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The best tablets for students in 2022

Included in this guide:
A photo of a girl at college looking one of the best tablets for students in 2022
(Image credit: Harbucks)

The best tablets for students can have a real impact on the quality of work and study in 2022 and beyond. Even now remote or hybrid working is here to stay and has become a valuable way to work. Splitting study time between home or student digs, the lecture theatre or seminar room and the library is easier with the right tablet. 

A powerful but highly portable device that can easily be carried about between those different study venues and make a real difference, but which to get? That's the purpose of this guide. We've gathered the best tablets to replace a bulky and expensive laptop. Tablets from Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and others are slim, have a great battery life, but come in powerful builds for all your study, art and social needs.

In our guide to the best tablets for students below, we've taken as our main criteria performance and portability, but also price because we recognise that some of the most powerful tablets are fairly expensive for student budgets (in those cases, it's often worth looking at an earlier model to save money).

Sometimes, a previous-generation tablet will offer all the power you need, and for a fraction of the price of a new model. If you're looking for more essential gear for your studies, see our guide to getting an Apple student discount and our picks of the best student laptops and best drawing tablets. Make your device even more useful too, with our selection of the best tablet keyboards.

The best tablets for students in 2022

An official photo of the iPad Mini, one of the best tablets for studentsCB

(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 the latest version has only further cemented its status as the best tablet for students. The latest generation offers enough of a boost in processing power that the tablet is now well able to handle any work or study tasks you need it for, while Apple Pencil 2 compatibility gives you lots of creative freedom. 

This iteration uses a reworked version of the A15 Bionic chip for powerful processing, and while some users may feel frustrated by only 4GB of RAM, realistically this should be enough for any of the tasks you'd want to do on a screen this small.

The design is as gorgeous as ever, and the compact size makes the tablet easy to carry to classes – it's 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 very even, making it pleasant to use for long periods. While you're still paying a fairly premium Apple price, we reckon the iPad Mini 2021 offers solid value for money.  See our full iPad mini 6 review for more details.

An official photo of the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021), one of the best tablets for studentsCB endorsed

(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

If you're concerned more about power than portability (and you have the budget to pay for it), the best tablet that money can buy is 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, one of the best styluses around right now, especially for artists and designers.

Of course, we hesitate to recommend this tablet for students because of the price. It is tremendously expensive and it's only worth the price tag if you really need the power it offers. If you do, for example, if you need to run power-hungry editing apps as part of your studies, then this tablet won't disappoint you. See our iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) review for more information.

An official photo of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, one of the best tablets for studentsCB endorsed

(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. Samsung has since released the Galaxy Tab S7, but this cheaper version of the Galaxy Tab S6 is still a great option for students since it's so affordable – and that doesn't mean Samsung has cut too many corners.

It 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.

An official photo of the Microsoft Surface Go 2, one of the best tablets for students

(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 device that allows you to run any application you would on a laptop or desktop PC running Windows. That means that instead of making do with mobile creative apps, you can install the full version of Adobe Photoshop.

The Surface Go 2 is our choice as the best Windows tablet for its stylish, lightweight design and low price. It's not the most powerful Surface tablet (see the Surface Pro below), but it offers great value for money, making it a great choice for students. Invest in the Type Cover, and you can protect the screen and turn the Surface Go 2 into a great Windows laptop for writing up essays.

Microsoft is actually on to the Surface Pro 3 now, but this is another case where newer isn't necessarily better and we reckon the Surface Pro is still the better tablet for students. While the Surface Pro 3 offers a newer processor with marginally improved performance, its display is very slightly dimmer and worst of all, it has a significantly lower battery life, at 6.5 hours compared to 11.3. If you're studying away from home, for example, long sessions in the university library, you'll be glad of those extra hours.

An official photo of a Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020), one of the best tablets for students

(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, you should be pleasantly surprised. 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 you have a Prime membership, 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. 

The numbering system for tablets can be confusing due the conventions used by different brands. With Amazon Fire tablets the number refers to the size of the tablet rather than the generation as it does in the Microsoft Surface devices. If you need a larger tablet, the Fire HD 10 offers a 10in screen, but we like the 8in Fire HD 8 for its convenient portability.

