Latest cheap android tablets?

Looking for some cheap Android tablets that would be good for wall mounting a dashboard in the $40-$80 range. I know there are a few threads on this but I haven’t found any recent ones and wondering if there are any new updates.

Not sure if a FireTablet is the best way to go or an all Android tablet that would be more flexible?

I’ve found the lock screen for the Fires to be a little problematic for me.

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Walmart almost always has at least one model for sale for around $40:

They’ll also have no contract phones for around $25 if you can use the smaller screen.

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You can very easily make a Fire Tablet into a more conventional Android tablet with the Play Store et al.

Simply installing the Play Store will allow you to install more and current version of apps.

Instructions can be found here:

Installing a custom ROM and removing FireOS is a little trickier. Instructions can be found here:

If you’ve never flashed a custom ROM on an Android phone before it can seem very scary and daunting at first. But al in all it’s not a very difficult project if you just follow the steps. In fact, I haven’t had an Android to flash in years and I have a Fire on the way so I can tell you how it goes. By the end you’ll have a decent “stock” Android tablet at a good price.


Yep. I’m envisioning a future with no mechanical switches, where phone-sized tablets handle small rooms and larger tablets handle larger rooms. If it were local instead of cloud-based, that could easily be reality right now.

I have to amend my post. I jumped the gun recommending these methods. Apparently they do not work on the new version of the Fires.

You can still get the Google Play store following these instructions:

But at this time there doesn’t seem to be a way that I’ve found to install a custom ROM.

Everyone has their own views and use cases but I’ve thought long and hard on that. If it was only me it’d be fine, but with wife, children, grandparents, friends, visitors, workers, ect it is really helpful to have physical switches. A “data center” tablet may be nice, but I couldn’t envision not having a switch present. If for some reason your SmartThings crapped the bed, at least the physical switch would still work.

I’m under the school that HA enhances the physical and should be (almost) invisible, not necessarily replaces.


I hear ya. It would be like, perhaps, cutting a ‘real’ phone out of your life in favor of cellphone-only? :wink:

Seriously, the point is well made. You do still need switches. So I’m envisioning inexpensive flat touch switches, accompanied by the phone/tablet. Perhaps even with the phone or tablet mounted magnetically over the touch switches. In the event your smart system does crap out, you take off the tablet and operate the switches manually on/off. But 99% of the time, your ST or Hue or other is operating correctly… and all that time, the tablet is not only switching the lights on/off and dimming/coloring them - but also providing all the other services (camera, alerts, video calling, control center, etc) these things can provide.

I like that arrangement because my wife still turns paddle switches off, then complains to me when Alexa does not work on that circuit anymore lol. Ahhhh, first-world problems :slight_smile:

When it comes to purchasing items, it will always be best to buy flagship products, but not in the same year it has been released; older flagship products would be the best buy for me.

Why, you say?

Aside from the top quality features that you can have with a particular brand’s older flagship product, it can still match products which are in the low to mid tier in the present year; prices of these older flagships are relatively lower as well.

Products that has been released earlier will have their glitches and other problems unraveled and will already likely solved by the time the latest product of a particular brand has been released.

Sorry if I was not able to recommend you a specific product, but I hope my insights can help in giving you a better option.

The “challenge” I see with using any Android or iOS device that is “mounted” anywhere is what are you planning to do in 3 years when they either fail or cannot no longer be upgraded to a relevant OS that is required to run the apps?

I had friends who went down this path with their A/V systems in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s. Bought a couple of iPADs along with fancy in-wall mounts that controlled large portions of their houses. It was pretty darn impressive. Now 4+ years later, they have this old iPAD mounted in the wall that is useless because the required iOS version to run the automation apps isn’t supported on the hardware. They can’t just buy a new iPAD since the mounting plate/dock doesn’t work for it.

Just my fears.

Also very curious on the plans for mounting and charging the devices? I do have an older phone that lays around my living room and kitchen for guests to be able to control lights and the Sonos, but it ends up dead all the time since nobody else but me makes the effort to go plug it back in every couple of days.

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My mounting for my $40 android tablets is those ‘command’ strips that work like a combo of double-sided tape and Velcro. No fancy stuff. With the sole exception of the dangling power cord, it’s a clean look.

And then in three years, if they become obsolete? Get new cheap tablets.

For those who run Tasker on these tablets: I’m finding that it pays to make anything/everything that is spoken or displayed in Tasker a variable. For example, I have calendar reminders that speak events off my google calendar. The issue is that sometimes, when a ST-Tasker event gets spoken, the “calendar reminder” phrase remains stuck in the spoken notification… even though the ST events are clearly not calendar events.

So now I have the Calendar Reminder profile’s action routine start by creating a variable which contains the phrase “calendar reminder”. It speaks that variable, then whatever text string has come from the calendar. And when the task sequence is completed for that reminder, I have Tasker clear ALL variables.

So I no longer get the ridiculous statement “calendar reminder. Patio door is open.”

I was going down the path of using a tablet in each room but I found myself using Alexa to control everything instead as it is much faster and efficient… when she understands (GRRRR! but that is another story). I share @michael2 's concerns with mounting hardware that has a very limited life to my walls unless I can find a generic mount that will look professional but allow any Android tablet to be mounted so I can upgrade as needed. Either way, if you are entering a dark room it is easy to fumble for the switch or to ask Alexa to turn the light on compared to using the tablet. In my test setup I have Tasker, and Motion Detection apps to turn on the screen when the camera detects motion. In the forefront I can leave ActionTiles open but it is just not practical. I love ActionTiles as a way to display all applicable parameters for a specific room and possibly to control a larger number of devices/aspects (mood lighting, thermostat, media, etc) as it gets pretty clunky to tell Alexa to do all those things with one command at a time… especially when she doesn’t understand what I am saying! (GRRRR again!)