The best tablets for college are great devices that are all rounded to cater for the needs of a college student. When buying a tablet, you need to consider a few things including whether the tablet requires a computer to use or it is fully portable, the operating system, and if the tablet has a keyboard or not if you need it as a note taking tablet.
What is a standalone Tablet
As a college student you need a tablet that does not need a computer but has its own screen and computer so that you can install the different software you need and you can use it on the go as a portable tablet.
I know we have discussed what is a Standalone Tablet in our previous articles but it is important to explain here too because it is the one that will serve you best as a student. You can get a detailed explanation in 10 Best Standalone Drawing Tablets That Don’t Need a Computer .
If you’re looking for a more traditional laptop experience go check out Microsoft’s Surfaces or Lenovo’s Yoga tablets. These fold up like laptops so you can use it on your lap or desk while typing away on its keyboard.
While your choice of a tablet will most likely be based on price and what you can afford, you’ll also want to consider what type of tablet will fit your needs.
Now, you can get an iPad, a Windows-based and Android-based Tablet. So which one is right for you? This is dependent on what apps you use most often. However, most apps are usable on all the platforms so it’s up to you actually.
IPads are great and come with a sleek look plus great features and power compared to many tablets.
If you use Microsoft apps like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook often, you will want a Windows-based tablet. Since these are already installed on the tablet you won’t have to spend extra time or money downloading them.
Android-based tablets offer some great features and come at much lower prices than Windows-based machines. If you mostly use Google apps on your laptop such as Gmail, Calendar, and Docs then an Android will most likely be your best bet. It has all the functionality of a laptop in a convenient easy to carry device with some added bonuses. You can even install Office on an Android if you need or want to do that as well.
iPad Mini 5
Best Overall College Tablet
From the outside, the iPad mini seems like a copy of the ipad 4 only more compact. However in reality it has so much more upgrades inside that will blow your mind. The iPad mini 5 is a powerful tablet that can almost fit in a pocket. Although this is an advantage for a college student, it can both be great and a pain if you are an artist.
The iPad mini 5 is quite small compared to the iPad Air 3 but in terms of performance it matches up to its earlier version. Both tablets share the same amount of RAM at 3GB, the same amount of A12 bionic chip with neural engine, the same camera and display technology.
You can draw or take notes with pitch perfect precision. The iPad mini gives apple pen support that allows you to easily take notes or use it as a drawing tablet with pressure sensitivity and tilt support. If you mainly need it as a note taking tablet, the iPad 5 mini supports a Logic tech Crayon too. The logic tech stylus is a price friendly option for mid support for pressure sensitivity unlike needed by artists.
It features the exact same dimensions as its predecessor with a 7.9 inch display with 2048 x 1536 resolutions. Despite the new slick look, it is slightly heavier than the previous generation.
Apart from size, the main difference from the iPad Air 3 is smart connector support. The Air 3 features smart connector support that allows you to add the apple smart keyboard. For the iPad Mini 5, it would seem impractical to add the keyboard because of its reduced size and would appear crammed.
The iPad mini supports P3 white color and features a brighter back light making it easy to read in any light conditions. Another great advantage of this tablet is the support for True tone technology in display. The screen automatically adjusts white balance to match the light in the surrounding environment. This makes it easy and appealing to browse images online or read books even in sunny or different light conditions.
Additionally to the laminated display and added backlight, the iPad mini 5 features a strong antireflective coating at just 1.8% reflectivity. This ensures your view is crisp and clear.
The price is also very friendly and you will not have to break the bank to get this great tablet.
Apple iPad Pro 12.9-Inch
The Best High-End Student Tablet
If you are note on a budget, the Apple iPad which is the best tablet Apple has ever made is the best pick. They outdid themselves yet again with this Apple iPad Pro 12.9. The tablet has a powerful graphics system that outshines most PCs in the market today all thanks to its A12Z Bionic chip and 8 core graphics.
The Apple iPad 12.9 offers you a sublime drawing experience with tones of intuitive touches to make it even easier for you to carry on with your projects. The stylus pencil recharges itself once it is placed at the magnetic storing space of this portable drawing tablet. If the price is not the issue for you, then this drawing tablet will provide that stellar experience you’re yearning for.
An M1 chip, similar to one on the iMac and Apple Macbook pro also powers the latest version of the Apple iPad Pro 12.9. So you can imagine how powerful it is.
