Best Tablets For College Students On A Budget 2020

Dario Lemut Updated on June 12, 2020
best tablet for college

If you’re a college student who’s looking to replace their laptop with a brand new tablet that will do everything a laptop can, plus additional things – you’re in the right place. Because, in this article, anyone can find the next best college tablet in 2020 here.

Tablets have many advantages over tablets and not only they’re very versatile, they’re very powerful at the same time – meaning they can be even better than most laptops today.

We’ve spent many hours gathering the information, creating a list of the best tablets any college student would benefit from, and then tested them for weeks before writing this article.

The Lineup At A Glance

Best Tablets For College Students On A Budget In 2020

Apple iPad Pro – Fastest Tablet Option

Apple IPad Pro
If you want to replace your heavy laptop to a fully functional tablet, Apple IPad Pro comes with the latest technology such as Retina Liquid Display, Fastest processor with Neural Engine. It’s one of the fastest tablets on the market and is being used mostly by medical school students who require reliability.

This iPad Pro comes with the most innovative technology that gives users a crispy clear and vivid view. The screen goes from edge to edge, which results in breathtaking views no matter if you’re reading or watching your favorite show – you’ll love every second inch of it.

In combination with ProMotion technology, everything looks gorgeous and feels responsive on this tablet.

The best thing for students is that iPad Pro can be used as a laptop, considering it to be a 2-in-1 tablet. Just attach the removable keyboard and you’re good to follow the lectures without anything slowing you down.

With its complete redesign, you will have the most versatile tablet right in your hands.

Every student needs to protect their privacy and work, and there is no better way than with the help of Face ID authentication system that Apple has in place for a long time now.

Security along with reliability and protection is the best way to go.

Hardware Specifications for Apple IPad Pro

CPU: A12X Bionic processor with Neural Engine| Graphics:A12X Fusion graphics| RAM: 8 GB RAM | Screen: 12.9-Inch Liquid Retina Display | Storage: 64GB SSD | Operating System: iOS | Battery Life: up to 10 hours | Weight: 1.39 lbs

Microsoft Surface Go 2 – With Keyboard For Typing

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Microsoft Surface Go 2
If you’re looking for a tablet that can replace your laptop and make sure you never miss a note in your class, Microsoft Surface Go 2 is the right choice. It features a high-res display that allows you to watch, type, or even draw, and an all-day battery life to keep you going when others are charging.

Windows 10 Home runs smoothly on Surface Go 2 and it even comes in an S mode which provides more security and protection to users.

Along with that, it offers better performance on tablets which makes sure that Surface Go 2 runs smoothly and never slows you down.

Microsoft Surface Go 2 offers versatility and multi-tasking ability through the USB-C port. You can use it to connect any external devices, while you won’t need to worry about charging.

Charging happens through the Surface Connect port that Samsung patented to offer fast charging, no matter if you use it in tablet, laptop, or studio mode.

Surface Go 2 is one of the lightest tablets on the market, but also one of the thinnest at the same time. It can fit in any bag and can be taken anywhere.

Along with its fast and efficient power, it can handle any work throughout the day no matter where you are.

Hardware Specifications for Microsoft Surface Go 2

CPU: Intel Core M3| Graphics:Intel HD graphics 615| RAM: 8 GB RAM | Screen: 105-Inch 1920x1280p display| Storage: 128GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 Home S Mode| Battery Life: up to 9 hours | Weight: 1.2 lbs

Lenovo Flex 14 – 2in1 Convertible Tablet

Lenovo Flex 14
If you want a literal laptop power in a tablet, Lenovo Flex 14 can suffice almost everything a college student computing needs. This 2in1 convertible tablet fits perfectly for students or first-year university students who study social specialties.

This Ryzen 5 powered tablet pc is best for college students who need a bigger screen size for note reading and note-taking.

It features a 14-inch screen size that is just perfect for studying, work, or even entertainment. Looking at the screen for hours is definitely not a problem for you.

The digital Pen enables you to write or sketch directly onto the full HD 14-inch display. Which is pretty convenient for students.

What’s most important for students is something this tablet PC offers. Lenovo Flex 14 is powerful enough to play some games and it charges for up to 80% in an hour.

The battery of an average user can last up to 10 hours so running out of juice in class is the least of your worries.

Hardware Specifications for Lenovo Flex 14

CPU: Ryzen 5 3500U processor| Graphics:AMD Radeon Vega 8| RAM: 12GB RAM | Screen: 14-Inch 1920x1080p display| Storage: 256GB| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 10 hours | Weight: 3.52 lbs

Lenovo Tab M10 HD – For Voice Recording 

Lenovo Tab M10 HD
If you already have a laptop to handle the heavy lifting and want something a little smaller and more portable to take notes during lectures, The Lenovo Tab M10 HD comes with only an 10.1-inch display.

