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Best Tablet Computer For The Money  
Everything You Need to Know to Get a Great Tablet Computer at a Great Price
Top Five for the Money (Based on our Frugal5 Formula)
How do we pick these products? We spend many hours doing unbiased research to only give you the highest rated products at the best price. We first come up with a list of features, which you can see below, that we feel the majority of people will need. We then look for the highest quality products with these features and only show you the top five with the best value. Our mission is to provide you with the best five options based only on the facts. Don't see the product you were thinking about getting? Click here to calculate it's frugal score.
Rank12345
Product
ASUS Google Nexus 7Lenovo Ideatab A3000Kindle Fire HD (16 GB Model)Lenovo Yoga MultimodeSamsung Galaxy Tab 3
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Product Rating
 
 
 
 
 
Great
 
 
 
 
 
Good
 
 
 
 
 
Good
 
 
 
 
 
Great
 
 
 
 
 
Good
Average Price
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($190)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($155)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($170)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($280)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($300)
Frugal5 Score
Details
8.7
8.4
8.3
8.2
7.3
Additional Info
Front-Facing HD Camera
1.2 MP
5MP
None
5 MP
1.3 MP
Operating System
Android 4.3
Android 4.2
Fire OS 3.0 compatible with Android 4.2.2
Android 4.2
Android 4.2
Overall Aesthetics And Finish
Brown/Black Matte Plastic
Black, non-slip plastic, glass finish on touchscreen panel
Plastic, with glass panel
Silver, with tilting stand
Brown-Gold color scheme, with glass plate for touchscreen
Screen Size
7-inch
7-inch
7-inch
10.1 inches
10.1 inches
Features Needed
At Least 1 GB Of RAM
- 1 GB
- 1 GB
- 1 GB
- 1 GB
- 1 GB
At Least 16 GB Of Storage Space
- 32 GB Flash Memory
- 16 GB Flash Memory
- 16 GB Flash Memory
- 16 GB Flash Memory
- 16 GB Flash Memory (Expandable with MicroSD card Slot)
At Least 5 Hours Battery Life
- 9.5 Hours
- 5 Hours
- 10 hours max
- 18 hours
- 7 Hours
Clear Display
- 1280 x 800
- 1024 x 600
- 1280 x 800
- 1280 x 800
- 1280 x 800
Fast Processor
- 1.2 GHz Quad-Core (NVIDIA Tegra 3)
- 1.2 GHz Quad-Core
- 1.5 GHz Dual-Core
- 1.2 GHz Quad-Core
- 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Dual-Core
Responsive Touch Screen
- Capacitive
- Capacitive
- Capacitive
- Capacitive
- Capacitive
Features Not Needed
3G/4G Support
Bluetooth Support
Micro SD Expansion Slot
More Than 4 GB Of RAM
Pre-Installed Apps
- Standard Google Apps
- Fewer than most
- Kindle software is a standout
- Standard useful apps
Rear-Facing Camera
- 3 MP
What You Need To Know In 5 Minutes

In a very short time, tablets have become a must-have consumer electronic. Of course, this means the market is also a very confusing place for the consumer to be. Manufacturers and retailers alike throw out terms like "pixel density", "802.11b/g/n", and the particularly-dreaded "Android/Windows/iOS operating system", often without explaining what the difference between these things are and how they benefit you in any way. Right now, rather than focus on, for example, what exactly Flash Memory means as opposed to Hard Drive Disk storage, let's boil down a tablet to a simple sentence:  A tablet allows us to bring the power of a full computer nearly anywhere we want to go.

With these goals in mind, it's much easier to figure out what our tablet absolutely needs to be able to do.

First off, we're going to need to choose between the major operating systems for tablets. An operating system can be thought of as the "soul" of any computer. It defines how you interact with things, what it feels like to use overall, and in many cases, which apps you can run. We have four major choices here: Apple's iOS, Microsoft's Windows RT (basically Windows 8 for tablets and phones), Google's Android, and Amazon's FireOS. For the most part, Android tablets tend to be the best deal for the average user, as long as you're looking for a small tablet (10" or less). Windows RT is more focused on the business area of the market, and users looking for laptop-sized tablets. Apple tablets, though easy to use and well-made, often cost upwards of 50% more than the competition. The Kindle is a great alternative to Apple for users on a budget.

