Desktops

Great Tablets for Under $250

Tablets make great gifts, and now—more than ever—you can find great tablets at great prices. Today's models aren't exactly brimming with exciting new features, but they're still popular for watching YouTube videos, browsing the web, and checking email.

In fact, according to an October survey by protection-plan provider SquareTrade, almost a third of all consumers are hoping to receive a tablet as a present this holiday season. And that data was gathered before Netflix announced that it's finally allowing users to download content for offline viewing.

So go right ahead and scoop up one of the low-cost tablets below. The camera quality might not dazzle you. But when the honeymoon phase of your holiday family gathering comes to an end and that certain someone on your gift list has a new device for movie watching, you'll find yourself showered with thanks and praise.

Go to Consumer Reports' 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more. Be sure to check our Daily Gift Guide, and sign up to get an e-newsletter with top picks, trusted product reviews, and the latest news from CR.

Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580C-B1 (32GB)

Priced around $200, this 8-inch tablet received excellent ratings from our testers for its speedy performance—even while running demanding graphics applications—and its high-resolution display. The 328-pixels-per-inch resolution captures the finer details in photos and provides crisp text from websites and e-books.

The 9-hour battery life will get you through the work day, not to mention almost any flight. And the tablet comes with 32GB of storage—double the amount you find on most budget-friendly tablets. That means you get more room for apps, games, and movies.

Acer Iconia One 10 B3-A30 (16GB)

At $150, this 10-inch tablet has a very good display, with natural and realistic-looking color reproduction. The text may look a little coarse, though, in the 151-pixels-per-inch resolution.

The tablet is pretty portable, too, weighing in at only 1.2 pounds. And because the device offers almost 13 hours of battery life, you don't have to worry about straying too far from an outlet.

Lenovo Tab 2 A10-70 (16GB)

This 10-inch tablet received a very good rating for its performance, portability, and display—yet it sells for around half the price of other models this size. Admirably slim and compact, it weighs only 1.15 pounds.

Available for about $170, it displays images with accurate color, offers wide viewing angles, and delivers 14.5 hours of battery life. It even has GPS, which is unusual for such a low-cost tablet.

LG G Pad X 10.1 (4G, 32GB)

Priced around $200, this 10-inch tablet received excellent ratings for its display and the performance of its quad-core processor. It too is slim and compact, weighing just over a pound. 

But the added benefit of this model is that it can access the internet using a mobile data plan—great news for users who often find themselves without access to WiFi.

And even though its successor, the LG G Pad X II, has already arrived in stores, we found that this model has a better camera and better battery life (15 hours vs. 11). That's a lot of streaming goodness for the money.

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