Don’t scan through the tablets available on the market to pick the right one for your needs – that’s tedious… We have done the hard work of researching for you – so you can choose the best tablet for college with ease!
Today’s college students are presented with new challenges – their lives are not just about going to class every day anymore.
With Covid now behind us it’s still changed schooling, with classes being conducted via zoom calls, and college courses are becoming digitized. The best tablet for college students, especially iPads, makes college books a thing of the past – meaning student life is much easier.
Everything from lectures to course notes are now readily available at your fingertips no matter where you are.
A college tablet can transform into a personal computer, a note-taking machine, or an intuitive screen to view and interact with your digital books. Being lightweight, slim, and portable also helps save space.
We compiled a list of the seven best budget-friendly tablets that seamlessly fit in a college student’s work and study flow. Depending on your preferred screen size, the operating system of choice, and the overall set of features you’re looking for in a tablet, we’ve got you covered with just the right model.
Let’s dive into our reviews of the best tablet for college students.
32GB of built-in storage plus support for up to 128GB microSD
10.1-inch FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS, G+G capacitive touch display
Android 8.1 Oreo
Top 3 Features
Dragon Touch made sure students can study on their tablets for extended periods without eye strains.
The Eye-Comfort Mode minimizes the blue light emitted from the screen and automatically adjusts the screen’s brightness according to your environment’s ambiance for the best reading experience.
The built-in GPS comes in handy when you want to share your location with your classmates to meet up and start working on your team projects.
You can also use the tablet as a navigation device in your car, thanks to its gorgeous, large display.
The touch screen interaction is seamless and responsive. However, big assignments can make better use of a traditional, tactile typing experience. Luckily, you can connect your favorite mouth and keyboard via Bluetooth and become more productive.
Similar budget tablets might fall short in terms of build quality, but this is not the case here. Dragon Touch Max10 has a metal chassis, responsive buttons, and an overall premium feel to it. The durable construction gives you peace of mind and encourages you to take the tablet with you anywhere. You can toss it into your backpack without fearing that it might get damaged.
The tablet is powered by a 64-bit Octa-Core processor, which manages to handle any task you throw its way without lag or stutters. The great performance you can squeeze out of the Dragon Touch Max10 makes many students solely depend on it as their primary computer.
Moreover, the 10.1 inches FHD display stands front and center in what defines the tablet experience. It uses an IPS panel that supports a wide color gamut and a variety of viewing angles. However, the screen doesn’t get bright enough, making it hard to use in brightly lit environments.
Powered by Intel’s Quad-Core processor, the tablet is a true powerhouse, allowing you to run Windows 10. Moreover, the dedicated graphics card handles HD video playback smoothly to deliver an excellent multimedia experience.
The tablet comes with a front-facing camera for conference calls and a 5 MP rear camera, which can be used to scan documents and take photos for your assignments easily.
Fusion5 FWIN232+ comes with a USB 3.0 port, which is a welcome addition, allowing you to connect flash drives and directly transfer data to and from your device.
If you ever wondered whether a tablet could replace your Windows laptop, Fusion5 believes it has an answer to your question. Fusion5 built an uncompromising tablet that runs Windows 10 S, striking the perfect balance between the intuitive tablet form factor and Windows laptops’ functionality.
Fusion5 FWIN232+ comes with keyboard support via Bluetooth. It managed to take its laptop replacement premise another step forward with its magnetic keyboard case. The docking station mechanism is seamless and allows the keyboard to double as a cover to protect the tablet’s screen.
However, during our testing, we found that the magnets are not strong enough, and can’t hold the tablet if you’re typing with the tablet-keyboard combo on your lap. In such situations, the tablet mode shines and allows you to remain productive away from your desk.
The 10.1 inches display is a joy to look at, allowing you to enjoy a superb multimedia experience thanks to the tablet’s wide range of video and audio formats support. The built-in micro HDMI slot is the icing on top as it opens the door for more ways to preview your content. You can connect your smartphone, camera, or other devices to enjoy your content on a larger screen.
