Best Tablets Under $400

Tablets are a great solution to bridge the gap between a laptop and a mobile, or it can also be conveniently said that it offers the best of both these devices. The objective of this article is to compile a list of tablets within a range of $300 to $400 (+ or – $10 as price varies on a regular basis) for your convenience. We have tried to enlist the tablets which are launched within the last 2-3 years, but there are some older devices as well that perform at par that is also included in our compilation.

These budget tablets (under $400) are best suited for students for studying and other learning activities. But they can also be a good choice for elderly people who moderately surf the internet, watch videos, and want to make video calls to their relatives and friends. The budget-friendly tablets can also be used by professionals as a secondary device for moderate tasks that are not very intensive to the processor.

What to expect from a tablet under $400?

Unlike flagship tablet devices that boast of the best specifications, we certainly cannot expect the same from tablets under $400. Let’s have a look at what we can expect in terms of the respective core specifications.

  • RAM: Most devices within this range offer RAM somewhere between 3GB to 8GB.
  • Internal Memory: Apple tablets (iPads) within this budget comes with 32 GB or 64 GB options, while some of the Android tablets offer up to 128 GB of internal storage.
  • Extendable Memory: Not many devices offer this, you will find very few devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab Lite 6 that offer extendable memory of up to 1 TB.
  • Display Size: 6-inch to 12-inch options are available, but with the products that we have shortlisted in this article you will get 8-inch to 11-inch tablets.
  • Camera: Most tablets in this range come with an 8GB rear camera and 5GB front camera.
  • Battery capacity: 5500 mAh to 8400 mAh. You can expect a battery life of 10 hours to 16 hours.

Top Products:

1. Apple iPad Air 3rd Gen

Apple iPad Air 3rd Gen

Specifications:

  • OS: iOS
  • Screen Size: 10.5 inch
  • Resolution: 1668 x 2224px
  • Processor: A12 Bionic
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 2 Options to choose from 64 GB | 256 GB 
  • Camera: Front: 7 MP | Rear: 8 MP with HDR and 1080p HD video
  • Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
  • Ports: USB-C lightning port
  • Dimensions: 247.6mm x 178.5mm x 6.1mm
  • Weight: 1.01 lbs
  • Battery Life: 10 hours
  • Additional features:
    • Touch ID fingerprint sensor 
    • Lightning connector for charging
    • Scratch-resistant glass
    • Oleophobic coating
    • Apple GPU, 4-core graphics
    • Siri natural language commands

If you are looking for a budget-friendly yet powerful Apple device, then this is the one you should go for, and it can also be used as an entry-level laptop. It is a perfect device for entertainment, learning, and professional purpose. Of course, at this price point, you cannot expect performance at par with other latest Apple gadgets, but this is a good choice for fulfilling basic needs and performing basic tasks. This tablet can be paired with an Apple pencil as well as Apple’s keyboard to enhance convenience and usability. The iPad Air has dual speakers and a 10.5 inches screen equipped with TrueTone, which makes it an excellent device for entertainment.

The iPad is dust-proof and water-resistant, with all its keys sealed for protection. We used this iPad for up to 8 hours 20 minutes on a single charge with multiple applications running like music, chatting, browsing, and email with about 75% brightness. The camera quality is decent, and it can record videos at 1080p video with an FPS of 30. This iPad Air 3 was launched way back in 2019, and there is a more recent version available.

iPad Air 4 comes with the following key differences:

  • Increased screen size: 10.9-inch
  • Improved Processor: A14 Bionic chip
  • Rear Camera: 12 MP

Pros:

  • Reliability of brand Apple and iOS
  • Laminated screen
  • Fast performance
  • Slim design
  • Can be paired with a smart keyboard 
  • Fast charging using lightning-to-USB-C

Cons:

  • Camera
  • WiFI only connectivity (with $400 budget-friendly option)

2. Microsoft Surface Go 3

Microsoft Surface Go 3 - 10.5" 2021 release

Specifications:

  • OS: Windows 11
  • Screen Size: 10.51 inch
  • Resolution: 1920×1280 px
  • Processor: 1.1 GHz Intel Pentium Gold | Intel Core i3
  • RAM: 4 GB | 8 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB | 128 GB
  • Camera: Front and rear facing 1080p HD 
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Ports: USB-C port | Headphone Jack | MicroSDXC Card Reader
  • Dimensions: 245 mm x 175 mm x 8.3 mm
  • Weight: 1.2 lbs
  • Battery Life: Upto 11 hours
  • Additional features:
    • Dual Studio Mics
    • 2W stereo speakers with Dolby® Audio™
    • Bluetooth 5.0
    • Compatible with a digital pen along with finger touch
    • Built-in kickstand
    • Windows Hello face authentication

