The best tablets for students in 2023

The best student tablets have been selected by our knowledgeable tablet testers. Which tablet is ideal for students?
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The best tablets for students in 2023 - W3Tekno

When choosing among the best tablets for students, there are numerous factors to consider, such as whether you need power or adaptability, or whether price and app variety are more important. All of these requirements are met by the best tablets on my list below, which I've selected taking into account the size and resolution of the touchscreen, stylus support, build quality and whether a device has a dockable keyboard.

If you need power and battery life, or just want to take notes and watch lectures, I've selected the best tablet for students in the recommendations below. To determine which tablet would be best for use by students, I carefully considered its design, mobility, and battery life.

My choices are based on my personal use with many of the tablets below, as well as our reviewers' experience with each device.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) - The ideal tablet for students taking professional courses

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021)

The ideal tablet for students taking professional courses
Specifications
  • Weight: 682g
  • Dimensions: 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4mm
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
  • Screen size: 12.9-inch
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Stunning liquid retina XDR screen
  • Very powerful specs
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • The most expensive iPad
  • The iPad Mini's mobility is its main selling point, but if your field of study requires more processing power (and you have a larger budget), the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) is the finest student tablet for individuals taking creative classes. The pricing isn't exactly student-friendly for Apple's most powerful tablet, but you get a machine that can tackle even the most difficult graphic design projects with nearly MacBook-level capability. You could even use it as a very portable laptop if you paired it with a keyboard and mouse.

    The tablet's HDR display with a 120Hz refresh rate and 2048 x 2732 resolution is the best we've ever seen. Its maximum brightness of 1,600 nits and greater local dimming control make it more comfortable to look at for long periods of time. For richer and more accurate images that are great for picture and video editing, we discovered that darker areas are more complex and deeper.

    We hesitate to recommend it as the best tablet for students because of its cost, of course, and we'd only say it's worth spending the extra money if you really need the features needed to run powerful editing software. It will not fall short in this respect.

    Microsoft Surface Go 3 - The best budget Windows tablet for students

    Microsoft Surface Go 3

    The best budget Windows tablet for students
    Specifications
  • Weight: 544g
  • Dimensions: 245 x 175 x 8.3mm
  • Screen size: 10.5-inch
  • Storage: 64GB eMMC – 128GB SSD
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Affordable
  • Can run full Windows 11
  • Premium design
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Base model's specs are weak
  • No Touch Cover or stylus included
  • If you have money to burn and want that much power, the Surface Pro 8 is the best Windows tablet for students overall. But if all you plan to do with your tablet is take notes and write essays, it'll be more than you need. The Surface Go 3 might be a better choice for you in that case.

    If you've got money to burn and want that much power, the Surface Pro 8 is overall the best Windows tablet for students, while the Surface Go 3 is the cheapest Surface tablet, providing a sleek, lightweight design and low price. However, it won't be able to handle demanding creative programmes and image processing like its Pro cousin does. By purchasing the Type Cover, you can protect the Surface Go 3's screen and turn it into a great little Windows laptop for writing essays.

    While its panel is a bit darker and battery life isn't great, the Surface Pro 3 has a newer CPU and slightly better performance than its predecessor, so you might consider the older model if you find a good price. For additional information, see our full Surface Go 3 review.
    blet. However, if all you plan to do with your tablet is write essays and not just take it, it will be more than you need. The Surface Go 3 might be a better choice for you in that case.

    Huawei Matepad 11 - A high-spec budget student tablet

    Huawei Matepad 11

    A high-spec budget student tablet
    Specifications
  • Weight: 0.4 kg
  • Dimensions: 16.5 x 25.3 x 0.7 cm
  • Screen size: 10.9 Inches
  • Storage: 64 / 128 / 256 GB Storage
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Can be paired to a laptop
  • Excellent display quality
  • Superb stylus performance
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • You're tied Huawei apps
  • Lacks Google apps and store
  • A high-end tablet that rivals the Apple iPad is the Huawei MatePad 11. A rarity among tablets of this size and price (£449), it's a lightweight tablet with an excellent and bright 120Hz screen. This tablet is great for creating digital art thanks to its screen, size and great stylus.

    The Huawei MatePad 11 has an impressive overall quality and is a solid alternative to Apple and Android, especially since a 256 GB version is available. What's the problem then? Because Huawei is a Chinese company, access to the Google Store is restricted. Huawei has all the programmes you need for everyday tasks, such as a word processor, PDF reader and Excel-like document application.

