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There was a time wherein most college students mostly used laptops for studying, completing projects, etc. Fortunately, technology has evolved over the years, and there are new devices that can help with a student’s productivity. While a laptop is still a helpful gadget to have, modern tablets have become powerful enough to tackle most college tasks and deliver a seamless user experience throughout. Many tablets today come with the same technology and features you would find in a laptop, and they prove to be a more practical option for students since they tend to be more lightweight and portable. They are also cheaper and may offer better processing power and graphics than you would get from a laptop in the same price range. There are various tablet options in the current market, and the perfect one will depend on how you intend to use it. Apple has been creating incredible tablets over the years, but you can also find some terrific options running on Android. You can even use most tablets today with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, making you feel like you have an actual laptop with you. In this article, we’ll cover some of the most popular and efficient tablets that every college student should keep in mind when looking for a new device to fill the void between their phone and a desktop PC.
Apple’s iPads have been popular for many years now, and it looks like they aren’t slowing down when it comes to thinking of ways to improve their devices year by year. A new generation of the iPad Air was released in 2022, and it’s perfect for students who want a tablet that is as (or even more) powerful than standard laptops. The device is available in a Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + Cellular model, and students might benefit from the latter more since you would want access to mobile data in case the Wi-Fi network at your school acts up. It supports Wi-Fi 6 and 5G connectivity, so you can expect it to give you fast network speeds. You also can only pick between a 64GB and 256GB model, but if you need more space, you can always get more iCloud storage for a fee. The iPad Air features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display that offers a ton of screen space, mainly because it has slim bezels. What makes the device a powerhouse for increasing your productivity is its excellent Apple M1 chip. You can expect all your apps to run smoothly, even when you have many tabs open while doing your research for a paper. Students will also love the responsiveness of the iPad when writing or taking notes on it using the Apple Pencil, and they can also get the Magic Keyboard or Smart Keyboard Folio. Sadly, these accessories are not the cheapest. The device can also be used for taking photos or videos, either for class or fun, and you’ll be impressed by the quality you get from its 12MP wide rear camera and 12MP ultra-wide selfie camera. Its rear camera can record 4K video with a maximum frame rate of 60 fps, while its front camera is limited to 1080p video at 60 fps. If you’re a student with online classes, you won’t be disappointed by the performance of its selfie cameras during video calls. The new iPad Air comes with Center Stage, which automatically pans and focuses on you when you move around during a video call. The device uses Touch ID, and its sensor is built into its top button. In terms of battery life, it’s not the best because you get around 5-8 hours of usage per charge, so you might need to ensure that you always have a power bank or charging cable in your bag. Whenever you want to cast content from your iPad to a monitor, you can choose a wireless route via AirPlay 2, but you can also use its USB Type-C port since it’s also a DisplayPort. You can use a DVI, HDMI, or VGA adapter, which you’ll need to purchase separately.
For those college students who prefer working on a tablet that runs on Android, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ would be a fantastic option for you. It’s excellent to use with the S Pen, and the best part is that it already comes with the tablet. The only accessory you will have to purchase separately is a Bluetooth keyboard, but you might already find its on-screen keyboard more than enough. The device features a 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display, perfect for people who constantly multitask with different apps open simultaneously. Whenever you need to take a break from all the studying, you will love watching your favorite movies or shows on its large screen that promises top-notch quality because of its HDR10+ support. It even has a 120Hz refresh rate, making it suitable for those who love playing mobile games in their free time. Samsung did an outstanding job hiding their fingerprint reader, and we bet you didn’t expect it to be hidden under the display. Users won’t be disappointed by the tablet’s overall performance because its Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 guarantees an impressive level of snappiness and responsiveness. The tablet is available in 128GB and 256GB models, but users can also expand their storage even more since it has a microSD card slot. Similar to Apple, you can decide between a Wi-Fi/LTE variant or one with Wi-Fi only. You can consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ a premium tablet, so it’s no surprise that it comes with decent cameras. It has a 13MP wide camera, a 6MP ultra-wide camera, and a 12MP selfie camera. Both its rear and front camera can record 4K video at 60 fps. Those who need to hop on video calls regularly will love the tablet’s auto framing feature and crystal-clear voice quality from its three mics with noise cancellation capabilities. The tablet has four speakers tuned by AKG, which are perfect for days wherein you want to ditch your earbuds and listen to your audio out loud. You won’t be disappointed by the network performance you get from the device because of its Wi-Fi 6e support. The tablet’s battery life isn’t too disappointing, but since you only get about 8.5 hours per charge, you might still need to have a charger in your bag when you head to class. You will be satisfied with its charging speed because it supports 45W fast charging, but you have to buy the 45W power adapter separately.