This is an upgraded model with an improved battery and faster performance. The previous version had an 8th Gen Intel Core m3 processor, while this one has been upgraded to a Core i3 processor. This tablet also has a MicroSDXC card reader for easy access to your external storage. It is best suited for professionals who love to use Microsoft products, as it is optimized for their in-house apps like Office Suite, Teams, Xbox, Skype, etc. It offers two different storage options, one is an eMMC drive with 64 GB storage, while the other is an even faster SSD drive with 128 GB space, but the latter will obviously exceed the budget.

The Surface Go 3 tablet is equipped with PixelSense Display, which allows for 10-point multi-touch and also recognizes hand gestures. The tablet is also highly secured yet convenient to access for the authorized person with its Windows Hello face authentication camera. This is a very good device to be given to Kids as you can easily enable a kid-friendly environment using built-in guardrails and set screen time limits option. This tablet comes in handy with advanced defenses against malware and viruses at no additional cost.

Pros:

  • Secured tablet with Windows Hello
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Sleek, light, and portable design
  • Works great with all Microsoft Apps

Cons:

  • Single USB port
  • Not much different from the previous version

3. Apple iPad 8

apple ipad 8th review

Specifications:

  • OS: iPadOS 14, upgradable to iPadOS 15.3
  • Screen Size: 10.2 inch
  • Resolution: 1920×1280 px
  • Processor: Apple A12 Bionic (7 nm)
  • RAM: 3 GB 
  • Storage: 32 GB | 128 GB
  • Camera: 8MP Back Camera, 1.2MP FaceTime HD Front Camera
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Ports: USB-C lightning connector, Smart connector, 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • Dimensions: 250.6 mm x 174.1 mm x 7.5 mm
  • Weight: 1.09 lbs
  • Battery Life: Upto 10 hours
  • Additional features:
    • Dual Studio Mics
    • Built-in Dolby Audio
    • Bluetooth 5.0
    • Compatible with a digital pen along with finger touch
    • Built-in kickstand

After using it for a while for various purposes, we are convinced that this device being an Apple product, is able to make a good balance between performance and budget. It is a value-for-money product from Apple that can fulfill the desire of many to own an Apple device within a limited budget. It is able to deliver decent display quality and optimized performance out of its A12 Bionic processor paired with 3 GB of RAM. The base product is equipped with 32 GB storage, and the only major drawback with this product is its average front-facing camera at 1.2 MP. 

The design of the Apple iPad 8 is decent with a sleek and stylish build. The battery gives a decent performance that can last up to 10 hours. The Smart Connector lets you connect it to the Apple Smart Keyboard. There is also an updated version of this product available in the market known as the Apple iPad 9. The major upgrades in Apple iPad 9 are as follows:

  • Processor: A13 Bionic
  • Storage: 64 GB | 256 GB
  • Front Camera: 12MP wide-angle (great improvement, it was just 1.2MP in iPad 8)
  • Display: True Tone

Full Apple iPad 8th Review

Pros: 

  • Decent entry-level iPad with a faster processor
  • Fast charging
  • Affordable Apple tablet

Cons: 

  • No card slot 
  • Doesn’t support Pencil 2
  • The front-facing camera is only 1.2 MP

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 10.4"

Specifications:

  • OS: Android 10.0
  • Screen Size: 10.4 inch
  • Resolution: 2000×1200 px
  • Processor: Exynos 9611 Octa Core 
  • RAM: 4 GB 
  • Storage: 64 GB | 128 GB
  • Camera: 8MP Rear Camera | 5 MP Front Camera
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Ports: USB Type-C (2.0); 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • Dimensions: 244.5 mm x 154.3 mm x 7.0 mm
  • Weight: 1.02 lbs
  • Battery Life: Upto 13 hours
  • Additional features:
    • 7040 mAH battery
    • Comes with S-Pen
    • Dual speakers with Dolby Atmos
    • Expandable storage up to 1TB 
    • TFT LCD
    • MicroSD slot
    • Facial recognition security

This Lite tab from Samsung is a trimmed-down version of one of its flagship products Samsung Tab S6. This budget-friendly tablet is more than just an entertainment and browsing device. There is a lot of power packed in this tablet, backed by an Exynos 9611 Octa-Core processor and 4 GB RAM. The battery is highly capable at 7040 mAh, which is really impressive, as we were able to use it for about 9 hours doing multi-tasking. The MicroSD card slot makes it even more usable with up to 1TB of extendable storage. 