    In use, my Huawei MatePad 11 review showed that there's a clever APK direct download solution workaround that allows you to actually download all your favourite apps, including Netflix. However, this is a bit clumsy and less convenient than using the Google Store. You're also missing out on some great art apps. The Huawei MatePad 11 is a good alternative if you don't mind giving up some apps and need a tablet you can use for work and entertainment every day for less money.

    Apple iPad Air (5th Gen, 2022) - The best tablet for students overall

    Apple iPad Air (5th Gen, 2022)

    The best tablet for students overall
    Specifications
  • Weight: 462g
  • Dimensions: 9.74 x 7.02 x 0.24 inches
  • Storage: 64GB, 256GB
  • Screen size: 10.9-inch
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Runs the best software
  • Very powerful for its size and class
  • Good value for money
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • The keyboard and Apple Pencil come as extras
  • Since the release of the 2020 iPad Air, we have ranked it as the best tablet for students and were already strong fans. The new Apple iPad Air (5th Generation, 2022) has now taken the crown from its predecessor due to the addition of a power level that can almost qualify as an iPad Pro. The biggest improvement over the previous version is the inclusion of Apple's own M1 processor in this powerful, stylish and lightweight tablet.

    In our evaluation, we discovered that the new iPad Air's CPU boost allows it to handle almost any job, including the best video editing programs and popular art apps like Procreate. We believe it's the best tablet for students overall, as it's cheaper than an iPad Pro.

    The front camera and USB-C have been improved over previous models, and 5G connectivity is also a possibility. We found the display crisp and colourful. Desktop operations, including multiple work windows, have been added to the redesigned iPadOS, which could speed up work. For more information, see our full Apple iPad Air (5th Gen) review.

    HP Chromebook x2 11 - The best cheap 2-in-1 tablet for students

    HP Chromebook x2 11

    The best cheap 2-in-1 tablet for students
    Specifications
  • Weight: 0.56 kg (1.99 kg with keyboard and stand)
  • Dimensions: 25.25 x 17.66 x 0.75 cm
  • Screen size: 11-inch
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Reasons To Buy
  • S Pen stylus included
  • Vibrant 1440p QHD screen
  • Keyboard and stand included
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Won't run full Adobe software
  • The HP Chromebook x2 11 is a smart little Chromebook that offers the best of both worlds. It can function as a tablet for taking notes, surfing the web, watching videos and creating digital artwork, but it can also transform into a respectable laptop with its sleek keyboard in place, making it suitable for typing and doing productive work.

    When evaluating the HP Chromebook x2 11, I discovered just how adaptable this tablet is. With its 2K QLED display and cloud-focused architecture, it worked just as well for playing games and watching videos as a tablet or laptop when used stationary. This would be useful for any student with an Xbox Game Pass account in between writing assignments and classes.

    Obviously, as this is a Chrome OS device, unlike Microsoft's equivalent Surface Go, it has the limitation of only running apps rather than all software. However, Google's own suite of apps, including Sheets, Docs and others, are great alternatives to Word and Excel. Plus, everything is saved to the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

    Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) - The best budget tablet for students

    Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020)

    The best budget tablet for students
    Specifications
  • Weight: 355g
  • Dimensions: 202 x 137 x 9.7mm
  • Screen size: 8-inch
  • Storage: 32GB/64GB
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Great front camera placement
  • Super-low price
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Locked to Amazon’s ecosystem
  • Poor screen quality
  • Don't give up if you can't afford to spend a lot of money on a tablet. Even if you won't ever obtain iPad Pro-level performance from a cheap tablet for students, you should at least be pleasantly pleased by what it can achieve if you choose the incredibly cost-effective Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020). It still has several good features and is a major improvement over its predecessor despite its inexpensive price.

    This tablet will run a tonne of apps that can help you with your academic work, and if you're a frequent Amazon shopper and have a Prime subscription, you can use it for word processing and spreadsheets. It also does well when it comes to entertainment. Naturally, there's Amazon Prime as well as Netflix and Disney Plus, and it all works and displays nicely on the 8-inch screen. This is a great option if you want a tablet but don't want to spend a lot of money.

    Unlike tablets from Samsung, Microsoft and Apple, the model numbers of Amazon Fire tablets refer to the size rather than the generation of the device. There's the Fire HD 10 if you want a larger tablet, but we like the 8-inch model for its portability.

    Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite - For students, the finest affordable Android tablet

    Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

    For students, the finest affordable Android tablet
    Specifications
  • Weight: 476g
  • Dimensions: 244.5 x 159.5 x 5.7 mm
  • Screen size: 10.4-inch
  • Storage: 64GB/128GB
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Nice design
  • S Pen stylus included
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Not the most powerful
  • The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, as we already mentioned in the section above, is the best tablet for students looking for a high-end Android device at an affordable price. However, if you don't want those features (or don't want such a large tablet) you can save money by choosing an older, cheaper Galaxy Tab.

    While the Galaxy Tab 6 Lite has already been replaced, you can still buy it online, often at a very attractive price. It still has a reasonable build and performance, and once again the S-Pen is included. While it can't compete with some of the more sophisticated styluses available, it works just fine for taking notes and doodling.

    Microsoft Surface Pro 8 - The best high-end Windows tablet for students

    Microsoft Surface Pro 8

    The best high-end Windows tablet for students
    Specifications
  • Weight: 890g
  • Dimensions: 28.7 x 20.8 x 0.93cm
  • Screen size: 13-inch
  • Storage: 128GB – 1TB
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Runs desktop software
  • Great hybrid design for flexible working
  • Improved performance
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • The most expensive Windows tablet
  • If you choose an iPad or Android tablet, you can definitely find all the apps you need in their respective stores. If your curriculum requires the use of full desktop apps instead of mobile versions, the Microsoft Surface Pro may be the best student tablet for you. With the Surface Pro, you can use desktop apps like full-fat Adobe Photoshop and other Creative Cloud suites without worrying that they won't have all the functionality you might need. That's because the Surface Pro is a tablet-sized Windows PC.

    For general use, the Surface Go 3 is much more affordable than the Surface Pro, making it a terrific option for students. But if you want a tablet that can run desktop apps without pausing frequently, the Surface Pro could be your new best friend. When we tested it, we discovered that it has a much better design and performance than the previous Surface Pro 7.

    Due to its stunning display and powerful CPU, the Surface Pro 8 excels at showcasing Windows 11. When used with a Type Cover, it can rival a laptop while being smaller and lighter. Battery life is also excellent. You can choose a different configuration with less RAM and storage to save money. Despite the fact that this tablet will always be expensive for students, now is a good moment to buy it, as with the release of the Surface Pro 9, frequent discounts have started to appear.

    Microsoft Surface Pro 9 - The best student tablet for those who want a PC

    Microsoft Surface Pro 9

    The best student tablet for those who want a PC
    Specifications
  • Weight: 0.9g
  • Dimensions: 28.7 x 20.8 x 0.93 cm
  • Storage: 256GB / 512GB
  • Screen size: 13-inch
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Runs full software, not apps
  • Intel Core i5 and i7 are powerful builds
  • Superb screen and build quality
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • 5G SQ3 model is underpowered
  • Similar to the iPad Pro, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is a powerful tablet that can be turned into a respectable desktop PC by attaching a cover/keyboard combination. It's all about the build; while the 5G SQ3 model is built for battery life, it lacks some processing capabilities to run sophisticated applications, and the Intel i5 and i7 variants are excellent high-end workstations.

    For the money, I'd go for the Intel i5 variant, which works well with the great Surface Pro pen and keyboard, and can run full software programs like Photoshop with ease. According to our Surface Pro 9 review, if you're looking to replace your laptop with a powerful and versatile tablet (that doubles as a laptop) and you're committed to Windows, the Surface Pro 9 is an excellent choice.

    The 5G model is ideal if you're looking for a solid web browsing, cloud-based tablet for online classes and writing, although there are a few cheaper tablets on our list that can pull it off.

    Surface Pro 9 is a high-quality tablet with a bright screen and a lightweight, tactile frame. Again, give preference to Intel models. The ability to use the keyboard and pen from the older Surface Pro 8 is a handy feature that can help you save money if you decide to upgrade.

    Apple iPad Mini (6th Gen, 2021) - The best student tablet for using on the go

    Apple iPad Mini (6th Gen, 2021)

    The best student tablet for using on the go
    Specifications
  • Weight: 293g
  • Dimensions: 195.4x134.8x6.3mm
  • Screen size: 8.3-inch IPS LCD
  • Storage: 64GB/256GB
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Apple Pencil 2 compatible
  • Highly portable
  • Great cameras
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • No 3.5mm jack
  • iPad Mini has been one of our favourite tablets since it gained Apple Pencil support, and it's been further improved with the September 2021 update, adding Apple Pencil 2 compatibility. It also received a processor upgrade, making it a very powerful, small, portable tablet.

