best tablets for college students on a budget 2020

Dario Lemut Updated on April 28, 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. Read this guide if you want to find the best laptop for taking notes.

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.

Best Tablets For College Students On A Budget 2020

1Apple iPad ProBest iPad for College9.2Check Price
2Microsoft Surface GoWith Keyboard for Typing8.4Check Price
3Samsung Galaxy Tab S4With Stylus Pen For Writing Handwritten Notes8.6Check Price
4Lenovo Yoga BookBest Budget Tablet for College7.6Check Price
5Samsung Galaxy Tab ACheapest College Tablet5.8Check Price
6Microsoft Surface Pro 6Best Windows Option8.8Check Price
7Huawei MediaPad M5 ProBest Android Option8.0Check Price
8Amazon Fire HD 10Best Tablet for Textbooks Reading7.6Check Price

1. Apple iPad Pro – Best iPad for College Students 2020

Apple iPad Pro
  • New Liquid Retina screen technology
  • Neural Engine processor
  • Face ID authentication
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Four stereo speakers
  • Lightweight design
  • A bit tricky to use as a handheld device due to its screen size

Apple has introduced some of their latest technology such as Retina Liquid display, 4 stereo speakers, and the fastest processor with Neural Engine. It’s definitely one of the fastest tablets on the market that can replace any student’s laptop and is being used mostly by medical school students who require reliability.

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Key features & details

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 the reliability and protection is the best way to go.

Hardware specifications for Apple iPad Pro
ProcessorA12X Bionic processor with Neural Engine
GraphicsA12X Fusion graphics
DisplayLiquid Retina edge-to-edge Display
Operating SystemiOS
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Weight1.39 lbs
Other FeaturesFaceID authentication, compatible with keyboard

2. Microsoft Surface Go – With Keyboard for Typing

Microsoft Surface Go
  • PixelSense high-res display
  • All-day battery life
  • Runs Windows OS smoothly
  • Fast performance
  • Versatile USB-C port
  • Very light yet powerful
  • Can overheat sometimes during heavy tasks

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 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.

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Key features & details

Windows 10 Home runs smoothly on Surface Go 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 runs smoothly and never slows you down.

Microsoft Surface Go 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 Surface Connect port that Samsung patented to offer a fast charging, no matter if you use it in tablet, laptop, or studio mode.

Surface Go 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
ProcessorIntel Pentium Gold
Storage128 GB
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 615
DisplayPixelSense Display
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home in S Mode
Battery LifeUp to 9 hours
Weight1.15 lbs 
Other Features3 usable modes, very lightweight and portable 

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 – for taking handwritten notes

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
  • A lot of storage
  • Comes in a bundle with a lot of accessories
  • Very lightweight
  • Far-field microphones
  • AMOLED display
  • Cinematic speakers
  • Microsoft Office doesn’t come free

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 offers everything a student needs, and then even some more. It features a crystally clear display, amazing audio experience, and even comes in a bundle with useful accessories to get your college year started.

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Key features & details

Galaxy Tab S4 features a clear and crisp AMOLED display that goes from corner-to-corner.

It features a 16:10 ratio that is perfect for entertainment and work, offering true cinematic experiences. Looking at the screen for hours is definitely not a problem.

This tablet comes with Dolby Atmos surrounding stereo speakers that create a cinematic sound.

No matter if you’re listening to audiobooks, podcasts, or simply watching movies or listening to music, you’ll love the sound and enjoy the experience.

What’s most important for students is something this tablet offers. Not only Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 powers up quickly, but it also charges very quickly.

The battery of an average user can last up to 16 hours, so you never have to stick to the outlet and wait.

Hardware specifications for Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
ProcessorOcta-Core, 2.35 GHz
Storage64 GB
GraphicsAdreno 540
DisplayAMOLED display
Operating SystemAndroid
Battery LifeUp to 16 hours
Weight3.65 lbs
Other FeaturesBundle full of accessories

4. Lenovo Yoga Book – Best Tablet For College Students Under Budget

Lenovo Yoga Book
  • Quality IPS display
  • 2-in-1 combination of productivity & versatility
  • Great battery life
  • One of the thinnest tablets
  • Quality build and design
  • Comes with Canadian keyboard

When you’re looking for a tablet that can do everything your old laptop can, and even more than that – Lenovo Yoga Book 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.