When it comes to performance, the Intel Quad-Core processor knocks it out of the park with enough horsepower to run the desktop versions of apps with their full feature set rather than the mobile versions. The 4GB of DDR3 RAM delivers an excellent multitasking experience so that you can have multiple tabs open at the same time and swap between them with no hiccups.
16GB internal storage expandable to 128GB with microSD
10.1 inches HD (1280 x 800) IPS display
Android 8.1 Oreo
Up to 8 hours
Top 3 Features
The silver back and white front screen bezels make a beautiful combination, delivering one of the cleanest looking budget tablets we’ve reviewed.
Great battery can be a selling point to many students who just want to focus during their study sessions without worrying about finding the nearest wall outlet before their tablet dies.
Though the limited internal storage leaves a lot to be desired, the support for up to 128GB microSD cards offers a way around the small onboard flash memory size.
Dragon Touch secures another entry on our list with its K10 tablet. It retains its signature premium all-metal body, this time around in a stylish metallic silver finish. Moreover, the internals were reworked from what we’d seen in Dragon Touch Max10 to deliver a better battery life.
When compared to its Max10 counterpart, K10’s processor is a step back in terms of performance. However, the more efficient CPU allows you to enjoy up to eight hours of mixed usage instead of six hours with Dragon Touch’s previous entry.
The performance hasn’t take a big hit, though. The tablet can still smoothly run all the apps and games you can find in Google’s Play Store, seamlessly browse the web, and play your media with zero lag.
You have to bear in mind that the tablet’s storage was cut down to half what Max10 ships with. This can save you some of your hard-earned cash, especially if you don’t care about internal storage that much.
Dragon Touch K10 shares many of the features with the Max10 tablet. It supports dual-band WiFi for excellent connectivity, comes with a built-in GPS to double as a navigation device, and includes a micro HDMI port to connect your different media devices.
Premium build quality with a metallic silver back
Excellent battery life
Limited internal storage – but can easily be upgraded
32GB internal storage expandable to 128GB with microSD
7 inches (1024 x 600) IPS display
Android 9.0 Pie
Up to 8 hours of mixed usage
Top 3 Features
The dedicated night mode makes your tablet more usable in low light situations, allowing you to remain productive at nighttime.
Software and hardware go hand in hand to offer enough battery to get you through a busy college day.
The featherlight form factor and compact screen size deliver an exceptionally portable tablet that can go with you anywhere with zero hassles.
Vankyo decided to show some love to students who prefer compact tablets. The MatrixPad S7 comes with a 7 inches display and manages to keep an impressively slim and light profile. At just 0.57 pounds, the tablet is even lighter than some books.
The HD IPS display offers vivid colors and crisp image quality, which makes your content pop. It’s specifically optimized to deliver a comfortable nighttime tablet reading experience thanks to its auto brightness adjustment and dedicated screen filters that minimize eye strain. This makes Vankyo MatrixPad S7 the perfect study companion during late exam nights.
The power-efficient Quad-Core processor goes hand in hand with the 2900mAh battery to deliver an exceptional battery life. You can enjoy eight hours of mixed usage that can easily get you through your college day on one charge.
The package is complete with the set of features you’d expect from similar student-friendly tablets. Vankyo MatrixPad S7 comes with a 5 MP rear camera and 2 MP front-facing camera, built-in GPS, and expandable storage via microSD. We’re happy to report that Vankyo perfected the compact tablet formula and delivered an uncompromised experience.
Portable, lightweight form factor
Impressive battery for a compact tablet
Night mode for a comfortable reading experience at any time of the day
The Octa-Core Exynos processor is capable of boosting to 1.6GHz, which means that you can run all the demanding apps and games you want without any issues. Moreover, you can easily switch between different apps with zero lag.
Samsung sets the industry standards with its vibrant displays. The 1920 x 1200 panel allows you to enjoy your content at its full glory.
At up to 13 hours of battery on a single charge, the Galaxy Tab A can efficiently deliver all-day usage without the battery dying while you’re in the middle of an important task.
Samsung has been a top player in the consumer electronics market for so many years. It managed to take features only reserved for its flagship lineup and ship them in a more affordable tablet with its Galaxy Tab A.
