The best tablets for students are fantastic for getting that ideal combination of portability and power, all with a decent screen and plenty of app functionality.
Thanks to built-in cameras and audio, tablets are great both for in-class use but also for video calls and remote learning. The fact that these can be a lot more affordable than laptops is just a bonus.
A few areas you may want to think about before taking the tablet-based plunge: How big does your screen need to be versus how portable do you want this tablet? Is all day battery a must or is processing power the key? Will you need your tablet to work with a stylus pen? Can the operating system work well with your school's setup? If it's parents buying, do you need to put restrictions on the tablet?
It's a lot of points to consider so we've taken the rest of the work out of it for you by laying out the best tablets for students right now.
1. Apple iPad (2020): The best tablets for students top pick
The Apple iPad (2020) is the best tablet you can buy as a student, both for remote learning and for classroom use. Fortunately, this tablet's uses go even beyond that, making it a great investment, even if it is one of the more expensive and not newest of tablet options out there.
This is an iOS device so it has more apps than any other platform. That makes this capable as a school device that could even replace a laptop if paired with a keyboard case. The dual microphones and front-facing 1.2MP camera make it a very capable video classroom unit, ideal for remote learning.
Of course, multitasking also plays into this, if you want a document open while in a video class, for example – all of which is possible thanks to the power of that A12 Bionic processor and spacious 10.2-inch high resolution 2,160 x 1,620 Retina display.
The battery can last a full day on a charge, so this is great for use in the classroom too.
2. Samsung Tab S7 Plus: Best PC replacement tablet
The Samsung Tab S7 Plus is a tablet that students who want a PC replacement, while staying mobile, should consider. While it's primarily a touchscreen device, with a superb 12.4-inch Super AMOLED screen that boasts HDR10+ and 120Hz, this can also be paired with a keyboard, mouse, and screen thanks to its DeX smarts.
Consequently, you can output to a TV or monitor and use the tablet like a PC computer. It is still an Android-based device though, so you get access to all the apps you could want from the operating system.
For remote learning, the camera offers 8MP quality with HDR to adjust for any lighting, making it ideal even when moving from room to room – possible thanks to that 14-hour battery life. The S Pen Stylus is also a great addition for annotating and beyond. The keyboard case, which is a useful addition, is charged as an extra accessory. That said, this will pair with any Bluetooth keyboard, so that may not be a factor in your decision.
3. Amazon Fire 7: Best affordable tablet
The Amazon Fire 7 is a tablet designed for those on a budget who don't mind a simple tablet that covers the basics. The 7-inch screen isn't the highest resolution at 1,024 x 600, nor is the front-facing camera at 2MP. That said, both will do the job for video classroom work.
The Amazon Fire OS works on an Android base so there are lots of apps are available. Battery life spans just a few hours, however, the build quality is solid, so even when thrown in into a bag with a charger it should survive, although a protective case is always a good idea.
This device offers excellent parental controls, making it a good option for anyone giving this tablet to a younger student who, perhaps, needs limits on usage.
4. HP Chromebook X2: Best Chromebook tablet
The HP Chromebook X2 is, just as the name suggests, everything you could want from a Chromebook, while taking on the form of a portable tablet. As such, it is ideal for both remote learning at home and in the classroom.
This is a superb device for anyone hoping to integrate with Google systems, such as G Suite for Education, which many schools use. This is a fast and powerful option that also looks great thanks to its 12.3-inch display with high 2,400 x 1,600 resolution and 403 nits of brightness.
The leather-texture keyboard with trackpad and HP Active Pen stylus accessory are all great extras that come included with the setup. As does impressive built-in B&O Play sound and a 4.9-megapixel front-facing camera plus built-in microphones – all ideal for video lesson clarity.
This device is heavier than some tablets, but lighter than many laptops, which it can replace. The 12-hour battery life might explain the weight to some extent but then you won't need to carry a charger so that works out well.
5. Lenovo Smart Tab M8: Best for battery life
The Lenovo Smart Tab M8 is a tablet that works well at home, angling in its charging dock stand for video calls. It is also ideal for use in school due to its impressive 18-hour battery life.
Thanks to an efficient quad-core MediaTek processor that is paired with 2GB of RAM, it provides enough power for basic tasks. Combined with the 8-inch,1,280 x 800 and 350 nits brightness display, it may not be a full laptop replacement but should keep you mobile.
The Android operating system offers plenty of apps and free updates that should keep this tablet's value long after the initial price has been paid.
6. Microsoft Surface Go 2: Best Windows tablet
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a tablet but one that doubles as a Windows 10 PC thanks to the full operating system and the option of a keyboard case attachment. There is plenty of processing power due to the Intel Core m3 processor and 8GB of RAM that allows for multi-tasking, video lessons, and more, all at the same time.
The display offers a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution that, combined with the 5MP and 1080p Skype HD front-facing camera, offers a very clear video classroom experience. Battery life is good for a full day, and expect plenty of updates from Microsoft to keep the software secure and up-to-date long into the future.
7. Apple iPad Pro: Best premium tablet
The Apple iPad Pro is a really expensive option, which is a given at this top-end price. But you get what you pay for here with all the power of a laptop crammed into a svelte, strong, and super portable design. The screen is stunning, the cameras are excellent, and the power is zippy no matter which of the many, many excellent apps you're using.
With a great keyboard, superb stylus pen option and lots of other accessories available, this is a centerpiece that can be built around. Aside from the price it's tough to find any downsides to this tablet. If your school doesn't support Apple though, this may not be the best option for you, even if that iPad name is calling to you.