An official photo of a Surface Pro 8 product shot, one of the best tablets for students

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The best high-end Windows tablet for students

Specifications
Weight: 890g
Dimensions: 28.7 x 20.8 x 0.93cm
Screen size: 13-inch
Storage: 128GB – 1TB
Reasons to buy
+
Great hybrid design
+
Improved performance
Reasons to avoid
-
Expensive

As a Windows tablet the Surface Pro 8 offers advantages other devices can't, such as running desktop software on mobile hardware. While the Surface Go 2's power is limited (see above), we put it higher in our list because of its value for money for students, but if you're prepared to pay around a grand for a Windows tablet with some real oomph, then the Surface Pro range is ideal. 

The Surface Pro 8 is the latest in this high-end range, and in this case, we'd say it is worth paying for the newer version due to the number of improvements it offers over the older Surface Pro 7, in terms of both design and performance. 

The Surface Pro 8 is designed to showcase Windows 11 and it does that with aplomb thanks to a gorgeous screen and powerful processor. Pair it with a Type Cover, and you really do have an experience that can stand up to a laptop while being thinner and lighter than any laptop you could buy. Battery life is great as well. 

There are several configurations, so you can opt for lower RAM and storage space to save cash but it is still a pricey tablet for students. See our full Surface Pro 8 review for more details.

An official photo of a Huawei MatePad Pro, one of the best tablets for students

(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.

An official photo of a iPad Air 4 (2020), one of the best tablets for students

(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're likely to find that storage quickly fills up. See our full iPad Air 2020 review.

A photo of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, one of the best tablets for students

(Image credit: Lenovo)

09. Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook 10.1

The best tablet for students who use Google Chrome

Specifications
Weight: 430g (tablet only), 920g (with full cover & keyboard)
Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.7 x 0.7 inches
Screen size: 10.1 inches
Storage: 64 GB / 128 GB
Reasons to buy
+
Good 13-hour battery life
+
Stand and keyboard included
+
Neat and portable design
Reasons to avoid
-
Lack of power for high-demanding tasks

The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook 10.1 is a solid option for anyone looking to get a Chromebook at a low price. The advantage of using Google Chrome as an OS is speed and ease – Chromebooks are backed by Google's security, cloud storage and free connected apps. If you're looking to undertake research, written and organisation tasks as well as remote video a Chromebook is a great option.

The downside to using a Chrome OS is the tablet lacks the power of an Apple or Windows device, and won't run desktop or intensive software. That aside, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook 10.1 performs most tasks, and many desktop apps have mobile editions that can prove just as useful and are often far cheaper.

The Lenovo Duet is a well-designed tablet. It's a little chunky compared to Apple devices but that also means it's a sturdy device. The fact it comes packaged with a keyboard and stand is a bonus, and only serves to reinforce the value-for-money this budget tablet offers.

A photo of the Lenovo Yoga Smart, one of the best tablets for students

(Image credit: Lenovo)

10. Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab

Specifications
Weight: 770g
Dimensions: 29.9 x 17.5 x 3.4 cm
Screen size: 10.1 Inches
Storage: 64GB Storage
Reasons to buy
+
Good display and quality audio
+
Versatile and unique design
Reasons to avoid
-
Underpowered performance

The Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab is a unique little tablet that is underpowered compared to some on this list, but with an impressive screen and good audio speakers, as well as deep Google Assist integration, comes out of left-field to be a cheap and interesting addition for students on a budget.

The design of the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab is unique. One end has a bulky, rounded cylinder that tapers away to form a smooth and curved design. This ensures it a natural typing position and can be stood upright at an angle for viewing – it's a perfect device for written work and video calls (and great for films).

Made from aluminium and covered with a soft-touch acrylic finish, the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab is a light and agile tablet. This device has a lot going for it, but it's also light on power and uses an older version of Android, which can limit its app use. That said, if you're writing and organising, researching and browsing the web, or taking on video calls and remote lectures, it's actually very handy; a good backup tablet.

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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.