What Tablet Should I Buy? Find the Best Tablets for College (Updated 2017)

(Updated with the best tablets for college 2017) If you are searching for a computer for college, you might want to consider checking out some of these options when trying to find the best tablet for college or school!  It wasn’t that long ago that laptops were THE essential requirement for many college students and even those younger and in high school.  But in recent times laptops have taken a step behind another electronic gadget that’s making serious inroads in popularity. It is now tablets that have replaced, to a large extent, the requirement for laptops in the classroom and kids and parents are asking, what tablet should I buy?

Image Source: Jisc.ac.uk

I am not saying that laptops have lost their place among college students but elegantly designed, portable tablets with long battery life have acquired a huge market share among college and high school students. Students preferred laptops as a means of carrying a computer throughout college to labs, classes etc.

In terms of portability, tablets are even lighter and easier than laptops and they are installed with more power than before and come with updated software and apps. So, some specially designed student tablets, college tablets and 2-in-1 tablets have become the perfect choice for students.

Stand Alone Tablets

Some tablets are exclusively designed for student and for office performance. They offer most of the functionality of a computer such as word processing as well as running educational apps. Power, functional apps and portability are best suited for students.

Parents often get confused on the different models of tablets and laptops. They cannot decide which would be the best educational tool for their child. Well let’s look at some of the best tablets for college or school that can easily beat laptops.


Best Tablets for College – 2017 Student Selections

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – Best Tablets Under 700

Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Microsoft Surface Pro 4: Check it out on Amazon for the latest price!

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is Microsoft’s flagship tablet and is, by far, one of the best tablets for college students on the market. What distinguishes the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 from the rest isn’t just its high performance and sleek design but, rather, how easily it transitions from being a tablet into a laptop.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is a convertible 2-in-1 tablet and laptop that has a variety of models on the market but we’ll be looking at the more affordable mid-priced version. The mid-range Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is powered by an Intel Core i5 6th Gen (Skylake) Core and comes with 4 GB Ram as well as running Windows 10 so you can rest easy knowing that even the mid-range Surface Pro options will offer fast and reliable performance compared to other tablets for college students. Naturally, if you have a bigger budget for college, then for a little bit more money you can check out the other options for the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 to find one that suits your needs.

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Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Plus – Best Tablets Under 300

Lenovo Yoga 3 Plus Tablet
Lenovo Yoga 3 Plus Best Tablets for College: Check it out on Amazon for the latest price!

The Yoga Tab 3 Plus is built on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC processor with Qualcomm Adreno 510 graphic which means it can easily run high-end applications and games.

To deliver a seamless multi-tasking experience it comes with 3 GB RAM plus 32 GB of NAND flash storage. it also has a microSD card slot for additional storage space. This tablet utilizes USB Type-C (operates in USB 2.0 mode) connector for charging and connectivity purposes and also supports all connectivity features including WiFi 802.11, Bluetooth 4.0 and LTE wireless tech.

Lenovo positions its Yoga Tab 3 Plus tablet for those people, who wish to have the best multimedia experience on-the-go, no matter where they are, which is also the reason why it’s 10-point multi-touch 10.1” WQXGA (2560×1600) IPS display uses the new Technicolor’s color enhance software technology to deliver a truly vibrant and HD display. Along with all this, the device also has four front-facing speakers (made by JBL) and comes with Dolby’s Atmos 3D surround sound processing. The Yoga Tab 3 Pro features a pico projector whereas the Tab 3 Plus does not feature a pico projector, but just like the Yoga Tab 3 Pro model, it has two cameras.

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Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro – Best Tablets Under 500

Best Tablet for School Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro: Check it out on Amazon for the latest price!

Yes, we realize this is a second Lenovo in our Best Tablets for College list, however, both tablets will work for different budgets and we thought that was grounds enough to add this 2nd one onto the list!

Most tablets come in a generic slate like design. The Yoga Tab 3 Pro is a tablet that goes against this generic design with a cylindrical spine on the bottom edge, which also is the place where the battery is housed.

