The Best Tablet Computers for Less Than 100 Dollars

"If saving money is wrong, I don't want to be right!" William Shatner

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Updated: July 2016

If you don't want to spend hours trawling around electronics shops looking for a good, inexpensive tablet, this guide was written with you in mind.

All of these tablets cost less than 100 dollars (normally! Prices do fluctuate a little bit) but have decent performance.

You don't expect tablet perfection at this price range and some corners have inevitably been cut. Nevertheless, there's value to be had even at this price point. This guide contains 5 mini-reviews of the best tablets under 100 USD. Two are from huge brands you know, and three are from companies which may be unknown to you but whose products we at Tablet PC Comparison have come to hold in quite high regard.

In no particular order:

  1. Amazon Fire 7
  2. Chuwi Hi8
  3. RCA Viking Pro
  4. Dragon Touch M8
  5. Asus Zenpad C7

Let's stop waffling and dive right into our recommendations. Happy shopping! 

 

Amazon Fire 7

The Amazon Fire 7 is an excellent buy for the casual user, especially if you’re an Amazon Prime member.  The OS (currently OS 5 Bellini) is built specifically for playing all the games, music, movies, and TV shows that come with the Prime subscription.  This makes the Amazon Fire 7 one of the best tablets under $100 if you’re a Prime subscriber.

If you aren’t, it’s still a decent tablet.

The plastic case feels rather cheap—if you squeeze it the panels compress a little.  Its thickness in this current day of slim tablets makes it look antiquated.  It’s heavy enough to not feel flimsy, however.

Instead of downloading Android apps from the Google Play store, you’ll be getting your apps from the Amazon app store.  The Amazon app store has a lot of the popular games, but new overnight hits in the Google Play store won’t be available.

It takes a few seconds to load anything—games, movies, etc., but the Fire 7 isn't as slow as you would think.  The performance is decent considering its specs (quad core 1.3 GHz with 1GB of RAM).  You’ll want to run only a few apps at a time, though, if you don’t want its system slowing down.  Gameplay is generally smooth, although you’ll probably get some stuttering.  

The screen resolution is 1024 x 600—not high-definition.  The screen is also not the durable Gorilla Glass found in Fire HD tablets.  

It has a battery life of 7 hours. 

Pros 

  • Value for money 
  • User-friendly OS 
  • microSD card slot up to 128GB 
  • Amazon Prime subscribers get free games, movies, and TV shows  

Cons 

  • Cheap design 
  • Sluggish performance with many apps open 
  • Low-res display 
  • Slow touchscreen 
  • Slow performance and FPS drops for large games 

<<Check the latest price on Amazon>>

Chuwi Hi8
 Tablet  Chuwi Hi8
 Rating  Ratings
 OS  Win 10/A4.4
 CPU  Z3736F - 2.16 GHz
 Storage  32 GB
 RAM  2 GB
 Display  IPS - 8.0 inch
 Resolution  1920 x 1200 px - 224 ppi
 Camera  Front 0.3 / Back 2.0 MP
 Weight  0.35 kg / 0.77 lbs
 Battery life  5.0 hours
 Released  2015-06

Chuwi Hi8

The Chuwi Hi8 is pretty similar to the Vi8 Ultimate, differing only by its shiny new screen (more below).  It’s a decent tablet for its price.  

The screen is one of its strongest points.  It’s a very bright 350 cd/m2, making it a shining star among its fellow 8” tablets on the market.  It has a 1920 x 1200 resolution, and a PPI (pixels per inch) of 283, which is actually higher than the iPad Air’s 264.  Everything is crisp and beautiful on this high-definition screen, making it one of the most attractive displays you can get for less than $100.

It does pretty well on performance, too.  It boots Windows up quickly, apps load fast, and opening folders is as smooth as silk.

The Chuwi Hi8 has 2GB of RAM and a Cherry Trail Z8300 64 bit Quad Core running at 1.44 GHz.  It can stream demanding games like Grand Theft Auto V without stuttering.

Note, however, that it does have to work much harder to render games on its 1920 x 1200 resolution, compared to its 8” counterparts that only render on 1280 x 800.  This means you’ll get some noticeable slowdown if you play on its native resolution.  You can lower the resolution to get an FPS boost when playing.  Team Fortress 2 and League of Legends were quite playable with a lower resolution.

The space is rather limited as is to be expected with a 32GB dual-boot device.  Windows has just 10GB of free storage.

The Android ROM for the Chuwi Hi8 is pretty fast, as well as its launcher.  You get 6.67GB worth of free space on its internal storage.

The battery life is only around 4 hours and 19 minutes with 40% brightness and medium to light use, roughly 13% less than the Vi8 Ultimate.  This is of course the cost of having that bright crisp display running.

