Best Tablets For College Students

5 Best Tablets For College Students in 2021

College students are always on the go. Whether they’re at home, in class, or studying for exams, college students need a reliable device that can keep up with their busy schedules and versatile needs. 

A tablet is an excellent choice for any student because it is lightweight and offers many features to help them with all of their academic endeavors.

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Product

Price

2020 Apple iPad Pro
Best Overall
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Samsung Tab S7
Best Value
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Lenovo Chromebook Duet
Best Price
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Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Best PC alternative
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Acer Chromebook Spin 311
Best Versatility
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Best Tablets For College Students

1. Apple iPad Pro 2020 (12.9-inch) – Best Overall

The reason why we included Apple iPad Pro among the best tablets for college students is because IT IS THE BEST.

It’s fast, it’s lightweight, it’s advanced, it’s fantastic. For some of you, no need to buy a laptop, this can be your only needed laptop.

Okay, let’s talk about the features of this electronic device one by one.

And let’s start with the display. iPad Pro 2020 has a liquid Retina display with ProMotion and True Tone, which is one of the best screens on any mobile device.

In other words, this display (120Hz refresh rate) will ensure the best experience possible, with the right amount of light, colors, contrast, and so on. Therefore, if you want to draw, edit pictures or videos on it, it’s perfect.

Because of its slim design and its lightweight (1.41 pounds, 641 grams), you can carry it everywhere you want: the classroom, the library, the coffee shop, your living room, and of course your desk.

Now, to the batteries! iPad Pro batteries can last up to 10 hours. This means you don’t need to carry your charger with you during the day or look for available charger sockets in the university.

We can say that the only downside of this device is the price. Yes, Apple products are expensive, no doubt. But if you have the budget for it, go for it, it’s worth it.

Available in both 11-inch and 12.9-inch versions. You’ll find here a detailed comparison between the two, so you can choose easily.

By the way, you can get the pencil and the external keyboard separately to turn the setup into a laptop setup. I personally like to have an external keyboard in order to leave the whole display for the content I’m looking for.

What Customers Are Saying:

Photographers, designers, students, and entrepreneurs left some amazing reviews about this tablet. They like its responsiveness and high-resolution screen, its fast processor, and its light weight.

The majority of the complaints were about the price. Some buyers think that this item is overpriced.

 Technical Features :
  • Model Name – iPad Pro
  • Screen Size – 12.9 inches
  • Storage Capacity – 128 GB up to 1TB
  • Operating System – iPad Os 14
  • Battery Life – Up to 10 hours
  • Camera – 12MP Wide camera, 10MP Ultra-Wide camera, 7 MP front camera
  • Weight – 1.41 pounds (641 grams)
  • Connector – USB-C

PROS:

  • Lightweight and Portable
  • Sleek design
  • Long battery life
  • High quality camera
  • USB C connector
  • Very good display
  • Touch ID or Face ID authentication

CONS:

  • High priced
  • The keyboard and the pencil aren’t included

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (11-inch) - Best Value

We all know how Apple and Samsung are eager competitors who want to win the market permanently. Samsung S7 is the corresponding competitor to the iPad Pro we talked about earlier. They have quite similar features, except that Samsung prices are more “reasonable”, we can say.

Now, let’s dive deeper into our review, and let’s start with the design.

Samsung S7 design looks very sleek and stylish. It has rounded corners and comes in 4 colors: black, bronze, mystic navy, silver. The one we’re talking about here is an 11-inch tablet (12-inch is also available).

Portable, it weighs only 1.1 pounds, and easy to carry and store, it’s only 6.3mm thick. Therefore, it will fit in most of your bags and backpacks.

Another great feature of the Samsung S7 is the Dex Mode. It’s an option that allows you to cast a PC-like experience to the big screen with the same apps you use on your tablet every day. You can use DeX mode on your monitor while simultaneously using different apps on your device, or turn your device into an input device to control the DeX environment. Learn more about it here.

The optional keyboard and the S pen provide a “laptop” environment. With the S Pen, you can control presentations, take notes and mark up papers effortlessly.

Because college life is not just about studies and courses, Samsung S7 is optimized for gaming. You can bring your console gaming to anywhere a Wi-Fi connection is available and have all the fun.

What Customers Are Saying:

Customers are amazed by the progress that Samsung made in regards to their tablets. They have found the tablet very fast, with a beautifully sharp screen and a great sound.  The battery takes roughly one hour and a half to fully charge and lasts for the whole day.

But the package does not include a headphone jack and an adapter, which made some customers unsatisfied.

