A budget of 500 will help you find something more than decent. We not only talked about some amazing picks in our best tablet under $500 review, but we also mentioned the ultimate features to look for in units of this price.
The Tablets- At A Glance
The specs of our entries are summarized below.
16.7 ounces (476 grams)
10.4 inches (264.16 mm) IPS LCD 1200 X 2000 pixels
32 or 64 GB
17.2 ounces (490 grams)
10.2 inches (259.08 mm) Retina IPS LCD 1620 X 2100 pixels
iPad OS 14
32 or 128 GB
19.1 ounces (544.31 grams)
10.5 inches (266.7 mm) IPS LCD 1920 x 1280 pixels
Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y
14.11 ounces (400 grams)
10.5 inches (266.7 mm) Super AMOLED 1600 x 2560 pixels
4 or 6 GB
64 or 128 GB
24.3 ounces (689.4 grams)
10.1-inch (256.4 mm) IPS LCD 1920 x 1200 pixels
Intel Atom™ x5-Z8550
16.4 ounces (467 grams)
10.4 inches (264.16 mm) TFT 1200 x 2000 pixels
64 or 128 GB
17.8 ounces (504 grams)
10.1 inches (256.5 mm) IPS LCD 1920 x 2100
32 or 64 GB
When it comes to tabs, size matters. The larger the screen, the more immersive of a viewing experience you’ll have. The A7 is not huge or too small. Its display is 10.4 inches (264.16 mm).
It feels like a million bucks. Samsung placed quality metal all over its body. You can pick it up in a chic gold option, which is our favourite.
The panel on its display is IPS LCD. More expensive Samsung handsets rock Super AMOLED. Its resolution is sharp, being 1200 x 2000 pixels; you won’t notice any blurriness even if you look closely.
We’re told its screen-to-body ratio. The closer to 100%, the less bezel action you get. Its ratio is 79%.
There are quad Dolby Atmos speakers – they can fill medium-sized rooms. They’ve got so much bass that you’ll feel whatever you’re watching before you hear it. The cherry on top is the fact that there are also quality JBL speakers on its front.
A powerful chipset is present. It houses the Exynos 9611. It’ll be able to handle gaming and a lot more. This is especially true as there’s adequate RAM – 3 GB. Due to the amount of memory you’re getting, apps will load fast. They won’t force-close either.
The ROM available depends on how much you’re willing to spend. You can pick it up with either 32 or 64 GB of space. 64 GB is a lot, but if it’s not enough for you, know that there’s expandable storage. You can bring its storage up to 1 TB.
As it was released this year, its OS is new. It runs Android 10.
Tabs are huge, they need large batteries. The one on the A7 is 7040 mAh. You can expect it to last around half a day. To charge it, a USB-C port would have to be used. A fast charger is available out of the box.
Speaking of its USB port, it accepts peripherals like keyboards. You’ll be making the less than $500 device into a laptop. Unfortunately, there’s no stylus support.
It takes a long time to charge; over 2 hours.
As you can imagine, you can’t remove its battery. Its back is sealed metal.
When buying a tab, cameras tend to not be important. The A7’s set-up doesn’t take shots worth writing home about. They’re pretty bad in low-light. There’s a primary shooter on its front and back. Its front camera is 5 MP while its back one is 8 MP. On neither of them are you getting an LED flash.
- Android 10 out of the box
- Dolby Atmos speakers
- USB-C port
- Can expand its storage to 1 TB
- Fast processor
- Not the best camera
Like the entry above, the iPad was released this year. It’s around the same size too.
It feels like a million bucks due to its aluminum and glass build. You can pick it up in a few shades. Our favourite is the space-grey.
Although similar in size, its screen-to-body ratio is not as good as its Galaxy counterpart. You’re met with a 74.4% ratio. As mentioned, the closer to 100% the better.
Its display is superior, though. It is Retina IPS LCD. This means that it’s much sharper than a regular LCD. You can see this from its resolution – it is 1620 x 2160 pixels.
The device is also super bright. Manufacturers try to make displays around 500 nits. It’s the gold standard. The Apple iPad offers a 500 max nit front. Watching movies outdoors will be a breeze, it’ll easily be able to handle glare.
There are quality stereo speakers to immerse in whatever you’re watching. However, they don’t hold a torch to the Dolby Atmos ones on the A7.
Who doesn’t love snacking while watching their favourite shows? Apple has your back. They famously place oleophobic coatings on their tech. They prevent oil from collecting. The 8th generation iPad is no exception.
The A12 Bionic chip is by your side. It was once considered the most powerful processor around. It powers iPadOS 14. It can be upgraded to the latest iPad OS 14.2.
Unfortunately, you can’t expand its storage. It comes with 32 and 128 GB options. As you can imagine, the 128 GB variant is more expensive.
The Apple Pen is supported. It works with the 1st gen type. You can attach the Apple Smart Keyboard too.
We’re not told how big its battery is. The company hasn’t made it public knowledge. But we know how long it lasts - around 10 hours. You’ll be using a lightning cable to charge it. Expect it to go from 0-100% in around 3 hours.
