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Best Tablets for College – Top 12+ for Note Taking & Entertainment

There are a ton of options when it comes to tablets. But when you are about to go to college and looking for the best tablets for college students, the parameters change.

When you need a tablet for college, you need something lightweight, quite affordable and that will last a few years. Also, it’s important to be able to easily take notes and to comfortably read for hours.

Most college students don’t need powerful hardware, but some apps may require you to have a relatively powerful tablet that can run demanding software.

If you’re on a fixed budget, I would recommend you to read our articles on the best tablets under $400, $300, $200 and $100. Otherwise, keep reading to see our Top 12+ best tablets for college.

Our Top 3 Picks

#1 – Microsoft Surface Pro 4#2 – Lenovo Yoga Book (Windows)#3 – Samsung Galaxy Tab A
Microsoft Surface 4Lenovo Yoga BookSamsung Galaxy Tab A
12" Hybrid with Solid Design and Specs
Versatile Windows 10 Tablet
Affordable All-Around Great 10-inch
12″ QHD10.1″ HD10.1″ HD
Intel m3 with 4 GB of RAMIntel Atom with 4 GB of RAMSamsung Exynos 7870 with 2 GB of RAM
128 GB SSD64 GB16 GB
Up to 9 hoursUp to 15 hoursUp to 14 hours

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What to expect from the best tablets for college?

All the tablets I listed here are of good quality. Of course, some are better than others, but all of them will last you through college.

I gave priority to tablets that are more versatile and that offered an easy way to take notes. Then, price was of course a factor and display quality as well.

Price

For a good college tablet, you can find something at any price. Expect to pay between $250 to $600 for a great one, the average being around $300 to $400 for a 10-inch tablet for college.

At those prices, you’ll get a great display, a solid & portable tablet and enough power to enjoy the occasional game and movie.

If you are on a tighter budget, opt for a smaller tablet. You can find good ones between $100 and $200.

Quality and Casing

While the quality and material of the tablet depend greatly on the price you pay, for a college student, a well-built device is what we recommend to make it last a few years.

A lightweight tablet is also recommended since you’ll have it on you most of the time. For a tablet with a keyboard, expect about 1.5 pounds. Without one, you’ll have a product that weighs less than 1 lbs.

Display

Most tablets I recommend will have a 10-inch display, but you can also opt for an 8-inch if you want something more portable and cheaper.

More expensive 12-inch tablets are also available. They are usually more powerful and come with keyboards, which makes them closer to a full-working laptop.

A good tablet for college should have a bright display with at least a 720p screen resolution, but the best ones now come with an ultra-HD resolution.

Performance

College goers will have different performance requirements and can choose from many different processors (Intel Atom, MediaTek, Apple A10 Fusion, Qualcomm Snapdragon, etc.).

All these chipsets, paired with 1-4 GB of RAM, provide adequate performance for note taking, browsing and watching movies.

For more demanding software, go with the more expensive tablets with 3 or 4 GB of RAM, they’ll provide better performance for those apps.

Audio

The Audio quality of a tablet should not be your first criteria when looking for the best tablets for College. But, if it’s important to you, know that the audio quality varies quite a lot from product to product.

Apple, Asus and Samsung tablets usually offer the best audio in the business.

Camera

A good camera can help you to take notes quickly. Just point your camera at the board and snap the picture.

Expect your tablet to offer decent quality rear and front-facing cameras, but your phone is probably going to be a better option to capture college memories.

Software

You have multiples choices when it comes to operating systems. If you want to run computer software and use the tablet for programming needs, a Windows tablet will be a better choice. For anything else, iOS and Android should do the trick.

Other Aspects

Other aspects to consider for your college tablet include storage and battery life.

A college student requires lots of storage and thankfully, most of the tablets come with a micro SD card slot for memory expansion. Battery life also is an essential aspect for any tablet and it’s even more important for college students as it should last at least 8 hours on a single charge. All tablets here fit this criterion.

Recommended for you:

Specs for the Top 12 Best Tablets for College

Graphics8, 10 & 12-inch
ProcessorIntel Atom, Intel m3, Qualcomm Snapdragon, A10 Fusion and similar
RAM2 to 4 GB
Storage16 to 128 GB
CamerasFront: 2 to 7 MP
Back: 5 to 13 MP
Battery life8 to 12 hours
OSWindows 10, Android to 7, iOS 9
Dimensions / WeightHeight: 7.82, to 11.5″
Width: 4.8 to 7.9″
Thick.: 0.2 to 0.38″
Weight: 0.58 to 1.74 lbs
Price Range $$$, $$$$, $$$$$

Top 12 Best Tablets for College

1 – Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – 12″ QHD

Microsoft Surface 4

“12" Hybrid with Solid Design and Specs”

Microsoft has nailed the premium 2-in-1 segment with its Surface Pro series, and this version is even better. The 12″ QHD screen is as sharp & vivid as it can get and feels solid in hands.