After being tested by playing a 720p video (on its screen, not through the projector) on loop in airplane mode at medium brightness, the tablet’s battery lasted 12.8 hours. This long of battery run is no doubt quite impressively for any tablet, especially for one tablet which has such a big screen. That pico projector itself is not that awesome, but the fact that it is built-in a tablet is.  When you call Lenovo’s pico projector a gimmick, you are missing the point; it is like the cherry on top of a really sweet and awesome Android tablet.

The Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro is a tablet with high-speed performance which has powerful gaming power, loud speakers, and a crystal clear screen. Its unique and distinctive design also has a built-in kickstand and a cylindrical spine that makes it comfortable and easy to be gripped in one hand. It also has an impressively long-lasting battery. Getting all of these features in a tablet is not something common. Plus getting a built-in Pico projector makes it one of the best tablets for college of 2017.

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You Might Also Like: What is the Best Lenovo Tablet? 2017 Review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 – Best Tablets Under 400

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Best tablets for college
Samsung Galaxy S2: Check it out on Amazon for the latest price!

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is a tablet that’s just as good as a PC but the only thing that’s holding it back is its 9.7 Inch display! The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop which is enough to run almost every app on the Play Store. It’s powered by a Samsung Exynos 5433 processor which ensures smooth functionality.

It has 32 GB storage and the display, though small compared to other tablets, provides crisp, clear and vibrant colors which Samsung products are known for. You can buy a keyboard cover sold separately to make it into a 2-in-1 convertible. Considering its affordable price, it’s a must have for whoever wants a powerful yet affordable tablet for college.

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Best Tablet for College Students Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Sony Xperia Z4: Check it out on Amazon for the latest price!

Sony Xperia Z4 – Best Tablets Under 600

The Sony Xperia Z tablet line has continuously provided the best value for its price point and the Sony Xperia Z4 is no exception. The Sony Xperia Z4 is a gorgeous 10.1-Inch tablet that’s designed to provide high performance and amazing video quality. The 10.1-Inch IPS LCD touchscreen can provide up to a 2560 x 1600 pixels resolution display which means this is the perfect tablet for when you want to watch Netflix or stream an online lecture.

It’s powered by a Quad-core 2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 64-bit CPU along with an Adreno 430 GPU that is guaranteed to provide flawless video playback and support every application a college student could need.

The best part is that, unlike other tablets, the Sony Xperia Z supports microSD cards that let you extends its 32 GB storage up to 128GB which can come in quite handy when in college!  And one other feature that is definitely a plus when looking for a student tablet is the up to 2 days of battery life!

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ASUS ZENPAD Z170C-A1-BK 7″ 16GB – Best Tablet Under 100

ASUS Zenpad Tablet
ASUS ZENPAD: Check it out on Amazon for the latest price!

ASUS Zenpad comes with the latest display screen quality and boots quicker. This tablet offers you the opportunity to obtain 5GB of cloud storage which is provides perfect college backup. It’s light in weight and if your college work needs a quick tablet then this is the best option for you.

All in all, ASUS Zenpad is an excellent and affordable tablet option for college & high school students since it’s got a price point of under 100 dollars.



Operating System Android 4.4
Brand Asus
Color Black
Screen Size 7 inches
Max Screen Resolution 1024 x 600 pixels
Processor 1.2 GHz Intel Atom
Label ASUS Computers
List Price $92.50
Manufacturer ASUS Computers
Average Battery Life (in hours) 8 hours
Item Weight 9.6 ounces
Rear Webcam Resolution 2 MP
Processor Brand Intel
Flash Memory Size 16.0
Publisher ASUS Computers
Warranty 1 Year North America Warranty

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Microsoft Surface Pro 3 – Best Tablets Under 700

This tablet is the flagship model which runs Windows 8.1. Its main USP is that it has a 12″ screen and comes equipped with a stylus which is very useful when using OneNote. As someone that has a tablet with a stylus, I can say I LOVE that feature!  So many options and uses that I can’t imagine not having it now. Microsoft is now offering a discount on Surface Pro 3.