Among all the budget tablets we tested so far, the camera implementation in Galaxy Tab A stands out. The 8 MP rear camera equipped with an LED flashlight allows you to snap great-looking photos right onto your tablet and make high-resolution scans of documents.
On the other hand, the front-facing camera is the standard 2 MP sensor we’ve seen in similar budget models; however, it still gets the job done.
Another unique feature that distinguishes Samsung Galaxy Tab A from other Android tablets is the multi-window support. The tablet allows you to have two different apps running side by side on the screen, changing how we think about multitasking on mobile operating systems.
Samsung made sure the transition from your old devices to the Galaxy Tab A is as seamless and natural as possible. The Smart Switch feature lets you move your contacts, media, and files from your old tablet to enjoy your content at its new home.
The Quad-Core processor lets you navigate through Windows 10 smoothly and run different apps with no hassles.
The FWIN232 model delivers six hours of usage before it needs to be recharged as opposed to the four hours we could squeeze out of the FWIN232+ tablet.
The tablet supports Bluetooth 4.0 technology, opening the doors to connect wireless headphones and other accessories with zero lag. It also comes with a full-sized USB 3.0 port to connect flash drives.
Fusion5 Windows tablets lineup has grown over the years delivering variations of their different models to suit various users. For the most part, Fusion5 FWIN232 and FWIN232+ are identical except for a couple of core distinctions.
The FWIN232 runs a fully-fledged version of Windows 10 as opposed to Windows 10 S running on the FWIN232+. The stock Windows 10 Home version is more fleshed out and offers more apps and software support. You can download software from the web, and you’re not limited to only the Windows Store apps as with Windows 10 S.
The second key difference between the two models is the RAM. The FWIN232 comes with only 2GB of DDR3 RAM compared to the 4GB RAM built into the FWIN232+ model. On paper, the model with less RAM can feel less snappy to use and not as powerful when it comes to multitasking.
However, during our time with the FWIN232, the tablet was responsive enough thanks to the excellent optimization of Windows 10 Home to run smoothly with less RAM available.
Other than that, the experience remains the same between the two models. They both come with a 10 inches display, run on a powerful Quad-Core processor, and use Bluetooth 4.0 technology to connect to different wireless accessories like keyboards.
The 10.1 inches LCD is capable of running videos at 1080p 60 frames per second, translating into an enjoyable watching experience with no screen tears or dropped frames.
The minimalist design with just two silver lines running across the matte black metallic back delivers a premium look.
The rear camera gets a nice resolution bump over the older K10 model. The new Notepad K10 ships with an 8 MP rear camera compared to the old model’s sub-optimal 2 MP camera.
Dragon Touch K10 tablets share the same DNA across the board. Aside from some minor differences, Notepad K10 is essentially a tweaked version of Dragon Touch’s K10 Tablet. Before diving into under-the-hood kind of changes, the color finish is probably the most obvious distinction. The Notepad K10 comes in a matte black metallic finish.
Moreover, the two models ship with different versions of Android. Notepad k10 runs the newer Android 9 Pie instead of Android 8.1 Oreo that comes with the older K10 model. Aside from some OS visual changes, the functionality remains the same across the two versions of Android.
When it comes to battery life, the older K10 appears to outperform its Notepad K10 counterpart marginally. If battery life is a big deal to you, we recommend you stick to the former K10 tablet. If not, the two tablets can be interchangeable, and it mostly boils down to the color preference to pick one model over the other.
Honorable mentions that didn’t make the list: These are tablets for college students that are just as good as the list above; but for one reason or another didn’t get added, do check them out as they may be better for a budget conscious student.
Lenovo Yoga Book – The Lenovo Yoga Book is a stunning new tablet for college students under $500 (Amazon offers this one on pay monthly, much more convenient for a college student on a budget. With nearly 900 positive reviews, the Lenovo Yoga Book comes highly rated; it comes with WiFi too, which is a plus.
Microsoft Surface Pro Range – The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (and the Microsoft Surface Pro 6) is a fantastic college student option. However, they are on the scale’s pricier side: amazing reviews and a brand you can trust. With 1,400 positive reviews and a rating of 4.6/5, the Microsoft Surface Pro seems to offer good value for money.
