Whether you're a budget-conscious explorer or a power user seeking top-of-the-line features, we've got you covered. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Tablets bridge the gap between bulky laptops and pocket-sized phones, offering the best of both worlds.

Check emails, browse the web, or explore new destinations with ease. And for the gamers out there, many tablets double as portable powerhouses for your favorite titles. These versatile devices offer entertainment, navigation, and productivity tools, all in a compact and portable package. So, which one should you opt for? 

If price is your biggest deciding factor, we've done the research for you! We've compiled a list of the best budget tablets for travel, catering to a variety of needs and price requirements. Whether you're a budget-conscious explorer or a power user seeking top-of-the-line features without burning a hole in your pocket, we've got you covered. So, choose from options like Apple, Lenovo or a simple Windows tablet that will still fulfill your basic needs.

To help us curate this list, we spoke with Nick Holland, a Dubai-based software engineer and tech expert. All the options on this list are priced below Dh1,300.

With a Prime subscription, your tablet will be delivered to you the very next day, so don't forget to sign up.

1. Best Overall: Apple iPad (10th Generation)


  • High quality cameras
  • Fast performance
  • USB-C port
  • Apple Pencil compatibility
  • Sharp display
  • Possesses Wi-Fi 6


  • No Touch ID button
  • Limited storage options
  • No Face ID

With a slimmed-down design that turns heads and a processor that means business, the 10th generation iPad is ready to take on anything. It's the perfect travel companion for browsing, streaming, or even some light gaming, explains Holland. In terms of appearance, the iPad boasts a near edge-to-edge display, making it feel more premium and contemporary. The screen measures 10.9 inches across the diagonal and packs 2,360 by 1,640 pixels, for a density of 264ppi. You get an LED-backlit panel at 500 nits (maximum) brightness with a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, sRGB color, and True Tone white balance correction. It packs a punch in terms of performance, as the A14 Bionic chip functions smoothly, whether you're editing photos, conquering spreadsheets, or gaming. Overall, you'll be satisfied with the functioning, as it is also up to the task when it comes to basic productivity via Google Docs, Outlook email, Slack, and other work apps. Yet, one of its downsides is that it has limited storage (64GB), which can fill up fast, especially with games and movies. Upgrading storage adds to the cost. The battery life isn't particularly spectacular, but it isn't bad either: It will last you ten hours. For those who are wondering about photography, you can set aside your doubts, the iPad is a winner. The rear-mounted camera moves from an 8MP shooter at f/2.4 on the 2021 iPad to 12MP at f/1.8 on the 10th-gen model. This leads to sharper images. In conclusion, the Apple iPad is a solid travel tablet with a modern design, a powerful chip, and a gorgeous display. It does everything a tablet should do and does it well. However, if you're on a tight budget or crave the latest tech, it might be worth exploring other options before booking your flight.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent installments and pay Dhs109.29 for 12 months with select banks.

2. Best for Entertainment: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite


  • Pocket-sized portability
  • Good battery life
  • Expandable storage


  • Sluggish performance

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite is a compact and affordable Android tablet, tempting budget-minded UAE travellers. But can it handle the bumps and demands of your adventures, or will it leave you wanting more? Let's see. For starters, its size is its biggest advantage. It easily slips into your daypack, making it a breeze to carry around airports, bustling cities, or relaxing on the beach. Next, with the 8.7-inch display on the Galaxy Tab A7 Lite, combined with dual-speaker Dolby Atmos sound, you're in for an immersive experience, right out of the box. The price tag won't burn a hole in your pocket, allowing you to stay connected and entertained without breaking the bank – a major perk for budget-conscious travellers. It's a bonus for Android users, as you can access familiar apps, download travel essentials, and stay organised with the Android interface you know and love. The A7 Lite allows you to add extra storage with a microSD card. This is crucial for storing travel photos, downloaded movies, or offline maps without running out of space. Don't worry about the battery either, it is equipped with a 5,100mAh battery and 15W fast charging, so day or night, the long-lasting battery will keep up with you and your activities. And with a quick charge, you'll get back to it right away. However, you might have to contend with lower resolution and a rather slow performance, according to reviews. Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite is a lightweight and portable option for budget travellers who prioritise basic tasks, entertainment, and staying connected on the go. However, the limited performance and lower resolution display are factors to consider.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh29, accidental damage protection for Dh48 and two year warranty for Dh61.

