Not quite smartphone, not quite laptop – yes, it’s the humble tablet. Globally popularised by the iPad in 2010, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a household without one or two knocking about. But tablets can be expensive, even though their capabilities rarely match those of a fully-fledged Mac or PC.
Some are cheaper though, and tablets are an ideal media consumption device, especially on-the-go.
The good news is there are often cheap tablet deals about and retailers can give big discounts to big brands; from Apple to Google, Acer to Huawei. If it runs iPad OS or Android (as most do), you've got thousands of awesome apps at your disposal too.
It's important to make sure the tablet you're buying isn't a dud, so while you're safe with just about any recent iPad, not all Android tablets are created equal. Check out our rankings of the best tablets and best cheap tablets for inspiration and some detailed buying advice, so that you know what to look for.
Best tablet deals right now
1. Apple iPad Air (2020, 64GB)
From: Laptops Direct
Now: £539.97 (£39 off)
2. Apple iPad Air (2020, 64GB, cellular)
Now: £575.73 (£133.27 off)
This isn't the cheapest the Air has ever been – Amazon offered a £230-off deal for Prime Day, earlier this year – but this is still a very solid discount on the latest iPad Air model, with cellular connectivity.
Note that this price applies to the silver model only; the other four colour finishes are considerably more expensive.
3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (128GB, cellular)
Now: £579.99 (£139.01 off)
This 4G LTE 11in Tab S7 is an absolute powerhouse, despite being on the lower rung of Samsung's 2020 Tab S ladder. Best of all, it's available with a sizeable £139 discount. There's also £191 off the Tab S7+ 5G right now.
4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (64GB)
Now: £290 (£59 off)
The capable Galaxy Tab S6 Lite boasts a 10.4in display, AKG-tuned audio, S Pen support and right now, you can nab the WiFi-only model with almost £60 off on Amazon.
5. Apple iPad 10.2in (2020, 128GB) - Refurbished
From: Argos on eBay
Now: £379.99 (£49 off)
The 2020 10.2in iPad gets a notable performance upgrade over its predecessor and retains Apple Pencil support too. Now that the 9th gen iPad has released, this refurbished WiFi-capable model benefits from a nice discount on Argos on eBay.
6. Apple 12.9in iPad Pro (2020, 1TB)
Now: £1,239.93 (£229.07 off)
Get almost £230 off the top 1TB storage version of the iPad Pro 12.9in from 2020. This isn't a Prime-only deal, so all Amazon customers can buy it, we just don't know how long it'll be available at this price.
7. Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite (32GB)
Now: £127.95 (£21.05 off)
Samsung's compact and affordable Tab A7 Lite hasn't been out on the market all that long but it's already seeing discounts from retailers, including Amazon. An 8.7in display and a sizeable 5100mAh battery make this a great portable media machine.
8. Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 (2020, 32GB)
Now: £179.99 (£39.01 off)
Samsung's smart 10.4in 2020 slate – the Tab A7 – features a super sturdy but lightweight 7mm thick metal body, quad Dolby Atmos-certified speakers and over £35 off in this latest Amazon deal.
9. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 (256GB, cellular)
Now: £683 (£76 off)
Shave over £75 off the 4G LTE version of Samsung's best and brightest tablet of 2019 – the Galaxy Tab S6 – thanks to this Amazon offer.
10. Apple iPad Pro 11in (2020, 1TB)
Now: £953.99 (£315.01 off)
Apple has discontinued the 2020 iPad Pro (there's a new 2021 model to think about) but the tablet is still available from other retailers if you can manage without the M1 chip. This saving from Amazon is its biggest yet, with over £315 off this 1TB storage model.
11. Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e (64GB)
Now: £319 (£121 off)
Samsung's well-rounded Galaxy Tab S5e enjoys a price reduction of over £120 on Amazon, right now.
What tablet deals are available?
You occasionally see the odd bit of money off an iPad, so look at retailers like Currys and Argos for those, as Apple itself doesn’t often discount its iPads. There are always iPads on its Refurbished Store all year round though. Official resellers, like KRCS can sometimes offer more competitive prices too.
Android tablets are far more likely to be sold at more competitive prices, given their generally lower RRPs in the first place - though even high-ticket Samsung tablets can also get a good price cut – so keep your eyes peeled to this page.
There are, of course, 2-in-1 tablets that run on more robust hardware and software, such as Microsoft's Surface line, which runs Windows. Though slightly pricey, we have an entire article dedicated to Microsoft Surface deals, which goes through the newest models, accessories, usual prices, and, of course, where to find the best deals – including how to spot deals on refurbished devices and find student discounts.
Amazon's Fire tablets all have low prices to begin with and are criminally low when they go on sale, which is surprisingly frequently. They tend to drop from 'affordable' to 'essential', with offers across the range.
If you find that you’re missing out on Amazon’s Lightning deals, which run for just a few hours and offer limited stock, we'd recommend signing up for Amazon's 30-day free trial of Prime, which will get you access to deals 30 minutes before everyone else. Plus, you'll get free next-day delivery with the Prime trial, as well as access to Prime Instant Video and more.
Sign up for Prime now to take advantage.
See our guide on the best Amazon tablet, which includes comparisons, reviews and buying advice. Tech Advisor also has a range of articles on tablets, tablet cases, and related gadgets and accessories which should also help you decide.
Tablet deals for students
Another great resource to help you snag deals is Tech Advisor's Student Beans page. The Tech and Mobile section can help you save up to 25% on big brands such as Apple (10% off for students), Asus, HP, Lenovo, Logitech and many more. See all tech student deals here.
Here are a few of the best places to check for tablet bargains:
When is Black Friday 2021? Should you wait for a better deal?
Black Friday arrives on Friday 26 November this year, followed by Cyber Monday on 29 November, which leads to the question: should you wait until then for a better deal?
Yes, and no. If you urgently need a new phone or tablet and you see a stellar discount today, it's easy: pick it up. If you have the luxury of waiting until November, however, it may pay off to wait.
There's no need to hold off until 26 November itself, of course. In the past, the biggest and best Black Friday deals were typically reserved for the big day, but now Black Friday deals appear throughout November and sometimes, as early as October.
If you see dramatic Black Friday discounts before 26 November, just go for it! Some retailers that hold pre-Black Fridays sales also promise that prices won't go any lower on Black Friday itself and offer to refund customers back the difference if it does. We already have a dedicated article answering all your burning Black Friday-related questions, should you want to know more.