Microsoft Surface Pro3 Best Tablets for School
Microsoft Surface Pro3: Check it out on Amazon for the latest price!

The external keyboard by Microsoft is an optional add on. It comes in handy when you are taking notes and can type rather than writing. Windows 8.1 is a wonder with touchscreen devices. This model comes with Intel core i3 processor, 64 GB storage capacity.  Students should be happy enough with this model, but there are higher end models as well that come with the i5 and i7 processor.

If your budget is lower Microsoft also offers the original Surface 3 which is priced at under $400 and has a 10.6 inch screen. You can check that model out HERE.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (64 GB, Intel Core i3, Windows 10)

Screen Size 12 inches
Brand Microsoft
Color Silver
Battery Life Up to 9 hours of battery life
Storage Options
64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Full-size USB 3.0
microSD card reader
Headset jack
Mini DisplayPort
Cover port
Processor 4th Gen Intel Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 processors
4GB or 8GB memory options
TPM Chip for enterprise security
Office Microsoft Office 365 (sold separately)
List Price $695
Operating System Windows 8.1 Pro
Network & Wireless Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)
Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy Technology
Screen 12”ClearType Full HD Plus Display
Resolution: 2160 x 1440
Aspect Ratio: 3:2
Touch: multi-touch
CPU & Wireless


4th Gen Intel Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 processors
System memory: 4GB or 8GB memory options
TPM Chip for enterprise security
Wireless: Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)
Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy Technology

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best tables for students

This waterproof tablet is ideal for students looking for the a tablet for school or college.  Sony Xperia Z can perform anything you need to do from web browsing to watching movies. This tablet offers you a long lasting and durable display screen and you will certainly not need to replace your screen after a few months.

In addition, it comes with an excellent battery quality and can last up to a couple of days from a single battery charge.  What student doesn’t need that during the semester?


Sony Xperia Z SGP312U1/B 10.1-Inch 32GB Tablet

Operating System Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Brand Sony
Color Black
Processor 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4
Number of Processors 4
Hard Drive 32 GB Serial ATA
Label Sony IT
List Price $599.99
Battery Life 9-hour
Special Features Integrated Card Reader
Touch Sensitive Screen
Video Recording
Graphics and Display LCD Native Resolution
Product Dimensions 11.9 x 8 x 1.9 inches
Operating System Android 4.1
Item Weight 2.2 pounds
Size 32 GB

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You May Be Interested In: Best Laptops for College Students 2017 that Your Teachers Wouldn’t Tell You

Apple iPad Air 2

It is definitely true that Apple has been a major player and instigator in the growth of the tablet market. Their tablets have made a huge impact in this niche. This version (an older version of the one mentioned above), iPad Air 2 has a 10.1 inch screen size and 1.5GHZ 64 bit dual core processor.  It has both front and rear facing cameras.  Based upon the price, your options can vary from 16GB storage capacity to 128 GB. With Microsoft Pad for iPad, Apple wanted to give users a paradigm shift from iOS tablets. With this suite, users can smoothly work on Word, Excel, PowerPoint and take notes on OneNote software.

Apple iPad Air2 best tablets for college
Apple iPad Air 2: Check it out on Amazon for the latest price!

As far as the iOS is concerned, there are millions of apps available from educational to entertainment apps. In addition Apple has a book store which is exclusively dedicated to textbooks.  The store has educational video and multimedia content too.  The Keyboard Cover for iPad Air 2 is in great demand with students who want to type in their classroom notes. For those who prefer handwritten notes the Meko 2 in 1 is a good option to consider.