3. Best Budget: Lenovo Tab P11


  • Good speakers
  • Affordable
  • Good battery life
  • Child account management
  • Lightweight and portable


  • Slow processing; multitasking causes lag

Planning a trip and need a tablet that won't weigh down your backpack (or your wallet)? Look no further than the Lenovo Tab P11 Plus. And the best part? It won't leave you with a big credit card bill. For starters, the Tab P11 Plus boasts a gorgeous 11.5-inch 2K display, perfect for catching up on movies or shows while you are biding your time on a flight. With decent audio performance and a surprisingly bright screen, the Tab P11 is great for watching hours of YouTube or Netflix content. The keyboard and stylus transforms the Tab P11 into a decent note-taking device, too. Moreover, unlike some bulky tablets, the device is light and easy to carry, making it the perfect companion for exploring new destinations. It's got the Snapdragon 662 CPU, along with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. While that makes for a fresh start, you might want to slide in a microSD card to load up on more movies. The Tab P11 Plus packs surprisingly rich Dolby Atmos speakers, so even if you're holding the tablet with both hands, the audio isn't muffled in any way. The rear camera on the Tab P11 is a 13MP one and takes good photos in well-lit areas. However, the colours might lack personality. The front-facing 8MP camera works well for video calls, but again is quite sluggish, with only 30fps recording capabilities, according to reviews. However, the real problem kicks in if you attempt to play games on this tablet or run more than six applications in the background. According to reviews, the interface becomes slow, launching apps takes a few more seconds, and even waking the tablet from sleep mode takes an extra two or three seconds. Nevertheless, all said and done, the Lenovo Tab P11 Plus is a good choice for budget-minded travellers who prioritise entertainment and portability. The large display, long battery life, and expandable storage make it a great companion for long journeys and relaxing beach days. It's also a competent tablet for work, so you can switch to writing emails, too. Don't go for it, if you want to game, though, says Holland. It struggles with multiple apps in the background.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent installments and pay Dhs121.88 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh86 and two year damage protection for Dh182.

4. Best Storage:  ALLDOCUBE iPlay 40 Pro


  • Powerful processor
  • Large battery
  • Dual speakers
  • Expandable storage


  • Not for gamers

The ALLDOCUBE iPlay 40 is a budget tablet that boasts a powerful processor and expandable storage, making it an attractive option for travellers on a budget in the UAE. Let's get into the details. As the reviews say, the iPlay 40 packs a punch with a Unisoc Tiger T618 processor, offering surprisingly good performance for the price range. It allows you to handle everyday tasks like browsing, social media, and even some light gaming without issues. You don't need to worry much about storage too, as the device allows you to add extra storage with a microSD card, so you won't run out of space. You've also got dual speakers, which offer a more immersive audio experience, compared to tablets with a single speaker, making it more enjoyable for watching movies or listening to music while travelling. However, while it has all the benefits, it isn't for devoted gamers, as it can handle only light gaming, due to its processor.

Bonus: Buy with 0 per cent installments and pay Dh85.50 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh86, accidental damage protection for Dh143 and two year warranty for Dh182. 

5. Best for Basics: Samsung Galaxy Tab A8

If you want to plan your next adventure with a tablet by your side that won't break the bank, here's the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8. This budget-friendly option promises basic functionality and entertainment on the go. The LCD panel renders everything on screen quite crisply, with vibrant colours and pleasant details. It also has features like split-screen functionality, that make it a helpful productive tool. The budget octa-core processor, with just 3GB to 4GB of RAM (depending on the storage option you choose) manages multi-tasking efficiently, with both split-screen and pop-out modes for certain apps, so you can have multiple screens up at once. The built-in speakers are great for a quick listen, but if you want to crank up the volume or keep things private, the headphone jack and Bluetooth let you connect your own headphones for movie marathons. However, remember, you get what you pay for, and the tablet is impacted by its hardware and limited battery capacity. The processor isn't the most powerful. So, don't always expect smooth sailing performance, especially with demanding tasks, like video editing or heavy gaming. Some reviewers have even complained that there are infrequent crashes. That said, it handles all light tasks really well, and looks good while doing so. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is a good option for budget-minded travellers who prioritise basic functionality over top-of-the-line features. It's great for browsing, reading, watching downloaded movies, and staying connected. However, if you're a power user or need a more immersive entertainment experience, you might want to consider a higher-end tablet.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent installments and pay Dhs52.25 for 12 months with select banks.