The Apple iPad Pro is a tablet that has it all. The Apple iPad Pro is up there with the best in class across the board. Downsides? The price might not suit a college student, as well as making a college student concerned it might get stolen, broken, or lost. That’s a lot of tablet to replace at nearly $1,000. If you’re the kind of person who has to have the best, regardless of the price, this is the tablet for you. The Apple iPad Pro has a whopping 4,280 reviews currently with a record-breaking 4.8/5 rating.
Amazon Fire HD 10 – The Fire HD 10, when compared to the tablets above, especially the Apple iPad Pro, offers unbeatable value for money at only $189.99. Fast approaching 100,000 mostly positive reviews, the Fire HD 10 is rated at 4.6/5. If budget is your priority, this could be the best tablet for college students so far! The biggest downside: It doesn’t support Microsoft apps, which is likely to be a deal-breaker!
Google Nexus 9 – The Google Nexus 9 has 1,600+ Reviews; 3.6/5 which might put some people off. The Fire HD 10 may be a better purchase as it’s cheaper and seems to have better reviews.
How Students Can Find The Best Tablets for College – Buyers Guide
A tablet is certainly a must-have on campus. It can be used for fun, studying, and entertainment. However, figuring out which one to get can feel like a challenge. While students will enjoy having an all-purpose device, it is important to them that it evolves with them.
Many ‘cutting-edge’ features offered with tablets have no significant relevance to a student’s demanding workload or budget. These include memory cards (which are of little use, as most university texts are already in digital format) and other additional storage options.
Our buyer’s guide should help you choose the best tablet for college needs, and budget, which is just as important as the best seniors tablets too.
Best Tablets for College Students on a Budget
As a student, you may ask yourself ‘Where do I find budget-friendly brand new tablets for college students? Why are there so many options and how do I know which to choose?’
It’s a daunting question, especially if you’re not sure what you really need. However, NextbookUSA is here to help you save on the cost of a tablet for college – our recommendations above take into account students who are on a budget (which is basically all students!).
Tablet Choice for Students
Each student is going to be studying different degrees, some in Photography, others in Science or Film. It’s important to choose the tablet that works the best for what you’re studying for in College or University. Just ask yourself what you’ll be using it for and read through the reviews above and you’ll soon find the right one for your needs.
The OS basically defines what your tablet can and can’t do. Android tablets offer support to Google’s massive Play Store apps catalog, while Windows tablets allow you to run the desktop versions of apps.
The larger the screen, the better! This remains true in most cases, as the larger screen offers more room for multitasking, a better reading experience, and more immersive media consumption. However, smaller tablets have their appeal with students who favor portability.
The tablet’s internal storage is no longer a big deal nowadays, as most of the tablets on the market offer support for expandable microSD cards to upgrade your stock storage when needed.
If you’re going to be carrying your tablet across campus from one class to another you’ll need to make sure the battery life is adequate enough to last a whole day of learning. The average tablet is good for about 10 hours, this is great if you are able to recharge it every day. The longest-lasting tablet for this, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A has a 13-hour life which is fantastic and comes highly recommended.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can a Tablet Be Useful to Students?
Tablets shine when used for reading or media consumption as they get you closer to your content. Some models implement dedicated screen filters to mimic the look of a paper and make the display comfortable to the eyes during extended reading sessions.
Can a Tablet Replace Your Laptop for a College Student?
The short answer is yes! However, it depends on your laptop usage. If most of your computing needs include web browsing, media playback, and reading eBooks, a tablet can be a viable laptop replacement, especially if you connect Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for a better typing experience. It’s also more portable, as it can be carried with your school/college work easily.
Windows tablets can also make the transition easier, as they allow you to run all your Windows desktop apps in a tablet form factor.
We hope that our in-depth breakdowns of the different budget-friendly Android and Windows tablets for studying at college got you a step closer to finalizing your purchase decision.
Our top picks for the best tablet for students are the Dragon Touch Max 10 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab A. No matter which model you end up buying, we’re sure that the tablet experience will transform your student life.