Content of the material
- Samsung Galaxy S Pen Pro
- Samsung Note 20 Replacement S Pen
- Best cheap tablets for students
- 10. iPad 9 – Best Budget Tablet For School
- Upgraded Chipset
- Pros 👍
- Cons 👎
- 7. Microsoft Surface Pro X
- High performance and Good Graphics Quality
- Useful Design
- The new Ports
- Specification 🔧
- Pros 👍
- Cons 👎
- Who are the best tablet makers?
- How to choose the best tablet for you
- The Top Tablets (for Now)
- 5. Apple iPad Mini 5 (2019)
- 2. iPad 8
- What Size Tablet Do You Need?
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- What makes a good stylus?
- Does anything work as a stylus?
- How long does a stylus last?
- Do stylus pens work on all devices?
- Editors' Recommendations
Samsung Galaxy S Pen Pro
Samsung’s latest foray into the world of writing tech for its phones and tablets is a smashing success. The S Pen Pro connects to a wide range of Galaxy devices and tablets and some Samsung laptops. Charging via USB C, the S Pen Pro touts a generous 16-day battery life. You can even locate it using Samsung’s SmartThings app.
Samsung Note 20 Replacement S Pen
This is the replacement pen you should get for a replacement or extra S Pen to use with the old Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra models.
Best cheap tablets for students
Many premium tablets cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, meaning that slates like a max-specced Apple iPad Pro is out of reach for many students and young professionals.
The truth is, though, unless serious power is needed for things like 4K video editing, then this level of premium slate really isn’t required for most users.
Students do need a tablet that has good hardware, though, as many have serious studying and creative projects to undertake. And for this you need a sweet middle ground between an entry level slate and a premium one.
As such, we consider the best tablets for students to be:
1. Apple iPad Air
2. Samsung Tab S5e
3. Microsoft Surface Go
4. Amazon Fire HD 10
5. Huawei MatePad
Smooth, modern interface makes reading a breeze.
Content partnerships with major publishers.
Offline reading modes.
Mute publications, topics, and hashtags from appearing in your feedd.
What We Don’t Like Articles behind a paywall trigger the paywall option only after clicking the article to read it. Coverage of trending stories may be repetitive. Ads appear between stories and is hard to discern.Our review of Flipboard
Flipboard is a news reader app where you can create your own virtual magazine. Simply choose interests to have it find related articles for you or add in your favorite site RSS and social media feeds to it. Flipboard displays everything in an easy to read manner while making it easy to share the stories back on your social media feeds too. While it's great on a smartphone, it's even better on a tablet as you can take advantage of the larger screen size.Download Flipboard
App is free.
Offers suggestions of feeds based on topics you're interested in.
Syncs between desktop and mobile versions.
What We Don’t Like Searching in the free version of the app only looks at titles and URLs. Bulk tagging of articles must be done manually (you cannot select all articles at once).
Pocket is a free save-for-later online reading app that lets you curate your own news feed. Save stories, articles, news, videos, and more, from any publisher or app on your tablet. Use the tablet app to read all the articles you didn't have time to read previously.Download Pocket
10. iPad 9 – Best Budget Tablet For SchoolCheck Price on Amazon
Although it majorly looks indistinguishable from its predecessor, the iPad 10.2, also known as the 9th Gen iPad, definitely doesn’t shy in being listed as a promising choice for those college students who’re are willing to get into the Apple ecosystem. From the 10.2-inch retina IPS LCD to the support for smart keyboard and Apple Pencil, the device can help students greatly.
Sadly, however, you’ll be limited to use the 1st Gen Apple Pencil. with that being said, it will be essential for you to adjust your content requirement accordingly.
With every new iPad, Apple doesn’t miss upgrading the SoC, and the scenes are no different with the 2021 release. The chipset of the 9th Gen iPad gets an upgrade from the A12 Bionic to the A13 Bionic. Undoubtedly it would have been a step better if the iPad series saw at least an upgrade to the A14 Bionic chipset was introduced to the iPad series, still considering the ability to render the mid-level activities of college students like media consumption, web surfing, and reading, the device won’t let you down.