The Samsung S6 Lite tab is very convenient to use with the S-Pen which is included with the product. One of the major differences between S6 and S6 Lite is the Operating System. S6 Lite lacks Samsung’s Dex which is why it is not suitable to be considered a 2-in1 device i.e. as a tablet as well as Laptop. The S-Pen works really great with the tab which identifies the pressure accurately and you will be able to draw or write incredibly well. So, with an S-Pen in hand, you will not feel a need to use a keyboard or mouse for smaller tasks. 

Check the differences between Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

Pros:

  • Includes S-Pen stylus included
  • Immersive corner-to-corner views
  • 3 exciting colors to choose from – Oxford Gray, Angora Blue, and Angora Blue

Cons: 

  • The fingerprint sensor feels a bit slow, could have been faster.

5. Apple iPad Mini 5

 Apple iPad Mini 5th Generation

Specifications:

  • OS: iPad OS 14
  • Screen Size: 7.9 inch
  • Resolution: 2048×1536 px
  • Processor: A12 Bionic chip with 64‑bit architecture
  • RAM: 3 GB 
  • Storage: 64 GB | 256 GB
  • Camera: 8MP Rear Camera | 7 MP Front Camera with 1080P FaceTime
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Ports: Lightning connector; 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • Dimensions: 203.2 mm x 134.8 mm x 6.1 mm
  • Weight: 0.68 lbs
  • Battery Life: Upto 10 hours
  • Additional features:
    • 5124 mAH battery
    • iPad hands-free with Siri
    • Wide color (P3) and True Tone display
    • Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
    • Dual speakers with Dolby Atmos
    • Supports Apple Pencil (1st generation)
    • 500 nits brightness
    • Auto image stabilization

Though many of us found it really small compared to other tablets, at the same time, the size makes it easy to hold and use. The whole screen is easily accessible due to its smaller size and can also be carried in a slightly deeper trouser’s pocket. iPad Mini 5 boasts of a fully-laminated Retina display which is very bright. The laminated glass is very thin, and the gap between the touch sensor and the glass has reduced significantly, which makes the Apple pencil works more accurately. In terms of performance, this tablet is equipped with a faster processor. The battery seems to be of a lower capacity at 5124, but given its screen size and optimized display, it can last easily for up to 9-10 hours. 

iPad Mini 5 is equipped with an A12 Bionic chip, which is a faster chipset with Neural Engine, which is popularly termed as next-generation Neural Engine. This smart chipset is designed to enhance the performance and overall efficiency of the device at lower power consumption. Due to these great features and optimized design, this smaller device is more expensive than the 9.7-inch Apple iPad. 

Pros:

  • Really handy as it is portable and compact
  • Superior fully-laminated screen
  • Fast charging capability

Cons:

  • Smaller display

6. Lenovo Tab P11 Plus

Lenovo Tab P11 Plus Android Tablet

Specifications:

  • OS: Android 11.0
  • Screen Size: 11 inch
  • Resolution: 2000 x 1200 px
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 
  • RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4x
  • Storage: 128 GB
  • Camera: 13MP Rear Camera with LED Flash | 8 MP Front Camera
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Ports: USB Type-C (2.0)
  • Dimensions: 258.4 mm x 163 mm x 7.5 mm
  • Weight: 1.08 lbs
  • Battery Life: Upto 15 hours
  • Additional features:
    • 7700 mAH battery
    • Fast charging 20W
    • Narrow Bezels – Generous 85% screen-to-display ratio
    • Immersive audio experience with Dolby Atmos®
    • Reinforced with four-speaker stereo sound
    • More than 10,000 teacher-approved apps and games

We have termed this as the most value for money tab with features like a larger 11-inch screen, an Octa-core processor, a larger 7700mAh battery, 4 speaker stereo sound, and an upgrade to Android 11 OS. You can not expect a list of specifications better than this for a tablet priced under $400. The processor delivers a fast speed of up to 2.3 GHz, due to which we were able to seamlessly enjoy the games we were playing and the applications that we were using. 

