Best Overall

Amazon Fire HD 8

Fire HD 8

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Amazon has pretty much nailed what it takes to make a good, low-cost tablet. It's been doing it for a while and what you get in the latest Fire HD 8 is pound-for-pound the best tablet around for less than $100.

It's got a decent screen, all the content you could wish for, Alexa, and enough power even to push some of the latest games. You don't have Google Play, but Amazon's Appstore is much better than in years past.

Bottom line: You can't do better below $100.

One more thing: You can only get the 16GB version for under $100, but it has microSD expansion.

Why the Amazon Fire HD 8 is the best

Not having the Google Play Store is no longer a reason not to recommend Amazon's tablets. The truth is that while some apps, namely Google's, will be missing, for most buying a cheap tablet it's not the end of the world.

Amazon is the best reason not to avoid cheap tablets anymore.

Amazon has cornered the market for affordable tablets with a focus on consumption. Its own services are front and center, of course, but you'll also find the other big services there to add to your tablet.

You're also getting pretty good hardware given the price. The 1280x800 display looks pretty good, 16GB of internal storage is OK but you can also slap in a massive microSD card and expand that by a lot. You're also looking at around 12-hours 'mixed use' battery life and a tablet that's strong enough to take a tumble or two.

It used to be the case that we'd warn you to stay well clear of cheap Android tablets. Amazon is the best reason that no longer applies.

Best for kids

Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition

Amazon Fire Kids Edition

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Beneath the giant, tough as boots case, this is basically a regular 7-inch Amazon Fire tablet. So why is it twice the price? You're getting double the base model's internal storage, that special kid-friendly case, and one heck of a warranty.

With the Kids Edition comes a two-year warranty where you can literally just cash in for a new one if your kid breaks it. No questions asked. That alone is worth the extra cost. That and the year of Freetime included to give the little ones some great, targeted content.

Bottom line: Everything that's good about the regular Fire tablet but with added kid-friendly bonuses

One more thing: The latest model supports expanded storage up to 256GB and dual-band WiFi.

A dual-booting alternative

Chuwi Hi8 Pro

Chuwi Hi8 Pro

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This brand you may never have heard of has produced an excellent, low-cost Android tablet that's also a Windows 10 tablet. It also has a 1920x1200 resolution 8-inch display, USB-C charging and a pretty capable Intel Atom x5 processor.

The Android part of this tablet may well fare worse when it comes to updates than the Windows portion, but there's a lot in this package for less than $100. The hardware is basically unrivaled at this price point, and it can be a little PC, too.

Bottom line: Half Windows, half Android, all great, budget tablet.

One more thing: The official keyboard case is also very affordable and can give you a mini laptop on the go.

Conclusion

It used to be the case that buying a cheap Android tablet was a bad thing to do. Thanks to Amazon, that's no longer the case. The best offering is the 8-inch, but you've also got smaller and larger versions, as well as those targeted at providing a great experience for your kids. It's hard to go wrong.

Best Overall

Amazon Fire HD 8

Fire HD 8

See at Amazon

Amazon has pretty much nailed what it takes to make a good, low-cost tablet. It's been doing it for a while and what you get in the latest Fire HD 8 is pound-for-pound the best tablet around for less than $100.

It's got a decent screen, all the content you could wish for, Alexa, and enough power even to push some of the latest games. You don't have Google Play, but Amazon's Appstore is much better than in years past.

Bottom line: You can't do better below $100.

One more thing: You can only get the 16GB version for under $100, but it has microSD expansion.