 Technical Features :

  • Model Name – Samsung Electronics Tab S7
  • Screen Size/Display – 11 inches
  • Resolution – 2560 x 1600
  • Storage Capacity – 128 GB up to 512 GB
  • Operating System – Android 10
  • Battery Life – Up to 9.5 hours
  • Camera – 13 MP, 8 MP front-facing camera
  • Weight – 1.1 pounds
  • Connector – USB-C port

PROS:

  • It charges fast
  • It has Dex mode
  • Lightweight
  • Sleek design
  • It comes in 4 different colors
  • S pen included

CONS:

  • It does not have a headphone jack
  • They don’t include the keyboard in the price

3. Lenovo Chromebook Duet (10.1 inches) - Best Budget

Lenovo Chromebook Duet is one of the best tablets for college students on a budget.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a convertible Chrome OS tablet and laptop in one. The keyboard sticks with the tablet with a magnetic mechanism which is seamless so when you need to type anything just plug it with the tablet for a laptop-like feel.

It boots in under 10 seconds, runs automatic updates in the background, and has up to 10 hours of battery life.

The lightweight design makes it easy to carry anywhere so you can stay productive on the go. At just 0.99 pounds (450 g), this device weighs less than most tablets and many laptops. And with its thin profile, it’s perfect for slipping into your bag or backpack when you’re on the move.

The 10.1-inch touchscreen is fast and responsive, letting you switch between apps quickly, offering a secure connection using Google Cloud Platform security features that continuously scan for malware and viruses when connected to the Internet.

The device boots up in under 10 seconds so you won’t waste time waiting for your computer to start up each morning!

Lenovo offers a pen for this tablet but it’s not included in the price, unfortunately. But the good news is that it’s less than $30.

All of the above compared to the price, you will conclude that it’s good value for the money.

What Customers Are Saying:

Solid, very pleasant to hold, the keyboard attaches firmly.

Battery life is good, it lasts 8 hours on average.

One of the downsides is the keys, they are a little bit small, making the typing seem awkward.

 Technical Features :

  • Model Name – Lenovo Chromebook Duet
  • Screen Size/Display – 10.1 inches
  • Resolution – 1920 x 1200
  • Storage Capacity – 64 GB – 128 GB
  • Operating System – Chrome Os
  • Battery Life – Up to 10 hours
  • Camera – 8 MP / Front: 2 MP
  • Weight – 450 g / 0.99 pounds
  • Connector – USB-C port

PROS:

  • Lightweight and Portable
  • Fast and powerful
  • External keyboard included
  • Long battery life
  • Sleek and sturdy design

CONS:

  • Pen not included in the package
  • No memory card slot

4. Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (12.3 inches) – Best Laptop Alternative

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is part of the Microsoft “Surface Pro” series.

One of the reasons that we chose Microsoft Pro 7 among the best tablets for college students is that it’s a powerful tablet with full PC performance. In other words, it’s a computer in the form of a lightweight and portable device.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 has more power than ever before. Faster than surface pro 6, it has a 10th gen Intel Core i5 processor (also available with Intel i7 processor) and runs on Windows 10 Home.

It can be used as a tablet, a computer, and even a studio. We’ve picked a large screen size, 12.3 inches, for two reasons: to make your reading and researching tasks easier, but also to have more space when using the onscreen keyboard.

It is available in two classic colors: Platinum or Matte Black. The keyboard and the pen aren’t included in the package, they are sold separately.

What Customers Are Saying:

We should say though, that based on customer reviews the battery life isn’t great. They claim to get less than 10 hours (around 8), and also the camera quality isn’t great.

Some of the buyers concluded that Microsoft didn’t do their best in the outer design of Surface Pro 7, but they did put all of the money on what’s inside the system. The tablet is literally equivalent to a PC in performance, a beast.

Other than that, the display is excellent and the speaker’s shout is amazing.

 Technical Features :

  • Model Name – Microsoft Surface Pro
  • Processor – 10th gen intel core i5 processor (i7 available as well)
  • Screen Size/Display – 12.3 inches
  • Resolution – 2736 x 1824
  • Storage Capacity – 128 GB up to 1TB
  • Operating System – Windows 10 Home
  • Battery Life – up to 10 hours
  • Camera – 8MP rear-facing, 5MP front-facing
  • Weight – 1.10 pounds
  • Connector – USB-C port (finally)

PROS:

  • Excellent and sharp display
  • Performant (Dual-core 10th Gen Intel i3)
  • Not heavy
  • USB C port

CONS:

  • Camera quality isn’t the best
  • Battery life is less than 10 hours 

5. Acer Chromebook Spin (11.6 inches) - Best Versatile Tablet

The reason why we chose Acer Chromebook Spin 311 as one of the best tablets for college students is that you can turn it into anything you need it to be.

Its 360° hinge allows you to use it in 4 different modes: Notebook, stand-up Display, Tent, or Tablet. Therefore, you can take it anywhere and use it everywhere.

