Best Android Tablets for Students Android Central 2021
Android tablets come in all different shapes and sizes and picking the best Android tablet 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 S7 Plus on the market. With S Pen support and 8GB of RAM, this will handle anything and everything you come across.
- Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus
- Best Value: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
- Best Portable Power: Lenovo Smart Tab M8
- Best for Media Playback: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1
- Best for the Amazon Life: Amazon Fire HD 10
- Best for Reading: Amazon Fire HD 8
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus
If you need a tablet capable of handling almost any task, then you don't want to look past the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus. You'll also be happy to know that Samsung includes an S Pen with every purchase, so you don't have to fork over extra cash for extra productivity.
Under the hood, the Tab S7 Plus sports either 6GB or 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of expandable storage. This has been combined with the latest Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, which is found in many of your favorite late-2020 flagship phones. This will allow you to take advantage of Samsung Dex Mode, which turns your Tab S7 Plus into a desktop-like experience. Being able to play around on what is essentially a desktop on a 12.4-inch display is an extremely portable experience that you won't want to leave behind. It's also rated for up to 14 hours with media playback, so you can use it all day.
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
- Rated for 14 hours of battery
- Up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage
- 120Hz Super AMOLED display
- Support for Samsung Dex Mode
- Most expensive option
- Keyboard cover is extra
Best Value: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
With the Tab S6 Lite, the company opted to replace the S5e that previously had been one of our favorite value tablets. With this new tablet, you'll get a familiar, lightweight, sleek design, along with the specs you would expect.
Samsung has equipped the S6 Lite with 12 hours of battery life, along with a microSD card slot, making it a perfect tablet for media consumption. The company also unveiled an updated S Pen, which sports a new design, a finer tip, and improved latency compared to the S Pen found with the standard Galaxy Tab S6. All of this makes for an impressive Android tablet, packed with loads of features and more to do almost anything for you.
Considering that the Tab S6 Lite is aimed at the value market, some corners had to be cut. Going back to media consumption, Samsung included two AKG-tuned speakers, instead of the four found it sibling, the Tab S6. Plus, the microSD card slot is only capable of using up to a 512GB card, while other tablets offer support up to 1TB.
- Lightweight design
- 12 hours of battery life
- MicroSD card support
- New S Pen Included
- Storage expansion limited to 512GB
- Just two speakers
Best Portable Power: Lenovo Smart Tab M8
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 more portable? That's what makes the Lenovo Smart Tab M8 one of the best Android tablets for students with its 8-inch display.
The Lenovo Smart Tab M8 sports 32GB of built-in storage, along with a support for up to a 1TB microSD card. Many of the memory cards that you buy today will work perfectly fine, including some of the newer ones with this greater capacity. But the biggest benefit comes thanks to the include charging dock. When docked, the Smart Tab M8 turns into a Google Assistant display, with a custom interface, essentially giving you a Google Home Hub in your dorm.
Micro-USB has been slowly phased out of many other devices on the market, but the same can't be said for the Lenovo Tab M8 FHD. For some reason, Lenovo has opted to keep Micro-USB over the vastly-superior USB Type-C for its charging needs. The IPS panel will be just fine with its 1280x800 resolution, but it definitely doesn't hold up compared to similarly-priced tablets.
- 18 hours of battery life
- microSD card slot
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Includes Google Assistant Smart Charging Dock
- Micro-USB for charging
- IPS display is just OK
Best 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 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 and makes for one of the best Android tablets for students, without breaking the bank.
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 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 and don't want to take up a bunch of real estate in their bag.
Amazon Alexa is built-in and gives you everything the smart assistant 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 2GB of RAM. There is also only 32GB or 64GB 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
- USB-C Charging
- Only 2GB of RAM
- Amazon App Store has limited apps
- Only 32GB or 64GB of storage
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 S7 Plus. 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. There's even a 5G-enabled variant, making this the first Android tablet to take advantage of the fastest network speeds. Being able to go from class-to-class and not needing to rely on spotty Wi-Fi can be a real game-changer.
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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