In the last couple of years, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of high-quality games released for mobile platforms such as phones and tablets. Previously, you did not have many choices when it came to gaming on a mobile device since most mobile games were very simple by design, and hardware constraints would limit their gameplay mechanics/ graphical fidelity. Now, smartphones and tablets are much more powerful when compared to their ancestors from 4 or 5 years ago. You can buy tablets under 300 dollars that combine some of the best traits of a mobile device and bulkier gaming platforms, with the ability to take your game anywhere you go, but with more screen space and power than your phone.
Modern-day tablets are equipped with powerful CPUs and highly capable graphics processing units that can run AAA games, originally designed for PCs. Some of the newest sensations in the Battle Royale game genre such as PUBG and Fortnite have already made their way to mobile platforms. You can even play MOBAs on your tablet or smartphone, Vainglory and Mobile Legends being two of the most popular ones. In this article, we shall look at six of the best gaming tablets, which you can buy for under 300 dollars. When you go shopping for a tablet specifically for gaming, it should possess the following features – a powerful CPU, 2GB+ of RAM, enough memory for storing all your favorite games, and good battery life so that you never run out of juice while playing. A high-resolution display is also very important for an enjoyable gaming experience. Display size mostly depends on personal preference, but we believe anything between 8 to 10 inches is perfect for gaming.
If you have more money to spend and want both a lightweight design PLUS gaming power, you could also consider an UltraBook (see our list of the best ones here), but for the balance of portability, performance and pricing you can’t beat a gaming tablet from our list below.
Here’s our list of the top 6 affordable gaming tablets:
Sleek, stylish, and practical- the Galaxy Tab E is a 9.6″ tablet featuring the Android OS. Its resolution is a bit on the lower side when you compare this tablet to some of the other highly popular gaming tablets out there, but the Tab E makes up for that weakness with its quad-core processor and excellent battery life.
The Tab E from Samsung is 8.5mm thick and weighs 495 grams. It has a rear 5.0 MP camera and a front 2.0 MP camera. Taking pictures is easy with the one-click photo and video modes, but there is no flash on either of the cameras. At the heart of this tablet is a quad-core 1.3 GHz processor which is by no means the fastest chip you will find in a tablet, but it is extremely efficient and can handle most, if not all tasks. The Tab E is brilliant at multitasking, thanks to its enhanced multitasking system, which allows you to work on two apps at the same time. With split-screen mode, you can work on two different tasks side-by-side on the generously sized 9.6″ display.
The Tab E has a couple of flaws that you will notice if you are a hardcore tab user- firstly, it only features 1.5 GB of RAM. Secondly, the display resolution is 1200 x 800, which can work for a 4, or even 5-inch smartphone display, but not a 9.6” tablet screen. One thing that you will notice when you run the latest mobile games such as PUBG and Fortnite, is that the tablet may lag or heat up if you also have other apps running in the background. Most tablets these days have anywhere between 2 to 4 GB of RAM. We predict that future mobile games will require at least 1 to 1.5 GB of RAM to run, and you will need an extra 0.5 or 1 GB for the system software and OS, so 2GB RAM will be the minimum requirement for gaming tablets within a year or two. Fortunately, the quad-core CPU covers up for the lack of RAM to some extent, and it is efficient enough to run the tablet for approximately 12 hours with a 5000 mAh battery.
- 12-hour battery life on average
- Quad-core 1.3 GHz processor
- 0 MP CMOS rear camera with auto-focus
- 0 MP CMOS camera on the front
- 16GB of storage
- This bundle includes a 32 GB micro SD card, metal earbuds, protective sleeve, 3 stylus pens, hard EVA case, and one cleaning kit
- The 1.5 GB of RAM isn’t much if you are looking to play games and run background programs at the same time
- It has a 1200 x 800 WXGA display
2. Lenovo Tab 4
It is just 8.5mm thick and weighs 506 grams, which makes the Lenovo Tab 4 one of the slimmest and lightest 10″ tablets. However, do not mistake its slim profile as a sign of weak hardware, for the Lenovo Tab 4 comes with a powerful QUALCOMM Snapdragon quad-core processor, and features 2GB of RAM. Oh, and did we mention it comes with an IPS display?
It is one of the lightest and slimmest 10” tablets on the market, looks stylish, and does not cost a fortune. Meet the Lenovo Tab 4- powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8917 quad-core chip that can run at speeds of up to 1.4 GHz. Note the words “up to 1.4 GHz”, since this tablet barely spends any energy when it doesn’t have to. If you are just browsing the web or viewing spreadsheets, the processor will gently sip on battery power, and your Tab 4 will keep running for a whopping 20 hours until it finally has to charge up. However, do not mistake this conservative usage of battery power as a sign of weakness, as soon as you load up a game, the processor will ramp up to maximum speed in order to deliver the smoothest gaming experience possible.
