27 Dec Best Tablet 2017 – Buyer’s Guide
Here we review some of the best tablets in 2017. With so many tablets on the market it can be tough making the right choice. You want the best tablet for your needs, with a decent screen-size, good battery-life and great performance. Not all tablets are created equal so we’ve gone through some of the most popular makes and models and broken down the detail for you.
Best Tablet 2017
Tablets used to be expensive, and you can still pay a lot for some of the top models, but you can get a good tablet from as little as £50 these days. We look at the details of ten different models, with varying feature-sets and covering all budgets so that you can choose the best tablet for you.
Below is the feature-table for all of the tablets, clicking on one will take you to it’s individual review below.
|MAKE / MODEL||Screen size (inches)||Battery life (hours)||Weight (grammes)||Memory|
|All-New Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa||10||10||295||2||Check price|
|All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa||8||12||295||1.5||Check price|
|Apple iPad 9.7" 2017 32GB Wi-Fi - Space Grey||10||10||470||2||Check price|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2016) T580||10||10||530||2||Check price|
|Lenovo Tab 3 10.1 Inch 16GB 2GB RAM||10||12||800||2||Check price|
|Huawei UK MediaPad T3 10-Inch Tablet||10||8||460||2||Check price|
|ASUS ZenPad Z300M 10-Inch Tablet||10||8||490||2||Check price|
|It UK 10.1" Quad Core, Google Android Lollipop Tablet PC (16GB)||10||8||470||1||Check price|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab E SM-T560||10||8||490||1.5||Check price|
|All-New Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa||7||8||295||1||Check price|
All-New Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa
While it’s a very well-featured tablet, the HD 10 isn’t exactly a champion of design. It’s a plain, rectangular slab of plastic with a glass screen, and quite chunky too – coming in at 9.8mm thick and weighing 500g.
The IPS screen display is clear and surprisingly vivid, though hard to see in direct sunlight, and the new resolution of 1920×1200 is a great improvement over the older model. You can choose either black, red or blue for the case colour, the stereo speakers are at the top and your micro-SD card slot is at the bottom. There are also buttons for volume and power, 3.5mm mic-in and headphones-out jacks and a micro-USB port.
The Fire HD 10 tablet has a plastic body that curves to meet its glass screen. It feels solid but may be a little chunky for some, being 9.8mm thick and weighing 500g. For desktop or table use you’ll need some sort of stand as the curved design doesn’t lend itself well to standing/leaning, but it’s well-protected.
With a respectable battery-life of 10 hours in mixed-use, you can get a lot done with the Fire HD 10 in between charges! It has a speedy 1.8GHz processor which, coupled with 2GB of RAM means it’s no slouch at getting things done. For storage space it comes with 32 or 64GB as standard and is expandable to 250GB via the micro-SD slot, so there’s plenty of room for all your music and video files.
The HD 10 comes with the Amazon OS (Operating System), which means that the experience is strongly Amazon-based, though, for an extra £10, you can get the version with Amazon adverts on the screen-saver disabled.
The new, 1900×1200 display is very easy on the eye. IPS technology makes it crystal-clear although it does suffer in direct sunlight, as tablets do.
The built-in cameras are a disappointment, with a VGA front camera and a 2MP rear camera, the results are pretty low-quality, but fine for Skype or casual pics.
One of the best new features is the inclusion of Alexa, the highly-popular personal digital assistant that comes with the Amazon Echo range. You can ask Alexa to check the weather, fetch a cooking recipe, play a song or a video. Alexa will give you informative answers along with associated videos, articles or websites.
She’s upgradeable with various ‘skills’ so that you can extend her functionality, even connecting her with smart home devices so that you can control lights, heating and appliances and is a great addition to a great tablet.
Having a 1.8GHz CPU is a real advantage, you can feel the difference compared to similar devices with 1.6 or 1.3GHz CPUs. The inclusion of 2GB of RAM only serves to compliment the fast CPU, making browsing the net, watching video, playing music and editing documents easy and pleasurable.
