Galaxy Tab 8.9.
Acer Iconia Tab A510
Price: from £282
For your financial outlay, the Acer Iconia Tab A510 represents a shrewd investment, especially for people willing to accept a few minor flaws. There are cheaper tablets out there running Ice Cream Sandwich, but these budget offerings do not offer the sheer power of the quad-core Tegra 3 platform, and the lightning-fast Android 4.0 experience.
Price: from £219.99
The Toshiba AT200 is the world’s thinnest 10.1-inch tablet, clocking in at a super slender 7.7mm thin, which means you can slide it into your bag without issue, and at 535g, you probably won’t notice it’s in there. The Toshiba AT200 is a good, solid and portable device, delivering everything you’d expect from an unfussy Android slate. If you’re looking for a standard tablet experience, the AT200 is certainly worth a look.
Sony Tablet S
Price: from £239.95
Sony is another manufacturer that has struggled to keep pace with its tablet offerings, and quite frankly their Tablet S is still way off the pace. But it does come with Playstation certification, so you can play classic PS1 and PS2 games, but other than that its very similar to numerous other Android tablets, apart from the fact Sony went for a wedge-shape – which putting it kindly isn’t great. It does have great specs and is sure to standout compared to your average iPad owners.
Microsoft finally release their first tablet and it’s a commendable effort, if a little pricey. If you can look past the price you get a tablet with a good specs, a good screen and great build quality. The only question mark is a can you live without certain apps that haven’t made their way over to Microsoft’s burgeoning app marketplace.
Barnes and Noble has priced the Nook HD keenly, with the 8GB version arriving at £159, and the 16GB going for £189 – plus you get the choice of two colours, Snow or Smoke (white and grey in the real world).