6. Best Value for Entertainment: Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet (9th Generation)


  • Budget-friendly
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Vibrant display
  • Alexa Echo-show mode


  • Limited app selection

The Amazon Fire HD 10 (9th Gen) can be a good travel tablet option, especially for budget-conscious travellers who prioritise entertainment. The selling price is its most attractive aspect, a perfect choice for those who are on a tight budget. The Fire HD 10 boasts a spacious 10.1-inch display, with sharp 1920 by 1200 resolution. While the viewing angles aren't ideal for sharing the screen, movies and TV shows look crisp. Even at smaller font sizes, text in Kindle books remains clear and easy to read. The Fire HD 10 has an eight-core CPU. Both the 32GB and 64GB models come with the same 3GB of RAM, which is just enough to enable light multitasking without causing much trouble. The processor is more than capable of handling streaming services, Zoom video conferencing, Kindle applications, and browsing the internet, explains Holland. The battery will last you through an entire plane journey of 10 hours, even if you stream HD video over Wi-Fi, say some reviews. The camera quality isn't stellar, so you might want to keep that in mind. Another problem that appears to be a common complaint, is that Fire tablets are heavily integrated with Amazon services, like Prime Video and Music. If you don't subscribe to these services, you might not get the full value from the tablet. Overall, the Fire HD 10 (9th Gen) is a decent travel tablet for those who prioritise entertainment and are comfortable within the Amazon ecosystem. It's a good choice for watching downloaded movies or TV shows you've purchased through Prime Video, reading ebooks, and browsing the web. However, the limited app selection and lack of access to the Google Play Store might be a dealbreaker for some travelers.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent installments and pay Dhs48.33 for 12 months with select banks.

7. Best for Work: Microsoft Surface Go 2

  • Sleek design and portability
  • Sturdy build
  • Detachable keyboard
  • Decent battery life


  • Small storage capacity

The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a sleek and portable tablet, with a 10.5-inch display, that tempts budget-minded travellers. The best advantage? Its size and weight. It easily slips into your backpack or carry-on, making it a breeze to carry around airports and on long journeys. Don't worry about whether its fragile: Despite its thin profile, the Surface Go 2 feels well-built, giving you peace of mind while navigating bustling cities or relaxing on sandy beaches. The Surface Go 2 runs Windows 11, offering access to familiar productivity tools like Microsoft Office and a wide range of travel apps available in the Microsoft Store. Download maps, translation tools, or even manage your itinerary right on your device. The battery life is decent, so you can enjoy browsing, reading, or watching downloaded movies on long flights or train rides without constantly searching for a power outlet. The built-in kickstand allows you to prop up the tablet for hands-free entertainment on aeroplanes or while relaxing in your hotel room.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent installments and pay Dhs108.25 for 12 months with select banks.

What to keep in mind when purchasing tablets

There are a couple of things to consider, before you purchase a tablet.

For starters, check the size and weight, suggests Holland. "In some cases, you might be holding the tablet for a long time, so you don't want something that's too bulky. The lighter, the better. Check out the durability factor too, so it can survive a drop," he says.

Next, connectivity. "There are two types of connectivity found in tablets: Wi-Fi and cellular," he says. Wi-Fi is usually the default option, and you can use it to access the Internet in any place with wireless internet access. So, you need to see what kind of Wi-Fi the tablet supports," he says. Any tablet should support 802.11n. The best option is one that supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands. On the other hand, cellular is tricky. You will need to consider carriers, coverage, contract rates, and whether it is compatible with cellular networks.

You may also need to study battery life information. "There are two ways to measure battery life. In the first, you do consistent web browsing, while the other is based on watching videos. However, video streaming draws more energy. If you are a gamer or you multitask, you need to know that the battery life is shorter than what's advertised. A normal running time is eight to ten hours of web browsing or video playback, maximum," says Holland.

Also, ask yourself, why do you need the tablet? Is it for entertainment, work or reading e-books? "Prioritise a good display, battery life, and storage space accordingly. Consider a powerful processor, a comfortable keyboard and expandable storage," our expert advises.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.