This tablet can handle any and all of the Windows applications as it runs on Windows 10 backed by an Intel m3 processor and 4 GB of RAM. That’s a lot of power for a tablet! If you want something even more powerful, go for the i5 version.

The Surface Pro 4 comes with quite a lot of storage at 128 GB, and a pretty good battery life. The rear and front-facing camera units are better than most of its competitors, while the audio loud & clear.

Both the comfortable keyboard and the pressure-sensitive S Pen (sold separately) makes the Surface Pro an ever better tablet for college.

If you don’t have budget constraints, it’s is an ideal tablet for college students.

Pros

  • Excellent Display
  • Well-built and Premium Quality
  • Improved Type Cover and Surface Pen
  • Good Battery Life
Cons

  • Steep Price
  • Keyboard Cover Sold Separately

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Graphics12″ QHD touchscreen (2736 x 1824)
PerformanceIntel m3 with 4 GB of RAM
Storage128 GB SSD
CamerasFront: 5 MP / Rear: 8 MP
Battery lifeUp to 9 hours
OSWindows 10
Dimensions / Weight11.5″ x 7.9″ x 0.33″ / 1.73 lbs
Colors Avail.Grey
Price Range

$$$$$
Other similar versions (prices may vary)

Microsoft Surface 4 Intel i5 + 4 GB RAM

2 – Lenovo Yoga Book (Windows) – 10″ HD

Lenovo Yoga Book

“Versatile Windows 10 Tablet”

The Lenovo Yoga Book is not your regular Windows tablet, as it comes with a unique and practical design. This 10-inch tablet has a touch & type keyboard that can be turned off and used as a canvas. This is great if you are a student of digital art.

The 10-1-inch full HD display is sharp and offers adequate details for digital work. Under the hood, an Intel Atom processor paired with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage powers the device. All that power, while the excellent 12-14 hours of battery life keeps the lights on for a whole day.

On the audio side, it’s decent, but nothing to boast about. Enough for comfortably watching movies and definitely better than some tablets, but some competitors are doing better. The cameras give the same average impression.

The Yoga Book is a well-built device that looks good and feels premium in hand, except for the fact that the screen wobbles a bit in the laptop mode if you touch the display. It weighs around 1.52 lbs and is quite slim, which makes it very portable for a tablet with a keyboard.

Pros

  • Windows 10 Home
  • Sharp Display
  • Good Performance
  • Great input from the Stylus & Well-made Keyboard
Cons

  • No Full USB supports
  • Display wobbles when in Laptop mode
  • Not a great trackpad

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Graphics10.1″ HD screen (1920 x 1200)
PerformanceIntel Atom with 4 GB of RAM
Storage64 GB
CamerasFront: 2 MP / Rear: 8 MP
Battery lifeUp to 15 hours
OSWindows 10
Dimensions / Weight10.1″ x 6.72″ x 0.38″ / 1.52 lbs
Colors Avail.Black, White
Price Range

$$$
Other similar versions (prices may vary)

Lenovo Yoga BookAndroid Version: Intel Atom + 4 GB RAM

3 – Samsung Galaxy Tab A – 10″ HD

Samsung Galaxy Tab A

“Affordable All-Around Great 10-inch”

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A is an exceptional device for the price. If I had to cherry pick the bad bits in this tablet, I would talk about the lousy button placement and the lack of tablet-optimization apps. But apart from that, the Galaxy Tab A scores above average in all the departments.

The 10.1 full HD resolution display is good, and the great audio quality is even better, making the tablet ideal for media streaming.

The plastic body of the tablet feels sturdy and it’s powered with a Samsung Exynos processor and 2 GB of RAM. This enough power to run most of the Android apps without any issues. The camera quality is also better than other tablets in the price range and, with 14 hours of battery life, it’s much better than average.

Definitely a great value tablet by Samsung.

