When buying a tablet, you need to consider a few things including the type of tablet, the operating system, and if the tablet has a keyboard or not.
If you’re looking for a more traditional laptop experience 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, there are two types of tablets out there: Windows-based and Android-based. So which one is right for you? This is dependent on what apps you use most often.
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 a much lower price 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.
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
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.
Other Tablets to Consider
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.