Which affordable tablet is better?
Samsung makes some of the best high-end Android tablets, and its entry-level models are nothing to sneeze at, either. They run a highly capable version of the Android operating system and support a huge variety of apps. The most affordable Samsung tablets are clear leaders in their price category.
Meanwhile, Amazon’s Fire HD tablets are engineered with an especially user-friendly interface. Rather than offering tons of advanced settings and customization, they’re built to perform the most common tasks with as little hassle as possible. They tend to deliver a more streamlined and straightforward experience, but at the expense of versatility.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8
The Galaxy Tab A family has always been a favorite for budget-friendly yet well-performing tablets. The 2022 A8 doesn’t represent a huge upgrade to 2020’s A7, but it does offer minor improvements in addition to the promise of a longer software support lifespan.
Although it’s Samsung’s entry-level tablet lineup, don’t mistake it for something cheaply built. It looks and feels like a premium piece of equipment, despite its low price. And unless you’re extremely demanding of your electronics, it likely has enough processing power to satisfy your needs.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 pros
- Great value: There are few tablets as affordable with such efficiency, power and overall quality. Its fit and finish are great, with no noticeable manufacturing or design flaws, and an attractive, lightweight, unassuming body.
- Improved performance: The Unisoc Tiger T618 chipset inside the A8 offers a modest but noticeable bump in performance compared to the Tab A7.
- Up to 128 gigabytes of storage: You can choose from 32, 64 and 128 GB versions of the Tab A8.
- Facial recognition login: Instead of a password, you can log into the Galaxy Tab A8 using the front-facing camera.
- Optional LTE version: 4G connectivity lets you stay online whenever you have a cell signal.
- Above-average sound quality: The speakers are surprisingly loud and clear, uncommon among budget-friendly Android tablets.
- Google Stadia game streaming support: Google’s cloud gaming service is arguably the best of a group of up-and-coming streaming services. Samsung’s tablets are some of the few that officially support the Stadia app.
- Good Android OS support: It ships with Android 11, and Samsung has promised two generational updates to the operating system in addition to quarterly security patches. This is an improvement on previous budget-friendly tablets, which didn’t always guarantee such long-term software support.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 cons
- No fingerprint login: Samsung’s affordable tablets don’t have a fingerprint reader.
- Subpar camera performance: The Galaxy Tab A8’s camera resolution, color volume and focusing leave a good deal to be desired.
This incremental update to the Tab A7 offers slightly increased specs and long-term Android OS support.
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Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 alternative
While it’s technically part of the previous family of Galaxy Tab devices, it’s highly affordable and reasonably versatile. Plus, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting a Tab A8 Lite, so the A7 Lite remains the most affordable tablet from a big brand name.
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Amazon Fire HD 10
Amazon’s Fire HD tablets are heavily geared toward people already invested in the Amazon ecosystem. They run a specialized version of the Android OS that provides a relatively locked-down experience. They’re not compatible with as many apps as Samsung tablets, but they do a better job of accessing Amazon software and media streaming services.
Amazon Fire HD 10 pros
- Highly affordable: Amazon’s Fire HD tablets are among the least expensive tablets.
- Streamlined Alexa voice control: You can control smart home devices and even get special deals from Amazon by shopping using its versatile voice assistant.
- Good performance for the price: The hardware inside the Fire HD 10 is a step up from the subpar processors usually found in bargain-basement tablets.
- Support for the Amazon Luna cloud gaming service: Amazon’s new game streaming platform works with all its tablets, streaming devices and 4K TVs. It didn’t offer a ton of titles at launch, but there are various subscription models to choose from and the game library continues to expand.
- Optional Plus version: The slightly upgraded Fire HD 10 Plus adds more system memory and convenient wireless charging.
- Relatively low weight: Tipping the scales at just over a pound, it’s a breeze to hold with one hand.
Amazon Fire HD 10 cons
- Restrictive app selection: Compared to more classic versions of Android OS, the Fire TV suite doesn’t support many third-party apps. You won’t notice this if you’ve completely bought into the Amazon ecosystem, but anyone coming from a traditional Android phone or tablet will definitely notice the lack of available software. Amazon tablets can’t access the Google Play Store, which significantly limits their usefulness.
- No cellular connectivity available: If you want to access the internet from the Fire HD 10, you’ll need to use Wi-Fi or tether it to an Ethernet connection or a smartphone with mobile data.
- Poor speaker performance: Either wired or Bluetooth headphones are your best bet for enjoying media on the Fire HD 10.
- Productivity bundle isn’t worth it: The middling-quality keyboard included with the package doesn’t add much. Plus, given the dearth of available workplace-related apps, no Fire HD tablets are worth considering for productivity purposes in the first place.
Powerful and quick, Amazon’s base-model 10-inch tablet is one of the most affordable ever.
Sold by Amazon
An extra gigabyte of RAM and wireless charging support make this a somewhat more convenient choice than the base model.
Sold by Amazon
Should you get the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 or Amazon Fire HD 10?
If you spend a lot of time on Amazon or are attached to a seamless Alexa voice control experience, Amazon’s Fire HD 10 tablet is an easy choice. Most users, however, will appreciate the wider app selection, better performance and increased versatility of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8, despite its slightly higher price.
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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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