Best Tablets for College

Electronics & Computers

While laptops are still the standard form of computer, many college students are choosing tablets instead. These minicomputers, or alternatively gigantic smartphones, are lightweight, less costly, and simpler compared to laptops. Tablets are far more ideal for note taking, streaming, and socializing online when in college.

Most tablets available today can function nearly as efficiently as a low-end laptop. The Apple iPad, for example, is nearly as complete as a laptop. Students can download useful note-taking apps and read e-textbooks on tablets with ease. Tablets are also great for streaming videos and casual gaming when taking a break from coursework.

The tablet market is overwhelmed with many different types of products. We chose the best of the best for college students depending on price and functionality. Read below to know more:

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Why we like it: This cool tablet can easily become a laptop when you need it to. It has a powerful processor, Windows 10, and the price is definitely worth it, considering the features.

Buying a tablet for college has as much to do with price as with anything else. The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is nearly unbeatable when it comes to price and features. You won’t end up working late night shifts to pay for this later. The Surface Pro is the best tablet that runs on Windows 10. The OS is incredibly advantageous for college students because it’s widely compatible with a number of apps and devices. The tablet has a generously large 12.3-inch screen that you can use to read e-textbooks and then stream videos on the weekends.

The Surface Pro comes with a stylus, so you can easily use the screen to scribble down notes quickly in class without bothering with typing. It comes with an external keyboard so the tablet can easily transition into a laptop when needed. The cheapest version comes with an Intel Core M3 processor. If you want more firepower you can pay for a Core i5 or i7 processor. Buying this tablet beats paying for an expensive laptop. And you get portability, software, and other features necessary for acing the tough classes. Plus, it looks hip enough to show off to your friends.

Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch

Why we like it: Everyone has their own reasons to love the iPad. College students can love it for powerful specs, HD video capabilities, and efficient design.

The iPad Pro is the default must-have tablet for college students. Nothing is more stylish than an Apple product, and the price isn’t awfully bad either. It’s pricey, but it’s far more affordable than buying a Mac. The 9.7-inch iPad is big enough to comfortably read e-textbooks. The screen resolution is an impressive 2048×1536 pixels, good enough to watch HD movies. The iPad Pro also has some of the most powerful specs in the tablet market. In fact, it’s closer to a laptop than a tablet. The iPad Pro can function as a laptop with the right accessories.

It comes with Apple’s signature A9 chipset and a quad-core graphics card. It packs in 2GB of RAM, perfect for multitasking between classes, work, and personal stuff. The storage option goes up to 128GB, so that’s not bad either. You can also choose between Wi-Fi or the Wi-Fi and Cellular models. We don’t really need to elaborate on how well designed the tablet is. We’d say this version is more ergonomic than the ones before. If you are totally against having a PC/Android tablet, this is the best alternative there is. The iPad Pro will make organizing your class notes and schedules a whole lot easier.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A SM-T350NZWAXAR Tablet

Why we like it: It’s not flashy but offers high-end specs at an affordable price. If you don’t want your student debt to get worse, this is the best tablet to own.

If you want to buy a cool-looking and well-functioning tablet without breaking the bank, then the Tab A is your best choice. This is one of Samsung’s older models. It may not be as hip as the newer ones, but it’s highly affordable. The specs are not awful either. It has a significantly large 8-inch display. It runs on a quad-core processor, so it’s speedy enough for pretty much all apps. It has a solid display resolution of 1024×768 XGA and 1.5 GB of RAM. Flash memory is an impressive 16GB. The system runs on Android Lollipop.

The tab even has an SD card slot that expands memory up to 128 GB. You can definitely store all class notes, photos and even some videos with that amount of storage. The tablet is also widely compatible with the popular apps. When you start on a lower budget, this tablet offers features that can easily be compared with higher-end models. And the design is quite sleek as well. It looks like an older version of the Apple iPad. What matters most is the functionality, and this tablet has it down perfectly. You definitely won’t regret purchasing this tablet.

