Android Tablets for Students
Android tablets come in all different shapes and sizes and picking the best one can be tough for a student. But it’s easier to pick the perfect tablet when you have one as powerful as the Galaxy Tab S6. With S Pen support and 8GB of RAM, this will handle anything and everything you come across.
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
If you need a tablet capable of handling almost any task, then you don’t want to look past the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6. When picking one of these up, you’ll be happy to know that Samsung includes an S Pen with every purchase, so you don’t have to fork over extra cash.
Under the hood, the Tab S6 sports either 6GB or 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of expandable storage. This has been combined with the latest Snapdragon 855 chipset, which is found in many of your favorite 2019 flagship phones. This will allow you to take advantage of Samsung Dex Mode, which turns your Tab S6 into a desktop-like experience. Having a desktop-like experience on a 10.5-inch display is an extremely portable experience that you won’t want to leave behind.
While you won’t have to pay extra for the amazing S Pen and those features, you will if you want the full package. This means extra dough upfront to get the Samsung Keyboard Cover or another Bluetooth keyboard to stay productive during classes.
- S Pen included
- Up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage
- Latest processor
- Support for Samsung Dex Mode
- Most expensive option
- Keyboard cover is extra
Best tablet to get all of your work done and some play
The Galaxy Tab S6 is fantastic from top to bottom with S Pen support and an optional keyboard cover to get work done.
Best Value: Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
When Samsung released the Tab S5e, there were some that were confused that we didn’t see a true successor to the Tab S4. As it turns out, this is as close as you could get to one and that’s thanks to its surprising performance. With the combination of the Snapdragon 670 and up to 6GB of RAM, the S5e can keep up with the Tab S4 and then some.
Not only do you get the fantastic lightweight design along with the 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display, but the Tab S5e touts up to 15 hours of battery life. That alone will help to ensure that your tablet keeps up with you throughout your days of classes that seemingly never end. Samsung also includes microSD card support, so you can store your documents, textbooks, or movies for your downtime.
Unfortunately, Samsung did have to make some sacrifices with the Tab S5e, the biggest of which is the lack of S Pen support, meaning you will have to find your favorite stylus and roll with that one. Plus, you’ll have to shell out a few extra bucks if you want Samsung’s keyboard cover.
- Lightweight design
- 15 hours of battery life
- MicroSD card support
- Bixby Voice Assistant included
- No S Pen support
- Keyboard cover is extra
Save a few bucks with an extremely good tablet
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S5e gives you an almost-perfect productivity device, minus the S Pen support.
It’s all fine and dandy to have big display to take down all of your class notes during lectures, but what if you have a laptop to handle the heavy lifting and want something a little smaller and more portable? That’s where the Huawei MediaPad M5 comes into play with its 8.4-inch 2K display.
The M5 has a screen-to-body ratio of 82%, which isn’t as great as something from Samsung, but is still beautiful. Huawei also included Quick Charge capabilities to go along with the 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. When you want to settle down with some Netflix or a music session, the M5 sports Harman Kardon stereo speakers.
Unlike other options on this list, there is no official keyboard cover available for the MediaPad M5. That will leave you relying on a traditional Bluetooth keyboard, if that’s a path that you want to go down. The battery life also leaves us wanting more, as the M5 is only rated for 10 hours. At least Quick Charge will help keep it chugging along.
- 2K display with 82% screen-to-body ratio
- Harman Kardon stereo speakers
- Quick Charge capabilities
- MicroSD card support up to 400GB
- No OEM keyboard option
- Battery unlikely to last all day
Best Portable Power
Great for those who don’t want the “big” screen
If you want to get work done but don’t want a big screen, the MediaPad M5 from Huawei fits the bill with its 8.4-inch display.
Bes for Media Playback: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1
Versatility is the name of the game when it comes to heading back to school, and the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 is pretty impressive. This tablet has an almost edge-to-edge display with minimal bezels, which makes for a better viewing experience than the competition.
