Best Tablet for College Students in 2020 – Reviews and Guide

Today, more than ever, we’re approaching a paperless era with the advances in tablets’ technology and the emergence of new models promising to replicate the feeling of a sheet of paper. Though we’re not there yet, having a tablet as a complementary tool to your traditional college books can make your student life easier.

It 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 tablets slip easily into your bag without adding any extra bulk.

Browsing through the massive catalog of tablets available on the market to pick the right one for your needs can be a tedious and challenging process. That’s why we have done all the hard work researching for you, to make sure you end up with the best tablet for a college student!

The 7 Best Tablets for College Students

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 tablets specifically for college students.


1. Dragon Touch Max 10

Quick Summary

Processor64-bit Octa-Core high-performance processor
RAM2GB
GPUGraphics coprocessor IMG8322
Storage32GB of built-in storage plus support for up to 128GB microSD
Screen Size10.1-inch FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS, G+G capacitive touch display
OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo
Battery Life6 hours
Weight2.29lbs (pounds)

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.

Top 3 Features


DisplayGPSConnectivity
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.
Pros
  • Budget-friendly
  • Premium build quality with an all-metal body
  • Great performance
Cons
  • The screen doesn’t get bright enough
  • Relatively heavy
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2. Fusion5 Ultra Slim Windows Tablet PC FWIN232+

Quick Summary

ProcessorIntel Atom Cherry Trail Quad-Core
RAM4GB DDR3
GPUBroadwell GPU (Intel Gen8) coprocessor
Storage64GB
Screen Size10.1 inches (1280 x 800) IPS display
OSWindows 10 S Home
Battery LifeApproximately 4 hours of mixed usage
Weight1.52lbs (pounds)

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 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.

Top 3 Features


PerformanceCamerasConnectivity
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.

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.

Pros
  • Full-sized USB 3.0 and micro HDMI ports
  • 12 months warranty
Cons
  • Unimpressive battery life
  • The keyboard docking case comes with weak magnets
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3. Dragon touch K10

Quick Summary

ProcessorQuad-core 1.3 GHz processor
RAM2GB
GPUARM Mali-T720 coprocessor
Storage16GB internal storage expandable to 128GB with microSD
Screen Size10.1 inches HD (1280 x 800) IPS display
OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo
Battery LifeUp to 8 hours
Weight2.14lbs (pounds)

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.

Top 3 Features


DesignBattery LifeStorage
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 life 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.

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.

Pros
  • Premium build quality with a metallic silver back
  • Excellent battery life
Cons
  • Limited internal storage – but can easily be upgraded
  • Poor rear webcam resolution of only 2MP
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4. Vankyo MatrixPad S7

Quick Summary

ProcessorQuad-core 1.3GHz processor
RAM2GB
GPUMali T820 coprocessor
Storage32GB internal storage expandable to 128GB with microSD
Screen Size7 inches (1024 x 600) IPS display
Operating SystemAndroid 9.0 Pie
Battery LifeUp to 8 hours of mixed usage
Weight0.57lbs (pounds)

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 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.

Top 3 Features


DisplayBattery LifePortability
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 life 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.

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.

Pros
  • Portable, lightweight form factor
  • Impressive battery life for a compact tablet
  • Night mode for a comfortable reading experience at any time of the day
  • Excellent portability
Cons
  • Subpar multitasking due to the small display
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5. Samsung Galaxy Tab A SM-T580NZKAXAR

Quick Summary

Processor1.6 GHz Exynos 7870 Octa-Core processor
RAM2GB
GPUMali-G71 MP2 coprocessor
Storage16GB
Screen Size10.1 inches WUXGA (1920×1200) display
OSAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Battery Life13 hours
Weight1.16lbs (pounds)

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.

Top 3 Features


PerformanceDisplayBattery Life
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 life 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.

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.

Pros
  • A lightweight 10.1 inch tablet
  • All-day battery life
  • High-resolution rear camera
Cons
  • Limited internal storage
Check Price on Amazon


6. Fusion5 Ultra Slim Windows Tablet PC FWIN232

Quick Summary

ProcessorIntel Quad-Core processor
RAM2GB DDR3 SDRAM
GPUIntel HD Graphics
Storage64GB
Screen Size10.1 inches (1280 x 800) IPS display
OSWindows 10 Home
Battery Life6 Hours
Weight1.3lbs (pounds)

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.

Top 3 Features


PerformanceBattery LifeConnectivity
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.

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.

Pros
  • Runs a fully-fledged version of Windows 10
  • Decent battery life
Cons
  • Only 2GB RAM
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7. Dragon Touch Notepad K10

Quick Summary

Processor64-bit Quad-Core processor (up to 1.3GHz)
RAM2GB DDR3 SDRAM
GPUARM Mali-T720 coprocessor
Storage16GB
Screen Size10.1 inches (1280 x 800)
OSAndroid 9 Pie
Battery Life6 hours
Weight2lbs (pounds)

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.

Top 3 Features


DisplayDesignCamera
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.

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.

Pros
  • Stylish, matte black metal finish
  • Runs a more recent version of Android
  • 8MP rear camera
Cons
  • Limited internal storage
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Tablets for College Students – Buyers Guide

Operating System

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.

Screen Size

The larger the screen, the better! This remains true in most cases, as the larger screen offers more room for multitasking, better reading experience, and more immersive media consumption. However, smaller tablets have their appeal with students who favor portability.

Storage

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.

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.


Final Words & Recommendations

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 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.