When considering affordable mobile gadgets, the best tablet under 300 dollars is almost always among the hot topics of conversation. While the cost isn’t as much a bargain as you would find under the $200 range, this price level does offer more powerful and versatile devices.
You’ll notice that as we go through the reviews that we’re able to be more picky about our choices, and only settling for those that are really fast, offer excellent graphics display and variety of screen sizes.
These are selections.
ASUS MeMO Pad
We begin our selections of the best tablet under $300 with a 2013 model from a well known tech brand. Asus is not just known for its motherboards and laptops. In recent years, it has made a name for itself in the tablet computer arena.
While it started out with more pricey, high end tablets that were convertible to mini-notebook computers, this version is a straight up Android tablet.
At 10.1 inches, you get your money’s worth. Though we have a 7 inch machine in the form of the Google Nexus that makes our list (see below), many of the choices at these prices are come with bigger screens for good reason. A big chunk of what consumers use these devices fall under watching some type of video or movie, and playing games. With a bigger display you get a better experience.
This comes with Nvidia’s Tegra 3 Quad Core processor, allowing it to be very fast and responsive. It also comes with the Android 4.1 OS which isn’t present in many of the devices.
Thanks to the Tegra chip, there is no lag time between the switching through the different apps. It also works fairly smoother than some of the previous Android systems, in that they’ve been able to get rid of some of the choppiness you sometimes experience with the older Android operating systems.
Overall this is one of the best tablets for the money. As you get dual cameras, both front and rear, a light chassis at around 1.3 pounds, GPS functionality, and screen with good viewing angles.
A minor complaint is the more practical 16 GB of storage, which isn’t much specially if you like downloading bigger files, through it does come with microSD card port so you can add as needed.
One final note, is that if you choose to get this, make sure that you utilize the SonicMaster audio technology, where it offers an interface that lets you match the sound to what your using at the moment. You can choose between different modes including movie, gaming, recording, music and others, so the system can optimize the audio that the application which results in better sound. Switch back and forth as you use different apps and you’ll notice the difference.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ Tablet
This line of products is now a staple in Amazon’s store. Not just that but all the models are among the highest selling items for the online retailer.
This particular gadget is most often compared to the Apple iPad, and more recently the Nexus 10 and even the iPad Mini. However, it really is shouldn’t.
As a tablet, yes you can compare it to them, and in that light you actually do get a more affordable option. But in terms of function and use, while it does have some intersection with the iPad, it really functions more as a way for Amazon a vehicle for its services.
All in all, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inches is ideal for someone whose main use for a mobile device is to enjoy entertainment. Be it from reading ebooks, listening to a large playlist of songs, or watching movies. It is also great for someone who likes to be able to make use of the wide array of services offered by Amazon, including Prime, the library of newspapers, magazines and kindle titles.
The reason it excels here is that it has the proper multimedia tools to get the job done. The 8.9” screen has a 1920 x 1200 resolution, which is a lot higher that the usual 1280 x 800 you’ll find in many Android counterparts. This means more pixels both horizontally and vertically across your screen, therefore, clearer, crisper images, both in graphics and movies.
For sound it comes with dual stereo speakers that offer Dolby quality with surround sound. This is one of the features that will quickly stand out.
Now this particular Kindle comes in 16 GB and 32 GB variations. It’ll be wise to choose properly beforehand because Amazon does not include expansion slots. So, you’re stuck with the storage size you choose.
The reason for this is much of the activity, at least Amazon expects, will be done via the cloud, be it for the streaming video or saving your readings. It also uses its own proprietary App Store, not to be confused with Google’s Play Store, which you can’t access from this device.
To a degree, you’ll be working within Amazon’s own world. Though their apps are plentiful and you’ll still have access to many of the popular titles.
Google Nexus 7 Tablet
The only 7” device in our list of best tablet under $300, this is a joint effort between Asus and Google. More accurately, Google commissioned Asus to build the hardware while they take care of the interface and functionality. In a sense, you get the meeting of the minds where each focuses on their expertise.
This has a lightweight, two toned design (if you look from the side) and is offered in the 16 GB and 32 GB models. And like the Kindle, because it also doesn’t have a microSD slot, you’ll want to get the larger disk space if you’re into downloading video and music.
While it also doesn’t have an HDMI output, it has included a micro USB to HDMI output which lets you link your Nexus tablet to your HDTV and enjoy your pictures, photographs and video on a bigger screen.
With regards to performance, this, like the other Android tablets in our review, makes use of an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. At the moment, this is the top dog when it comes to chips for Android devices, so you’ll want to get a product that uses one to get best value for your money.
This makes it faster than those running on Texas Instruments’ OMAP processors, including the Kindle. Also you get high quality 3D gaming even on the most demanding games thanks to Nvidia’s expertise in graphics and game execution. No stalling, skips or slowness.
Because this is from Google, it is optimized for its applications, as expected. You get access to the Play Store where you can get a ton of free apps. The one thing you’ll also notice is that YouTube is smooth which isn’t always the case in tablets.
One cool thing would be Google Voice Search, which is something like Apple’s Siri, but is used for search. It does sound more human and less robotic when compared to Siri. With this feature, you’ll be able to talk to the machine and it’ll give you the best answer it can. Make sure to speak slowly and clearly.
ASUS Transformer Pad TF300
Another Asus product, the TF300 falls under the company’s Transformer Pad line of products. It is named as such because it is designed to accommodate a docking station that provides a keyboard facility that also doubles as a battery life extender, though the keyboard docking station is sold separately.
As such it has a set of pins where the docking station connects to. The significance of this feature comes in for those who need to type fast and want to be able to use their tablet not just a browsing, multimedia and gaming gadget, but also one for productivity. As we all know, the keyboard interface doesn’t provide the most efficient means for typing.
When compared to the Memo Pad above, the main difference will be the attachable keyboard. Also, while they both have front and rear cameras, this one offers a high quality 8 MP for filming others in the back of the device. Both their front cameras are 1.2 MP in quality.
Thin but sturdy in construction, this comes with a 10.1 inch screen that offers clear viewing. It also has GPS and a fast processor that allows for quick browsing, as well as running multiple apps simultaneously.