Samsung touts that the Tab A 10.1 will last for up to 13 hours, and comes in three different storage options. Plus, there is a microSD card slot which can hold up to 512GB so you’ll never run out of space.
Corners had to be cut with the Tab A 10.1, however, and it starts with the Full HD 10.1-inch display, which is lower resolution than other models. There is also no S Pen support, and you will have to use a third-party Bluetooth keyboard for when you need to get some papers done.
- 10.1-inch edge-to-edge display
- 13 hours of battery life
- 32GB/64GB/128GB storage options
- MicroSD card support up to 512GB
- No S Pen support
- No OEM keyboard option
- FHD display
Best for Media Playback
Made with media consumption in mind
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A 10.1 is a good budget pick with media consumption in mind without a lot of extra features.
Best for the Amazon Life: Amazon Fire HD 10
Amazon’s Fire HD line of tablets have been considered to be extremely great value for what you get. No, you’re not getting top of the line specs, but the Fire HD 10 has turned into quite a serviceable companion.
Amazon “nerfs” these tablets to keep the price point low, but the Fire HD 10 sports 32GB of base storage, with microSD expansion up to 256GB. There is also unlimited cloud storage for any of your Amazon content, so you won’t have to worry about taking up precious real estate. This combined with built-in Alexa and you have a fantastic companion device. And that 10-inch display will be more than capable of handling some Netflix binge-watching sessions.
The first big pitfall with the Fire HD 10 is the lack of the Play Store. Instead, you’ll have to rely on the Amazon App Store which does not have as many apps compared to the Play Store. Fire tablets are powered by Fire OS, which is based on Android but isn’t exactly the same Android you’ll find elsewhere. Differences include the home screen and ways to navigate throughout the tablets options.
- Amazon Alexa built-in
- MicroSD card support up to 256GB
- Unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content
- No Google Play Store access
- Fire OS isn’t quite Android
- Full HD display
- No OEM keyboard cover
Best for the Amazon Life
Big screen on a budget
If you need a bigger screen and Amazon Alexa, the Fire HD 10 will help you through the toughest days.
Best for Reading: Amazon Fire HD 8
As is the case with the Fire HD 10, the Fire HD 8 is also not designed to be a powerhouse tablet. This is for those who want to read some content on the go, without taking up a bunch of real estate in your backpack or messenger bag.
Amazon Alexa is built-in and gives you what Alexa has to offer in terms of a voice assistant and more. This includes Alexa Skills, which can be installed to help you find the right answers during study sessions. Plus, it’s lightweight and portable with its 8-inch display, so you can get take advantage of the built-in Kindle app to get some reading done without carrying books.
On the other hand, multi-tasking may be problematic with the Fire HD 8’s 1.5GB of RAM. There is also only 16GB or 32GB of storage, leaving you to rely on a microSD card for any heavy-lifting on the storage side. You’ll also be using Fire OS, which is based on Android but isn’t exactly the same. It provides quick access to Amazon services while opting for the Amazon App Store over the Google Play Store.
- Multiple color options
- Quad-core processor
- Ultra-portable and lightweight
- Alexa built-in
- Only 1.5GB of RAM
- Amazon App Store
- Only 16B or 32GB of storage
- Limited to 10 hours of battery life
Best for Reading
Get some reading done without the books
The Amazon Fire HD 8 is the perfect companion tablet to get some reading done without weighing you down.
There are quite a few different Android tablets to pick from, especially if you’re a student. Use-cases are different for everyone, but our favorite Android tablet for every situation is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6.
It has all the power you’ll need for multitasking and to get some work done, but best of all, Samsung includes an S Pen in the box, allowing you to take notes wherever along with using the S Pen’s features. You can take advantage of the new Samsung Dex Mode for more of a desktop-like experience when you pick up Samsung’s Keyboard Cover.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Andrew Myrick is a regular freelancer at Android Central and iMore. He has been a tech enthusiast ever since the original iPhone was released and continues to flip-flop between devices. You might as well hook him up to an IV filled with coffee to get him through the day. If you have any questions, you can find him on Twitter, and he’ll get back to you.
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