The Lenovo Tab P11 Plus is built using aluminum to maintain 7.5 mm thickness, which makes its build quality superior while maintaining a lower weight. It has an expandable memory of up to 64GB or 128GB of storage, using a microSDXC card slot. It is a good choice for everyone ranging from kids to family use, along with professional usage. The Lenovo Tab P11 is compatible to be used with Lenovo Precision Pen 2 and the Lenovo Keyboard cover, which makes it more versatile. 

Pros:

  • Large screen size
  • Outstanding battery performance
  • Near frameless design

Cons:

  • Unstable video recording
  • Refresh rate could have been better to match other higher specification
  • Lack of audio jack

7. Asus Chromebook CM3

Specifications:

  • OS: Chrome OS
  • Screen Size: 10.5 inch
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1200 px
  • Processor: MediaTek Kompanio 500 (8183)
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB
  • Camera: 8MP Rear Camera | 2MP Front Camera
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Ports: USB Type-C (2.0); 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • Dimensions: 255.4 mm x 167.2 mm x 7.9 mm
  • Weight: 1.12 lbs
  • Battery Life: Upto 12 hours
  • Additional features:
    • 16:10 Display with garaged USI stylus
    • Ergonomic design for productivity
    • 15 sec fast charge with 45 W adapter
    • Detachable keyboard design
    • 1-Year free Google 100GB cloud storage
    • Dual five-magnet stereo speakers
    • Screen-to-body ratio: 75%
    • Titan C Security Chip

The Asus Chromebook comes with a detachable keyboard of suitable size which makes it a truly 2-in-1 device with the capabilities of a tablet as well as that of an entry-level laptop for some basic tasks. This tablet also comes with a USI pen for better writing and drawing experience which makes it a good choice for artists and students to draw, study and take notes on it. This tablet has eMMC storage which is considered ideal for small file storage devices. The Asus Chromebook CM3 comes with a foldable kickstand to place as per your own preference.

In terms of connectivity, this tablet offers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity along with a USB-C port. This Chrome tablet comes with 100 GB of cloud storage on Google for one year. The battery is capable enough to easily last for up to 11-12 hours. Chrome OS is made to boot quickly, and we observed the same on this tablet. It just took a few seconds to boot this up, and the web browsing experience is also exceptional with this device. 

Pros:

  • Two-way foldable kickstand
  • Decent battery backup
  • Fast charging using a 45W USB-C adapter
  • Good audio quality
  • Works great with all Google Apps

Cons:

  • Slower processor compared to other tabs in this list

8. Xiaomi Mi Pad 5/Xiaomi Mi Pad 5 Pro

XIAOMI MI PAD 5

Specifications:

  • OS: Android 11
  • Screen Size: 11 inch
  • Resolution: 2560×1600 px
  • Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 860
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB
  • Camera: 13MP Rear Camera | 8MP Front Camera
  • Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
  • Ports: USB Type-C; 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • Dimensions: 254.69 mm x 166.25 mm x 6.85 mm
  • Weight: 1.15 lbs
  • Battery Life: Upto 16 hours
  • Additional features:
    • 8720mAh battery capacity
    • Fully charge in 18 minutes
    • WQHD+ display
    • Super smooth experience
    • Immersive gaming and movie experience
    • Flagship quad-speaker audio system
    • Ultra-large-amplitude speakers

This is termed by critics as a perfect answer to iPad by Xiaomi, with all the top-of-the-line features, especially in terms of audio, video, processing, and battery performance. It is a very stylishly designed product that is less than 7 mm thick. It is being praised for its amazing display quality which comprises of ambient light sensor, color temperature sensor, Dolby vision, 1 billion colors, and 120 Hz refresh rate. Its high-quality display provides for immersive gaming and viewing experience. The Xiaomi Pad 5 offers ultra-fast magnetic wireless charging, which charges your device completely in 18 minutes.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 is a flagship processor based on 7nm fabrication technology, which is three times faster than Snapdragon 845. The sufficiently large capacity battery complements the other tech specifications really well and can last for up to 10 hours of gaming. The device is compatible with Xiaomi Smart Pen, which allows precise, smooth pen strokes. There is also a Pro version available for this product. 

