Although the best school tablets often don’t come with a traditional mouse or built-in keyboard, they can make for a great and practical alternative to school laptops or even Chromebooks for school.
An immediate selling point is their portability, as tablets are generally smaller, more lightweight, and easier to carry than laptops/notebooks/Chromebooks.
Additionally, quite a large amount of educational software now runs as Software as a Service, such as Google Classroom and BBC Bitesize, meaning you only need a browser to access the learning resources. Other essential software for school will also probably be the same, such as an Office 365 subscription provided by the school, college, or university.
You don’t need a computing device with much of a hard drive because most work will be saved to an online storage service in the cloud anyway. And for those needing more local storage, many of the newer tablets allow for USB or even Thunderbolt external drives to be plugged in, expanding the storage with nearly no limit.
Here are the tablets we think will be best suited for school use. We’ve compared these school tablets across numerous factors, like their CPU, performance, battery life, weight, resolution, and OS. We considered their storage options, compatibility with other programs, ease of use, and pricing, among other points.
We’ve also reviewed the best laptops for teachers.
The best school tablets of 2023 in full
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The iPad Air with the M1 chip is nearly perfect for a student. The M1 chip is powerful enough to push through late-night study sessions or create presentations for biology. With the advancements of iPadOS 16, the iPad is becoming more and more capable while still staying a light, simple piece of glass. Adding a keyboard, whether Bluetooth or an Apple Keyboard, unlocks even more productivity power.
Candidly, the iPad route won’t give you access to everything like you may be used to with a traditional laptop. However, more and more people are making the switch and finding that with a few simple shortcuts or even just a different app, just about everything can be done from an iPad.
The iPad Pro 12.9″ is the biggest and baddest iPad available on the market today. This iPad Pro saw an update in 2022 to bump it to an Apple M2 chipset, giving this piece of glass even more power under the display. Additionally, the larger storage sizes allow for an increase in RAM, topping out at 16GB.
The large screen size is perfect for content editing or creation and multitasking. Much like the iPad Air, this iPad has a few keyboard options, giving way to another level of productivity.
If you want the best of the best iPad, look no further than the M2 12.9″ iPad Pro.
If you’re looking for a tablet outside of the Apple Ecosystem, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 is the best option around right now for school use, and beyond. The included S Pen unlocks so much for creative students, as well as those who would prefer to handwrite notes or draw diagrams.
These tablets can expand their storage thanks to a micro-SD card slot. Alternatively, if you want to expand your screen size, you can opt for the Ultra, adding 1.4 inches of diagonal display.
This tablet packs a good amount of power, while also having an impressive battery life. All in all, if you choose for this tablet for your academic endeavors or otherwise, you shouldn’t be dissapointed.
How to choose the best school tablets for you?
When choosing the best school tablet for yourself, you’ll want to consider it’s power, weight, size, and battery life. If you need to use the tablet throughout your school hours, then you need a powerful CPU and enough RAM to swiftly use different apps without getting stuck.
Plan to do a lot of notetaking? Check if your tablet ships with a wireless stylus pen. You’ll want a high-resolution screen if you need the tablet for an art or graphics class.
School tablets don’t always have the best cameras on them, so if you need to snap excellent-quality images, then you’ll want to look at some of the more expensive options on the list.
Importantly, check how much battery life the device offers, especially in varying conditions. Not everyone will use the tablet the same way, so you’ll want to make the right selection based on your work requirements.
The best school tablets: How we test
To accurately assess how well these school tablets perform, we compared their tech specs and their real-world performance.
We looked at their weight, dimensions, OS, CPU, resolution, battery life, and camera quality. We checked if they had stylus compatibility, if they came with a stylus, how much storage they offered, and SD card support.
We tested their battery life by running different apps on them and seeing how many hours we could get out of them. We also considered their screen size and pricing, among other things.