Apple MGLW2LL/A iPad Air 2 9.7-Inch Retina Display

Brand Apple
Color Silver
Screen Size 9.7 inches
Hardware Platform Mac
Screen Resolution 2048×1536
Label Apple Computer
Processor 1.5 GHz None
List Price $499.00
Memory Speed 1600 MHz
Graphics Coprocessor PowerVR SGX543megapixels4
Average Battery Life (in hours) 10 hours
Operating System Apple IOS 8
Product Dimensions 0.2 x 6.6 x 9.4 inches
Item Weight 15.4 ounces
Size 16 GB

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Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 – Best Tablets Under 200

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3
Lenovo Yoga 3: Check it out on Amazon for the latest price!

With the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3, the company has priced this tablet in the affordable range for most since this tablet is priced well under $200. But don’t get fooled by the low price as the tab is loaded with amazing features such as front-facing speakers, a 64-bit quad-core processor with a 1.3 GHz frequency, Android 5.0 Lollipop and a resolution of 1280*800.

It also comes with 16GB internal storage as well as a microSD card slot if more storage space is required.

So, in this tablet Lenovo provides a great package deal of amazing performance and low price all in one!

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Best Tablets for College & School – 2016 & Prior Models

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro Tablet 12.2

-No longer recommending due to overheating issues and lack of support-

Samsung is the largest smartphone making brand in world. It is doing a superb job with tablets too. The Galaxy Note Pro is known most for its 12.2 inch screen size. This tablet includes a stylus and an array of apps to take advantage of. The 12.2 inch screen is the biggest attraction point of this tablet as you almost feel like you have a laptop screen here. The release of Microsoft Office for Android has made this tablet more viable as a replacement to a laptop. One version of this device can connect to 4G LTE but wifi is ‘the connection’ for most students anyways so this feature is redundant for students at least. You can get an add on keyboard specifically for this model by Zagg.

Image Source: Amazon.com
Image Source: Amazon.com

I have the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro as part of my work arsenal.  The stylus was the reason that I chose this tablet for school.  I’ve found that it works well when I’m on the road or busy waiting for kids to get done with what they are doing and I still have some work to do.

The above three tablets can be single handedly used as laptops. The next four tablets are best used in combination with laptops.  These tablets are good for taking notes and as electronic textbooks but are not able to do all the functions of a laptop. These tabs can be considered as good college tablets but with some limitations.

More Info on Samsung Galaxy Note Pro Tablet 12.2:

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, 32GB (Wi-Fi)

Brand Samsung
Color Black
Product Dimensions 8 x 11.6 x 0.3 inches
Item Weight 15 ounces
Battery Life Up to 13 hours
Flash Memory 32 GB
Processor 1.9 GHz Exynos 5400
Special Features Built-in Flash
Built-in Microphone
GPS capability
Integrated Card Reader
Touch Sensitive Screen
Video Recording
List Price $749.99
Operating System Android 4.4

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Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 – Best Tablets Under 300

As a student if you are finding it a pain to take in handwritten notes, then you can happily switch to this older Lenovo model which has the AnyPen feature. You can use the same pen to write your notes on the screen of a Lenovo Yoga using the stylus. With a stylus, any object which conducts electricity can be used to write as a pen onscreen and the screen renders a superb compatibility.

Image Source: Amazon.com
Lenovo Yoga 2: Check it out on Amazon for the latest price!

This is basically a Windows 8.1 tablet which can be upgraded to Windows 10. This tablet at under $250 has an 8.1 display screen with an abundant space for battery. Therefore for just one single charge this tablet runs for a day of school or college.


Lenovo Yoga 2 10-Inch Windows Tablet with Keyboard Intel Quad Core 1.86 GHz Processor, Windows 8.1

Brand Lenovo
Color Black
Screen Size 10 inches
Hardware Platform PC
Processor Intel Atom
List Price $599.00
Average Battery Life (in hours) 18 hours
Operating System Windows 8
Item Weight 3.2 pounds
Product Dimensions 13.9 x 9.9 x 3.5 inches
Flash Memory Size 32 GB

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Toshiba Encore 2

-No longer recommending as it only comes in used models-

Toshiba specifically designed this model for handwritten notes. This model has stylus and can run on Microsoft OneNote.  It also runs all other applications which are supported by Windows 8.1, including the Office suite of products.