The display resolution is slightly lower than we would expect at 1280 x 800, but at least this is an IPS screen unlike the Samsung Galaxy Tab E, which has a standard TFT panel. The IPS screen reproduces colors much more accurately, and viewing angles are far better when compared to the Galaxy Tab E. While the Lenovo Tab 4 does not have the split-screen multitasking of the Galaxy Tab E, it does boast some of the best built-in audio you can find on a sub 300-dollar tablet, thanks to Dolby Atmos tech and the dual front-firing speakers. This tablet is probably the closest you can get to a full gaming laptop in this under $300 price range, while still retaining all the lightweight bring-it-everywhere design of a tablet.
- IPS display provides wide viewing angles, great for sharing videos with a group of people
- Dolby Atmos audio with dual front-facing speakers
- 16GB storage, add up to 128 GB with a micro SD card
- 11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
- 20-hour battery life
- 0 MP rear autofocus camera, 2.0 MP fixed focus front camera
- While the viewing angles are great on the IPS display, it has a resolution of 1280 x 800
- There is an issue with the micro SD card slot which may sometimes result in the card not locking properly
Apple has been making some of the best tablets in the industry for quite some time now. Their iPads are renowned for durability, performance, display quality, and much more. The iOS operating system supports a huge number of games, possibly more than Android does, and most games are released on the Apple App Store before they make it to the Google Play Store (because iOS users tend to spend more money on apps compared to Android users).
It is definitely the best value for your money iPad that you can purchase right now, since it is only a single generation old and delivers amazing performance along with good battery life. The iPads have always been an industry benchmark when it comes to tablets; the trademark of the iPad is its amazing build quality and super high-resolution display. With the iPad 5th generation (2017 model), you are getting a device that is faster than the iPad Air 2, and much cheaper than the current generation iPad Pro tablet. It is slim, has a 9.7” Retina display (2048 x 1536), and features some of Apple’s trademark technologies such as Touch ID and Apple Pay.
There is 32 GB of storage built into the device, but be somewhat careful with it since the iPad 2017 does not accept micro SD memory cards. The body is extremely thin at just 7.5mm, and is made from premium quality aluminum. The whole thing weighs just 469 grams, making it the lightest tablet on this list. The display is fitted with scratch resistant glass that has an oleophobic layer on the top for resisting fingerprints and smudges. It is powered by the Apple A9 chipset (dual-core 1.84 GHz) and has a PowerVR GT7600 (6-core) graphics processing unit to take care of gaming and HD video. The 8827 mAh lithium-ion battery will power this tablet for an average duration of 10 to 12 hours, which means it should last you the whole day. The iPad 2017 has the following sensors- barometer, gyro, accelerometer, compass, and fingerprint. There is an 8.0 MP Autofocus camera on the rear, and a 1.2 MP FaceTime camera on the front.
- 32 GB of storage
- 7″ Retina Display (2048 x 1536 resolution, IPS) with oleophobic coating
- A9 3rd generation 64-bit chip
- M9 motion coprocessor
- 2 MP FaceTime HD camera on front
- 8MP iSight camera on the rear
- Touch ID
- 11 ac dual-band Wi-Fi
- iOS 10.3, upgradeable to iOS 11.3
- 2GB RAM
- No SD card slot
- Not compatible with Apple Pencil, and no anti-glare coating on display
A vibrant display, brilliant rear camera, 2GB of RAM, and 32 GB of internal storage- Samsung have really outdone themselves with this one. For the price, it is hard to find any other Android tablet that beats the Galaxy Tab A SM-T580. Sure, it does not have the best speakers and weighs slightly more than the Apple iPad 2017. However, you have to remember that the Galaxy Tab A SM-T580 is a 10.1” tablet while the iPad 2017 is a 9.7” tablet.
Powerful, elegant, and built to last- the Galaxy Tab A is a brilliant mobile device that has a whole lot of amazing features built into its 8.1mm thick body. It does not feel as stylish or lightweight as the Apple iPad 2017, but who needs a lightweight tablet when you have the power of an Exynos 8-core processor running at 1.6 GHz. That is right, the Tab A sports an Octa-core chip to give you all the multitasking and gaming performance you can possibly want from a tablet of this price. But wait, there is even more good stuff to talk about- the Tab A does not make compromises when it comes to display quality, unlike the Tab E. Unlike its little brother, the Tab A sports a 10.1″ full HD IPS WUXGA screen. It even adds an extra 0.5 GB of RAM, resulting in a total RAM of 2GB. This particular version of the Tab A has 32 GB of internal storage, and you can add an extra 256 GB with a micro SD memory card. The rear camera is one of the best we have seen on any low to midrange tablet; it is an 8.0MP autofocus system with flash and 4X zoom. The front has a 2.0 MP camera for video calls. Despite having a much more powerful processor than the Tab E, the Tab A runs longer (13-hour battery life). This is because of the larger battery- 7300 mAh compared to the 5000 mAh of the Tab E.