Pros

  • Good Display & Audio
  • Long Battery Life
  • Nice Build
  • Rear Camera takes good pictures
Cons

  • Bad Button Placement

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Graphics10.1″ HD screen (1920 x 1200)
PerformanceSamsung Exynos 7870 with 2 GB of RAM
Storage16 GB
CamerasFront: 2 MP / Rear: 8 MP
Battery lifeUp to 14 hours
OSAndroid 6
Dimensions / Weight10″ x 6.11″ x 0.32″ / 1.16 lbs
Colors Avail.Black, White
Price Range

$$$
Other similar versions (prices may vary)

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8-inch non-HD

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4 – Samsung Galaxy Book – 10″ HD

Samsung Galaxy Book

“An excellent alternative to Microsoft Surface Pro 4”

Resembling the design of Microsoft Surface Pro 4, the Galaxy Book is a 10.6-inch tablet that comes with a type cover. Samsung did a good job offering an excellent Full HD display with great brightness, even in outdoor conditions.

Under the hood, it is powered by the same m3 Intel processor that powers the Surface Pro 4, and with 4 GB of RAM, it can run any Windows 10 application with ease. With 128 GB of SSD storage, space is adequate to store your multimedia contents, as well as your pictures, clicked with a 5 MP front-facing camera. The S Pen offered precise inputs and worked great in our testing.

The audio quality, keyboard, and performance are great, if not excellent. But for that price, we didn’t expect less.

When looking for a tablet for college, you should definitely consider the Galaxy Book, if you can afford the steep price tag.

Pros

  • Good Performance
  • Great Display
  • Keyboard & Pen included
  • Windows 10
Cons

  • Steep Price

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Graphics10.6″ HD screen (1920 x 1280)
PerformanceIntel m3 with 4 GB of RAM
Storage128 GB
CamerasFront: 5 MP / No Back Camera
Battery lifeUp to 9 hours
OSWindows 10
Dimensions / Weight10.28″ x 7.05″ x 0.35″ / 1.42 lbs
Colors Avail.Silver
Price Range

$$$$$
Other similar versions (prices may vary)

Samsung Galaxy Bookpowerful but expensive: Intel i5 + 8 GB RAM

5 – Apple iPad – 10″ HD

Apple iPad 10-inch

“10-inch Apple device with a premium build quality and balanced performance”

Apple iPad 10 needs no introduction and is among the top contender when it comes to the best tablet for college students. Offering the typical Apple premium design and build quality, the iPad comes with a 9.7-inch retina display which is as good as it can get on a tablet, with sharp contrast and excellent color accuracy.

While the front-facing camera does not impress one bit (it doesn’t have one!), the rear camera unit can capture decent quality pictures. Under the hood, it packs an A10 Fusion chipset with 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage offering good performance.

The iOS is fast and fluid, the fingerprint sensor is accurate, and the battery can last up to 10 hours of continuous use. It also comes in three colors and weighs 1 pound which is decent for the size.

Pros

  • Premium Looking High Standard Build
  • Smooth Performance
  • Good Battery Backup
  • Finger Print Sensor
Cons

  • More expensive than competition

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Graphics9.7″ HD screen (2048 x 1536)
PerformanceA10 Fusion with 2 GB of RAM
Storage32 GB
CamerasNo Front Camera / Rear: 8 MP
Battery lifeUp to 10 hours
OSiOS 11
Dimensions / Weight9.4″ x 6.6″ x 0.29″ / 1.05 lbs
Colors Avail.Silver, Gold, Grey
Price Range

$$$$
Other similar versions (prices may vary)

Apple iPad Pro Apple iPad Pro, Apple iPad 10-inchwith 128 GB

6 – Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 – 10″ HD

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

“10-inch Tablet with Excellent display and Good Performance”

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is a what we call an all-rounder, offering one of the most balanced products for the price. Galaxy Tab S3 is a well-built, solid plastic tablet that offers a good grip in hand.

The 9.7-inch Super AMOLED full HD display is bright & vivid and is one of the best in the category. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.2GHz processor paired with 4 GB of RAM, the tablet performs well, even under heavy load. The 32 GB of onboard storage is supported by a Micro SD card slot for memory expansion.

It comes with a responsive stylus and, if you want to comfortably take notes, there’s also a good keyboard / cover available (sold separately).

For a college student, the battery life will last up to 10 hours of moderate usage. The speakers on the tablet are loud and clear while the 13 MP rear camera unit can capture good quality pictures.