The Lenovo Tab M10 HD sports a 32GB of built-in memory, and supports up to 2TB of microSD card. The portability of this tablet is very convenient for college students who don’t want to bring a heavy laptop at school.

The 2GB RAM is enough to run light applications that students mostly use. Backed by Dolby Audio-tuned speakers for very crisp audio, perfect for recording lectures if you got tired jotting everything down, pretty convenient for students.

Though Lenovo opted to stay on MicroUSB on this tablet, the charging time is not that long while the battery lasts for up to 13 hours of active usage, which makes Lenovo Tab M10 HD a perfect companion in school.

The built-in 3.5mm jack is perfect for those students who don’t like wireless headphones, the LCD panel will be just fine with its 1280×800 resolution in most cases. But definitely won’t hold up that much compared to other tablets on the list.

But it can do almost anything a tablet is supposed to do, so if you’re tight on a budget or just wants a secondary device. Lenovo Tab M10 HD is a great buy!

Hardware Specifications for Lenovo Tab M10 HD

CPU: Qualcomm Quad-core processor| Graphics:Integrated graphics| RAM: 2GB RAM | Screen: 10.1-Inch 1280x800p display| Storage: 32GB| Operating System: Android 9 Pie| Battery Life: up to 9 hours | Weight: 0.67 lbs

Apple iPad 10.2 – Powerful Productivity iPad

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Apple iPad 10.2
If you really want to buy an Apple tablet but does not have a big budget, the Apple iPad 10.2 is the best choice for average students who want power at the best price.

The Apple iPad 10.2 is the best choice for average students who do not want to spend too much on a tablet yet want a powerful machine to help them in school. It may not be the most powerful tablet but the incredible value is really worth it.

The Apple iPad 10.2 comes with iPadOS that gives you all the latest features you’d expect from a tablet, it also works on Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard which is perfect for students as a productivity device. It means you can do more on this tablet compared to other comparing brands. 

The metallic body adds some luxury to it aside from the protection it gives, the Retina display is just perfect for multimedia usage without putting too much stress in your eyes. The battery of this tablet strong enough to do everything you need to do without sticking near to an outlet.

Surely this tablet is powerful enough to get done every task students need to do without breaking the bank. Surely the iPad 10.2 is a great tablet for its value!

Hardware Specifications for Apple iPad 10.2

CPU: A10 Fusion chip, M10 processor| Graphics:PowerVR Series| RAM: 3GB RAM | Screen: 10.2-Inch Retina display| Storage: 32GB| Operating System: iOS| Battery Life: up to 10 hours | Weight: 1.1 lbs

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 – Writing Handwritten Notes

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Samsung Galaxy S6
Note-taking is always present in college. Do you need a table that makes it easy for you to take notes and write essays? Samsung Galaxy S6 is perfect for you, the stylus enables you to take note faster.

Samsung Galaxy S6 features an AMOLED technology for bright colors and true to life picture quality.

It comes with a keyboard and stylus that is perfect for taking notes and typing essays, surely a great tablet for students who write a lot. The stylus allows you to use gesture-based commands as well as handwritten notes.

You can choose from 128GB or 256GB of internal storage and also supports SD cards for up to 512GB, depending on your storage needs and preference. It is also LTE connected so you won’t always need a Wi-Fi connection.

The Bixby voice control enables hands-free control of this device and fingerprint scanner for security.

The battery of s6 lasts for up to 10 hours so you never have to stick to the outlet.

Hardware Specifications for Samsung Galaxy Tab 6

CPU: Snapdragon 855 processor| Graphics:Adreno 640| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 10.5-Inch 2560×1600 display| Storage: 256GB| Operating System: Android| Battery Life: up to 10 hours | Weight: 1.68 lbs

Asus Chromebook Flip C436 – Ultraportable Tablet

Asus Chromebook Flip C436
When you’re looking for a tablet that can do everything your old laptop can, and even more than that – Asus Chrombook Flip will take your experience to another level. It’s one of the thinnest tablets on the market that can be used in more than 3 ways to suit your college needs.

Asus Chromebook Flip is equipped with equally powerful, or even more powerful components than some laptops.

It features an Intel i3 processor in combination with 8 GB of RAM and plenty of storage, making it ideal for college students who need the power on a go.

The display on this tablet is a Touch display that features a decent resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. For a 14″ tablet, that’s a really great display that will allow you to keep up with anything you work on for hours.