Unfortunately, you will have to pay extra for the pencil because it is sold separately. However, it’s worth the cost because the pencil is highly accurate with a perfect pressure sensitivity curve. The massive storage space will hold all your projects, programs, and extra files because the storage space is more than enough. You don’t have to get stuck on your PC anymore, this drawing tablet offers more than what your PC can offer. If you’re an artist or graphic designer looking for a drawing tablet with a lower budget, you can take a look at Apple’s older versions of drawing tablets on amazon.
We recommend that you go for the Apple iPad 12.9 if you can afford it because it cannot be compared to other brands. Tech doesn’t come cheap, neither is Apple iPad 12.9 drawing tablet.
Microsoft Surface Go 7
Best windows tablet for college
Simply put, Microsoft Surface Pro 7”is a tablet/laptop combo. If you want a reliable tablet for editing, then Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a perfect tablet for you. It has a 12.3inch screen, perfect for drawing and even editing.
It also has an internal storage space of 128GB SSD, more than enough space for storing your projects. With this storage space, you don’t even need to buy an external SD card.
What we love the most about this tablet is the processor. It has an Intel Core 10th Gen processor which is perfect for photo shop and also fast. Microsoft Surface Pro 7 also has a touchscreen that makes it easy for you to draw and edit photos.
You probably want a tablet that can serve you for some hours before recharging the battery, this tablet has a powerful battery and can last up to 10 hours. The long battery life is ideal for those who want to work remotely and get creative even when out in the park.
To sum it up, Microsoft is the go to device if you need a tablet that works like a laptop. This tablet is not just limited to photo shop and editing, there are pretty much you can do with it.
Best High end Android Tablet
If you want an alternative to a Windows tablet then this Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ might be what you’re looking for. This tablet has a powerful processor and is fast enough to run photo shop without any hassles.
Just like the Microsoft Surface Pro 7, Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ can serve as a tablet and laptop too. This robust tablet has an OctaCore processor and has an internal storage of 512GB enough for storing your projects.
It has an edge to edge screen that gives it a vibrant look and it also displays projects in detail making it easy for photo editors to do their thing without hitches. It also comes with a 9ms latency pen that works amazingly on the 120 HZ screen.
If you want a tablet that doesn’t lag, you should try the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ and get the experience you haven’t had with other tabs.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Tab Lite
Great Value Android tablet
Samsung Galaxy S6 Tab has all the incredible features that you desire your android drawing tablet to have. This tablet has a super-fast processor, ideal for multitasking and handling detailed artwork.
When it comes to the screen, this tablet has an AMOLED 10.5 inch display great for displaying vivid colors with excellent contrast. Just like the S7, it comes with the pen so no need to spend extra which is another plus for this tablet.
It is however little smaller than the S7, but a 10.5 inch screen is big enough for drawing. It does however make up for this by a better price. A fully standalone drawing tablet and you can use it without a computer connection.
One thing we can’t go without mentioning is its design. Samsung Galaxy S6 Tab has a beautiful metal design and is ultra-thin making it easy to work with it for long hours without getting tired.
What we loved the most about this tab is its battery life and the fast charge feature meaning it takes a short time for the battery to get fully charged. We also love its stylus pen. The pen is flattered on both sides and it is magnetic so you can attach it to the tablet easily.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Features
- Body: 9.63 x 6.28 x 0.22 inches and weighs 420 g (14.82 oz). The body is aluminum built at the back with a side aluminum frame and full glass front.
- Display: Super Amoled display with a 10.5 inches working area. This covers around 82% of the tablet. The resolution is 1600×2560 pixels
- Battery: Fast charging with up to 14 hours battery life
- Memory: 128 GB Internal memory and 6 GB RAM, Plus a dedicated microSD card slot
- OS/Software: Android 9.0 (Pie), upgradable to Android 11, One UI 3.1
Wacom Cintiq 22
Best tablet for Artists and Graphic Designers
Wacom Cintiq 22’ takes the lead in our list of best Wacom drawing tablets because it is carries pro features and is also affordable.
The Wacom company doesn’t play when it comes to producing super functional tablets. In short, Wacom is the Apple of drawing tablets.
The Cintiq 22’ is a great drawing tablet that will help scale your creativity a notch higher. The tablet has a big 22’ screen with HD display and has an anti glare surface.
The Wacom Cintiq 22’ comes with a Wacom Pen 2 that has a great pressure and sensitivity making it easy for you to work in different variations and movements.
The tablet has legs beneath and you can use them as a stand. In fact, I feel you don’t need a separate stand as long as you open them until the snap in place you’re good to go.