Camera-wise, a single shooter is on its front and back. There’s an 8 MP one on its rear, while its selfie camera is 1.2 MP.
- Powerful chipset
- Stylus supported
- Very bright screen
- Very sharp screen
- No expandable storage
Microsoft’s Surfaces are the best if you’re a working individual. They’re 2-in-1 tabs that transform into laptops.
Its display is one of the largest on our list. It comes in at 10.5 inches (266.7 mm). The panel on its front is IPS LCD, it’s pretty sharp. It is 1920 x 1280 pixels.
Sadly, we’re not told about its screen to body ratio. It’s probably not too bad, though. The Go 2 doesn’t seem to have much bezel action going on.
Whenever you want, you can whip its kick-stand out, relax and watch movies.
It’s our best windows tablet under 500 – it runs Windows 10 out of the box. Microsoft not only supports the system for years, but it comes with all the applications you’d need. This includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Its processor is beastly enough to handle whatever you throw at it. It’s the Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y.
The RAM available makes using it even better; there’s 4 GB of it. The ROM on it is great too, you’re getting 64 GB of space. If you’re wondering whether you can expand its storage or not, the answer is yes!
It has one of the largest batteries from all of our entries – it’s 8000 mAh. That being said, it lasts around the same time. It fully drains in around 12 hours.
To charge it, you’ll be making use of a USB-C port. We’re not told how many watts its charger is. However, it takes as long to charge as the rest.
How can we not talk about its type cover? Its buttons are super tactile. Of course, the Go 2 is stylus ready. The Surface pen is known to be ergonomic.
In terms of its cameras, a 5 MP shooter is on its front. An 8 MP one is on its rear.
- Runs Windows 10
- 2-in-1 tablet
- Large battery
- Stylus ready
- Powerful processor
- Not the best camera
The device is as big as the entry above. Its screen stretches 10.5 inches (266.7 mm) across. As you know, the bigger the better.
It feels expensive and rocks an aluminum unibody. However, it’s not the most ergonomic. Just take a look at its sides, they aren’t curved well.
The S5e grabbed a top spot on our list thanks to its display. There’s Super AMOLED on its front. It packs the biggest punch compared to the other tabs in our review.
Not only is it vibrant, but there’s superb sharpness too. Its resolution is 1600 x 2560 pixels. You won’t notice any pixelation, even if you look closely.
It barely has any bezel action going on. Its screen-to-body ratio is a testament to this, being 81.6%. There are super loudspeakers, making for the most immersive viewing experience as well.
Android 9 is available out of the box. You’ll be able to upgrade it to Android 10. It’s powered through Samsung’s One UI 2.5.
The thing is:
Its chipset isn’t very powerful. The Snapdragon 670 is housed. It gets annihilated by the Exynos 9611 in the more affordable Tab A7. You’ll be able to snag it with either 4 or 6 GB of RAM. The 6 GB option would make it work fast.
The unit we’re looking at is 4 GB.
ROM wise, the 6 GB variant would come with 128 GB of space. The 4 GB one has 64 gigs. On both of them, you’re getting a MicroSD slot.
Its battery is 7040 mAh. You can expect the handset to last around 15 hours. Playing with its power-saving modes would prolong it of course. To charge it, a USB C port would have to be used. You’ll be attaching an 18W fast charger to it. It takes around 3 hours to fully charge.
As there’s a USB port, peripherals can be attached. It would make an amazing laptop.
If we didn’t mention it earlier, there’s a fingerprint sensor. It’s quite fast – you can find it on its rear.
In terms of its cameras, a single shooter is on its front and back. The one on its rear is 13 MP. Meanwhile, an 8 MP sensor is a part of its selfie camera.
- Sharp screen
- Very vibrant display
- Peripherals can be attached
- Not the most powerful processor
- Not very ergonomic
It has a 10.1-inch (256.4 mm) display. Like the majority of entries so far, it has an IPS LCD screen. Its front is pretty sharp, rocking a 1920 x 1200-pixel resolution. We’re told of its max nits, it’s 400. This means it’s bright enough to handle glare.
What’s great about it is that it’s a 2-in-1 tab – it’s a rival to the Surface in our number 3 spot. It’d make a superb computer due to its processor. The Intel Atom™ x5-Z8550 is present.
If you use it as a computer, you might find its halo keyboard hard to use. Its buttons are digital.
In terms of its OS, it doesn’t have Windows 10. You’re getting Android 6.0.1. No, you won’t be able to upgrade it to Android 10.
We’re fans of its RAM. There’s 4 GB of memory. Along with it, you’re getting 64 GB of space. Expanding its storage is possible.
Its battery is huge. How do you feel about an 8500 mAh unit? It doesn’t last very long, though. It’ll fully drain in around 12 hours.
To charge it, you’ll be making use of a USB-C port. A regular charger would have to be placed. It will go from 0-100% in well over 3 hours.
What is its cameras like? Well, they are not good. This is a trend we’ve seen throughout our list, and it’ll be present in the remaining few too. There’s an 8 MP sensor on its back. On its front, a 2 MP one was placed.
It’s stylus supported. Out of the box, you’re also getting a book pad – isn’t Lenovo considerate?