There is also no shortage of storage space, you can buy the Fire HD 10 with either 32 or 64GB as standard, and can expand this up to 256GB using a micro-SD card.
The inclusion of Alexa is a great feature and new skills are being added all the time, making her a highly-competent assistant.
The Final Word
The Fire HD 10 represents very good value for the price, this unit is cheaper than last year’s device but it has good improvements as well as added features! It’s a smooth device to use with it’s fast processor and plenty of RAM. It’s quite a chunky tablet but it also feels and looks solid and reliable. For features and performance vs price, this is one of the best tablets.
Good battery life
All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa
Bigger than the 7 inch and smaller than the 10 inch, the Amazon Fire HD 8 inch tablet is a size that feels just right: large enough to enjoy movies but compact enough to hold in one hand or pop into your bag.
The design may be a bit basic and the plastic back may put off those wanting a more refined looking tablet, but the Fire 8 isn’t trying to compete with the higher end models, so you get what you pay for.
This budget priced tablet won’t win any beauty prizes but what it lacks in sophisticated design, it makes up for in sturdiness. It’s a robust piece of technology and that, along with the lower price and choice of bright colours, make it a great tablet for kids as well as adults.
The Fire HD 8 is lightweight and small enough to pop into a handbag or backpack pouch, and it’s still relatively easy to type with your thumbs.
The plastic casing feels sturdy and solid enough and it can stand up to heavy handed treatment better than the iPad. The tablet already has a kid friendly design, but if you want something for very young kids with a bit more protection, there’s also a dedicated Fire HD 8 Kid’s Edition with a softer, more protective kid proof case available at a higher price.
The 1.3Hz processor with 1.5 GB is fine for all the essentials and internal storage comes in either 16 or a generous 32 GB. There’s also a micro SD slot if you need more storage for watching films on a long journey.
The screen isn’t really HD quality. The 1,280 x 800 pixels are clear enough but it doesn’t have that ultra sharp quality you get with more sophisticated models. There’s no auto brightness and it can look a little dull compared to a smartphone screen.
The Fire OS software is pre-loaded with the standard Amazon apps such as Kindle, Prime Video, Audible, Music, Game and Amazon Apps which offers all the essential add-ons you’d expect such as Skype, Facebook and Netflix.
Amazon App doesn’t have the variety of apps that Google Play offers, and it’s also worth noting that Google Apps or Microsoft Word aren’t available, so it’s not a really suitable for business use. And if you want access to all the Amazon content, Amazon Prime membership is pretty much compulsory.
The low price is reflected in the camera quality, which has been downgraded to 2MP. The VGA camera is very poor and only just workable for the odd Skype call.
However, the speakers are surprisingly clear and deliver reasonably good sound quality.
Alexa, the voice responsive personal assistant is a fun feature and works well, although she’s not totally handsfree; you need to tap the home button before she’ll hear you.
The Fire HD 8 has some great kid friendly features. You can set them up with a separate profile and the kids app lets you set parental controls and time limits for games and videos. It’s ideal if you want to use the tablet too, allowing you to have a totally separate profile that the kids can’t have access to.
The choice of 16 or 32 GB models offer a generous amount of storage with the added bonus of a micro SD slot for storing extra music and movies.
The Fire HD 8 has a more than decent battery life. Amazon claims 12 hours, and it doesn’t disappoint.
Alexa is a fun, well-functioning feature. She’ll give you instant information such as news or weather updates, let you set alarms, make a shopping list and even control your smart home functions.
The Final Word
The Fire HD 8 is an Amazon tablet so it’s obviously Amazon orientated. But it offers everything a casual user should need, and at such a low price it’s a perfect budget tablet for all the family.