For one of the thinnest tablets on the market right now, the screen itself is pretty thin, which means Asus has done well hiding the touch display and yet still providing a great user experience.

One of the greatest things about this tablet is that, even though it’s considered as a tablet, it’s actually a very versatile device that can allow you different modes of use.

It can be used as a tablet, a laptop with a foldable keyboard, as a drawing device, or as a book for writing, hence the name of the model.

The freedom is endless, and it’s up to your creativity and needs to decide the way you want to use it!

Hardware Specifications for Asus Chromebook Flip C436

CPU: Intel Core i3| Graphics:Intel UHD graphics| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 14-Inch 1920×1080 display| Storage: 112GB SSD| Operating System: Chrome OS| Battery Life: up to 15 hours | Weight: 2.5 lbs

Samsung Galaxy Tab A – Picture Taking Tablet

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Samsung Galaxy  Tab A
College students are most of the time looking for great deals, and if you’re on a tight budget, there’s no better tablet for college than Samsung Galaxy Tab A. It’s a tablet that is very affordable yet it features powerful components for a decent performance and it’s a digital note-taking tablet every student will love.

Even though Galaxy Tab A doesn’t come with a lot of storage space, it comes with the ability to expand the storage all the way up to 512 GB.

This is perfect for a student who’s on a budget right now but has the chance to upgrade later and improve the tablet.

Considering the price, Samsung Galaxy Tab A comes with very decent components such as the official Samsung quad-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of storage that is upgradeable.

It’s a decent configuration that will get any student going in no time.

When you can’t keep up with the lecture held by quick teachers, a dual camera will be useful. The front-facing camera is 8 MP and the rear camera is 40 MP which is a great quality for a tablet.

You will be able to take photos of the college board in no time, with precise quality.

Hardware Specifications for Samsung Galaxy Tab A

CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 425| Graphics:Integrated graphics| RAM: 2GB RAM | Screen: 8-Inch 1280×800 display| Storage: 32GB| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 13 hours | Weight: 0.76 lbs

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – Fastest Intel Processor

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Microsoft Surface Pro 7
If you’re looking to get the best Windows tablet for college out there – there’s no better than Microsoft Surface Pro 7. It features one of the fastest Intel processors, most versatile design, and the lightest body ever. Combined with all-day battery life, your college will be way easier.

Surface Pro 7 is one of the tablets that can easily replace a laptop and improve your productivity in college thanks to its versatility.

This tablet can be used as a tablet, laptop, or even a studio, increasing the multi-tasking abilities and letting you get the best out of the tablet itself.

Even though this tablet is ultra-slim and weighing only 1.70 pounds, it features one of the best configurations that Windows tablets come with.

Surface Pro 7 is powered by an Intel i5 processor, 128 GB SSD storage, and 8 GB of RAM, which is far better than even some of the laptops today.

You won’t have a problem handling even the heaviest tasks in college.

To get the most out of such powerful and classy tablet, ultra-slim yet long-lasting battery that can keep the tablet up and running all day.

It can last up to 10.5 hours of regular use, and you might find yourself not even carrying a charger with you on days you don’t plan to do any heavy tasks.

Hardware Specifications for Microsoft Surface Pro 7

CPU: Intel i5 10th-Gen| Graphics:Integrated graphics| RAM: 8GB SDRAM | Screen: 12.3-Inch 2736×1824 display| Storage: 128GB| Operating System: Windows 10 Home| Battery Life: up to 10.5 hours | Weight: 1.7 lbs

Amazon Fire HD 10 – Virtual Library Tablet

Amazon Fire HD 10
If you’re looking to replace all your books with a tablet, Amazon Fire HD 10 makes it very possible. It’s a powerful tablet with access to millions of books and help from the Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. Combination of a brilliant HD display and a powerful configuration will keep you going for many hours.

Fire HD 10 features a full HD display, a quad-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and battery life that lasts up to 10 hours.

That’s almost everything a student needs, of course, with direct access to the books market.

What every student needs is a bit of help from time to time, and Alexa offers exactly that.

Alexa virtual assistant offers a hands-free mode to control the tablet with only your voice, from music to searching the web and everything else.

Thanks to Amazon’s Fire OS, you get direct access to millions of eBooks and audiobooks available through Amazon.

Replacing almost all your college literature and books is simpler than you think it is. Yet, it’s a tablet that will make word processing a breeze.