These are the most important questions you should ask about a new tablet:

  • How many processor cores does it have and how fast are they? If the manufacturer doesn't list these, it's usually a bad sign. Look for at least 2 cores in your tablet, rated at 1.0 GHz or faster. Each core can be thought of as an additional "brain" for your tablet to use, letting it do more things at once. The higher the number of GHz is, the faster each of those brains is.
  • How much storage space does it have? Flash Memory is the norm for tablets, because a tablet's simply not large enough to contain a hard drive. Most tablets ship with at least 8 gigabytes of space (this is important, considering the operating system often takes up a few gigabytes by itself). In fact, it's a good idea to opt for at least 16 GB of storage space for this reason.
  • What's the resolution of the screen? This counts the pixels across the width and the length of the screen. The higher each number is, the clearer the display will be. For a 7-inch tablet, a screen resolution of 1024 x 600 is a good minimum to look for. A large tablet (10+ inches) should be a little higher than that (1366 x 768) to allow for the increased screen size.
  • How responsive is the touchscreen? This is a hard thing to figure out before you buy, because this is more a personal thing. Look at reviews of the tablet you're interested in. If the type of touchscreen is listed on the product page, look for the word "capacitive". This type of touchscreen is the industry standard, and is more likely to be responsive.
  • Is the battery life good enough to meet my needs? Choose a tablet that promises a battery life that will last you long enough to make it to the next power outlet. Consider 2 hours the bare minimum, preferably much longer.

There are a few things you likely don't need in a tablet despite them being listed as features.

Having some RAM is important for a tablet. This being said, manufacturers often push more memory than is really needed into their products. This is particularly true of Android tablets. Android clears up RAM for you as needed, so rarely is more than 2GB ever actually necessary for basic use. Windows tablets more directly benefit from more RAM, but even then, the typical user simply doesn't need more than 4 GB.

If you're looking to buy a tablet for the long haul, a tablet you don't have to replace for years to come, it might make sense to spring for one with a MicroSD expansion slot. This allows you to easily install additional storage space beyond what ships with your tablet. While this isn't a necessary feature by any means if you don't expect to keep many apps installed, it can be nice.

Other features that aren't really necessary for a tablet to have include rear-facing cameras (tablets are too big to make pictures comfortable to take anyway), Bluetooth support, and 3G/4G access. 3G and 4G tend to be expensive services better-suited to phones.

Of particular importance is to look at pre-installed apps. If there are a lot of apps you're unlikely to use, your tablet will arrive with a lot of wasted space.

If you're planning on using your tablet for video chat software, it might be a good idea to look into finding a tablet with a front-facing camera. Most already have these built in, but it helps to be sure. The least important thing about a tablet is its aesthetics, so don't worry about its finish as much as you worry about the quality of the parts inside. That being said, tablets with metal cases can be more durable than their plastic counterparts.

The size of the screen you need depends on your intended use of the tablet. 7" tablets make great portable media devices and e-readers, while larger tablets are more of a legitimate replacement for a laptop or desktop computer.

Carefully read your tablet's warranty information before you commit to purchasing it. It might be worthwhile to pay for an extended warranty to cover accidental damage.

Great tablet brands include Lenovo, Dell, Samsung, Asus, Amazon (specifically their Kindle), and most other big-name PC manufacturers. These companies tend to offer a selection of products varying in price to fit most budgets, and generally have a history of reliable service.

There are a few big names to watch out for. HP, in recent years, has let build quality slip, and prices have stayed the same regardless. Also, if you've never heard of the brand, definitely read reviews. Many companies are putting out cheap products to cash in on the market. A lot of the cheapest tablets available fall into this category; don't let yourself be fooled.

When you go to pick your tablet, look for the screen size you need, in addition to a fast processor, a few GB of RAM, and 8GB or more of storage. Don't pay for more than what you need, as well. Certainly don't let a salesman talk you into things like Bluetooth support unless you're really going to use it. Look for tablets with good battery life, from brands you know and trust. Definitely don't pay more than $500 for a tablet, ever. A tablet more expensive than that is likely very powerful, but with power comes reduced battery life and features you'll probably never use.

Features You Need
At Least 1 GB Of RAM, At Least 16 GB Of Storage Space, At Least 5 Hours Battery Life, Clear Display, Fast Processor, Responsive Touch Screen
Features You Don't Need
3G/4G Support, Bluetooth Support, Micro SD Expansion Slot, More Than 4 GB Of RAM, Pre-Installed Apps, Rear-Facing Camera
What You Should Pay
Between $155.00 - $300.00
Top Of The Line Price
Over $900.00