Popular Mechanics; Award Microsoft
Walking around campus with all your books, assignments, and notes is hard enough. Add a portable charger, laptop, battery pack, and other essentials for eating, and suddenly your backpack feels like an anvil. Fortunately, tablets for college students are so good that the best ones can replace most of the books and papers in your bag.
The best tablets are lightweight and can easily handle textbooks, notes, lab work, and entertainment. But buying the best tablet can be a headache as each company gives you multiple models to choose from. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best for college students heading to school this fall. Read on for our top picks, as well as key things to consider before you buy.
Looking for school supplies, gadgets, tools and accessories? Check out our stories on the best Apple Watch charging stands, the best wireless headphones, and the best college laptops.
Best tablets for college
What to consider
The best tablets have a lot in common: a high-resolution screen, great software, long battery life, and room for customization. Below are a few key points to consider when choosing the perfect tablet.
Unlike computers, tablets run different operating systems. With any new tablet, it’s best to keep the software as close to your existing devices as possible. Students using both Windows and Android are better served by a tablet that runs the same operating system. Likewise, anyone with a MacBook will find excellent cross-connect with an iPad.
Most tablets are sold with varying amounts of built-in storage. Students who work with larger files such as photos and videos may want to consider purchasing a tablet with at least 128GB of storage. Most online users will be fine with the average 64GB model.
Accessories like an attached keyboard or digital stylus can transform your tablet. If you plan to use such accessories, make sure your chosen tablet is compatible.
How we chose
Most of these recommendations come from hundreds of hours of indoor use. For products we cannot test ourselves, we conduct intensive research and review content from expert sources Wire cutter, CNET, Tom’s guide, DigitalTrends, and more, as well as thousands of consumer reviews from online retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. As for the products themselves, we evaluated them on performance, design, build quality and price. Also, every tablet we cover has an average customer rating of 4 stars or higher.