Hardware Specifications for Amazon Fire HD 10
CPU: Quad-core| Graphics:Integrated graphics| RAM: 1MB RAM | Screen: 10.1-Inch 1080 full display| Storage: 32GB| Operating System: Fire OS| Battery Life: up to 10 weeks | Weight: 0.65 lbs

Picking The Best Tablet for College Students in 2020

Form / Design

Students require a tablet that is easy to carry and handle, even when there’s no space. Therefore, getting a tablet that is compact will offer students more time to focus on more important things.

design

Form and design won’t only give a better comfort to tablet users, but it connects a number of benefits such as travel ability, compatibility, versatility, and many others.

The lighter and thinner tablet is – the better versatility and less hassle it will offer to a student.
Battery Life

When you’re looking to squeeze more work into your schedule and don’t want to be slowed down by a weak battery or a charger, make sure to choose a tablet that comes with decent battery life.

With the technology, we have nowadays, batteries are thinner than ever and yet stronger than ever.

Therefore, they can have a super long lifespan on a single charge which is perfect for every student who doesn’t want to worry about finding the outlets, carrying a charger – yet just about taking care of the college work.

Keyboard

If you aren’t planning to get an external keyboard, making sure that the on-screen keyboard is sized decently and is optimized for typing will save you from many hours of regretting your choice.

Getting a tablet with a great keyboard is important for students who tend to take a lot of notes during lectures, but also require a quality keyboard to be able to take care of their work constantly.

The most popular tablets come with 2-in-1 keyboards that can be either attached or detached from a tablet in order to suit different needs and situations. Getting a tablet that comes with (or can additionally come with) a keyboard is something every student should look into.

Connectivity

As a college student, it’s most likely you’ll be required to connect some of your other devices to your tablet. To do so, you’ll need to look into tablets that are very versatile and come with either a universal connecting port or many different ports that will suit your devices.

Most tablets today come with ports that use universal connectivity in order to allow users to connect as many external devices as necessary.

Even though tablets are thinner than laptops and might not have as many ports, they’re equally good at connecting external devices. It’s something every student will require, at least a few times, if not almost every day.

Performance

Just like laptops, tablets are optimized for performance, along with their ability to be much more portable. Looking for performance in a tablet should be like any other device, including laptops.

Tablets can be even better than most laptops thanks to the most modern technology we have nowadays. This leaves students with more versatile, yet even more powerful devices that will help them get their work done in no time, without any delays or problems.

Therefore, all students need is a tablet with a great configuration that can handle everything they put upon him.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a tablet for online classes?

Unless your work requires a lot of typing and multitasking, you can use tablets for online classes as long as you have an internet connection available. Tablets are designed for more portable use and taking up an online class needs a portable machine to be able to freely move around while still engaging in class.

Internet connection is needed in order to access the lessons and everything your online class needs to be able to conduct an online class.

Can I take notes on a tablet?

Definitely yes, what matters is that what kind of tablet lets you take a note easier. A tablet with a virtual keyboard may not be the wise choice for a virtual keyboard are not that efficient in speed typing.

There are tablets that support external keyboards and stylus, typing on external keyboards are faster than virtual ones and more accurate. While stylus lets you take notes like you are writing in a paper, which makes it an ideal feature for a tablet if you take notes a lot. You can check out our article on the best tablet for note-taking.

What is the best iPad for a college student?

The best iPad for a college student is the Apple iPad Pro because It’s incredibly fast and gives a crispy clear and vivid view, a feature that every student needs. And the good thing about iPad Pro is that it can be used as a laptop, just attached the removable keyboard and your set!

Apple iPad Pro lets you work on your studies without straining your eyes, thanks to its Retina Liquid Display. The Face ID authentication adds up to your privacy as a student.

Is a tablet or laptop better for college students? 

As a college student, you may have long essays and extensive software applications needed in your studies. A laptop can do everything a tablet can but not vice versa. So, you may opt to stick to laptop computers in order to get things done faster.

While it is tempting to go on the tablet, a laptop can do more for you as a student. The only big advantage of a tablet is that they’re very light and convenient but your work done will have limitations, unlike laptops that could get you to start and finish your work in just one device. In tablets, you still may need a finishing touch from laptop or desktop/

But if you have some money to spare, why not have both and be productive as much as you can.

Resources

  1. Katie Holdefehr, Why You Should Bring a Tablet to College, Real Simple, 8th Aug, 2018
  2. Jack Schofield, Is a tablet or 2-in-1 laptop with a stylus useful for a student?, The Guardian, 20th Sep, 2018
Dario Lemut
Article by:
Dario is a writer at NetbookNews.com. He is at the same time an avid technology addict that loves reviewing gadgets & devices, and then writing useful reviews.

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