Great battery life
Apple iPad 9.7″ 2017 32GB Wi-Fi – Space Grey
It has the typical design of all iPads, although it is slightly thicker than the Air 2 model. Another difference is the smooth matt casing, unlike the glossier version on previous iPad models. The 2017 9.7” is available in gold, silver or space grey. It has smoother rounded corners for better grip, although this really is irrelevant since hardly anyone carries their iPad around without an additional protective casing.
Like other recent iPads, the 2017 9.7” has a fingerprint scanner for personalised ID. However it’s a bit awkward to use unless the tablet is lying flat, so once the novelty’s worn off it may be easier to tap in the passcode instead.
The screen has a 2,048 x 1536 retina resolution display and 264 ppi pixel density, which translates to a bright, clear screen of exceptional quality. It also features a night shift mode to reduce blue light glare for night time reading that doesn’t damage your eyes.
Weighing 469gs, the 2017 9.7” is thicker and slightly heavier than the Air 2. But it’s still nice and lightweight and ideal for watching movies without it feeling heavy in the hand or carrying around in your handbag. The thickness gives it a more sturdy, solid feel and is more durable for family use, which is what Apple intended.
The iPad purists and cognoscenti out there will probably complain about the lack of features on the 2017 9.7” compared to say the 9.7” Pro or the Air 2. But you have to consider the lower price of this version, which has more than enough essential features to keep casual users and those upgrading from an older iPad happy.
The retina screen is clear, bright, offering a fantastic and beautiful image quality when watching movies or reading.
The dual core Apple A9 1.84GHz processor responds nicely to the touch screen functions and the overall performance is impressive. There’s a decent amount of storage, either 32 or 128GB, which is just as well, as there’s no micro SD slot.
Both the rear and front cameras are a bit disappointing and the video isn’t very stable, so it probably isn’t suitable for anything more than document scanning or basic FaceTime chats.
But the stand out feature of the 2017 9.7” compared to other iPad models is the battery life. This little beauty can last over 14 hours which is 4 hours longer than the Air 2!
Fast response Apple A9 processor with no significant slow down when playing more advanced iOS games.
Retina display with exceptional image quality making it ideal for watching movies or playing games.
Essential Apple features such as fingerprint ID for greater security.
Fantastic battery life offering up to 14 hours of use; the longest lasting battery of all the iPad models.
The Final Word
Apple created the 2017 9.7” iPad as a robust all-rounder for families to share between them. On that front, it certainly delivers. It lacks a lot of the features of more expensive models but there had to be some corner cutting for its price. The most affordable iPad to date, the 2017 9.7” is a great buy for casual users, as a general family tablet and for those who want to upgrade their old iPad but don’t necessarily need the more advanced features.
Good battery life
Samsung Galaxy Tab A
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A has a 10.1 inch touch screen with 1,920 x 1,200 pixel resolution that offers crystal clear viewing of movies and photos and is definitely comparable with that of the more expensive Apple iPad Pro 9.7.
It has a 16:10 aspect ratio which makes it ideal for watching movies, word processing and looking at websites, although the ratio is better in landscape mode than portrait.
Design wise, it has a plastic casing that doesn’t look cheap but does lack the sophistication of the more expensive models.
Weighing 526g, the Tab A 10.1, is heavier than an iPad, and thicker too. But it’s still light enough to hold in your hand and pack into a bag when travelling.
The Tab A 10.1 has an Exynos 7870 1.6 GHz octa-core processor which can handle day to day tasks admirably. Page loading is quick and there’s no noticeable lag when streaming. It doesn’t have the performance capabilities to deal with more demanding apps running together, but for light to medium use, it’s smooth, quick and perfectly adequate.
A very welcome feature on the Tab A 10.1 is the split screen function allowing you to multi-task in different windows, something that is only usually available on more expensive models.
The 2 MP camera is adequate enough and photos come up nice and clear on the screen, while videos filmed in HD are crisp, clear and not at all bad for a tablet. It also has a handy LED flash for low light conditions, which can also double up as a torch.