However, if you’re after an overall performer and ready to spend a bit on the expensive end, nothing can beat the iPad Pro 2021.
- OS: iPadOS 15
- Processor: Apple A13 Bionic Hexa-core (2×2.65 GHz Lightning + 4×1.8 GHz Thunder)
- Storage: 64GB up to 256GB
- Camera: Back – 8 MP, f/2.4, 31mm (standard), 1.12µm, AF, Front – 12 MP, f/2.4, 122˚ (ultrawide)
- Graphics: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
- Display: 10.2 inches Retina IPS LCD
- Resolution: 1620 x 2160 pixels
- Size: 9.87 x 6.85 x 0.30 in
- Weight: 1.07 lbs
- Port: Lightning USB 2.0
- Battery: up to 10 hours
- Solid performance improvements
- Support for smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil
- Center stage camera
- Design is pretty much the same
- Although it supports Apple Pencil but is limited to the 1st Gen
- No USB-C (iPad still uses lightning connector)
7. Microsoft Surface Pro X
Check Price on Amazon
This is truly a powerful device that helped it to become one of the best tablets for college. This 2-in-1 device comes with a great advantage which is that it is being powered by a processor designed by the ARM architecture. In all fairness, there have been some complaints from reviewers and customers that 32-bit apps sometimes don’t run properly and some performance issues. A lot of people have chosen Microsoft Surface Pro 7 over Microsoft Surface Pro X, we have to agree with them. We believe you get far more for your money with the Pro 7. If you’re a dynamic person jumping from one task to another, Surface Pro X will just slow you down. Especially with apps like Photoshop.
Surface Pro X is great to look at, amazing design, but it just doesn’t beat Surface Pro 7. If your studies don’t require you demanding apps, like Photoshop, Lightroom, video editing apps, it’s a good pick.
Some of the other features are:
High performance and Good Graphics Quality
The major difference which is seen in this device is that it does not have Intel CPU like its predecessor. So with this, you will get a custom-made CPU developed by the brand with Qualcomm, Microsoft SQ1. This chip, as mentioned above, is designed on the basis of ARM and you are getting the advantages that come with being clocked at 3 GHz. This device is the first of its kind to do so. All the graphic processing of the device is handled by the Adreno 685. Besides, it comes with dual Teraflops allowing great graphics processing power and SSDs as well.
This one features a 3:2 ratio, and this was added to this tablet to provide its users with the most workspace available. The thickness is around 7.3mm and the starting weight is around 1.7 pounds (774 grams). Thus, it is lightweight and portable as well. The PixelSense edge-to-edge display happens to be 13 inches. The versatile and ultrathin design is made possible because the processor while the kickstand helps the device to be in any orientation with ease.
The new Ports
Finally, the USB type C ports have been made available in the Surface Pro devices with this tablet. So, you are getting 2 USB Type C which can be used for high-speed data transfers and charging.
- It comes in two variants of 16GB and 8GB.
- It comes with an inbuilt SSD storage of either 512GB, 256GB, and 128GB.
- The dimension is 8.2×11.3×0.28 inches.
- The OS is Windows 10 Home.
- The rear webcam resolution is 5MP.
- It can be transformed into Laptop, Tablet and Studio mode with the kickstand.
- It can provide fast LTE, Wi-Fi connectivity and start-up.
- The LTE Advanced Pro connectivity is helpful when Wi-Fi is not available.
- The tablet promises to provide 13 hours of battery back up after a single full charge.
- The device does not come with the basic 3.5 headphones/audio jack which can be a problem. However, headphones with USB Type C can be used.
- The New Type Cover and Surface Pen comes with a lot of features and will definitely help. However, you have to buy them separately.
Who are the best tablet makers?
While other manufacturers have challenged the iPad, it is fair to say that for the vast majority of users, unless they have to have a tablet running a non-iPadOS operating system, then an Apple iPad should be the first thing they consider. This is why Apple’s iPad feature so highly in our best tablet guide.
