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The best tablets for students in 2022

Best tablets for students
(Image credit: Surface via Unsplash)

The best tablets for students are the ideal way to kick your studies into gear for 2022. With remote working becoming a permanent part of the student way of life, having a powerful and portable device to work on is hugely important, and for many students, a tablet can be a better option than a laptop.

Tablets are thinner for one thing, easier to carry from place to place and to charge up on the go. Whether you choose a tablet that runs iOS, Android, Windows or whatever else, you'll have loads of apps at your disposal to help you get stuck into your studies. Whether you need to draw, write, edit or compose, a good tablet and a clutch of apps can be an ideal source of support. 

There was a time when tablets wouldn't have been powerful enough for many students, but these days are long behind us. These days, flagship tablets from the likes of Apple and Samsung offer a level of computing power that's comparable to a laptop, and you don't necessarily have to get the newest ones. Sometimes, a previous-generation tablet will offer all the power you need, and for a fraction of the price of a new model.

That's why, for our list of the best tablets for students, we've included a mix of brand-new tablets and older ones that are still widely available and represent great value for money. We've got models for all budgets and for all types of users, so whether you only need a simple tablet for reading documents and then watching some Netflix, or something with serious power that can edit 4K video, we'll have a tablet here for you. 

If you're looking for more great ideas for the back to school season, check out our guide to Apple student discount, or the best student laptops and best drawing tablets

The best tablets for students in 2022

iPad Mini: The best tablet for students

(Image credit: Apple)

The best student tablet overall

Specifications
Weight: 293g
Dimensions: 195.4x134.8x6.3mm
Screen size: 8.3-inch IPS LCD
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Reasons to buy
+
Highly portable
+
Apple Pencil 2 compatible
+
Great cameras
Reasons to avoid
-
No 3.5mm jack

We loved the iPad Mini even before it got its September 2021 refresh, and now this newest version has firmly cemented its status as the best tablet for students. 

It's had enough of a processing power boost that it'll be more than equipped for any work or study tasks you need it for, and having Apple Pencil 2 compatibility gives you loads of creative freedom. The tablet uses a reworked version of its A15 Bionic chip, which is what gives it all that power, and while some users may feel frustrated by only 4GB of RAM, realistically this is enough for the kind of tasks you'd want to do on a screen this small.

The design is as gorgeous as ever, and the diminutive body makes the tablet easy to carry around to classes – it's basically about the size of a paperback book, and weighs just 300g. The display is a little larger than that of the last iPad Mini, even though the overall body is smaller, with a 3:2 aspect ratio and top-notch colour accuracy. The brightness is also very even, making it pleasant to use for long periods. 

While you're still paying a fairly premium Apple price, as you'd expect, we reckon the iPad Mini 2021 offers solid value for money. 

iPad Pro 12.9 2021

(Image credit: Apple)

The best high-end student tablet

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
+
Very powerful
+
Excellent screen
Reasons to avoid
-
Incredibly expensive

Some students aren't looking for a small and portable tablet that's easy to carry around, but for the most computing power they can possibly get. If your studies are of the kind where you need a truly powerful tablet – the best tablet that money can buy – then it's the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021). This is Apple's flagship tablet, sporting the M1 processing chip that puts it on par with a Macbook. Combine it with a keyboard and mouse, and you essentially have a high-quality laptop alternative, and one that'll last a long time. 

The HDR display is the best example of its type that you can get on a tablet, with a 120Hz refresh rate and a resolution of 2048 x 2732. Its peak brightness is 1,600 nits, and with better control of local dimming, it's more pleasant to look at for long periods. Darker areas have more nuance and depth to them, making for a better and more accurate image that's excellent for photo and video editing.

The performance, as mentioned, is blisteringly fast. The design of the tablet is premium aluminium. Plus, as with the mini iPad, you get support for the Apple Pencil 2 stylus, once of the best styluses around right now, especially for artists and designers.

This tablet of course won't be for all students. It's tremendously expensive, and only worth the price tag if you actually need all the power it's offering. If you do though,, and you have the budget, you won't be disappointed. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

(Image credit: Samsung)

03. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

The last-gen Galaxy Tab is the best Android tablet for students

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 S6 Lite is a brilliant Android tablet for students as it offers a premium device without the huge price tag. It's one of the more affordable tablets on this list, and is a cheaper version of the Galaxy Tab S6, but that doesn't mean Samsung has cut too many corners.

It still offers excellent performance, and its build quality is anything but budget. By keeping the price down, it's a great student tablet as it means you're not spending all of your student loan on it. You also won't worry about carrying it around with you, which can be an issue with more expensive - and flashy - tablets.

Unlike many of the tablets on here, it comes with a stylus included. The S-Pen is a perfectly decent stylus, and while it can't compete with some of the more advanced styluses out there, it's fine for note taking and doodles, and it's nice that it's included here, saving you a bit of extra money.

While there are newer Galaxy tablets out there in the form of Samsung's S7 range – including the Tab S7, the Tab S7 Plus and the Tab S7 FE – we're sticking with the S6 as our recommendation for now as it's available at a cut-down price, and still is more than capable of delivering everything most students will need. If you really want more processing power or screen resolution then consider the newer tablets, but otherwise we'd say the Galaxy Tab S6 is a perfect buy.

Microsoft Surface Go 2

(Image credit: Microsoft)

04. Microsoft Surface Go 2

The best Windows tablet for students

Specifications
Weight: 1.22 lb (553 grams)
Dimensions: 245 x 175 x 8.3 mm
Screen size: 10.5-inch
Storage: 64GB eMMC – 128GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+
Premium design
+
Affordable
+
Can run full Windows 10
Reasons to avoid
-
No Touch Cover or stylus included
-
Base model's specs are weak

While the Apple App Store and Google's Play Store offer plenty of apps for iPads and Android tablets respectively, neither can compare with the versatility of a Windows 10 device. While the Microsoft Store lags in apps compared to Apple and Google, you can download and install any application you would on a laptop or desktop running Windows 10.

