Best school tablet of 2024

Best school tablet: quick menu

A stack of ipad minis, one of the best school tablet picks, against a two tone background

(Image credit: Future)

1. Best overall
2. Best university
3. Best Android
4. FAQs
5. How we test

The best school tablet is essential for students seeking versatile, portable devices for their academic needs. 

While these tablets might not always have the built-in keyboard or traditional touchpad typical of the best student laptop or best Chromebook, they're a compelling option for those who value mobility. Tablets generally offer a more compact, lightweight design, making them easier to tuck into the best backpack for school, as opposed to heavier laptops or Chromebooks.

Many of today's educational resources, including popular platforms like Google Classroom and BBC Bitesize, have adopted a Software as a Service model. This means students only need to use one of the best web browsers to access a wide range of learning tools. What's more, schools, colleges, and universities frequently offer essential software services, such as Office 365 subscriptions, that are tailored for tablet access.

The need for vast local storage is diminishing, as most academic tasks are now saved directly to some of the best cloud storage services. However, for students who require additional space, many of the contemporary tablets come equipped with USB or Thunderbolt ports, enabling connections to external drives for virtually unlimited storage.

When selecting the best school tablet, it's crucial to evaluate factors like CPU, performance, battery life, weight, resolution, and OS. Storage options, software compatibility, user-friendliness, and cost are other essential considerations. Fortunately, we've tested all the best tablets for home, school, and business, so we know what tablet is able to get the job done for your student. We've pulled together out top picks to help you find the best school tablet that fits your needs and budget so you and your student can get back to learning.


The best school tablet of 2024 in full:

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Below you'll find full write-ups for each of the best school tablet picks on our list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best school tablet overall

Apple iPad Air 5 (2022)

Apple iPad Air 5 (2022) (Image credit: Apple)
A great iPad that is just about perfect for most students

Specifications

Screen Size: 10.9"
Resolution: 2360 x 1640
Processor: Apple M1
Battery Life: up to 10 hrs
OS: iPadOS 16
Storage: 64GB / 256GB
Weight: 1.02lb / 4.61kg

Reasons to buy

+
Great design
+
Speedy performance
+
Incredibly versatile

Reasons to avoid

-
Too close in cost to iPad Pro
-
Battery life only average
-
64GB is too little storage for base model

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.

Read our full Apple iPad Air 5 (2022) review.

The best school tablet for university students

The iPad Pro (2022) attached to the compatible Apple Magic Keyboard

The iPad Pro (2022) (Image credit: Apple)
The best iPad money can buy, well equipped to solve most students' needs

Specifications

Screen Size: 12.9"
Resolution: 2732 x 2048
Processor: Apple M2
Battery Life: up to 10 hrs
OS: iPadOS 16
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB
Weight: 1.51lb / 6.82kg

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful mini-LED screen
+
Future-proof M2 chip
+
The best range of tablet apps

Reasons to avoid

-
128GB is small for the price
-
Battery life isn't huge
-
Steep price rise in some countries

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.

Read our full iPad Pro (M2, 12.9) review.

The best Android tablet for school use

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 (Image credit: Samsung)
Best Android tablet for school use

Specifications

Screen Size: 11"
Resolution: 1600 x 2560
Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Battery Life: Nearly 13 hours
OS: Android 12L
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Weight: 1.1lb / 5.03kg

Reasons to buy

+
Premium-feel design
+
S Pen stylus included

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited upgrade
-
Lacks in-screen fingerprint

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.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 review.


The best school tablet FAQs

How to choose the best school tablet 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.

How we test the best school tablets

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.

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Collin Probst

Former TechRadar Pro B2B Hardware Editor, Collin has been in journalism for years, with experience in small and large markets, including Gearadical, DailyBeast, FutureNet, and more.

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