What is the best tablet PC around for a limited budget?

With fresh technology bursting from every orifice it’s an absolute minefield for a bargain hunt. Now let’s add some common sense to that statement: with limelight settling so briefly on each bright eyed, bushy tailed newcomer, prices are soaring then dropping faster than ever. OK so the latest tablet PC just got knocked off the top spot within a couple of months – it’s not suddenly lost all the qualities that put it up there in the first place… you’re probably being offered a far more reasonable price as a consequence – all the taste with none of the calories. No complaints here! So where should you start looking for the best bargain bucket tablet PC?

It all comes down to what you want it for. The basic concept is having something bigger than a smart phone but less bulky than a laptop – a hybrid of the two. They’re usually focused on passing the time whilst you’re on the go, so great for gaming, internet browsing and e-book access – in fact, pretty much everything except telephone calls. So last century…

Realistically these aren’t cheap so consider how much you’re looking to part with and why. Currently top of their game are Apple’s latest gem, Android’s close competitor the Asus Transformer Prime and Samsung’s slick Galaxy Tab, but unless you’re a technology addict or loaded to the brim you’re probably not so keen on the £400 mark.

Your best bet is to consider 7” screens rather than the standard 10” doppelgangers which are, if anything more versatile. Screens in the middle like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 still grasp at the £300 bracket so 7” screens are a great compromise for price difference; light enough to hold while you’re reading, small enough to carry around in a handbag and easier on the eyes for games and browsing without going overboard.

Top of their game as usual, Google’s Nexus 7 has made the most recent splash, impressing reviewers at under £200 for 16GB and only £160 for 8GB – not bad! Taking into account its size it rivals the notorious iPad 3 on almost everything, built primarily for HD entertainment and running smoothly off Android Jellybean software and a quad-core processor.

Yet, there’s no arguing the growing threat from the likes of Amazon as their Kindle Fire HD is eagerly awaited for UK release on 25th October. At an enticing £159 it directly challenges the Nexus on price and takes no prisoners by flooring it with double the storage; definitely about to hit Google where it hurts. The Kindle Fire HD also throws in features such as anti-glare software for use in bright sunlight, a HD front-facing camera and dual MIMO Wi-Fi antennas over its competitor. The aptitude for books and films is naturally up to scratch although it has been noted to shamelessly push branded shopping and is significantly heavier for longer periods of time in comparison.

But let’s be honest, we could run through spec comparisons for hours. If you’re after a budget buy you’re unlikely to be bothered with overly detailed jargon anyway. Personal preference will overrule any spec-driven review and these two are neck and neck. Check out your must-have features and see which one has it and which one doesn’t. If you want a GPS go with the Nexus 7. If you want eBook quality go with the Kindle Fire. So many sparks are flying between such fierce brand rivalry both promise superior value for money. You really can’t go wrong.

Written by Charlee Owen,