- Brilliant full HD (1920 x 1080) 10.1” display
- 2GB DDR3 RAM
- 32GB built-in storage
- Exynos 7870 Octa-Core processor running at 1.6 GHz
- 13-hour battery life
- 0 MP rear camera
- 0 MP front camera
- 11 ac Wi-Fi
- The tablet may be hard to grip for people with smaller hands, or those who haven’t had much experience with tablets before
- Weighs 1.2 pounds, which is a bit on the higher side as far as tablets are concerned
5. Fire HD 10
Most value for money tablet on the market today. It comes with most, if not all of the features that you will find in tablets costing twice as much, and even has an excellent Hands-Free operation mode, which allows you to use Alexa (Amazon’s voice assistant) for controlling the tablet. Dolby Audio, full HD display, 64 GB of internal storage, 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, you get all of this for under 200 dollars. The only real gripe with this tablet is that it runs Fire OS 5, which means you are limited to the Amazon app store. Fire OS supports most apps that run on Android, barring a select few.
This is the best value for money you can get on a tablet, and no- it is not some cheap Chinese knockoff, that keeps you guessing when it will all fall apart. The Fire HD 10 is designed and built by Amazon, so you know this a product made by a reputable brand. They have a lot of R&D money to spend on creating a device that is truly excellent in its own unique way. In fact, Amazon claims that the Fire HD 10 is more durable than the 10.5″ iPad Pro, based on in-house tumble tests conducted by their engineers. This is truly amazing, considering how cheap the Fire HD is when compared to an iPad Pro. But you know what else is amazing? The MediaTek Quad-core processor (two 1.8 GHz cores and two 1.4 GHz cores) and 2GB of RAM, which combine to give you an extremely smooth user experience, whether you are playing games, browsing the web, watching videos, or streaming Netflix.
The display is gorgeous; it is a 1920 x 1080 10.1” IPS screen with wide viewing angles and low glare. And in case we didn’t mention, you are getting the 64 GB model of the Fire HD 10 for under 200 dollars, it comes with all the cool features like 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, Amazon Alexa voice assistant, hands-free calling and messaging, voice control for your smart home, Dolby Atmos stereo speakers, etc. In addition, it weighs just 500 grams, which makes this tablet very easy to hold for longer periods.
- Full HD 10.1” IPS display
- MediaTek Quad-core CPU
- 2GB RAM
- 64 GB of storage
- Average battery life of 10 hours
- Dolby Atmos audio, dual stereo speakers
- Hands-free mode with the help of Amazon Alexa
- VGA front camera and 2.0 MP rear camera
- Runs Fire OS 5, so you will be limited to apps on the Amazon app store
The Iconia 10 from Acer excels in some areas, and is well… not so great in the others. However, the reason we included this 10.1” tablet on our list is that it is an amazing all-rounder despite its few flaws. For instance, the display is stunning and the speakers are the best we can find on any tablet at this price point. Multitasking feels swift and responsive, but it does lag behind other tablets when it comes to photo capture and video recording.
It looks slightly janky, and the battery life is average at best. However, that does not stop the Acer Iconia from being one of the best all-rounders in its price range. This tablet can do everything- games, movies, business presentations, home grocery lists, web browsing, music, etc. The main reason it is so good at almost everything is the massive 4GB of RAM, which allows the Iconia 10 to run several apps simultaneously without showing a single sign of lag or stuttering. A 2.1 GHz Hexa-core MediaTek MT8176 processor powers the Iconia 10 tablet. Gaming feels smooth and responsive on the full HD 10.1” IPS display, powers it and this is also the only tablet on which we suggest playing without earphones. The reason being it’s awesome built-in sound system, which is easily the best speaker setup we have seen on any tablet under 300 dollars. There is an 8MP camera on the rear, and a 2.0 MP camera on the front.
Even though the overall design makes this tablet look thicker than it actually is, we have noticed that the Iconia 10 is surprisingly comfortable to hold because of the grip-enhancing texture on its back. It is loaded with four front-firing speakers, enhanced with DTS HD Premium Sound technology. A whopping 64 GB of internal storage ensures that you never run out of space, and in case you do- there is always an option to add up to 128 GB of additional storage through the memory card slot. It also sports the latest in Wi-Fi technology- 802.11 ac, and Bluetooth 4.1 for short-range data transfers between devices.
- 1” IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200
- Quad speakers with DTS-HD Premium Sound
- 11 ac 5GHz Wi-Fi
- Six-core processor at 2.1 GHz (MediaTek MT8176)
- 4GB RAM
- 64 GB internal storage
- Thicker and heavier than the Samsung or Apple tablets
- Mediocre battery life
A few final tips to consider:
Any of the above tablets stand out as excellent choices for your gaming needs. If you are having trouble deciding on one, here are a few final points to keep in mind.
- Camera quality and audio come second in line when talking about gaming tablets, for obvious reasons. If you mainly play games such as Clash of Clans or Candy Crush, the speakers do not matter as much.
- However, you might want to share content with friends or record footage with your tablet in which case you will need a device that comes with a good camera and decent speakers.
- In addition, most tablets are available with Wi-Fi connectivity only, but you can choose to purchase one that has 3G/4G capability if you wish to stay connected while traveling. The versions that can accept SIM cards will cost you a fair amount more than the base models, and we do not recommend purchasing a 3G/4G tablet for gaming if you mostly use it at home or near public Wi-Fi hotspots.
We at GamingGizmo.com hope you found these reviews helpful. Happy gaming!