Pros 

  • Dual-boot (Windows and Android) 
  • Extreme high definition 
  • Responsive to touch 
  • Can run large games without any issues 

Cons 

  • Slow eMMC drive (slow install and loading times for large apps) 
  • Limited space 
  • Sluggish performance with many apps open 

<< Check the latest price on Amazon >>

<< Check the price on GearBest (can be cheaper; slower delivery) >>

RCA Viking Pro 10.1
 Tablet  RCA Viking Pro 10.1"
 Rating  Ratings
 OS  Android 5.0
 CPU  Quad Core - 1.3 GHz
 Storage  32 GB
 RAM  1 GB
 Display  IPS LCD - 10.1 inch
 Resolution  1280 x 800 px - 149 ppi
 Camera  Front 1.0 / Back 2.0 MP
 Weight  1.04 kg / 2.29 lbs
 Battery life  6.0 hours
 Released  2015-10

RCA Viking Pro

The RCA Viking Pro is a 2-in-1 hybrid, coming with a removable keyboard.  It’s easy to detach the keyboard as it’s connected via magnets.  The keyboard is actually quite good—good enough that you’ll use it instead of the virtual screen keyboard.  It’s tiny, yet has 17 shortcut keys.  

The tablet comes with 24GB free storage, with more possible if you delete some of the bloatware.

The performance is pretty good for the price.  Apps will generally run smoothly on its 1GB of RAM and quad-core MT8127 processor running at 1.3 GHz.  However, you don’t want to run several apps at once as this will slow it down.

The tablet frame and keyboard are both made from hard plastic that feels a bit cheap.  It doesn’t retain fingerprints, though, which is a good thing.

You get a nice big 10.1” screen for the price.  The resolution, though, is a low 1280 x 800.  Not great, but it’s fine for watching movies on HD.

The battery life is okay—it has about 6 hours’ worth.  It takes 3 hours to charge back up to full.

Pros 

  • Nice keyboard 
  • 10.1” screen 
  • Micro-SD slot expandable to 128GB 

Cons 

  • Cheap plastic frame 
  • Low resolution 
  • Sluggish performance with many apps open

<<Check the latest price on Amazon>>

 

 

Dragon Touch M8 2016 Edition

The main selling point for the Dragon Touch M8 2016 is the new IPS display.  Unlike other tablets where the screen turns dark or washed out when you view it from the side, the M8 2016’s IPS screen shows perfect clarity and color from any angle. The screen display is set at 1280 x 800.

The performance on its quad core 1.3 GHz processor with 1GB of RAM is decent.  It can run large games without any issues at all.  However, as with the previous tablets, it can’t multitask very well.  You’ll have to close down other apps before running new ones if you don’t want it to slow down.

The battery life isn’t very good.  The Dragon Touch claims 3 hours with all features enabled, but it doesn’t actually seem to last even that long.  You’ll need to carry a power bank along with this tablet.

The advertised dual cameras aren’t amazing in quality, but they’re quite acceptable for the price.  Something to note here is that you may have left a protective sticker on the lens that interferes with the picture quality.  There’s a second thin plastic film fitted to the lens underneath the first protective sticker covering the camera.  You can lightly rub the camera lens to check if it feels like glass or feels a bit rubbery.  If it’s the latter, you can scratch the plastic film off.

All in all it's a good-looking tablet that would work well if you want to watch YouTube videos while cooking in the kitchen, or some other use case where you have access to a power socket.

Pros

  • IPS display 
  • Responsive touch screen 
  • Dual camera 
  • Micro-SD slot expandable to 32GB (Note: We put in a 64GB SD card and it actually worked fine.  Your mileage may vary.) 

Cons

  • Low battery life 
  • Sluggish performance with many apps open

<<Check the latest price on Amazon>>

 

Asus ZenPad C 7.0
 Tablet  Asus ZenPad C 7.0
 Rating  Ratings
 OS  Android 5.0
 CPU  MTK MT8382V - 1.2 GHz
 Storage  8,16 GB
 RAM  1 GB
 Display  IPS - 7.0 inch
 Resolution  1024 x 600 px - 169 ppi
 Camera  Front 0.3 / Back 5.0 MP
 Weight  0.28 kg / 0.60 lbs
 Battery life  8.5 hours
 Released  2015-06

Asus Zenpad Z170C-A1-BK 7 

The Asus Zenpad 7170C-A1-BK 7 actually doesn’t look as cheap as it costs, thanks to its stylish frame.  The frame is plastic with a silver-toned border that’s just a bit elevated to let you grip it better.  The slimness (108mm), weight (265g), and slightly bigger back contribute to making it easy to hold in one hand.

It also comes with the new IPS display mentioned on the Dragon Touch.  You’ll be able to maintain the same clarity and color from any angle with this screen.  However, the brightness isn’t anything to write home about (it’s rather dull even at maximum brightness setting).  The resolution is also only 1024 x 600 (below HD), with a low 170 PPI.

With 1GB of RAM and a 1.2GHz quad core processor, the Z170C-A1-BK 7 gives an adequate performance.  It won’t crawl along too badly when you run apps and games, but neither will it fly.  Bear in mind, of course, that running multiple apps at the same time will make it crawl.

It has a battery life of 8 hours (there is, after all, relatively little to drain its battery with its low resolution and specs).

Pros

  • IPS display 
  • Attractive frame 
  • Dual camera 
  • Micro-SD slot expandable to 64GB 

Cons

  • Low resolution 
  • Sluggish performance with many apps open 

<<Check the latest price on Amazon>>

 

In conclusion, any of these 5 will serve you well for basic tasks like reading the news, watching videos or movies, and may even do some higher-end tasks fairly well. For really good performance you'll have to pay a bit more, but for something simple that gets the job done with no bells and whistles, feel confident in buying one of these.

Related:

Best tablets under 200

Best tablets under 300

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