The Tab A 10.1 comes with pre-loaded apps such as Microsoft Office which is easy to set up and functions perfectly with documents and spreadsheets as you’d expect. The excellent Google Play offers a massive choice of apps and email accounts are very easy to personalise on the device.
The speakers work surprisingly well and you can easily listen to music from a short distance, even with ambient noise.
The battery life is very good and you can easily run the device for 10-12 hours between charges. Speaking of which, the Micro USB port is conveniently placed at the top edge of the device so you can charge it without the cable getting in the way. The USB port can also be used for extras such as an external keyboard or mouse if you want to turn the device into a mini desktop computer.
The Tab A 10.1 comes with 16GB of built-in storage, however it also has a very handy Micro SD slot so you can extend that to 200GB with a Micro SD card. This feature means you can store movies and games onto the external storage and watch them wherever you are. Something that the more expensive iPads don’t have.
Another handy feature is Kid’s Mode with parental controls such as time limits, app configurations, activity stats, and up to 6 separate profiles. This makes it a great tablet for family use without having to buy a separate Kid’s Edition device.
The split screen mode which allows you to view two applications at the same time, is a surprising feature on a tablet in this price range.
The Final Word
This mid-range tablet has some great features, a good screen, a nice response and is very user friendly, making it ideal for tablet newbies, casual users and as an all round family device.
It doesn’t have the capabilities or sophistication of more expensive tablets, but the Micro SD slot gives it the versatility for travelling and that, with the reasonable price tag, make the Samsung Tab A 10.1 a great tablet in the mid-price range.
Low power usage
Lenovo Tab 3 10.1 Inch
The Lenovo Tab 3 10.1 is a budget priced, family friendly tablet, and while not that stylish, is sturdy enough. The screen is also splash proof, so it’s an ideal tablet for using on holiday, around the pool or for handing over to the kids.
The screen is bright and clear with good contrast and decent HD quality.
The internal memory is only 16GB but the device comes with a handy Micro SD port for extra storage. This also means you can load up movies and watch them while you’re on the move.
Slim and lightweight, the Tab 3 10.1 is easy to hold in one hand and is compact enough for travelling.
It feels nice and sturdy, and the splash proof screen is an added bonus if a drink gets spilled or the tablet gets splashed while you’re following your favourite recipe.
Considering this is a budget tablet, the response time is surprisingly quick. The screen swipes easily and loading times are fast, mainly due to the 2GB RAM.
The picture quality is very good, images are sharp and clear and the contrast in colours is impressive. And thanks to the larger 10.1inch screen, watching movies is a pleasure.
The Tab 3 10.1 only comes with 16 GB of internal memory. However, you can extend that with an additional Micro SD card via the handy Micro SD slot.
The two cameras, 2 MP on the front and 5 MP on the back, aren’t spectacular, but are more than enough to keep snap-happy kids satisfied.
The Android 6.0 Marshmallow software has been thoughtfully designed with families in mind, offering multiple user accounts which are easy to switch between.
The device is also equipped with Kid’s Mode with parental controls for safe internet browsing. The Tab 3 also has Adaptive Display Technology which filters out harmful blue light and protects against eye damage.
The Lenovo Tab 3 10.1 is going to be far too basic for serious users and it won’t be able to keep up with the more demanding apps like the more sophisticated devices can. But the features included in this budget device make it a particularly appealing device for families.
The splash proof screen and sturdy design makes it ideal for taking away on holiday, or using around the home where splashes are more likely to occur.
The Kid’s Mode feature allows parents to set up a separate profile for little ones, while controlling which websites they can access and which apps they can download. There is also a timer control so you can also limit your child’s viewing times. This is a great feature and avoids the need to buy a separate Kid’s Edition tablet which tend to be more expensive.
The Micro SD slot is another feature that iPads don’t have. And because it’s a basic device, it’s not overloaded with many of the pre-installed apps that more sophisticated models have, but let’s face it, usually sit there unused.