Also, Acer Chromebook runs on Chrome OS by Google. It provides built-in virus protection, built-in storage for offline access, an additional 100GB of Google Drive space to ensure that all of your files are backed up automatically, and more.

As a student, you’ll need a bunch of the most widely used Google apps like Google Drive, Google Classroom, Gmail, Google Meet, and the list goes on. The good news is that Acer Chromebook already has them all, and is designed to help these apps run effortlessly and smoothly.

The screen doesn’t have the best resolution but it’s 11.6 inches touch convertible display, with clarity and saturated colors.

The battery can last up to 10 hours.

All in all, it’s a practical device that will help you manage your college schedule.

What Customers Are Saying:

Its long-life battery, sturdy compact design, and operating system made it a choice for thousands of customers. Simple, reliable, and definitely affordable for most students.

Easy to set up. Customers find it perfect for distance learning.

 Technical Features :

  • Model Name – Acer Chromebook Spin 311
  • Processor – intel (*2)
  • Screen Size/Display – 11.6 inches
  • Resolution – 1366 x 768
  • Storage Capacity – 32 GB to 64 GB + built-in storage + 100GB Google Drive space
  • Operating System – Chrome OS
  • Battery Life – up to 10 hours
  • Weight – 2.62 pounds
  • Connector – USB C port

PROS:

  • Very affordable
  • Battery life as expected
  • Smooth display
  • Keyboard attached 
  • Versatile
  • Sturdy frame

CONS:

  • Bezels are a bit big

Things To Consider Before Choosing A Tablet

... Weight, Portability, Design

We know how college student’s life can be vivid and full of activities, a tablet shouldn’t be an extra burden. Therefore, the best tablets for college students should be compact, don’t weigh too much, and easy to carry with you.

Besides, the overall look and design of the device are important too, since it will be used not only for studies but also for social media and entertainment purposes on a daily basis.

To sum up, your tablet should be lightweight and versatile.

... Touch Screen Technology

Touch screen technology has improved in recent years. Nowadays, tablets provide the user with a higher quality of user touch screen interactivity. There are five touch screen technologies on the market, three are the most common: resistive, capacitive, and SAW (surface acoustic wave).

You don’t need to know technical words, but you don’t want to buy a laggy tablet.

... Performance

Just like any other device, performance is an important component and a necessary factor to consider when buying a tablet. Nowadays, tablets are optimized for performance. They can be even better than laptops, helping students getting their work done in no time, without delays or obstacles.

Tablets performance is conditioned by so many factors. For example, the instant-on capability, which means that tablets can be used without any start-up delays in a variety of situations, and facilitates their use tremendously compared to laptops.

... Operating System

Mac and Windows are the most prevalent operating systems, with Chrome OS being another popular option.

A Chromebook is a laptop that runs on Google’s Chrome operating system. While it looks like a laptop, it’s limited in what it can offer compared to Mac or Windows.

... Connectivity

As a student, you’ll be required to connect some of your devices to your tablet.

These days, most tablets come with ports that use universal connectivity. Therefore, you’ll be able to connect as many external devices as necessary.

... Keyboard

If you tend to take a lot of notes during lectures, then getting a tablet with a good keyboard is a must. The on-screen keyboard has to be properly sized and optimized for typing.

A great choice would be to purchase one of these tablets that come with keyboards, that you can either attach or detach from it according to your needs.

... Battery Life

In a college student’s journey, battery life is super important. You don’t want to be slowed down by a weak battery or the absence of an outlet. The longer the battery life, the better.

And don’t worry, it doesn’t mean that your tablet will be huge and heavy. Because nowadays, batteries are thinner than ever and yet stronger than ever.

... Storage Capacity

Needless to say, that the more storage you have on your tablet, the better.

Storage capacity in tablets is increasing day by day thanks to technology.

And even if your tablet doesn’t have a lot of memory storage, you can use online or cloud-based services, such as ‘Dropbox’ for storage or collaboration.

... Price

Tablet prices do change frequently. Older versions may be available at a lower cost than the latest newer version. Make a list of all the tablets within your budget range, compare them, and pick the one that suits most of your needs.

And remember, not the priciest tablet is the best one. It’s possible to buy a decent one without spending a ton of money.

However, if you have some wiggle room in your budget, buying a tablet with more high-end features will ensure a better experience, through your student’s changing needs as they grow.

What Is The Best Tablet For University Students?

The best tablet for university plans should:
  1. Be lightweight.
  2. Be portable.
  3. Have enough storage for all your media and resources.
  4. Start-up instantly, without delays.
  5. Have a screen size big enough to display the content and your onscreen keyboard.
  6. Have a good resolution and a good camera.
The ones we’ve listed in this article have all of these features.

Are Tablets Useful for College Students?

