iPad (9th generation) tech specs: Display: 10.2-inch Retina display | Processor: A13 Bionic | Storage: 64GB or 256GB | Biometrics: Touch ID | Colors: Silver, space gray | Cameras: 8MP rear, 1080p video, 12MP FaceTime camera with Center Stage | Weight: 1.07 pounds | Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29 inches | Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning port | Battery life: 10 hours
Apple's tried-and-true tablet, the base model iPad, is arguably the best cheap tablet. Full stop.
Not only does the standard $329 price tag cover the same features you'd expect from Apple's other tablets, like iPadOS updates for years and access to the App Store -- you also don't have to pay a premium as you do for the more expensive Pro and Air models.
Review: Apple iPad (2021) review: If it's not broke, don't fix it
The 9th-generation iPad was announced in the fall of 2021, and it includes an A13 Bionic processor plus more storage options. While the 10th-generation iPad was announced in 2022, ZDNET editor June Wan said the 2021 version is still a good buy -- plus it's $120 cheaper.
"Even if you're shopping for personal use, if your intended uses are mainly video streaming, note-taking, and playing tablet games, then the ninth-generation iPad should suffice," Wan said.
The base model offers 64GB, or you can opt for 256GB of storage if you need the space. The entry-level iPad can be paired with Apple's Smart Keyboard and an Apple Pencil, converting it from a tablet to a 2-in-1 laptop.