So, unlike making do with mobile creative apps, for example, you can install the full version of Adobe Photoshop, which makes Windows 10 tablets great student devices. 

The Surface Go 2 is our choice as the best Windows tablet for students because it runs Windows 10 and a stylish, lightweight design. Microsoft's Surface products are premium, stylish, devices, and the Go line retain those qualities while coming in at a lower price point.

So, while it's not the most powerful tablet out there, it's affordable, and that makes it a great choice for students. Invest in the Type Cover, and you can protect the screen and turn the Surface Go 2 into great Windows 10 laptop, perfect for writing up essays on.

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020)

(Image credit: Amazon)

05. 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
+
Super-low price
+
Great front camera placement
Reasons to avoid
-
Poor screen quality
-
Locked to Amazon’s ecosystem

The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) is a great cheap tablet for students. As long as you don't go in expecting the kind of features and performance of the likes of the iPad Pro, then the Amazon Fire HD 8 will pleasantly surprise you.

The latest model comes with some decent specs despite the budget price, and Amazon has upped the performance from its predecessor, while keeping its ultra-low price.

If you shop on Amazon a lot, and have a Prime membership, when you'll find a lot to like with this tablet, and it'll run plenty of apps that can help you with your studies. It's also a good performer when it comes to entertainment. There's Amazon Prime, of course, along with Netflix and Disney Plus, and they all run well and look good on the 8-inch screen. If you want a tablet but don't want to spend much, then this is a great budget choice.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

(Image credit: Microsoft)

A great high-end Windows tablet

Specifications
Weight: 771g
Dimensions: 292 x 201 x 8.5mm
Screen size: 12.3-inch
Storage: 128GB – 1TB
Reasons to buy
+
Great design
+
Wi-Fi 6 support
Reasons to avoid
-
Pricey

If you like the look of the Surface Go 2 earlier in this list, but want something with a bit more power, then Microsoft's also got the Surface Pro 7, its latest high-end Windows tablet.

This is a great tablet for students looking for a stylish device to work on. It's got cutting-edge Wi-Fi 6, so wireless speeds are faster and more reliable, and it's got a gorgeous screen as well. It also comes with powerful components, which makes running Windows 10, and any application you rely on for your studies, a dream.

If you pair it with a Type Cover, it turns it into a formidable laptop-like device. It's thinner and lighter than any laptop you could buy, and its battery life is great as well. You can also choose from a variety of configurations, so you can pick a model that best suits your needs and budget.

However, even the cheapest configurations are still quite pricey, which may make it less suitable for some students. In that case, the Surface Go 2 is a better option.

Huawei MatePad Pro

(Image credit: Huawei)

07. Huawei MatePad Pro

The best 2-in-1 tablet

Specifications
Weight: 460g
Dimensions: 246 x 159 x 7.2mm
Screen size: 10.8-inch
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Reasons to buy
+
Powerful
+
Can be used like a laptop
Reasons to avoid
-
No headphone jack

Huawei is becoming an increasingly impressive force to be reckoned with in the tablet world, and the MatePad Pro is perhaps its best tablet yet. It's powerful and stylish, with a 10.8-inch screen and battery life that you'd expect from a more expensive tablet.

In fact, despite being almost half the price, the MatePad Pro even gives the mighty iPad Pro a run for its money, which means it's a brilliant more affordable alternative, especially for people who want an Android tablet.

However, we should point out that while it runs Android, it doesn't have access to the Google Play app store, or other Google apps. Instead it has Huawei alternatives, and while many of them do a great job, some people may be disappointed to find their favourite apps aren't there, so if you are tempted, it may be worth doing a bit of research first.

There's no denying the performance of this tablet, however, and if you combine it with a stylus and keyboard, you've got an excellent 2-in-1 tablet to help you with your studies.

iPad Air 4 (2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

Another great Apple tablet for students

Specifications
Weight: 458g
Dimensions: 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1mm
Screen size: 10.9-inch
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Reasons to buy
+
Great build quality
+
Thin and light
Reasons to avoid
-
Pricey
-
64GB option lacks space

The iPad Air 4 (2020) is, as the name suggests, an incredibly thin and light tablet, and that means it's a great choice for students who are after a device they can put in their backpack and almost forget it's there.

As with Apple's other iPads, it has a fantastic design and a stunning screen, and App Store has a brilliant array of apps and games, so no matter what course you're taking, or what kind of games you like playing, the iPad Air 4 will have a choice for you.

Power-wise it's got the same chip as the iPhone 12, so it's definitely no slouch, and while it can't compete with the iPad Pro, it doesn't need to - it's much cheaper, for a start, and for almost every iPad app out there, it offers more than enough power. Plus, hook up a Smart Keyboard, and you've got an excellent tablet that can also be used as a laptop, which is great for when you need to write out long essays.

One thing to note, however, is that the cheapest model comes with just 64GB of storage, and unlike some Android tablets, there's no memory card slot for adding extra space. You may find that 64GB storage quickly filling up

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Matt has been a technology journalist for well over a decade, writing for publications such as T3, MacFormat and Creative Bloq. He's a senior editor of TechRadar, Creative Bloq's sister site, where he can be found writing about and reviewing laptops, computers, monitors and more. He often writes for Creative Bloq, helping creatives find their perfect laptop or PC.