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What are the best tablets for around £350?

Written by  Nov 17, 2017

The exciting options available at this price point include Amazon Fire tablets and Windows 10 convertibles, as well as Apple’s iPads.

There are also a few convertible touch-screen Chromebooks, such as the Asus C101PA-FS002 at £349.99.

Amazon Fire tablets run open source version of Android – are very good value, and Amazon does terrific deals on its own products on and before Black Friday. The new Fire 10  with a fairly nippy Mediatek MT8173, 64GB of storage and 1920 x 1200-pixel screen is almost unbeatable at £179.99, though that does include advertising.

amazon-fire-hd-10

The Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet. 

For Black Friday deals at Amazon, check out our pages.

Windows 10 tablets and 2-in-1s can run powerful programs as well as apps, and offer the best choice of browsers. You can also connect Windows 10 machines to Android smartphones, and Microsoft provides dozens of Android apps.

Apple iPads run a very wide range of apps that are generally superior to Android apps. The 9.7in iPad (2017) also has a fast 1.8GHz A9 processor and excellent battery life. Although not state-of-the-art, it’s relatively cheap at £311.99. Disregarding other considerations, I think it’s the best tablet you can buy at the price. I recommend it.

Whether it will last longer than a similarly-priced Android tablet is another matter. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 was launched in 2012, so you could have been using it for around five years. I think up to four years is more typical for both Apple and Android tablets.

Android tablet picks

The best 10in tablet in your price range is probably the Asus ZenPad 3S 10 at £310.00,  aka Asus Z500M. It’s a very thin iPad-style tablet with a superb 2048 x 1536-pixel screen (264ppi) and 32GB of storage. Like the iPad, it has a 4:3 screen, rather than a widescreen. Unlike the iPad, it has a microSD card slot so you can add up to 256GB of storage. It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB C port.

Drawbacks include the relatively slow processor, limited battery life (although Asus claims nine hours), and the ZenUI overlay, which comes with lots of Asus crapware. Try one in a shop to see if you can live with it.

The ZenPad 3S’s six-core Mediatek MT8176 tablet processor is somewhat slower than the iPad’s A9 and the Snapdragon 652 installed in updated versions of the Samsung Tab 2, so check your current tablet. On the other hand, it’s almost as fast as the Apple A8X chip used in the iPad Air 2 (2014), and the ZenPad’s PowerVR GX6250 GPU and 4GB of memory should keep it usable for some time.

If you want something faster and purer, look at Google’s Pixel C at  £358.00. It has an Nvidia Tegra X1 processor with 3GB of memory and 64GB of storage. The 10.2in screen has a resolution of 2560 x 1800 pixels (308ppi). The Tegra X1 is a bit faster than an Apple A9, and runs at around the same speed as a Snapdragon 820 or an Intel Pentium N3530.

google pixel c

Google’s Pixel C tablet.

The Pixel C has an expensive dedicated keyboard, at extra cost, which makes it look as though it’s trying to compete against the Apple iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface designs. It doesn’t, but it’s great value at £358..00.

You could also consider the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Plus, which sells for £249.95. This 10in tablet has a Snapdragon 652 processor, 3GB of memory and 32GB of storage. The screen resolution is good at 2560 x 1600 pixels (315ppi), which is a 16:10 widescreen format. The alternative Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 has an Intel Atom x5-Z8550 processor, 4GB of memory, 64GB of storage and a built-in projector at a budget-busting £389.99. The question is: would you use the projector? Either way, avoid versions with the slow Snapdragon 212 (APQ8009) processor.

Windows 10?

You don’t say if you have a Windows 10 tablet/convertible, or if your other half has any experience with Microsoft Windows. If she does, low-end Windows machines are very competitive with mid-range Android tablets. If not, either stick to Android or take the iPad (2017) route.

I mention this because my wife uses a detachable for shopping – probably at the same sites – in preference to our Android and old Amazon Fire 10 tablets. I did the set-up and she runs as a standard (non-admin) user, but my IT manager role has almost disappeared since Windows 10 came out. I mainly do backups and make recovery media.

There is always the threat of viruses, but according to Nokia research, most malware now afflicts Android (68%) rather than Windows (28%) or Apple (3.5%).

From the Windows 10 2-in-1s, I like the 10.1in Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 320, which has an Atom x5-Z8350 processor, 4GB of memory, 64GB of storage and a good detachable keyboard for £262.00. The main limitation is the 1280 x 800 screen resolution, which is more commonly found on cheaper tablets such as the Asus ZenPad Z300M at £149.99.

The aluminium-backed Linx 12X64 has much the same specification but with a 12.5in screen that shows 1920 x 1080 pixels. It’s bigger, bulkier and heavier than iPadalikes such as the ZenPad 3S 10, but it’s a bargain at £310.00, including keyboard.

Windows 10 doesn’t have anything like as many tablet apps as Apple or Android. However, if the main use is web browsing, Windows 10 has you covered with Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Vivaldi, Edge, Brave, Tor and many more.

Also see: Best Tablets UK 2017

1 comment

  • Sam P
    Comment Link Sam P Thursday, 16 November 2017 20:15

    Great article, very helpful, thanks for sharing

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