The Top Bargain Tablets for Travelers

by Ed Forteau /
Ed Forteau's picture
Sep 29, 2011 / 0 comments

Tablets were made for travelers.  They offer some of the basic functionality of a laptop in a smaller, and more convenient package.  They can keep the kids occupied when you are on a long trip.  And, they are ideal for performing basic business functions, such as checking email, web browsing, and so much more.

The iPad 2 is by far the King of the Tablets with over 60% of all tablets sold. But there are a few limitations with the iPad 2 that some customers don't like, and the iPad 2 starts at $500.  Here is a list of budget tablets that customers love - lower priced Android alternatives to the iPad 2 that you should consider. 


Acer Icona Tab A100

If you are looking for performance and portability, the Acer Iconia Tab A100 may be a perfect fit. For those that want something bigger than a smart phone, but smaller than a 10 inch tablet, you'll find the 7 inch size of the Acer Iconia Tab A100 is just right to fit into a pocket or purse.  The biggest complaint about this tablet is the battery life of around five hours.  Priced at $329.  This tablet has great customer reviews (4.5 out of 5 stars).

  • 7 inch HD Multi-Touch Display - 1024 X 600 resolution
  • Android Honeycomb OS
  • Fit it in a jacket pocket or purse
  • Flash support - allows you to download and watch movies
  • Poor battery life - last around 5 hours
  • Viewing angles are very limited
  • Limited app selections for tablets
  • 5 MP Rear Facing and 2 MP Front Facing Cameras
  • Processor: 1ghz Dual Core Processor
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Very fast and responsive
  • Super powerful WiFi
  • 8 GB or 16 GB Internal Storage
  • Weight: 1.8 Pounds (14.7 ounces)
  • 4.6 x 7.7 x 0.5 inches

Asus Eee Pad Transformer

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer is a very popular, and versatile, tablet.  Fast, responsive, and comes with a 10.1 inch screen.  If features a docking station, with a keyboard, which turns it into a netbook.  Customers love this tablet.  The main complaint is it has a 3 foot power cord (most users would like something a little longer).  Priced at $400 for the 16 GB model, it is a bargain among full-size tablets (4.5 out of 5 stars).

  • 10.1 inch WSVGA LED Touchscreen - 1280 X 800 resolution
  • Android Honeycomb 3.2 OS
  • Flash Support
  • Quick battery charging (about 2 hours)
  • 5.0 MP Rear Facing and 1.3 MP Back Facing Camera
  • Long battery life (6-9 hours)
  • 16 GB or 32 GB Internal Storage
  • RAM: 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM
  • Processor: 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2
  • 40-Pin Docking Port for Optional Keyboard (not included)
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Size: 10.7 x 7 x 0.5 inches

HP TouchPad

Here today, gone tomorrow.  The HP TouchPad is no longer being made by HP, but there are still many retailers that have it in stock.  It has features not available in other tablets.  Many owners believe it has the best operating system, because it seamlessly integrates with so many applications.  It works with Microsoft Office files, and prints wirelessly to compatible networked HP printers.  It is very popular with customers with the main complaint being the glossy black plastic back shows fingerprints.  It was sold for $99 for a few hours when HP was liquidating them, but you can still pick it up at a bargain price below $300 at select retailers (while they last).  If you don't mind buying a discontinued tablet, the HP TouchPad has a lot to offer (3.5 out of 5 stars).

  • 9.7 in IPS TFT active matrix - LED backlight screen - 1024 x 768 resolution
  • HP webOS 3.0 OS
  • Processor: 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core APQ8060 processor
  • Memory: 16 GB & 32 GB
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Good battery life of over 6 hours
  • 1.3 MP Front Facing Camera
  • Size: 9.4 X 7.5 X 0.6 inches
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds

Acer Iconia Tab A500

The Acer Iconia Tab A500 is a 10.1 inch tablet running on the Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system.  It is bulkier than other 10-inch tablets, but has very solid build quality.  It is a reliable tablet, with the major attraction being its low price.  The biggest customer complaint is its size and weight (the heaviest of the bargain tablets on this list).  Priced between $360 and $400.  Very solid tablet (3.5 out of 5 stars).

  • 10.1 HD Multi-Touch Display - 1280 x 800 resolution
  • Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS
  • NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • Memory: 16 GB & 32 GB
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • Very good battery life of up to 8 hours
  • Solid feel
  • 5 MP Rear Facing Camera with Auto Focus & 2 MP Front Facing Camera
  • Size: 7 x 10.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Weight: 1.7 pounds

Toshiba Thrive

A well thought out tablet, with one of its most useful and unique features being a file manager which makes finding and accessing files easy.  This tablet is very popular with users (many calling it the best on the market) with the only real complaint being size (which is the case with most of the Android tablets).  Prices starting at $360 for the 8 GB model.  You won't find a better tablet for the money (4 out of 5 stars). 

  • Android 3.1 Honeycomb
  • 10.1 in TFT active matrix - LED backlight at 1280 x 800 resolution
  • Memory: 8 GB, 16 GB, & 32 GB
  • RAM: 1 GB - DDR2 SDRAM
  • Processor: Dual-Core NVIDIA Tegra 2 1 GHz
  • 5.0 MP Rear Facing and 2 MP Back Facing Camera
  • Very impressive battery life of up to 11 hours
  • Fast charging: can charge in an hour
  • Textured back
  • Multiple ports
  • Size: 10.7 X 7.0 X 0.6 inches
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds

Amazon Kindle Fire

Touted as the iPod killer, Amazon's Kindle Fire is a 7-inch tablet that takes full advantage of what Amazon has to offer.  This tablet is more for entertainment than business use.  You have fast browsing and email functions, but the strength of the Kindle Fire is in how it integrates with Amazon's network.  It uses Amazon's Whispersync technology to automatically sync your library, last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across your devices.  The Kindle Fire extends this technology to downloaded movies.  It is aggressively priced at just $199, and is scheduled to ship in mid-November from Amazon.  Amazon is currently accepting pre-orders.

  • 7 inch multi-touch display and anti-reflective treatment at 1024 x 600 resolution
  • Processor: Dual-Core
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
  • Good battery life of up to 8 hours
  • Charges in approximately 4 hours
  • Ultra-fast web browsing - Amazon Silk
  • Amazon's Whispersync technology
  • Free month of Amazon Prime
  • Supports Adobe Flash
  • 7.5 x 4.7 x 0.45 inches
  • Weight: 14.6 ounces






This is the current list of the best budget tablets on the market.  The Amazon Kindle Fire may not be the iPod killer, but it will change the game for the Android Tablets, and force them to rethink their pricing structure.  Look for the prices on tablets to come down by the holidays.