Absolutely! They are very useful. Not necessary, but useful.

Here is why I think that owning a tablet will help you in your college life:

  • You will get rid of the heavyweight books and papers that you’ll need in your studies.
  • It’s perfect for taking to class and reading on the go.
  • They are better than mobile phones because they can be distracting, and better than laptops because they are heavier.
  • It’s better than mobile phones, when it comes to reading articles, college announcements, searching for resources on the internet …
  • Nowadays, most education institutes recommend owning a tablet.
  • It’s a good way to safely store the notes you take during classes or alone.
  • It’s not going to be only an educational tool, but it will also serve as entertainment after study time. Like watching a movie, listening to a podcast, chatting with friends …
  • College life is full of memories you don’t want to forget. So, you want to take a lot of pictures. Having a tablet will make it easier for you.

College life is tough. With classes, work and socializing, there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Luckily, technology has made it possible for students to enjoy a little bit of luxury while living on a budget.

Which Is Better For Students Tablet Or Laptop? Should I Buy A Tablet Or A Laptop?

Before answering this question, we need to answer the following one: what are the differences between tablets and laptops?

LaptopsTablets
Portable computer device where all the units are inbuilt in a single package.Touch screen display device which generally operates on mobile operating systems.
Bigger and thicker than tablets.Smaller and thinner comparatively.
Heavy-weighted in comparison of tablet.Light-weighted comparatively.
Lower battery lasting life.Higher battery lasting life.
More expensive than tablet.Less expensive comparatively.
Physical keyboard inbuilt into it.Onscreen keyboard.
CD or DVD player inbuilt.No such functionality.

Based on the table above, we can say that laptops have more features in comparison to tablets. But let me tell you that among college students, both laptops and tablets are used. But their use depends on the domain you are in and the kind of activities you are performing with it.

For example, if you are studying mechanical engineering, web development, architecture, and so on, then you will need CAD software and applications to build things. For example, mechanical engineers use Catia and Solidworks. Therefore, laptops are a necessity.

Laptops are also better when you need to connect additional gadgets to them, like an external hard drive.

On the other hand, if you are in a non-technical field, you are better off with taking a tablet inside the classroom for note-taking. They are lightweight, portable, and nowadays, due to advancements in tablet features, you can link them to a mouse and keyboard just like laptops.

Some may argue and say that laptops are better for preparing reports and presentations. We don’t disagree with that, except that tablets are in constant amelioration. These days, they equal some laptops in performance.

>>> Related : If you are struggling to block distractions and stay focused during studies or even during work, we invite you to take a look at these “16 Best Apps To Block Distractions And Stay Focused While Studying Or Working”.

Useful Apps for College Students for Android and iOS

In this part of our article, we will share with you some apps that you can install on your tablet and will help you better lead and manage your college life.

… iOS:

myHomework Student Planne‪r

My Homework has a beautiful appearance and a simple interface, very easy to use.

Class Timetable

Keep track of classes and add events to your week’s schedule with ease.

Microsoft Office Apps

Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote are all available for iPad.

GoodNotes ‪5

A powerful document management system to create, import, and edit documents on your iPad.

Forge

It will help you draw, sketch, brainstorm, organize, annotate, and create.

… Android:

Google Keep

Online virtual time management notebook, where you can keep regular notes or numbered lists. I personally use it.

MyScript Calculator

A smart calculator that recognizes handwriting, replaces it with the corresponding signs, and gives you the result.

Forest

Forest is a free app to fight phone addiction, stay focused, and become more productive. You focus and you help plant trees in other countries. It’s fun! Also available on apple store.

Can I Get A Tablet For College For Under $100?

Yes, you can. You can, if you want your tablet to play the role of an eBook reader, alarm clock, and some other basic tasks that your mobile phone can handle.

If not, then we don’t recommend it. Why?

  • At $100 or less, there are a few inexpensive new 10-inch tablets, but their screens generally have such low pixel density that they look fuzzy and difficult to read.
  • Inexpensive tablets don’t have a lot of storage for your courses, eBooks, and media.
  • Their battery life is limited, and this won’t align with your busy schedule as a college student.
  • Camera quality is usually dull.
  • Screen resolution won’t ensure a sharp picture and text for you.

Final Thoughts – Best Tablets for College Students

If you are already in college, or you are about to enter it, you will know at some point that note-taking during courses is a lifesaver. You will take a lot of notes, you will have a lot of courses, and eBooks… simply college life!

That’s why having a tablet (better if attached to a keyboard) will help you tremendously. It will keep all of your stuff in one place. You can prepare presentations and reports as you own a laptop, you can take it to wherever you go as it’s lightweight, and it will serve you for entertainment as well.

We hope this article was helpful, and that by now, you know which tablet is the best pick to intensify your college life.