1. Apple iPad 10.2in (2021) – Best overall
Though it’s comfortably more expensive than other entries in our budget chart, the 9th-gen iPad remains the best choice for those looking for a capable entry-level tablet that doesn’t cost the earth.
The iPad experience is a premium one no matter the model you opt for, with iPadOS 16 offering a suite of tablet-focused features and functionality that make it easy to use, even if you’ve never used an iPad before. It also has the widest and most high-quality selection of tablet-optimised apps of any tablet in our budget chart, with everything from Microsoft Office to pro-level drawing apps like Procreate and 4K video editing apps like iMovie.
It doesn’t boast Apple’s latest chipset, but the A13 Bionic (used in the iPhone 11) is still a capable chip that can comfortably run most apps, though you might not be able to run the absolute highest graphical settings on some games. The display is big and bright at 10.2in, and boasts Apple’s TrueTone tech that automatically adjusts colour balance based on your environment.
There’s also support for the first-gen Apple Pencil, providing a high-end stylus experience from an entry-level tablet, ideal for everything from note-taking to art.
So, yes, while the iPad is a more premium entry-level tablet than those from Amazon and Android manufacturers, it boasts the best all-around experience of them all.