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Key features & details

Lenovo Yoga Book is equipped with equally powerful, or even more powerful components than some laptops.

It features Intel Atom processor in combination with 4 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 an IPS display that features a decent resolution of 19200 x 1200 pixels. For a 10″ 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 Lenovo done well hiding the IPS 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 detachable 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 Lenovo Yoga Book
ProcessorIntel Atom, 1.44 GHz, Quad-core
Storage64 GB
GraphicsIntegrated graphics
DisplayIPS display
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery LifeUp to 15 hours
Weight2 lbs
Other FeaturesDifferent modes of use, dual camera

5. Samsung Galaxy Tab A – Cheapest College Tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab A
  • Powerful performance
  • Expandable storage
  • Very compact
  • Great build quality
  • Dual camera
  • Battery life isn’t the best

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.

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Key features & details

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 128 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 official Samsung quad-core processor, 1.5 GB of RAM, and 16 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 2 MP and the rear camera is 5 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
ProcessorSamsung Quad Core processor, 1.2GHz
Storage16 GB
GraphicsIntel HD graphics
DisplayHD display
Operating SystemAndroid
Battery LifeUp to 5 hours
Weight2 lbs
Other features 

6. Microsoft Surface Pro 6 – Best Windows Option

Microsoft Surface Pro 6
  • Best Windows tablet out there
  • Powerful 8th generation Intel processor
  • Very long lasting battery life
  • Versatile design
  • Quality and durable build
  • Pen and keyboard don’t come included

If you’re looking to get the best Windows tablet for college out there – there’s no better than Microsoft Surface Pro 6. 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.

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Key features & details

Surface Pro 6 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 6 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 13.5 hours of regular use, and you might find yourself not even carrying a charger with you on days you don’t plan doing any heavy tasks.

Hardware specifications for Microsoft Surface Pro 6
ProcessorIntel i5 8250U, 1.6 GHz
Storage128GB SSD
GraphicsIntel Integrated
DisplayIPS display
Operating SystemWindows
Battery LifeUp to 13.5 hours
Weight1.7 lbs
Other featuresRemove if nothing is found

7. Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro – Best Android Option

Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro
  • Curved 2.5D display
  • High resolution
  • Great audio quality
  • Simple yet sturdy design
  • Very stylish look
  • Charges very quickly
  • Lack of ports

If you’re looking at some of the best Android tablets you could use for college, Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro is definitely the top choice. It features the most innovative curved display on a tablet, excellent sound, great build quality, and everything a student needs for college.

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Key features & details

To never miss a detail, Huawei has introduced and made a curved 2D glass display that fits well on a 10″ tablet and can reach a resolution of up to 2560 x 1600 pixels.

The screen itself offers 82% screen-to-body ratio which will let you enjoy whatever it is you’re doing.

Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro features a quad stereo speakers system that is tuned and certified by Harman.

It provides perfect 3D sound that goes well with a curved display. It’s an audio experience followed and combined with amazing video experience.

This tablet is very simple and pure, yet it’s very stylish and classy at the same time. The curved body adds elegance and it creates a design that’s remarkable for its simplicity.

On the other hand, this tablet is very sturdy and is well-built to withstand regular usage very well.

Hardware specifications for Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro
ProcessorKirin 960 processor, 2.1GHz
Storage64 GB
GraphicsMali G71
Display2D Curved Glass display
Operating SystemAndroid
Battery LifeUp to 10.5 hours
Weight1.1 lbs
Other FeaturesQuad speakers, curved body design

8. Amazon Fire HD 10 – Best Tablet for Textbooks Reading

Amazon Fire HD 10
  • Full HD display
  • Long lasting battery life
  • Alexa virtual assistant
  • Access to millions of books
  • Very robust design
  • Official Amazon Fire OS
  • WiFi connection range isn’t very far

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.

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Key features & details

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
ProcessorQuad-core, 1.3 GHZ
Storage32 GB
GraphicsIntegrated graphics
Display1080p Full HD display
Operating SystemFire OS
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Weight0.65 lbs
Other FeaturesAlexa virtual assistant

Picking The Best Tablet for College Students in 2020

1. 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.


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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.


  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
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Dario is a writer at He is at the same time an avid technology addict that loves reviewing gadgets & devices, and then writing useful reviews.

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