Battery life isn’t bad, around 8 hours, so that coupled with the Micro SD slot gives you the added benefit of being able to watch pre-stored movies on long journeys; another plus points for families on the move.
The Final Word
Both in terms of design and performance, the Lenovo Tab 3 is a basic, no fuss device that will never satisfy the needs of the more serious, tech-savvy user. However, it’s ideal for families who want a general use tablet, or a cheap and cheerful spare that they don’t mind the kids using. The budget price and kid-friendly features also make it a viable choice for parents who are looking to buy a ‘first’ tablet for the kids, without the hefty price tag, while doubling-up as a useable tablet for them as well.
Price vs features
Huawei UK MediaPad T3
The Huawei UK MediaPad T3 10 is surprisingly stylish for a mid-range tablet. It has the sleek, modern metal design you’d expect on an Apple and an elegant and durable aviation grade anodised aluminium casing in light grey.
In terms of quality, the design of the T3 10 makes it look more expensive than it is, and certainly gives pricier models a run for their money.
The T3 10 features an IPS LCD HD display with 1280 x 800 pixels that guarantees bright, clear image quality and vibrant colours, making the tablet ideal for watching movies or playing games. Even the box it comes in is attractive!
Weighing only 460g, the T3 10 is lightweight and easy to carry around without weighing your bag down, while it’s compact enough to even fit inside a large pocket, like a smartphone.
At 8mm it is super slim and the rounded edges fit neatly into your hands making it a pleasure to use.
The T3 10 is equipped with a Quad core 1.4GHz processor and the EMU 5.1 operating system. The result is a clean and responsive interface and a tablet that is smooth and fast to use.
In fact, for everyday essential tasks, the tablet is super fast. Pages load quickly and scrolling is smooth and seamless.
Internet connection is a definite plus point. It’s very fast even in areas where the Wi-Fi signal is weak. There’s no lag and streaming movies is a synch. On a negative note, the Bluetooth and GPS don’t work so well.
The T3 10 also has a SIM card slot so you can switch to your mobile date usage when Wi-Fi isn’t available.
Sound quality is better than average and doesn’t distort even if you pump up the volume. Skype calls are clear and noise interference is minimal.
The clear display comes in wide screen with full HD, and only the most pedantic Apple enthusiasts will notice slight pixelation around the outer edges.
Internal storage is 16GB which should satisfy casual users, but you can bump it up using a Micro SD card in the dedicated slot.
The camera, like with many other tablets, is adequate, but images can look a little washed out. It certainly won’t be up to the standard of your smartphone’s camera.
Battery life is excellent and you can play games or watch movies for up to 7 or 8 hours on average. The T3 10 also does a good job of staying cool, and won’t warm up like many other tablets.
Considering its price, the T3 10 is packed with some great features.
It has a split screen option that you’d only expect with a more expensive tablet. The feature lets you open 2 apps at the same time and look at them side-by-side, for example you can refer to a webpage while using the pre-loaded Microsoft Office.
The 2 GB RAM is fast and efficient allowing you to open 2 or 3 apps at the same time without having to wait for them to reload.
The battery is excellent, and you can go up to 7-8 hours until you need to recharge. On that note, charging is quick too.
The T3 10 can also be configured in Kid’s Mode so parents can control time on the tablet and access to sites you’d rather they didn’t see. The low light eye protection feature not only benefits children, but also means you can safely read or watch movies in bed without the worry of eye strain.
The Final Word
The Huawei T3 10 is a mid-range tablet, so you can’t expect the sophistication and efficiency that you’re going to get with the higher range models. However, if you want a fast working responsive tablet with features galore and the added benefits of extra storage and SIM card capabilities, you should be more than happy with this elegant, hard working tablet.
Price vs features
Shorter battery life
ASUS ZenPad Z300M
Design wise, the ZenPad Z300M looks very stylish and by no means cheap. The dark grey casing is understated and subtle with a textured leather look back and polished metallic edging. It looks more expensive than it is.
