The Best Tablet Computers for Less Than 200 Dollars
"If saving money is wrong, I don't want to be right!" William Shatner
There are a plethora of tablet PCs available for under 200 dollars, and you won't be surprised to learn that some of them are quite good. But you might be slightly surprised to find that some of them are seriously good!
Power, performance, style, good battery life - these are important factors when choosing which device to buy. We've compiled a list of the 5 best ones you can buy for less than 200 bucks. Like with our list of tablets under 100, there are still some compromises made in the design and construction of these tablets (poor cameras, for instance) but these ones pack more of a punch than their cheaper counterparts.
The top 5 are:
- Lenovo Tab 2
- Nvidia Shield
- Asus Zenpad 8
- LG G Pad 8
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 4
As you can see, that's a Who's Who of top electronics brands.
Let's stop waffling and dive right into our recommendations. Happy shopping!
Lenovo Tab 2 A10 10-Inch
The Lenovo Tab 2 A10 10-inch slate has an IPS display, ensuring it stays bright and vibrant from any viewing angle. The resolution of 1920 x 1200 is sharp and colorful, able to display 94% of the sRGB gamut. This is 4% higher than the average.
It’s quite speedy for browsing the net with music or video apps running in the background, thanks to its 1.5GHz quad core processor and 2GB of RAM. Swapping through apps is also quick. However, it suffers compared to its peers when it comes to gaming, with a 2,371 benchmark, lower than the category average of 2,648. It’s also slower than the average when it comes to converting videos.
The camera is surprisingly good, sharp in detail and color.
What really sets this product apart from the crowd is its extraordinarily long battery life, making it one of the best tablets under $200. It’s able to run for a whopping 12 hours of internet browsing at 150 nits of brightness before needing to recharge. This is about 4 hours longer than the average.
- Bright screen
- Excellent battery life
- Great overall performance
- Not very good for gaming
Nvidia Shield K-1
Tegra K1 - 2.2 GHz
IPS LCD - 8.0 inch
1920 x 1200 px - 283 ppi
Front 5.0 / Back 5.0 MP
0.39 kg / 0.86 lbs
NVIDIA Shield 8-Inch
The NVIDIA Shield 8-inch has a rather gorgeous frame—its back panel covered with a lavish soft-touch black coating. The camera ring and stylus are touched with silver chrome for a nice contrast.
Sadly, at 8.8 x 5 x 0.36 inches and 13.7 ounces, the one is pretty thick and heavy compared to its competitors.
The 1920 x 1200 display is impressive, with good viewing angles and rich, sharp colors. It scores 372 lux on the brightness test, 11 lux higher than the average. However, it can only render 80% of the sRGB gamut, 10.4% below the average. The display is also hard to see under bright sunlight.
Gaming with the Nvidia Shield is quite a different experience from other models, thanks to its wireless precision controller. It’s not up to the level of the Xbox 360 controller, but it’s still excellent and superior to most controllers. The buttons are responsive and springy, and the analog sticks precise. The controller also lets you customize controls and navigate through the tablet. If you’re yearning to play Titanfall on a tablet while trash-talking someone via headset, this is one of the best options under $200 for you.
With its 2.2GHz quad core processor and 2GB of RAM, this loads apps smooth and fast. It also runs games like Half-Life 2 with no stutters, scoring 3,437 on the benchmark test (789 above the average).
- Stylish design
- Bright colorful display and great graphics
- Great overall and gaming performance
- Bulky frame and controller
Asus ZenPad S 8.0
Intel Atom Z3580 - 2.33 GHz
IPS - 8.0 inch
2048 x 1536 px - 320 ppi
Front 5.0 / Back 8.0 MP
0.30 kg / 0.65 lbs
ASUS Zenpad S 8.0 Z580C-B1-BK
The ASUS Zenpad S 8.0 Z580C-B1-BK is basically a cheaper Apple iPad Mini 2, making it one of the top tablet PCs under $200. It has the same crisp, colorful display when compared side by side. Its 2048 x 1536 resolution on an IPS screen delivers gorgeous graphics on its 8 –inch screen.
With its 1.33 GHz quad core processor and 2GB of RAM, the Z580C-B1-BK makes browsing and streaming videos a breeze. It also delivers pretty much the same decent gaming performance that the iPad Mini 2 does.
The Z580C-B1-BK offers more storage than the iPad Mini 2, as well. It provides 32GB (double that of Apple), and additionally comes with a microSD card slot that expands to 128GB (the iPad Mini 2 doesn’t offer a microSD card slot).
Measuring 5.3 x 8 x 0.3 inches and 11.2 ounces, the Z580C-B1-BK is one of the thinnest, lightest tablets currently on the market. Its slim build makes it easy to hold and carry around in your bag, as well as giving it a sleek style that’s easy on the eyes.
- Lightweight and thin
- Sharp, colorful display
- Easy to adjust the display
- Poor camera quality
- Poor sound quality
LG G Pad 8.0 V480
What makes the LG G Pad 8.0 V480 unique and places it among the better devices under $200 is its interesting features. Notable among them is being able to run 2 apps side by side on the screen. This only works for a specific list of apps and does cause the app to slow down, but turns out to be surprisingly useful.
Another useful feature is the Knock Code, wherein you tap in a specified pattern on the screen to unlock it. It works even if the tablet is turned off.
A third one is QuickRemote, which handily lets the tablet take control of your TV and media players.
And finally, we have the Q Pair app, found only in LG products. It lets you link your tablet to your mobile phone so that you can see notifications for text messages on the larger screen.
The LG G Pad 8.0 comes with a 1.2GHz quad core processor and 1GB of RAM. As you can expect, it makes navigation a less than smooth experience if you have any apps running in the background. It will also struggle if you run demanding 3D games, but does well enough with 2D games.
Something else to consider is this device's stellar battery life—LG promises an amazing 14 days. True enough, the 4200mAh power cell does last through several days of moderate to heavy use.
- Some great features
- Truly amazing battery life
- Low res
- Poor camera quality
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7.0
Quad Core - 1.20 GHz
WXGA TFT - 7.0 inch
1280 x 800 px - 216 ppi
Front 1.3 / Back 3.0 MP
0.30 kg / 0.66 lbs
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (7”)
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 measures just 7.36 x 4.25 x 0.35 inches, weighing 9.74 ounces. It’s quite compact and light, making it easy to hold in one hand or carry about in your bag.
The 1280 x 800 HD display is decent—you get generous viewing angles and faithful color reproduction.
Note that you’ll get just 4.72GB free space out of its 8GB, so you’ll want to expand that microSD up to its max of 32GB.
With a 1.2GHz quad core processor and 1.5GB of RAM, the Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 lets you browse the net, stream videos, and navigate menus quite smoothly. It’s not made for demanding games like Dead Trigger 2, though—you’ll have to stick with 2D games if you don’t want stuttering.
Samsung’s TouchWiz software features quite prominently and you’ll either love it or hate it. It takes over the device and replaces Android’s stock menus and skin with its own. One of its best additions is Multi Window, which allows splitting the display into two for running apps side by side (it does slow down somewhat when doing this).
The battery life is good for around 5.5 hours of internet surfing with screen brightness at max, which is pretty mediocre by the industry standard.
The Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 won’t top any best-of lists, but it’s a decent device worth considering.
- Good overall performance
- Small and lightweight
- Poor speaker quality
- Poor camera quality
- Mediocre battery life