Image Source: Amazon.comThe screen size is 8 inch and comes with a storage capacity of 64 GB. It will have additional storage capacity with its micro SD expansion slot which supports SDXC3. We’ve found this tablet for school for under $150.

Toshiba Encore More Features:

Bestseller Toshiba Encore

Operating System Windows 8.1
Brand Toshiba
Color Gold
Screen Size 8 inches
Screen Resolution 1280 x 800
List Price $150
Processor 1.4 GHz Intel Atom
Graphics Coprocessor Mobile Intel HD graphics
Item Weight 13.4 ounces
Processor Brand Intel
Flash Memory Size 32

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Asus Memo Pad 7

-No longer recommending, only available used-

Some students are on the look out for an inexpensive, useful and portable tablets for college use. This tablet can be the perfect choice for them. If you are someone that loses everything that isn’t attached to you, don’t spend a fortune on a tablet for college then! Pad 7 is the latest version of Asus Memo. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat on a 1.33 GHZ quad core Intel Atom processor. Thus when you compare  its price of $149 it really becomes a rock star.

Image Source:Amazon.com
Image Source:Amazon.com

The 16 GB internal storage can be stretched to 64GB with the help of an external micro SD card. The tablet has 7″ display screen.  You also get the advantage of text of Google which is available in almost every Android. If students need a break from studies then Google Play has movies,  music and other entertainment zones.

Asus Memo Pad 7 More Info:

ASUS MeMO Pad 7 ME170C-8G-BK 7″ 8 GB Tablet

Processor 1.2 GHz Intel Atom
Brand Asus
Color Black
7 inches
Screen Resolution 1024 x 600
Hard Drive 8 GB EMMC
Average Battery Life (in hours) 9 hours
List Price $129.00
Item Weight 9.6 ounces
Product Dimensions 4.3 x 7.6 x 0.4 inches
Processor Brand Intel
Flash Memory Size 8
Operating System Android 4.3

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You May Be Interested In: 15 Best of Best Cool Amazon iPhone 5 Cases

Apple iPad Mini 2

Apple iPad Mini2: Check it out on Amazon for the latest price!

This model isn’t the recent version from Apple but if you want an iPad which is less expensive than the newer Apple iPads discussed above, then we recommend the iPad Mini 2 (priced under $200). Some students’ requirements are fulfilled by ebook reading and web surfing. For them an iPad is a status or style requirement. This version has a display screen of 7.9″.

Though this model runs an old version of Apple, it is capable of running the latest Apple software like iOS 8.3. This tablet has both front and rear facing cameras.  You can connect this app to iTunes and app store for all the latest movies and music. It has 16GB internal storage but no external capacity and has wifi.  If required, it also offers 4G LTE connection.

Apple iPad Mini 2 More Info:

Apple iPad mini 2 w/ Retina Display 16GB, Wi-Fi

Screen Size 7.9 inches
Brand Apple
Color Silver
Screen Resolution 2048 x 1536
Hardware Platform mac
Processor 1.3 GHz
Hard Drive 16 GB
List Price Under $200
Average Battery Life (in hours) 10
Item Weight 11.7 ounces
Product Dimensions 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.3 inches
Rear Webcam Resolution 5 MP
Operating System Apple IOS 7
Size 16 GB

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Final Thoughts

The above choices are the best options currently available and the definitely are choices to consider when looking for the best tablet for college or school for you or your kids. We think of this as our Best Tablet 2015 list of what’s awesome and available now! Now think about your budget and requirements and choose the one you like best and that fits your budget. Students, you can pick the best suited one for you and what’s going on in school!

Let us know what tablet is best and your favorites from this list in the comments below!  We’d love to hear from you.

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