The LED screen is made with toughened glass and has a protective anti-fingerprint coating. Image quality is excellent with bright, vivid colours and good contrast which can be customised and enhanced via the ASUS VisualMaster, a combination of hardware and software technologies exclusive to ASUS.
However, the low resolution 1280 x 800 pixels really needs to be higher for a 10 inch screen. Games, especially 3D ones, appear pixelated and can’t compete with the higher resolution of more expensive tablets. It’s here you understand that you’re getting what you’re paying for.
At only 7.9 mm the ZenPad Z300M is slimline and sleek although with the larger screen size it won’t fit as neatly into your bag as a 7 or 8 inch tablet.
It weighs around 490g so it’s comfortable enough to hold in both hands, but you’ll begin to feel the weight with just one hand. The casing is made from twist resistant hard plastic with a leather look textured feel that’s more grip-friendly than the smoother finishes of most tablets.
Despite it’s slightly pixelated low resolution, the screen quality for images and movies is amazingly clear and crisp with bright, vibrant colours that give you a pleasurable experience when viewing 720p videos, although it doesn’t have enough pixels to promote it to Full HD status. However, it provides more than enough clarity for watching Netflix movies and casual users will hardly notice the difference.
Gaming is when the low resolution shows its flaws. There’s just not enough to take advantage of the impressive graphics of more advanced games. However, one good point about low resolution is there’s no lag, so games run well without any slow down in performance.
The device comes with 16GB of internal storage which can be extended via the Micro SD card slot.
The cameras, both front and back, work fine for simple photos and video calling. You can’t expect exceptional image quality on a tablet, especially at this price.
The built in speakers are above average and sound quality is only compromised by becoming a little tinny if you pump it up to full volume.
Battery life is around 11 hours and it can last you a couple of days if you’re not using the tablet around the clock.
The ZenPad Z300M is fast and responsive enough for everyday tasks thanks to the MTK Quad core 2G RAM processor. Internal memory storage is a generous 16GB which is ample for casual users. This can be extended via the Micro SD card slot so you can watch movies and listen to music on the move.
Image clarity is good and can be customised further via the exclusive VisualMaster technology.
The ZenPad Z300M comes with a range of pre-loaded ASUS apps which can be disabled or enabled depending on whether you need them or not.
The toughened glass screen with protective anti-fingerprint coating make the Z300M a good choice for families who want a decent all-rounder tablet without the hefty price tag.
The Final Word
The ASUS ZenPad Z300M doesn’t claim to be as sophisticated or feature rich as the more expensive tablets. However, it is a well functioning, budget priced tablet that offers a larger screen, and a clear, bright display that’s more than adequate for watching movies and videos, while performing the usual everyday tasks quickly and efficiently. For a tablet in this price range it’s a good looking device that’s ideal for casual use or as a general all-rounder for the family.
Price vs features
Shorter battery life
It UK 10.1″ Quad Core, Google Android Lollipop Tablet PC
Looks wise, it’s not going to win any beauty prizes. It lacks the style and sophistication of the more expensive tablets, and it’s certainly not sleek or slimline. With a rounded black plastic casing, it has that chunky look that suits the purpose of an all-round family tablet and is sturdy enough for younger and more heavy handed kids to use.
The It UK has a large 10.1” screen which is a good size for watching movies or browsing on the internet. The 1024 x 600 resolution screen is fine for general use, but you’re not going to get that high res sharp quality you’d expect with higher priced models.
The It UK has a solid feel and feels quite chunky in the hand. It’s also pretty heavy, weighing in at around 900g, so although it’s equipped with a Micro SD slot for additional storage so you can use it on the move, it’s not that practical for travelling.
The main plus point of the It UK is that it’s very easy to use. It would suit a tablet newbie or families who don’t want the hassle of too much technology and a load of features they’ll never use.