Some college students need more powerful tablets because they tend to have more complicated projects. If this is the case for you, it would be best to invest in the most premium tablet Apple offers: the iPad Pro. The Pro models come in an 11-inch and 12-inch version, but you might be better off with the 11-inch variant because a 12.9-inch tablet might be too large to bring to class with you. Regarding storage options, they offer the tablet in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB models. We believe the 512GB or 1TB would be perfect for students who regularly work on presentations or videos that tend to have large file sizes. The iPad Pro supports the 2nd generation Apple Pencil, which doesn’t come with the device. Users can expect all their content to look incredible on the device because of its stunning 11-inch Liquid Retina display. It features IPS technology, ProMotion technology, and a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating. The tablet is equipped with the Apple M1 chip, so you can expect it to handle numerous heavy-hitting tasks. What sets this device from Apple’s other iPads is its pro camera system. It has a 12MP wide camera, a 10MP ultra-wide camera, and a 12MP ultra-wide front-facing camera. It’s perfect for all your video projects for school because you can capture 4K video at 60 fps. Its selfie camera isn’t only for taking images or videos; it also acts as your scanner for Face ID, which makes unlocking the tablet and authenticating payments a breeze. You will also get to use it for video calls; as expected, it comes with Center Stage. The device can pick up your voice clearly with its five studio-quality microphones, and its four speakers ensure you can enjoy your audio even if you don’t own a pair of AirPods. The iPad Pro supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 technology, and those who purchase the Wi-Fi + Cellular model will enjoy blazingly fast 5G connectivity. Its battery life is not so bad because you will get to use it for 10 hours before you run out of juice, but it will still depend on your usage at the end of the day. The device’s Thunderbolt/USB 4 (Type-C) port isn’t only for charging because it’s also a DisplayPort and can support an external display with a maximum resolution of 6K at 60Hz.
If you are set on getting a tablet from Apple but want a more affordable option, you can go for the 9th generation iPad, which was released in 2021. Its design seems more outdated compared to the latest iPad Air because its 10.2-inch display has thicker bezels and the physical home button Apple used to put on most of their mobile devices. Still, it’s a decent compromise for a premium tablet you’ll be able to get for a lower price. The iPad only comes in 64GB and 256GB models, and we suggest you get the latter since you will need space to store all your essential files for school. The Wi-Fi + Cellular model costs $589, but if you want more savings, you can opt for the Wi-Fi-only variant that comes with a $459 price tag. The tablet’s A13 Bionic chip might seem “old” because Apple has been using their new M1 and M2 chips in their pricier options, but the speed and performance you get from the A13 chip are still more than enough for a student to get by a full day of class. The 9th generation comes with a 12MP ultra-wide front-facing camera and an 8MP wide rear camera, and while these aren’t their most advanced cameras, the different technologies they place in their camera system allow you to get terrific pictures and videos. This might not be the best option if you need a tablet that can capture high-quality footage because its maximum video resolution is 1080p at 30 fps. Thankfully, its high-quality selfie camera makes it ideal for hopping on Zoom calls for online classes. It comes with Apple’s Center Stage, so you’re always in focus even when you’re presenting. For those who want to use the device with a stylus, you can only use the 1st generation Apple Pencil with it, and you’ll still have to buy it separately. The tablet also doesn’t have a magnetic connector to attach the Apple Pencil directly. The iPad has a rechargeable 32.4-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, and you can expect around 10 hours of usage per charge. The device still uses a lightning cable to charge, and you can also buy adapters if ever you want to establish an HDMI, DVI, or VGA connection.
Many high-tech tablets can come with pretty high price tags, especially if you choose the one with a higher storage capacity. More powerful devices would be beneficial for those who are taking up a course in the creative field, but if you need a tablet for more simple tasks like writing a document or doing some research on Google, you would be better off choosing an ultra-affordable option like the Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus. This tablet, which hit stores in 2021, would only cost you about $240 in 2022. Such price applies to the model with 64GB of storage and no lock screen ads, but you can expect to pay less if you settle for the variant with only 32GB of storage and lock screen ads. The storage options for the tablet might be limited, but you can quickly expand it since it has a dedicated microSDXC card slot. The device features a 10.1-inch IPS LCD screen with a 1080p Full HD resolution. You get a decent performance from its Mediatek MT8183 Helio P60T processor, but you have to remember that it won’t be sufficient for more complicated tasks. It also won’t handle too much multitasking since it only comes with 4GB RAM. The Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus comes with a 5MP rear camera and 2MP selfie camera, but its quality and performance can’t keep up with the ones found in Apple or Samsung devices. This tablet performs well in terms of battery life because a single charge gives you around 10-12 hours of usage. You can charge it via its USB Type-C port, or you can use a compatible Qi wireless charger. Since Amazon makes the device, it’s no surprise that it has Alexa built-in for easy voice control. Customers will get a one-year limited warranty upon purchase.
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