The best tablets for students can make remote learning, as well as classroom study, easy and more rich. Having quick access to online resources, a way to read and edit documents, and a camera-display combination for video classes, are just a few of the uses a tablet can offer students.
But which is best? Picking one for students means taking into account a few needs. Will this be a laptop replacement or a supplementary device? Does it need to be super portable or are processing power and screen size more important? What operating system is best to suit the school systems but also allow it to be used outside of school? Do parents need to put restrictions on the tablet?
Lots to consider then. But fret not, we've done most of the work for you. Testing and vetting out the best of the best, we've narrowed down a list of the very best tablets for students, each listed with its special talent to help make picking yours as easy as possible.
1. Apple iPad (2020): The best tablet overall
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 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, making this great for use back 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 basic 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 that means lots of apps are available. Battery life spans just a few hours but 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 use back in class.
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 1920 x 1080 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.