The IT UK uses Android 5.1 Lollipop and 1GB RAM which is powerful enough for light use, watching YouTube or Netflix and browsing the internet. You’re never going to get the performance of an iPad or Samsung, but it switches smoothly enough between apps.
Connectivity is good and it connects to Wi-Fi with ease. It also has Bluetooth capabilities.
The 10.1” screen is a good size however the screen quality lets it down a bit. It only lets you adjust the brightness and you can only enjoy the full benefit of the 1024 x 600 resolution if you use it indoors. You also really need to position the screen directly centred in front of you. It’s very reflective and not good when viewing from an angle.
If you’re comparing the It UK to a more expensive brand, you’ll notice the images are more pixellated and the overall effect is slightly grainy. But you’re never going to get exceptional image quality in this price range. However, it’s adequate enough for watching movies on a tablet.
Another option is to use the handy HDMI port which allows you to connect the tablet with your TV.
The cameras are average and lighting isn’t great, but tablets aren’t built with the camera as a priority, and even expensive models have their issues. However the It UK cameras are fine for snap happy kids who like to take selfies.
Battery life is around 6 hours which is not much for a tablet; another reason why the It UK is a more suitable for home use.
The It UK uses Quad Core Android 5.1 Lollipop with 1GB RAM and comes with 16GB of internal storage. The device also has a Micro SD card slot so you can increase the storage and create a customised library of your favourite movies and games.
The HDMI port allows you to connect the tablet to your TV and watch downloaded movies in a bit more comfort.
The It UK comes with the usual pre-installed Google apps such as Google Play, Chrome and Gmail.
The Final Word
You can’t expect all the features and capabilities of an iPad or Samsung at this price. However, if you just want a basic tablet that’s easy to use or you want an extra tablet to keep at home for watching movies, playing games or doing homework, the It UK is good value for money and certainly worth considering.
Price vs features
Samsung Galaxy Tab E
The Samsung Galaxy Tab E, first released in 2015 has an appealing price tag that is certainly worth considering if you’re looking for a well-known brand at a reasonable price.
The design is as sleek and stylish as you’d expect from a Samsung. The casing has a textured non-slip casing making it an ideal tablet for passing around the family.
The 1280 x 800 resolution is fairly low and the image quality isn’t a good as models with higher resolution screens. However, it’s bright and vibrant enough for enjoying movies and games, and the contrast is adequate enough for outdoor use.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab E has a textured back casing which is comfortable to hold and feels secure in the hand, giving parents the peace of mind that it won’t easily slip out of little fingers.
The Tab E is only 8.5 mm thick and weighs 490g, so it’s very light and portable both for holding in one hand and popping into your bag when you’re out and about.
With only 1.5GB of RAM, the Quad Core 1.3GHz processor isn’t the fastest around and can feel decidedly sluggish if you compare it to more modern tablets with faster processors. However, it is fine for playing simple games, streaming Netflix and web browsing, so if you just want a tablet to perform the essential and most popular tasks, the Tab E will more than suit your needs without you having to fork out a fortune.
Setting up and running the tablet is child’s play, so it’s an ideal starter tablet for those who aren’t particularly tech savvy, but just want the basics to work well.
The Tab E only comes with 8GB of internal storage, but it does have a handy Micro SD slot to bump up the storage. The extra storage capability means you can download your favourite films and watch them when you’re on the move. And bearing in mind the lightweight, slim frame, this makes the Tab E a great tablet for travelling.
Battery life is around 8 hours which is reasonable enough, but it can be stretched out further by using the Ultra Power Saving Mode and limiting use to just the essential apps.
The Tab E is equipped with a 2mp front camera which is adequate enough for a Skype call. The rear camera is 5mp and gives a fairly poor performance. But nobody buys a tablet just for the camera, so if it’s not a priority, don’t let it put you off; it’s more than fine for letting the kids take selfies.