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Amazon Fire Tablet, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB

Why we like it: Amazon Fire tablet has a screen with an anti-glare coating so it’s just perfect for reading all day long. The tablet is also super cheap.

Amazon’s Fire tablet is not a gimmick. It’s not an e-book reader either. The Fire tablet has come out as an excellent economical alternative to many of the expensive tablets out there. The Fire tablets are unbelievably cheap, like $50 cheap. If you are wondering what the catch here is, the apps are mostly available through the Amazon store. Amazon is betting users will mostly download apps and consume content through the flagship store. But you don’t have to buy everything from Amazon if you don’t want to. This tablet is remarkably compatible with all the popular apps a college student will need.

The dirt cheap price tag aside, the tablet has an 8-inch screen with a 1280×800 resolution. That’s good enough to watch Full HD video. The screen has an anti-glare coating like the famous Kindle. You can read e-books on the tablet without hurting your eyes, even at night. It’s like reading a book with print pages so this tablet is really great for studying and getting homework done. It’s reasonably fast with 1.5GB of RAM. Plus, it has Alexa the voice assistant installed. It’s like Siri and you can control the tablet with voice commands. Overall, you will get a great bargain for the price.

Asus Zenpad S 8 Z580C-B1-BK

Why we like it: The tablet version of the Zenbook is perfect for college students on a budget on the hunt for speedy tablets with great display resolution.

You may have heard of the Asus Zenbook, one of the best laptops anyone could own. The Zenbook costs well over $1,000 so the next best thing is the Zenpad. It’s intended for budget users so college students will be very comfortable with the price. Despite the low price, the tablet has 2k display resolution, a large screen, and a quad-core Intel Atom processor. It keeps the tablet running fast with little to no lag. Interestingly, this comes with a 32GB SSD instead of a hard drive. SSDs are much faster and will eliminate pretty much all lag.

This laptop is lightweight and small enough to easily carry to class in a backpack or with books. It has 2GB of internal RAM so the model is well worth the price. Most of the new apps work on this tablet. You won’t have trouble reading e-books or watching videos. With the right external keyboard, you will be able to easily use this tablet as a laptop as well. The tablet is great for reading e-textbooks with illustrations. You can use your fingertips to take notes in class if you are not typing. Overall, it’s a product worth investing in.

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HTC Google Nexus 9 Tablet

Why we like it: This is a highly affordable tablet wonderfully suited for multimedia use. It has a large screen and comes with Full HD resolution.

Google’s Nexus may be no more, but the HTC Nexus tablet is still available. It was considered one of the best when originally launched, and can still go head to head with recent releases. The price is hard to beat considering the high-end features you get. The 9-inch screen is large enough for watching videos as well as reading e-books. The tablet runs on Android Lollipop and has an IPS LCD display capable of 2048×1536 resolution. You can watch Full HD videos on this tablet. It has a NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor so this tablet is perfect for multimedia use.

It has 2GB RAM memory and 32 GB Flash memory so you know this tablet is fast. Nexus tablets still are first in line to get Android updates so you will be covered in that area too. It doesn’t come with a stylus, but you can buy one separately to write down notes by hand. If you get an external keyboard, this can function nicely as a mini laptop. You can use all the apps the classes require and even take on extra video work on this tablet. It’s reasonably priced so it won’t break your bank either.

Apple iPad Air MD785LL/B 16GB Wi-Fi Tablet

Why we like it: The iPad Air is surprisingly lightweight and has a long-lasting battery. Combined with the large screen, this is the ultimate nerd’s laptop to own.

The iPad Air has a ginormous screen, great enough to read textbooks. College students know how difficult it is to read textbooks with charts, pictures and other illustrations on smaller screens. The iPad air with its 2048×1536 will fix that problem. The screen has a retina display that is fingerprint resistant. You can freely tab away without worrying about oily reside fogging up the screen. It has an Apple A7 processor inside and 1GB of RAM memory. These specs are quite sufficient to make sure that your tablet is speedy and doesn’t lag.