Pros

  • Great Display
  • Great Performance
  • Good Battery Life
  • Samsung keyboard available ($)
Cons

  • Battery drains when connected to the external devices
  • The device heats up a bit when under heavy use

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Graphics9.7″ HD screen (2048 x 1536)
PerformanceQualcomm APQ8096 with 4 GB of RAM
Storage32 GB
CamerasNo Front Camera / Rear: 13 MP
Battery lifeUp to 12 hours
OSAndroid 7
Dimensions / Weight9.34″ x 6.65″ x 0.24″ / 0.95 lbs
Colors Avail.Black, Silver
Price Range

$$$$$

# 7 to 12 Best Tablets for College

7 – Asus ZenPad 3S 10 – 10″ HD

Asus ZenPad 3S 10

“Affordable Android Tablet with Good Display and Audio”

The Asus ZenPad 3S is a premium looking tablet with a solid build quality. The rubberized back of the tablet feels premium while offering a good grip. If you can compromise with the average camera and battery performance, the Zenpad 3S is an affordable, good 10" tablet for college students.

The 9.7-inch full 2K resolution display is crisp and offers excellent viewability. It’s light and thin, and portability is not an issue with its 0.94 lbs shell. Asus has packed this tablet with a MediaTek dual-core processor, along with 4 GB of RAM. The ZenPad 3S can handle browsing, video streaming and word processing without any lag or slowdown.

The 64 GB onboard storage is further expandable using the Micro SD card slot. Apart from the excellent display, the ZenPad 3S also offers great audio output making it an ideal device for media consumption.

Pros

  • Excellent Display
  • Premium Thin & Light Design
  • Great Audio
Cons

  • Doesn’t make the best pictures
  • Average Battery Life

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Graphics9.7″ HD screen (2048 x 1536)
PerformanceMTK MT8176 Dual-Core with 4 GB of RAM
Storage64 GB
CamerasFront: 5 MP / Rear: 8 MP
Battery lifeUp to 10 hours
OSAndroid 6
Dimensions / Weight9.45″ x 6.44″ x 0.22″ / 0.94 lbs
Colors Avail.Silver
Price Range

$$$
Other similar versions (prices may vary)

Asus ZenPad 3S 10 10-inch HD

8 – Asus Transformer Mini T102HA – 10″

Asus Transformer Mini T102HA

“Well-Built Windows 10 Hybrid at the Right Price”

The Asus Transformer Mini is a premium looking device with its curved edges and an aluminum body shell that looks stunning in person. It is a Windows 10 hybrid, so it can be used as a tablet as well as a laptop when the keyboard dock is attached.

The 10.1-inch HD display is excellent and gets adequately bright. The keyboard, although a bit cramped for large hands, offers typing experience that’s not bad at all. It is powered by an Intel Atom processor paired with 4 GB of RAM, running Windows 10 quite smoothly.

This tablet is a good choice for anyone looking for a 2-in-1 Windows machine for media consumption and word processing as it offers good battery life and loud speakers.

Pros

  • Well-built
  • Good Display
  • Good Battery Life
  • Windows 10
Cons

  • Average performance

Buy on Amazon.com

Graphics10.1″ touchscreen (1280 x 800)
PerformanceIntel Atom with 4 GB of RAM
Storage128 GB eMMC
CamerasFront: 2 MP / No Back Camera
Battery lifeUp to 11 hours
OSWindows 10
Dimensions / Weight10.2″ x 6.7″ x 0.32″ / 1.74 lbs
Colors Avail.Silver, White & Orange
Price Range

$$$$

9 – Asus ZenPad S8 – 8″ HD

Asus ZenPad S8

“Good 8" Tablet with Premium Build Quality and Performance”

This 8-inch tablet carries forward the legacy of the well-built & premium-looking Asus Zen series with a soft-touch back, and aluminum work on the side of the tablet.

The 8-inch 2K touch screen doesn’t disappoint with its adequately bright output and good color accuracy. Powered by an Intel Atom processor and 2 GB of RAM, the tablet Asus ZenPad S8 can handle casual games and video streaming without any lag. The browsing sessions are smooth, and note apps work great.

The battery life on the ZenPad S8 is average, so are the 2 MP front and 5 MP rear cameras. At 0.7 lbs, it’s lightweight, and you won’t feel its presence in your backpack.

Pros

  • Good Display
  • Solid Chassis
  • Good Performance
Cons

  • Battery Life on the Low Side
  • Average cameras

Buy on Amazon.com

Graphics8″ HD screen (2048 x 1536)
PerformanceIntel Atom Z3530 with 2 GB of RAM
Storage32 GB
CamerasFront: 2 MP / Rear: 5 MP
Battery lifeUp to 8 hours
OSAndroid 5.0 Lollipop
Dimensions / Weight8″ x 5.3″ x 0.27″ / 0.7 lbs
Colors Avail.Black, White
Price Range

$$

10 – Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 – 8″ HD

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

“8" Tablet with Small Form Factor, Good Performance, and Quality Display”

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is a decent option for those looking for an affordable Android tablet. The tablet feels well-built and weighs around 0.6 lbs thanks to its small form factor.

