Tablets have become really competitive these days, especially in the lower price range as manufacturers are racing to cram more performance in these affordable gadgets. You no longer have to spend a huge amount of money to buy a tablet that is both capable of running the latest apps, and lasting more than a year. The price range up to $200 offers a lot of bang for the buck, introducing models that can satisfy the needs of more premium users. Let's take a look at what are some of the best tablets on the market at the moment, in the $200 price range.
NVIDIA has created a tablet geared for those who want more from their device. It's a small powerhouse that delivers performance rarely seen in its price range. NVIDIA Shield sports a fast CPU and a very capable GPU that will run any Android game or application with ease. Combine that performance with a crisp full HD 7 inch display, and you get an amazing tablet. If you want to take your gaming experience to another level, you can purchase the NVIDIA Shield controller that is offered separately. If you are looking for the best performance you can get for less than $200, NVIDIA Shield is your best bet.
ASUS Zenpad S 8.0 is a device that tries to deliver a well rounded experience, and smooth performance in a very competitive price range. It sports an ergonomic design that makes it easy to use for a prolonged period of time, and the crisp Full-HD 8 inch display makes it great for watching movies or enjoying other media on the go. Battery life allows ASUS Zenpad S 8.0 to withstand 6 hours of use, which is pretty average. CPU and GPU pack a lot of potential, and are capable of running even the more demanding Android games. You can expect a smooth performance from ASUS Zenpad S 8.0, as you'd have to run several CPU intensive apps at the same time in order to experience a drop in performance.
You could say that Lenovo Tab 2 A10 is a niche tablet created with a specific purpose in mind. With its 10 inch, Full-HD display, and great set of Dolby Atmos speakers, Lenovo Tab 2 A10 is a perfect media consumption tablet which will make watching movies a truly enjoyable experience. With that said, this tablet sports a modest but very capable Mediatek 1.5GHz CPU that can run even some of the more demanding Android games currently on the market. It comes with enough RAM to support all of your needs, and storage space that is modest but sufficient.
While it was always a great device, Google Nexus 7 (2013 model) has become even more attractive ever since its price went down below $200. If you think this three years old device is heavily outdated by now, you are wrong. The performance of Google Nexus 7 isn't great compared to the much younger competition, but this tablet is still capable of handling a large majority of apps that we use today. It's a proven device that is known to deliver, and with a price it currently has, it's a great choice for anyone looking for an affordable tablet.
RCA is probably not the first company that comes to mind when you think about tablets, however they have several models out that are interesting to say the least. RCA Maven Pro is a 2-in-1 tablet that comes with a detachable keyboard. It's not the kind of device that will stun you with its features or performance. The CPU choices available are modest, and having 1GB or RAM definitely doesn't instill confidence, but Maven Pro was never meant to be the fastest kid on the block. Its true value lies in its functionality. It's a tablet that can instantly become a mobile productivity station thanks to the docking keyboard which also houses an HDMI port, and a couple of USB 2.0 ports.
Devices found in this price range are often times considered to be budget choices, although this is not entirely true. For this amount of money you can still find decent performance and great design that offer a user experience that isn't too much different from what more expensive devices deliver. Tablets we have chosen for this comparison all offer a good user experience, but are also geared towards different user needs.
Our pick for the best tablet under $200 is definitely the NVIDIA Shield K-1 as it just offers an abundance of performance and versatility. It's a gaming tablet from a reputable company that has years of experience when it comes to manufacturing and optimizing hardware for this specific purpose, so it's no surprise that it offers the best performance. Lenovo Tab 2 A10 comes in at close second place, and is an absolutely amazing media consumption device, however it falls short when it comes to pure raw performance compared to NVIDIA Shield K-1.
Third and fourth place were really close as well but ASUS Zenpad S 8.0 won due to its well balanced nature, high resolution display, and powerful CPU. Google Nexus 7 (2013 model) falls behind ASUS when it comes to performance since it's an older device, but with its new price, it offers the best value for the money.
RCA Maven Pro offers the worst performance of all of these tablets, but it compensates that fact by being a 2-in-1 device with a detachable keyboard that sports USB ports and an HDMI port. It may not be the best tablet to play games on, but we recognize its practical value that will appeal to users looking for a tablet they can use for productivity.
When it comes to CPUs, every tablet on our list except for NVIDIA Shield K-1 comes with a more or less average CPU whose clock speed ranges from 1.3GHz to 1.5GHz. NVIDIA Shield K-1 sports a more powerful 2.2GHz Tegra K1 which also features a 192-core Kepler GPU. It is by far the most powerful CPU on this list. When it comes to RAM memory, all of these tablets come with 2GBs, except for the RCA Maven Pro which only has 1GB of RAM.
Cameras you can expect in this price range are nothing impressive. The best camera combo comes with Lenovo Tab 2 A-1, which sports a 5MP front, and 8MP rear facing camera. Worst camera package can be found on Google Nexus 7, and comes in form of a 1.2MP front camera, and a decent 5MP rear camera. The rest of the tablets offer between 2MP and 5MP options.
If you want to get the most performance you possibly can for $200 or less, NVIDIA Shield K-1 is the obvious option. You can use it for just about anything, while always having a healthy reserve of CPU power. In case gaming is not your primary interest, Lenovo Tab 2 A-10 is a more neutral tablet with a larger display and suitable for watching movies and videos. But if your budget isn't close to $200, best value for the money option is definitely the Google Nexus 7 (2013 model).