Tablets — not counting Apple’s iPads — are getting better and cheaper. If you start at the bottom with Amazon’s Fire 7 tablet, you’ll get a sturdy design and solid parental controls for less money than it costs to take a family to the movies. Also, if you’re up for buying a pair of tablets — say, one for the kids and one for yourself — Amazon’s had a habit of discounting the price when you buy two.
Even though we’re out of the holiday season, you can get a lot of value from Amazon with its Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet. The $129 slate comes with a protective case, free kid-friendly content and a 2-year no questions asked return policy. If you can put a little more of your budget toward a tablet, you might want to consider the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro (but not the regular MediaPad M5), which show signs of Huawei catching up to Apple’s iPad, the gold-standard of midrange tablets.
Best Value: Amazon Fire 7
It’s hard to consider any other cheap tablets when Amazon is offering the Fire 7 at $50. It’s available in black, yellow, red and dark blue. This sturdily built device offers access to all sorts of Amazon goodies, such as Prime content and the Underground app store that gives you paid apps for free. This tablet also has some impressive parental controls. We just wish it had longer battery life and a higher-resolution display.
Pros: Unbeatable price; Access to Amazon Prime content; Impressive parental controls
Cons: Short battery life; Sluggish performance; Low-resolution screen; Lock-screen ads