Should You Buy a Cheap Tablet on Prime Day?

This story is part of Amazon Prime Day, CNET’s guide to everything you need to know and how to find the best deals.

Question: Should you purchase a cheap tablet during a Prime sales event? The short answer: It depends. We’d highly recommend any of Amazon’s Fire tablets, especially at the Prime Day-like pricing we’re likely to see during the Prime Early Access Sale. However, the sub-$100 Android tablets that you’ll see around are not worth your time or money.

Should you buy a cheap tablet on Prime Day?

If you’re thinking of buying a cheap tablet right about now, you might want to hold off on any purchases until Amazon’s Prime Day-like Prime Early Access Sale rolls around. We now know the event will kick off on Oct. 11, and we expect tablets to be a category that gets some attention in the sale — especially the affordable sort that Amazon makes. 

While we might not see Apple’s iPad Pro lineup fall to bargain-basement prices, we will surely see some colossal savings on Amazon’s Fire tablets — it’s an Amazon shopping event after all! — and these are some of the best tablets around for the price-conscious. 

Other inexpensive tablets from the likes of Samsung and Lenovo will likely fall in price too, and we may see some movement in price for the entry-level iPad. It’s worth noting that you’ll see Prime Early Access Sale discounts on brands you’ve never heard of and, with prices likely to be under $100, these tablet deals may be tempting, but we recommend that you stay away from those and buy something from a trusted brand instead, even if it costs a little extra.

Which cheap tablet should I buy?

The tablet market is dominated by Apple’s iPad. If you want to stick with Apple and its familiar iPadOS software then you only really have one choice when it comes to budget buys: the 10.2-inch iPad. Despite sitting at the bottom of Apple’s lineup, it’s still a very capable device, especially if your needs include simple browser and app-based tasks, though it’s certainly not the cheapest option.

If you’re willing to deviate from the Apple ecosystem, then Amazon’s Fire line of tablets is the top choice for many. Its Fire 7 tablet has dropped as low as $30 during previous Prime Day sales and the company often takes as much as 50% off its kid-friendly tablets. Though they’re cheap in price, the experience of using a Fire tablet is actually pretty good, especially for browsing, streaming video and, yes, shopping on Amazon.

Various Android tablet makers produce lower-end devices and some of the products in the $200-to-$250 price range are worth a look if you are so inclined. Devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8, Lenovo Tab M10 Plus and Nokia T20 are decent examples and may drop to new price lows for the second Prime Day event of the year, though most folks would still be better served by a cheaper Fire tablet. 

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