The 8-inch 2K resolution display is a treat to the eyes and it’s equipped with an Octa-core CPU paired with 3 GB of RAM. The performance is solid for the price, and we did not notice any lang during the browsing or video streaming sessions.

Samsung has equipped this tablet with 32 GB of internal storage, a 2 MP front-facing & 8-MP rear camera and it runs on Android 6.0 out of the box. While the storage can be increased with a Micro SD slot, which is a plus, the audio and battery life are on the average side.

Pros

  • Good Display
  • Good Performance
  • Good Build
Cons

  • Average Battery Life
  • Average Audio

Buy on NewEgg.com
Check current price on Amazon.com

Graphics8″ HD screen (2048 x 1536)
PerformanceOcta-core APQ8076 with 3 GB of RAM
Storage32 GB
CamerasFront: 2 MP / Rear: 8 MP
Battery lifeUp to 10 hours
OSAndroid 6
Dimensions / Weight7.82″ x 5.31″ x 0.22″ / 0.58 lbs
Colors Avail.Black, White, Gold
Price Range

$$$$
Other similar versions (prices may vary)

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 10-inch HD

11 – Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus – 8″ HD

Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus

“Affordable 8-inch with Good Performance”

The Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus is an 8-inch tablet made of plastic but that feels solid in hand. While it may not look as premium as other tablets in this list, it can certainly survive a few low heights accidental drops.

It’s a good choice for watching multimedia content since the Full HD display is bright and the dual front speakers are loud and clear.

The Tab 4 8 Plus is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon Octa-core processor along with 4 GB of RAM. The performance remained lag free when we tested the tablet with heavy games.

The battery life is average and the storage is limited at 16 GB, but the micro SD card slot in the device makes up for it. The Tab 4 8 Plus is a very good affordable 8-inch tablet for college students.

Pros

  • Bright Display
  • Good Performance
  • Solid Build Quality
Cons

  • Average battery life

Buy on NewEgg.com

Graphics8″ HD screen (1920 x 1200)
PerformanceQualcomm Snapdragon MSM8953 with 4 GB of RAM
Storage16 GB
CamerasFront: 5 MP / Rear: 8 MP
Battery lifeUp to 10 hours
OSAndroid 7
Dimensions / Weight8.3″ x 4.8″ x 0.3″ / 0.68 lbs
Colors Avail.Black
Price Range

$$$
Other similar versions (prices may vary)

Lenovo Tab 4 10 Plus 10-inch HD, Lenovo Tab 4 8cheaper version: Lenovo Tab 4 8

12 – Apple iPad Mini 4 – 8″ HD

Apple iPad Mini 4

“8-inch iPad with Excellent Display and Battery Life”

The Apple iPad Mini 4 is an 8-inch tablet that looks premium with a smooth aluminum finish at the back. The fingerprint at the front works well, but it misses out on 3D touch.

The 8-inch Retina display is excellent and gets adequately bright offering good readability, even under direct sunlight. The battery life is good, but it is equipped with an old Apple A8 chipset, paired with 2 GB of RAM. While the tablet can handle most of the apps easily and works great with all the streaming services, the latest games and heavy apps may not work as it does on the latest iPad models.

The Apple iPad mini is still a good choice with 128 GB of internal storage, a good battery life and premium look, but for the price, there are other options if you are not explicitly looking for an iOS device.

Pros

  • Retina Display is Excellent
  • Good Battery Life
  • Premium Look and Durable
  • Lots of Space
Cons

  • Old Processor
  • Missing 3D Touch

Buy on Amazon.com

Graphics7.9″ HD screen (2048 x 1536)
PerformanceApple A8 Chip with 2 GB of RAM
Storage128 GB
CamerasNo Front Camera / Rear: 8 MP
Battery lifeUp to 10 hours
OSiOS 9
Dimensions / Weight8″ x 5.31″ x 0.24″ / 0.65 lbs
Colors Avail.Silver, Gold, Grey
Price Range

$$$$

About Erik

Erik
Erik is the owner and main editor of techmanik.com. He has been working in computers and information technology for more than 20 years. He’s a business analyst, developer and avid traveler.

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