    While having only 4GB of RAM may annoy some users, it should be enough for the activities you'll want to perform on such a small screen. This version uses a redesigned version of the A15 Bionic CPU for powerful processing. We found that the tablet is ideal for use on the go, such as travelling, due to its small size and low weight (less than 300g).

    There is a USB-C port, which is really useful and opens up many opportunities. For example, when testing the tablet, we used it to record a voice recording and record lossless Hi-Res audio from Apple using a USB DAC. While the overall size of the device is smaller than the previous iPad Mini, the display is slightly larger with a 3:2 aspect ratio. We liked using it for long periods of time due to the even brightness, and we were quite happy with the colour accuracy. iPad Mini 2021 offers good value for money, even if you're still paying a fairly high Apple price.

    Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook 10.1 - The ideal tablet for students who don't require all of the available apps

    Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook 10.1

    The ideal tablet for students who don't require all of the available apps
    Specifications
  • Weight: 430g (tablet only), 920g (with full cover & keyboard)
  • Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Screen size: 10.1 inches
  • Storage: 64 GB / 128 GB
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Neat and portable design
  • Stand and keyboard included
  • Good 13-hour battery life
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Lack of power for high-demanding tasks
  • When considering the best tablets for students, a Chromebook might not be your best choice. Still, there are several reasons why you should pick one. When you use Google Chrome as your operating system, you get speed and simplicity in addition to Google's own security, cloud storage and free connected apps. The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook 10.1 is also a good choice; it's reasonably priced and perfect for organising, writing and other organisational tasks, as well as video conferencing.

    The disadvantage of using a Chrome OS tablet is that it lacks the processing power of an Apple or Windows device and cannot run desktop or demanding applications. Despite this, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook 10.1 can perform the majority of activities and many desktop software has mobile counterparts that are often much more affordable and just as effective.

    The Lenovo Duet tablet has a good design. It's a little thicker compared to Apple devices, but that also means it's a durable device. The fact that it comes with a keyboard and stand is a plus, which only helps to emphasise how affordable this tablet is.

    Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab - Another good budget student tablet

    Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab

    Another good budget student tablet
    Specifications
  • Weight: 770g
  • Dimensions: 29.9 x 17.5 x 3.4 cm
  • Screen size: 10.1 Inches
  • Storage: 64GB Storage
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Versatile and unique design
  • Good display and quality audio
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Underpowered performance
  • The Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab is an intriguing little tablet that's definitely worth a look if you're on a tight budget. It's a little lacking in power compared to many of the tablets mentioned above, but it has a great looking screen, decent built-in speakers and Google Assist. All in all, this tablet is affordable and useful for any student with money to spare.

    Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab has an original design. At one end there is a thick, rounded cylinder that tapers towards a smooth, curved shape. This guarantees a comfortable typing position and allows it to be held upright and angled for viewing, making it an ideal device for textual work and video conversations (it is also perfect for films).

    The Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab is a portable tablet made of aluminium and featuring a soft-touch acrylic coating. Although this device has many advantages, app usage can be limited due to its low battery consumption and the fact that it uses an older version of Android. However, it's still extremely useful and is a great replacement tablet, whether you're organising and writing, researching and surfing the web, or participating in video chats and distance learning.

    Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra - The best large-screen Android tablet for students

    Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

    The best large-screen Android tablet for students
    Specifications
  • Weight: 726g
  • Dimensions: 326.4 x 208.6 x 5.5mm
  • Screen size: 14.6-inch
  • Storage: 128GB – 512GB
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Premium specs for a good price
  • Large screen
  • S Pen stylus included
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Availability issues in the US
  • The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra provides enough power if you prefer and need an Android tablet, and at a fairly affordable price, given its capabilities. The 14.6-inch screen you get is much larger than the largest iPad Pro. That makes it a great option for people who like to take notes or draw with the S Pen stylus. It's standard equipment, which makes it an even better value for a premium tablet.

    Specifications can be upgraded to fairly powerful systems with up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Naturally, due to its size, it's heavier and less portable than many of the alternatives on our list of the best tablets for students. But when we evaluated the tablet, we liked its slim, elegant design and thought its vibrant screen was great for watching media and even editing images. If you don't need the features of the Ultra version, you might consider the cheaper regular Tab S8.

    There have been supply concerns in the US due to huge demand; nevertheless, the Samsung store currently has stock. Amazon also has imported options. For more information, see our comprehensive Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra review.

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