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College students can get a laptop for school or save some coin and get a tablet for college. Tablets are more affordable (music to college students’ ears), more portable, and in some cases, just as powerful as premier laptops. It’s time to ditch the notion that tablets are only useful for watching movies on road trips or flights because students can get a lot of work done on a tablet.
Your tablet can be your laptop, books for class, and your notepad and pencil (especially if your tablet comes with a stylus). Essentially everything you need to ace this semester you can carry around in a single bag, and it won’t break your back like a backpack full of books.
Need more reasons to pick a tablet for college?
- Most tablets have cameras to quickly snap high-quality photos of notes in class
- Some tablets include a stylus which helps students take notes and edit work
- Tablets often have longer battery life than laptops and can last all school day without a charge
How We Chose the Best Tablets for College Students
Anything that can have multiple uses and save you money is music to a college student’s ears. With the best tablets for college students, you can take notes in class, amazing pictures and at the end of the day, crawl up to your dorm room bunk bed and watch your favorite show. Here’s how we picked the tablets that will help you excel through higher education:
Battery: We looked for tablets that will last you during your entire school or work day (or both). Look for tablets with at least 8-10 hours of battery life; of course, the longer the life, the better.
Display: A great display will help you see better but also help you take better notes and even help you relax at the end of the day when your school tablet turns into a bedtime TV.
Performance: These tablets are replacing your laptop, so they better be powerful. All the tablets listed below have the processing power to open multiple applications and make surfing the web a speedy endeavor.
A tablet for college is starting to seem like an astute decision, isn’t it? And it doesn’t matter if you are on team Apple or you want the best Android tablet available, below you’ll find the best tablets for college students:
1. iPad Air 2022
Even if you’re a “broke college student,” the new iPad Air from Apple is worth the extra coin. The on-board M1 chip makes the iPad incredibly speedy and powerful, while the liquid retina display makes binging content a treat for your eyes. It lasts up to 10 hours on a single charge, and with the M1 chip now inside the Air, it closes the gap in terms of processing power with its sibling, the iPad Pro, while keeping the price below the Pro.
2. Apple iPad Air With A14 Chip
Even if you’re a “broke college student,” the new iPad Air from Apple is worth the extra coin. Packed with the same lightning-fast A14 Bionic Chip that’s in the iPhone 12s, the Air is ridiculously fast. The new chips from Apple are an order of magnitude faster than previous chips, and the iPad Air will outperform many small laptops and desktops. Plus, the Air has a more extensive and better Liquid Retina display than iPads and better cameras. Pair it with a magic keyboard and Apple Pencil, and you’ll have all the tools to ace your finals this semester.
3. ReMarkable 2 Tablet
Can you combine the best properties of a modern tablet and paper ink e-reader in one device? We didn’t think so, but the ReMarkable 2 tablet isn’t your ordinary tablet. With the tablet and stylus, you can write on PDFs instead of having to use DocuSign or Adobe Acrobat, and it converts handwritten notes into text which we mentioned. And all of your notes are accessible from anywhere since they are saved in the cloud. If that doesn’t sound like a tablet made for a college student, we don’t know what is.
4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
BEST SAMSUNG TABLET
This is an excellent option for a college student to get their hands on a powerful tablet for under $1,000. It’s a great size for handheld use and portability yet maintains power with a speedy Snapdragon Gen 1 processor. But the power isn’t a battery hog, as it can last up to 14 hours on a single charge. And for those who like to hand-write notes in class, the S-Pen comes in handy. Samsung didn’t reinvent the wheel on this one compared to the S7; they just made it faster and more powerful — all good things.
5. Apple iPad Mini (2021)
Completely redesigned in 2021, the iPad Mini is still a great tablet for college students. It’s super portable with an 8.3-inch display that won’t take up much real estate in your bag or on your desk. The A15 Bionic chip — the same one in your super fast iPhone 13 — powers the Mini. Pair that with battery life that can last up to a few days with standard use and support for LTE and 5G connectivity, and the Mini might just be the way to go for your school and work needs.
6. Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra
It’s a beastly-looking tablet with a 14.6-inch screen that’s great for binging shows and movies but also gives you more room for multiple applications while you are in class. And you’ll appreciate the performance of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor while in class, as it makes opening and closing apps and surfing the web a speedy process. Thanks to all-day battery life, you won’t have to worry about the battery giving out on you midway through class. With 256GB of storage, it has laptop-level availability for apps, videos and pictures, yet, in tablet form.
7. Microsoft Surface Pro 8
BEST WINDOWS TABLET
A student can get this tablet in a configuration that’s as powerful as they need. It can range anywhere from 8GB to 32GB of RAM as well as 256GB to 1TB of storage. You can also go with an i5 or i7 Intel Envo Platform Core processor, depending on how much processing oomph you want. The Surface Pro 8 is also one of the more versatile options available, as you can pair it with a keyboard and stylus for a more fluid laptop experience — especially considering it runs Windows 11. Even with all this power and laptop-like qualities, it’s still an incredibly lightweight tablet weighing under two pounds and with an impressive battery life of 16 hours.
8. Lenovo Yoga Tab 13
We like the utility of the Lenovo Yoga Tab 13. The convenient stand on the back allows you to set the tablet upright on a desk, freeing your hands up for other tasks. It can even double as an ultra-portable secondary screen for your laptop, which is equal parts awesome and convenient. Regardless, whether it’s your secondary or primary display, the 12-hour battery life is enough to last you through your school or work day, and the Snapdragon 870 processor makes whatever you’re working on a breeze.
9. iPad Pro
If you have the money to spend, the iPad Pro is a bad mamajama. For starters, the 12.9-inch liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion looks incredible. The cameras are amazing, and the battery lasts all day. Toss in the M1 chip that runs the show behind the scenes, and you’ll see that this tablet can hold its own compared to laptops. Although it is one of the most expensive options, it is undoubtedly one of the best tablets for college students available.
10. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
RUNNER UP SAMSUNG TABLET
Unlike either iPad in our recommendations, the Galaxy Tab S7 comes with a stylus. The combination makes drawing, taking notes and editing work more streamlined and convenient. And if you decide to take a break from schoolwork, you can fully appreciate the 120Hz refresh rate and awesome 11-inch LCD as you watch your favorite Netflix show. Even if you marathon a few too many shows or pull an all-nighter studying, the 45W wired charging speed ensures that the S7 will be ready when you need it.
LOW IN STOCK
11. Microsoft Surface Go 2
BEST LAPTOP ALTERNATIVE
With a wireless mouse and keyboard combo, you can essentially turn the Microsoft Surface Go 2 into a full-steam laptop that’s incredibly portable. Its 4GB of memory is what you’d find on many laptops, and the 64GB of storage is plenty for your schoolwork. Plus, you can always upgrade to more memory and storage if you have a little extra coin. The 10-inch touch screen is super responsive, and the 10-hour battery life ensures it will last during your entire school day. For students who don’t want a full laptop but can’t make do with a cheap Chromebook, this is one of the best tablets with a keyboard for sale in 2021.
12. Amazon Fire HD 10
BEST BUDGET OPTION
There are plenty of reasons to consider the Fire HD 10 as a tablet for college students. Getting school books via e-books can save students a crazy amount of money, and the Fire HD 10 doubles as a Kindle. It’s also great for searching the web when you are doing research for a paper or project. And when you feel like winding down from school, all your favorite entertainment and social media apps are available. It’s not the flashiest or most powerful choice for college students, but it can save you some money.