Best cheap tablets: top budget options

The best tablets £250 can buy you

5. Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Review score: 4/5

This is a bit of a surprise - a relatively new Samsung slate making it into the "best cheap tablets" roundup - but the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 does just that.

It's obviously towards the upper end of the £250 boundary, but you get a lot for your money including an 8.4-inch 1600 x 2560 SuperAMOLED display, 2.3GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, Android KitKat, microSD slot plus front and rear cameras.

The plastic construction isn't the best we've seen on the tablet, and the speaker placement could be better, but if you want a supremely powerful tablet with an impressive screen the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 is a decent shout.

4. iPad mini

iPad mini

OS: iOS 7
Review score: 4.5/5

Apple's former CEO Steve Jobs famously slammed small tablets a few years back, leading many to believe the Cupertino-based firm would never dabble in the budget end of the market, but it's now on its second iteration.

While the latest iPad Mini 2 (with Retina display) doesn't fall in the "£250 and under" bracket, its excellent predecessor is still on sale and it's new lower, price means the original iPad mini is more affordable than ever.

The slight downside to the iPad mini is that it misses out on a Retina display, but you can easily justify its new price with its slick operation and premium build quality, letting you know you still have a top piece of kit in your hand.

3. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7

OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Review score: 4/5

The Kindle Fire HDX 7 may be an Android tablet at heart, but fire it up and you wouldn't recognise Google's work. That's because Amazon has completely rebuilt Android to its own liking, giving you instant access to all the services the online retailer offers.

This means browsing Amazon's huge collection of eBooks, watching a movie on LoveFilm or even just browsing the web is simple on the full HD display - but anyone looking for flexibility here will be sorely disappointed - the Kindle Fire HDX is almost as locked down as an iPad.

In short, if you're heavily invested in Amazon's ecosystem, or want a hassle free (yet limited) user interface, the Kindle HDX 7 could be the perfect tablet for you - if you want something more, keep reading.

2. LG G Pad 8.3

LG G Pad 8.3

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Review score: 4.5/5

If the 7-inch tablet range is a little too small for your liking, and the iPad mini 2 is just out of your price range then you'll love the LG G Pad 8.3.

As you may have already guessed it sports a 8.3-inch display, a full HD affair which looks great and with a 1.7GHz quad-core processor and 2GB, the G Pad 8.3 has no trouble running Android Jelly Bean.

The metal finish means the G Pad 8.3 also feels great, almost putting it on a par with the premium design of the iPad mini - it's a lovely tablet which won't disappoint.

1. New Nexus 7 (2013)

New Nexus 7 (2013)

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Review score: 4.5/5

With a quad-core processor, beefy 12-core GPU, 7-inch full HD display and being the first tablet to run the superb Android KitKat operating system, the new Nexus 7 is quite simply the best budget tablet out there.

The 16GB, Wi-Fi only version is available for just £199, while the 32GB Wi-Fi model will set you back a still reasonable £239. It's quite possibly the bargain of the century.

The only real shortcoming is there is no microSD card slot, meaning you're stuck with 32GB at most – although that can be easily overlooked at this startlingly attractive price.