- Large battery
- Bright screen
- Dated Android version
- Not the best camera
The S6 Lite has a 10.4-inch (264.16 mm) display. It’s made from aluminum – it looks and feels like a million bucks. We’re fans of its Angora blue variant; you don’t see tabs that colour.
The panel on its front is lackluster. It’s TFT, so don’t expect anything vibrant. The bezel action going on is superb, though, you’re getting an 81.6% screen-to-body ratio.
The handset is adequately sharp. Its resolution is 1200 x 2000 pixels.
You’ll thank Samsung for its speakers, they placed Dolby Atmos 3D sound ones.
There’s a familiar processor inside it. It is the Exynos 9611. We met in the A7. As you’re aware, it’s beastly. Its systems are a breeze to use thanks to the memory available, there’re 4 gigs of RAM. Applications won’t ever force-close.
You can pick it up with 64 or 128 GB of storage. Whichever option you choose, you’ll be able to expand them.
Not only is its processor familiar, but so is its battery. There’s a 7040 mAh unit inside – the A7 had one the same size. No, you won’t be able to remove it. To charge the unit, you’ll be making use of a USB-C port. A 15 W fast charger would have to be placed. It takes the S6 Lite around 3 hours to fully charge.
If you’re wondering, yes, you can attach a USB keyboard to it. It comes with stylus support as well.
What about its cameras? Single shooters are on its front and back. The sensor on its back is an 8 MP wide lens, while its front one is 5 MP.
- Fabulous speakers
- Powerful processor
- Can attach peripherals
- Stylus supported
- Weak screen
From all the options on our list, the Fire HD 10 is the most affordable. It’s still a superb handset, though. How else would it have snagged a spot on our list? If you’ve seen our best tablet under 100 review, we featured it there.
Considering its price, it shouldn’t surprise you that it’s not made from aluminum. The material on its back is plastic. It comes in a bright red that’ll catch eyes from across the room.
It’s not very big. Its screen stretches 10.1 inches (256.4 mm) across. Although it’s more affordable than the S6 Lite, you’re getting a better panel than it – an IPS LCD one is present.
Its resolution is pretty decent, you won’t notice any pixelation unless you look closely. It’s 1920 x 2100 pixels.
That being said, we’re not fans of its screen-to-body ratio. It’s the least impressive, being 69.6%.
The OS it runs is not very new. You’re getting Android 5.1 out of the box. Sadly, you won’t be able to upgrade it to Android 10.
The chipset powering Android 5.1 is the Mediatek MT8183. It is far from beastly. But it lets you watch movies and run everyday tasks with ease. It doesn’t come with as decent of RAM as its alternatives. However, it’s enough to not let apps force-close – there’s 2 GB of memory.
What about ROM? The Fire HD 10 comes with either 32 GB or 64 GB of space. Yes, there is a MicroSD slot.
The battery available is 6300 mAh. It’ll fully drain in around 12 hours. The Tab S6 Lite, which is more expensive, lasts around the same time. This is because the Fire’s screen isn’t the most taxing, nor is its processor.
No, you can’t remove its battery. You’ll charge it with a USB port. It would take around 4 hours to go from 0-100%.
On its rear and front, a 2 MP shooter is present. The shots they take aren’t the most colour accurate or vibrant. They’re especially not good in low-light. But is this a problem? Cameras aren’t the most important thing when it comes to tablets.
- Very affordable
- The least RAM from all of our entries
- It runs a dated version of Android
Now that you know about the best tabs for your budget, let’s answer something important – what features should a good tab under $500 have?
For what you’re willing to spend, you’ll be able to grab a tab with a processor equivalent to something in the Snapdragon 700 series.
RAM is important to whatever type of tech you buy, be it a tab, phone, or computer. Memory influences how fast applications load. If there is little RAM, they’ll force-close. 3 GB is the goal for a tab under $500.
The devices are made to consume media. You won’t be able to download many movies, games, or files without adequate space.
32 GB is possible. Thankfully, the majority of handsets we talked about come with microSD slots too.
Even tablets over $500 come with screens around 10-11 inches. Just take a look at the Tab S7 – it’s well over $600 but has an 11-inch display.
Speaking of displays, consider the panel present. You’ll find Super AMOLED on current and former Samsung flagships. The Galaxy Tab S5e fits this bill.
With the addition of keyboards, tablets are turned into laptops. They would be great mini-computers if they have adequate memory and decent processors. You’ll only be able to include the keyboards if USB ports are present, though.
In terms of the other peripherals, you’ll be able to attach, hard drives would also be possible. This would be useful if you’re a student.
You want a handset that looks and feels good. Your best bet would be to snag one with an aluminum and glass build.
To make sure it’s comfortable, look at its sides. Are they curved well? You won’t be able to hold it for long otherwise.
What did you think about our review? You won’t be able to snag super powerful units for a low price. However, they would come with more than decent specs. The majority of the entries we talked about can be transformed into laptops, which is a plus.
The A7 was our top pick as it came with very good specs while being one of the most affordable options discussed. It’s probably the best, most reasonably priced tablet around.