We particularly liked the battery that can last for 10 hours or more. You can definitely take this to class all day and not worry about the tablet dying on you. It also weighs only roughly a pound so the tablet is surprisingly lightweight too. You won’t strain your arm carrying this to the bio lab. It has great resolution and an incredible amount of RAM memory. It’s well enough to support multiple e-book reading and note-taking apps. It’s quite beautifully designed so you won’t look like you are carrying some cheap tablet.

Sony Xperia Z SGP311U1 16GB Tablet

Why we like it: This elegant tablet is thin and easy to carry. It’s also affordable but features speedy specs. You can use this tablet for note taking as well as streaming.

Sony Xperia Z is a gorgeous touchscreen tablet that you won’t be embarrassed to be seen with. It has a sleek black exterior and an ergonomic build. If you want a practical tablet with a large screen at a price that won’t break the bank, then this is it. The tablet model is slightly older and runs on Android Jelly Bean. But pretty much all the latest education apps will work with this model. It’s equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5 GHz chipset and has 16 GB of Flash memory and 2GB of RAM.

The tablet specs are excellent even today so you can be sure that you are getting a speedy tablet. The tablet has a large 10-inch display that won’t disappoint when you try to type up essays or read e-books. It weighs roughly 2 pounds and has a battery life that can last as long as 9 hours. Overall, this is more than enough to type notes in class, access the net, and even stream videos during free time. The tablet is easy to carry around and work with. Oh, it’s water resistant too. It won’t die if you accidentally spill some coffee on it.

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Lenovo TAB2 A10 Wi-Fi Tablet

Why we like it: This tablet is optimized for Wi-Fi so students can stay connected all day long. It also comes with a long-lasting battery.

If you are a busy college student always skittering between classes, work, student organization, gym, and everything else, then you will definitely appreciate this lightweight tablet. It’s optimized for Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can stay in touch while on the go. You can easily access files stored on a cloud drive, such as an Excel worksheet for stat class. The tablet doesn’t buffer or cause major lag with regular connections. The tablet sports a quad-core ARM Cortex processor that makes apps function seamlessly. It’s perfect for students who need to take digital notes or have to access electronic textbooks in class.

The tablet also has a 10-inch screen, which is great for viewing illustrated textbooks with graphs, charts, and maps. The display comes with rich FHD IPS resolution that renders text and graphics crystal clear. You can also watch HD videos in vivid color. The tablet has 2GB of RAM, which is fast enough for multitasking on several apps at once. We also must gush over the battery with an impressive 7,000 mAh capacity. The battery can function nonstop for nearly 10 hours straight. You can preserve battery for nearly half a day so you won’t need to charge the tablet between classes.

Apple iPad Mini 2 ME279LL

Why we like it: Why we like it: This ultra-light iPad is perfect for taking notes standing up in field classes or on the go. It comes in multiple colors and doesn’t cost much.

If you really want an iPad but can’t afford a bigger one, then the iPad Mini would be a great bet. It costs less than $300 and is aimed at cash-strapped users like college students. It’s small, but the display is still 7.9 inches big. That a large enough screen to read full pages of electronic textbooks. The smaller design also makes the iPad mini more lightweight than average tablets. It’s really easy to carry around. If you need to take notes standing up, like in lab class, then you will definitely appreciate having the iPad Mini instead of a bigger tablet.

This runs on iOS 7 and has a 1.3 GHz Apple chipset. It’s still fast and reliable compared to many newly released tablets. The RAM memory of 1 GB is truly impressive. Flash memory is 16 GB. The tablet weighs less than a pound and has a battery that can last 10 hours. The maximum storage capacity supported is 128 GB. And unlike most Apple products, you can choose the color of the tablet you want. You can choose a chic color if you don’t like the boring white version. Overall, this is a great product for students.