Huion Kamvas 24
Best Wacom Alternative for Artists and Graphic Designers
Mention high-end huion drawing tablets with best quality, then huion Kamvas pro 24 is it. First of all, the large screen (2560 by 1440) will amplify your artwork with the original colors on a contrast ratio of 1000:1. The stylus is next to accurate, thus enhancing your expected output. Although it is pricey , it is suitable for experts. Unlike other tablets in this category it provides connections for three ports namely VGA, DP and HDMI.Usable on both Windows and Mac OS.
The Best Overall Tablet
The best tablet for college is the iPad air, by a wide margin. This device offers a rich ecosystem of apps that are built from the ground up for high-quality multitouch displays. It also has the richest and most flexible ecosystem of educational content on virtually any topic that you can imagine.
The iPad’s excellent hardware, its intuitive touch interface with powerful multitouch gestures, and its large selection of both free and commercial software make it hard to believe that anyone would choose anything else over this extraordinary machine.
The iPad air has a superior display. Your eyes and brain automatically adjust to the quality and clarity of the iPad screen, even if it is small. The iPad’s screen has a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels, about 9.74 x 7 x 0.24 inches, with 283 pixels per inch (PPI). This is close to the pixel density found on a full-sized television set.
It has 262,144 colors, so images on the screen are quite clear. The iPad’s color-gamut is very wide for a mobile display, but it falls short of what you would see on a true wide-gamut display like the beautiful new Apple Thunderbolt Display. The iPad has excellent brightness and contrast ratios, and its LCD PenTile subpixel architecture helps reduce its power consumption.
The best budget tablet for college students is the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9. Amazon has always been the leader in hardware for the Android platform, and Amazon has a surprisingly rich ecosystem of apps that no other tablet maker has matched.
The Fire HDX is an excellent physical device, with a beautiful minimalist design and excellent hardware specifications. It also has a rich selection of educational content from Amazon that makes it an outstanding choice for students who want to use textbooks or other educational materials.
Its Features include a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor, 32GB of storage, a Full HD 2560 x 1600-pixel display with 339 PPI and 450 nits of brightness, 8MP front camera, a 720MP rear camera in the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 model with optical image stabilization, a fast-charging battery that is integrated into the device itself and allows for up to 10 hours of battery life in just 15 minutes of charging time when fully depleted (a huge advantage over other devices).
It has dual front-facing Dolby Digital Plus stereo speakers with dual amplifiers, an advanced polarizing filter on the screen for reducing glare in bright light conditions (like high-quality sunglasses), Wi-Fi 802.
Acer’s affordable hybrid has an attractive design, decent battery life and full-sized keyboard. It’s not the sveltest of devices, but at 1.89 pounds it’s more manageable than most. Ergonomics are good – the keyboard is offset towards the rear of the device so you can use it comfortably in your lap and the chiclet keys offer decent spacing. The trackpad is also responsive; however, we did find that it doesn’t have physical clicks – just a touch surface that supports gestures such as two-finger scrolling and pinch to zoom.
- 10.1-Inch HD LED IPS Touchscreen
- Has a detachable Keyboard
- Long Battery Life
- Not water resistant
Asus’ Transformer Book T100TA is a Windows 8.1 tablet with a 10.1-inch screen that weighs a little less than 2 pounds. Its 1366 x 768 display doesn’t have as many pixels as those on other models, but it does have a decent 178-degree viewing angle and the glass touch surface feels smooth to the touch – even though it’s not a capacitive screen. Inside, there’s an Intel Atom quad-core Bay Trail processor along with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage which is enough for installing software and documents, but not quite enough space for storing music or movies.
- decent 178-degree viewing angle
- The glass touch surface feels smooth to the touch
- Light weight and easy to carry
- This tablet can hang on start-up
The Venue 8 Pro is the best small Windows 8.1 tablet you can buy. Its design is attractive, and though it doesn’t have quite as many apps as the iPad, its selection is pretty good. The biggest advantage is that its case are included in the same purchase price – so it doesn’t cost extra to get a case for your tablet. The Venue 8 Pro’s display isn’t as bright or colorful as those on some competing models, but if you want a compact Windows tablet that’s easy to hold and easy on your wallet, this one’s hard to beat.
- 4830mAH battery
- 1 year manufacturer warranty for device
- Easy to use and install applications
- Has no keyboard on it
Bottomline being, if you’re looking for a tablet on a budget or something for the dorm, they can be great! As you can see they come in all different types and they have different features. If you are having a hard time deciding which one to get then check out our best overall tablet.