Moving away from Apple, and Samsung is the next biggest producer of tablets, with its Tab range delivering powerful Android tablets that run, basically, like giant phones. These tablets deliver access to the Google Play Store, so rival the iPads in terms of apps, and also tend to be well specced, too.
Microsoft’s Surface range of systems has also started to make some waves in the tablet industry, with the Windows-running slates offering an even closer-to-laptop experience for non Apple Mac users. The Surface Go in particular stylishly shows that Windows needn’t not be the preserve of full-blown laptops.
Lastly, in terms of makers of note, it would be impossible not to mention Amazon and it Fire range of tablets. These tablets run FireOS, which isn’t quite as good as the operating systems running on Apple and Android tablets, but they do offer all the basics and almost all the major apps most users want. The Fire tablets are super cheap, too, and the modern ones comes with Amazon’s Alexa AI assistant built in.
Obviously, there are plenty of more tablet makers out there, including Lenovo, Huawei, Chuwi, Acer and even Google, so be sure to browse the plethora of tablets on offer before making a decision on an upgrade.
How to choose the best tablet for you
Start by thinking about the operating system you live in, which means opening your pocket and thinking about how much you rely on your smartphone. iPhone owners may jump straight to the 7th Gen iPad or iPad Pro, and they’d be right to do so — iMessage integration and the shared app ecosystems across iOS and iPadOS are an ideal combination. But if the iPad Pro is too expensive and the 7th Gen iPad isn’t powerful enough, the iPad Air’s faster CPU makes it the iPad to definitely consider, though I can’t blame budget-conscious shoppers for going with the regular iPad.
Android folks have a wider set of options, but since Android apps aren’t thriving on tablets as much as anyone would hope, this is a good time to consider all of your options. Yes the Galaxy Tab S6 has a fantastic screen and Android apps, but isn’t Windows 10 a more capable platform? If you’re nodding your head “yes,” then the Surface Go 2 is the best tablet for you. That all being said, if you’ve got a big enough family, and you’re all living in the Amazon Prime ecosystem, go for the Fire 7 if you’re trying to fit to a budget, and the Fire HD 10 if you are tired of devices that don’t have USB-C.
The Top Tablets (for Now)
The tablets chosen here represent the best Android and Apple options across a variety of price levels. That said, there are plenty of other great tablets out there, and one might be right for you. For the latest lab-tested reviews, check out our tablet product guide. And if you’re looking for a good deal, head over to our roundup of the best cheap tablets we’ve tested.
5. Apple iPad Mini 5 (2019)
Best tablet for powerful features in a small package
- Good display
- Extremely powerful
- Works well with the Apple Pencil
- Same design
Visually, the iPad Mini 5 (or iPad Mini 2019) looks identical to the previous model, which is a bit of a shame. Under the hood, however, is where the magic happens.
This new mini iPad is powered by the same A12 Bionic chip you’ll find in the iPhone XS and iPhone XR, which means it’s very, very fast. Reviewing the tablet we found there’s enough grunt to tackle any iOS game without any fuss and it’s a real joy to play titles like Fortnite or Asphalt 9 on the 7.9-inch display. Battery life is great too.
We also found the added Apple Pencil support turns the iPad Mini into an excellent notebook.
- Read our iPad Mini 5 review
2. iPad 8
The best basic iPad
- Nice speed improvements
- Still feels great to use
- Supports Pencil and Keyboard
- 32GB storage is stingy
- Design could do with a refresh
- Screen is very reflective
The iPad 8 isn’t the most exciting tablet on the market. It has classic, slightly retro design with a chunky bezel and is missing a few key features you’ll find on more expensive tablets. But having thoroughly used it as our main tablet, we found that for many people it remains the best option, because it gets all the basics right.
With the basic model retailing for less than £350 it’s one of the best value tablets on the market.
The A13 Bionic chip is blisteringly fast and, while it doesn’t have a high refresh rate, the 10.8-inch screen is more than good enough for most people featuring a high max brightness and decent colour accuracy. During testing we found this made it great for casual Netflix or Disney Plus movie binging.