The Quad Core 1.3 GHz processor runs on Android 4.4 KitKat operating system. It’s not super fast but is more than adequate for the basics.
The Tab E has 8GB of internal storage, but this can be extended to 128GB via the Micro SD slot.
Split screen mode allows you to view 2 apps at the same time, which is handy for homework tasks.
A kid’s mode app can be downloaded from Samsung’s pre-loaded Galaxy app. Parents can monitor activity, block unsuitable apps or websites and limit time spent on the tablet.
The anti-slip casing is comfortable and secure, ideal for those with a lighter grip such as younger kids.
The Final Word
The Samsung Galaxy Tab E has its limits, but ultimately it’s a great value, good looking device that covers all the basics admirably. If you’re looking for a general use tablet that is suitable for all the family and is comfortable to hold, portable and very easy to use, then this budget device should more than satisfy your needs.
Price vs features
All-New Fire 7
Amazon’s All-New Fire 7 inch tablet has got to be the cutest tablet on the market. Although, not by any means a kid-specific tablet, it has a lot of kid-friendly features, and that with the very appealing price, make it a great choice for parents who are buying their child’s first tablet.
The plastic rear casing comes in a choice of bright and colourful blue, red or canary yellow. For adults who don’t want to look like they’re carrying around a kid’s tablet, they can just stick to basic black for a more serious and understated look.
The casing itself is robust enough and should withstand a bit of heavy handling. It does look plasticky, and it certainly doesn’t have the aesthetic appeal of more expensive models, but you aren’t paying for style and sophistication in this price range.
The 7 inch screen has a 1024 x 600 resolution, but you can’t really expect more for such a low price. However, contrast isn’t bad and is sharp enough to enjoy movies or for playing simple games.
The new edition Fire 7 feels slightly more rubbery and the rear casing flexes if you push down on it. However, it feels sturdy enough for younger kids to use. You can also buy dedicated magnet closing textured cases for added protection and to prevent the screen from scratching when it’s in your bag.
The Fire 7 is one of the most compact tablets around, fits snugly into one hand and can easily be popped into a small handbag.
The Fire 7 runs on the Fire OS operating system, and the interface is very much Amazon dominated; it is after all, an Amazon tablet. Instead of Google Play and Chrome you’ll find Amazon App Store and Silk Browser.
If you already have an Amazon account, it will be automatically linked to the tablet on set up. Set up is extremely easy and even technophobes will have no problem getting started. Your Kindle library will also be automatically updated ready to use on your new tablet.
Wi-Fi connectivity is quick and reliable and the Quad Core Mediatek 1.3GHz processor manages to keep up with simple games, stream movies and has no noticeable lag when browsing the internet, although it does seem to work faster with Amazon’s own apps.
Alexa is a handy addition if you like voice commands, although the all singing, all dancing ‘assistant’ seems a bit of an over-the-top feature for a budget tablet.
The Fire 7 has a front and rear camera for video calling and selfies, but don’t expect miracles. The quality is what you’d expect from a budget tablet: less than average with poor lighting.
The battery is pretty decent, lasting around 8 hours; more than enough to happily watch a couple of movies, or play a few rounds of Candy Crush.
Amazon also has a kid’s mode app with parental controls to monitor activity, set time limits and protect the kids from wandering onto inappropriate sites.
The Fire 7 comes with 8 GB of storage which can be extended to up to 256GB via the Micro SD card slot. Amazon also includes free unlimited cloud storage for Amazon specific content.
Alexa is a voice enabled ‘assistant’ which allows you to access information and entertainment and even control your Smart home settings from your tablet.
Prime members can download Prime Video’s movies and TV shows then watch them for free offline without the need for an internet connection.
The Final Word
The Fire 7 is very Amazon orientated, having said that, there’s a fantastic range of apps and features to choose from. More notably, the Fire 7 is a fun, friendly, great value tablet for all of the family, which at this price, makes it an irresistible buy.