The Xiaomi Pro has the following upgraded features:

  • Processor: Snapdragon 870 5G
  • Storage: Up to 256 GB
  • RAM: 6GB and 8GB
  • Rear Camera: 50 MP
  • Dual-LED flash
  • 8 speakers
  • 67W fast charging 

Pros:

  • Extraordinary cinematic surround sound
  • Flagship 7nm process technology
  • Magnetic wireless charging

Cons:

  • Lacks cellular connectivity option
  • No 3.5 mm jack
  • Hard to purchase in the USA
  • There are complaints of MIUI having compatibility issues with some Google Apps and services

Why did we rank Apple iPad Air 3 higher than Microsoft Surface Go 3?

There are a couple of obvious reasons behind it, and being an Apple product is one of them which scored the points for Apple iPad Air 3. If we look at specifications in detail, you will see the difference. For instance, iPad Air 3 has a screen resolution of 2,360 by 1,640, whereas Microsoft Surface Go 3 possesses a screen resolution of 1,920 by 1,280. The Geekbench performance of the A14 processor used in iPad Air 3 is better than the Core i3 processor in Surface Go 3, by a decent margin in single-core as well as multi-core results. The same goes for its GPU performance results. In terms of camera quality, Apple is way ahead of Microsoft, iPad Air 3 is equipped with a 12 MP rear camera, while Surface Go 3 has an 8 MP camera at its rear. You can actually do a one-to-one comparison of each of the specifications and will find iPad Air 3 winning on most fronts. 

What are the key differences between budget tablets and premium tablets?

Here are some of the key differences:

Budget TabletPremium/Flagship Tablets
Just average specificationsTop of the line specification
Good for students and childrenBest suited for professionals
Good for learning and entertainmentGood for multi-tasking and professional uses
Less stableMore stable, and lasts longer
Good to be used in the current situationMore future proof
Processor and RAM gets overloaded quickly.Processor and RAM can take a lot of load.
Should be used gentlyMore susceptible to rough and harsh use.

While listing some of these differences doesn’t make budget tablets a bad choice at all. It all depends on your requirement, application and of course budget. Probably you might need a lot of battery backup and a budget-friendly tablet can fulfill your need better than a premium tablet. On the other hand, you want to do a lot of multi-tasking like online meetings, replying to emails, updating sheets, all at once, and a premium tablet will be able to address the need. So, the choice boils down to your personal needs and requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should choose a $400 range tablet?

A tablet within a range of $400 is good to be used for the purpose of learning by students, as well as by professionals that have moderate usage. It can also be used for the purpose of entertainment like watching YouTube videos or movies. Some of the tablets priced around $400 also offer a decent gaming performance. 

Is Chrome OS good for tablets, compared to iOS and Android?

Chrome OS is a great product from Google, and some of its features are better than the ones on Android or iOS. Some of them are mentioned as follows:

  • Update Support: The security and application updates are offered on Chrome OS devices for up to 8 years. This means you can expect more features being added over the years and a bug-free operation of your device.
  • Better Compatibility: Chrome-based devices offer better compatibility and offer better speed when paired with other gadgets like keyboards, USB drives, etc.
  • Good for Web Browing: Chrome OS is best if your primary use is to browse the web. For professionals like content writers, who need to browse a lot to research content over the web, a Chrome OS tablet can be a good choice.
  • Good for Google Apps: All the apps by Google like Drive, Docs, Spreadsheet, Calendar, etc. work smoothly on Chrome OS compared to iOS and Android.

Which tablet under $400 offers the best connectivity?

Most of the tablets under the specified budget come with a USB 2.0 connector port and a 3.5 mm jack. The iPad 8 also has a Smart Connector, which lets you connect the tablet easily with keyboards and other accessories. Also, it comes with WiFi as well as a Cellular connectivity option at a reasonable price.

Conclusion: Which is the best tablet under $400?

Each of the above-shortlisted tablets priced around $400 is offering decent performance and good in their own way on one or the other front. Based on the individual requirements, you can choose the one that addresses your needs. There are tablets ranging from an 8-inch screen to an 11-inch screen, available in various battery capacities from 5500 mAH to 8400 mAH, lasting from 10 hours to 16 hours. 

For the sake of answering the question, and as our personal opinion, we found Apple iPad 3, which performs reasonably well on all fronts. We were specifically impressed with the optimized performance of the A12 Bionic processor. The second best is the Microsoft Surface Go 3 with Core i3 processor, and it can be conveniently termed as the most portable 2-in-1 tablet, which can replace a need for a laptop. There are some newer entrants like Xiaomi Pad 5 which offers some great features and the best specifications.

Related Articles:

Best Tablets Under $300
Best Tablets Under $500

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