Add to this its stellar battery life and iPad OS software, which is super intuitive and full of useful apps and services and the iPad 8 easily earns its place on this list.
- Read our iPad 8 review
What Size Tablet Do You Need?
This consideration is a bit obvious, but size—both screen real estate and storage capacity—is important to consider. First things first: When you hear a term such as “10-inch tablet,” this refers to the size of the screen, measured diagonally, and not the size of the tablet itself.
7- and 8-inch tablets are considered small-screen; 9-inch tablets and above are considered large-screen. Apple’s iPads, Amazon’s Fire tablets, and Samsung’s slates all come in small- and large-screen iterations. And more than ever, phones are blurring the lines with tablets. Folding phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 can easily do double duty as tablets if you’re willing to pay a hefty premium.
Screen resolution is important too, especially for ebook reading and web surfing. A sharp, bright display is key. If you’re in the market for a 10-inch tablet, look for a display with a resolution of at least 1,280 by 800 pixels.The onn. 8-inch tablet is good for low-cost Android access (Photo: Zlata Ivelva)
The low weight of a tablet is one definite advantage it has over a laptop—but with large-screen tablets typically weighing around a pound, they’re not nearly as light as smartphones. After you hold one with a single hand while standing up for 20 minutes, your hand will get tired. Setting one flat in your lap, rather than propped up on a stand, can also be a little awkward. And few tablets will fit in your pocket, unless you’re wearing a very large jacket. If you want pocketability, you might want to consider a phablet.
Cloud (off-device) storage is an option for many tablets (Amazon Cloud Storage for Fire tablets, iCloud for iPads, Google Drive for Android tablets), but when it comes to onboard storage, more is always better. All those apps, when combined with music, video, and photo libraries, can take up a lot of space. Some Android tablets feature a microSD slot for additional storage, but it’s worth noting some apps will not work from a microSD card.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What makes a good stylus?
Stylus nibs — the part that touches the glass — come in a number of materials, including rubber, mesh, or even plastic discs. They can be retractable or covered by a cap, with or without an attached clasp, or not protected at all. Some are powered by batteries or Bluetooth, sometimes offering additional pressure sensitivity and palm-rejection features. Apps can be used in conjunction with some styluses if your device does not support all of its features.
A stylus case must feel comfortable in the hand for as long as you need to use it — smooth and grippy but not so slick, stubby, or long that you lose control. Watch out for styluses that quickly cramp your fingers or tire out your hand or arm. The tool should be of medium height so that it is easy to handle and doesn’t wobble, with evenly distributed weight.
You should be able to draw and write easily, without lag, ghosting, or overlap. Look for moderate friction between the nib and the glass so that your stylus moves naturally, like a pencil or pen on paper; it should not drag or move too quickly. You don’t want to press down too much.
Now that you know what to look for, we’ve rounded up some of the best styluses available.
Does anything work as a stylus?
Theoretically, you could build a makeshift stylus if you are a do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiast, but it’s not a good idea if you want to preserve the quality and functioning of your touchscreen device. If something goes wrong, you risk ruining your screen and potentially harming yourself, so it’s a much better idea to buy one of the styluses available on the market. In fact, if you’re concerned about the price, consider options like the Adonit Mark, which costs less than $15. If you want something more luxurious yet affordable, consider the Adonit Pro 4, which offers brilliant features for under $30.
How long does a stylus last?
How long a stylus will last depends on the quality of the tool and the frequency of your use. The more frequent and rugged your use, the fewer hours it’ll last. Generally speaking, most stylus pens will last four months to one year before breaking down. Some premium options may last longer, but it’s recommended to buy a new one to maintain quality and precision, especially if you are using it for art or note-taking.
Do stylus pens work on all devices?
Some stylus pens like the Microsoft Surface Pen are specifically designed to work with the Surface series devices. Such stylus options won’t work well with other devices. However, options like the Meko Universal Stylus are built to work with a large variety of devices and will function well on most screens. General-use stylus pens may be cheaper and offer more versatility, but we recommend using device-specific stylus pens for better precision.
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