Technology is an increasingly important part of the back to school experience, but do all students actually need a PC? In many cases, a tablet may actually be a better choice. But which is the best tablet?
Some of the best tablet choices for 2017 offer the traditional advantages of lower cost and slimmer form factor — both a big deal for students.
But with tablets getting more powerful, many offering options like detachable keyboard cases and popular software like Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Office Suite available as fully functional mobile apps, more students will be able to opt for a tablet over a traditional laptop this year.
To make the choice easier, we’ve put together a list of five of the best tablet choices for students heading back to school in 2017.
The 5 Best Tablets for Students: New Apple iPad
Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPads have always led the tablet pack, but also tend to be on the expensive end of the spectrum.
The new iPad released in March may just be the best tablet the company has ever released, at least when it comes to general purpose use. The 9.7-inch Retina display makes it the right size to sit down with and surf the web (for research) and its A9 processor has plenty of power for word processing or even video-editing. Then there’s the 1 million+ apps in Apple’s App Store.
Weight is just 1 pound, making it easy to carry and it goes 10 hours on a battery charge,
In a very student friendly move, Apple is pricing the new iPad at $329, making a compelling choice even better.
The 5 Best Tablets for Students: Microsoft Surface Pro
For a student who needs more power, and the option of a full laptop-like experience, Microsoft’s Surface Pro is the tablet to beat.
The new Surface Pro is Microsoft’s fifth generation of its prosumer tablet and the company has the hardware pretty much perfected. It runs Windows 10 and the same Windows software a desktop PC does, while offering power right up to the option of an Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) Core i7 CPU.
The new Surface Pro starts at $799, but if you want the full laptop replacement experience, you’ll have to shell out extra for the keyboard cover.
The 5 Best Tablets for Students: Acer Switch 3
The Acer Switch 3 is an affordable alternative for students who want the Surface Pro experience — a Windows 10 tablet that converts to a laptop — on a more modest budget.
There are many similarities between the devices, including a 12.2-inch display, built-in kickstand and the ability to run Windows software. The Switch 3 has less powerful components, like a Pentium CPU and just 64GB of flash storage.
However, it costs a lot less than the Surface Pro: $449.99 and Acer also includes the keyboard stand in the box.
The 5 Best Tablets for Students: Amazon Fire HD 8
There’s something to be said for a tablet as an accessory, not a student’s primary device.
If you’re looking for a basic tablet that’s small enough to slip in a backpack, offers excellent battery life and works well for tasks like surfing the web or reading e-books on the go, the Fire HD 8 from Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is worth considering.
With an 8-inch HD display, built-in Alexa voice assistant, storage that can be inexpensively expanded with SD memory cards and a super affordable $79.99 price (a single textbook can cost more!), the Amazon Fire HD 8 may be the best tablet for students on a tight budget.
The 5 Best Tablets for Students: 10.5-inch iPad Pro
Students who like the idea of the Surface Pro, but want a prosumer tablet that’s a little more portable may want to consider Apple’s new 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
Introduced at WWDC 2017, this new iPad Pro packs a 10.5-inch enhanced Retina display in a form factor that’s about the same size as a standard iPad. It offers the power of Apple’s latest A10X Fusion CPU, up to 512GB of storage, support for the Apple Pencil stylus and there’s an optional, full-sized Smart Keyboard option.
When iOS 11 lands this fall, the new iPad Pro will gain new multi-tasking and file access options that make it an even stronger competitor against traditional laptops. Not bad for a starting price of $649.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.