/>
X

Back to school must-have tablets: 2014

A high-spec tablet for media, a budget tablet for reading or a decent all-rounder -- whatever your student needs going back to school, you can find it here.
charlie-osborne.jpg
25.jpg
1 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Apple iPad, iPad Air, iPad mini

The best tablet for: Battery life

Apple's iPad range, comprising of the iPad, iPad Air and iPad mini, are high-specification tablets ranging in width from 7.9 inches to 9.7 inches. Available with storage of up to 128GB, 1.2MP cameras and both wifi and cellular capabilities, these tablets are often seen in the hands of students. While the high price doesn't necessarily make an iPad suitable for younger children without supervision, for older kids, parents should consider Apple's offering as a hard-wearing option which will give them access to thousands of educational apps and iTunes U.

For a less pricey alternative, the iPad mini is the smaller version of the standard iPad, but still comes with Retina Display.

Price: $399 - $929, educational discount and gift cards available

Via: Apple

Read more:

CNET's Back-to-School Guide

Affordable smartphones (and warranty options!) built to withstand college life

Back to school must-have tech and gadgets: 2014

The best Chromebooks for school

Google opens up Classroom tool for teachers worldwide

20 essential iPhone, iPad apps for college students

50 resources for iPad use in the classroom

1.jpg
2 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Google Nexus 7

The best tablet for: General purposes

Google's Android Nexus 7 tablet is generally considered a reasonably priced, good all-round tablet for daily tasks, and education is no exception. Students can use apps such as Evernote to take notes on the tablet, remote desktop software like Splashtop can be used to remotely access their home PCs, and users have access to the entire Android app ecosystem.  

Price: From $229

ViaGoogle

Related links:

20 essential iPhone, iPad apps for college students

The top tablets for kids: 2014 edition

50 resources for iPad use in the classroom

Back to School 2013: What to buy a new college student

26.jpg
3 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

The best tablet for: Parental control

The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, available with 8GB or 16GB storage options, is one of the most affordable tablets on the market. Designed for entry-level buyers, the Kindle Fire features a 1280x800 high definition LCD display, dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, wifi connection and up to ten hours of battery life. If you're looking for a tablet to give to a young child, then the free Kindle FreeTime service can be set up to control the amount of time your child can spend playing games or using apps. You can also subscribe to FreeTime unlimited, which lets the user stream child-friendly content — perhaps a reward for finishing their homework?

If you're willing to spend a bit more, Amazon also offers the Kindle Fire 8.9-inch tablet with 4G. Older students might be more interested in the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX.

Price: $139

Via: Amazon

Related links:

20 essential iPhone, iPad apps for college students

The top tablets for kids: 2014 edition

50 resources for iPad use in the classroom

Back to School 2013: What to buy a new college student

27.jpg
4 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Samsung Galaxy Tab S

The best tablet for: Display capabilities

Available in 8.4 and 10.5 inch versions, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S is larger than the Apple iPad, and is equipped with 3GB of RAM and a quad-core 1.9GHz processor. While the fingerprint sensor is not as slick as Apple's biometric scanner, its true temptation is the incredibly bright, crisp 2560x1600 pixel WQXGA Super AMOLED display. If you have a student at home who is a film buff, this tablet is a great option. There is also a fairly straightforward multiple window feature which could be useful when students are researching and compiling notes for assignments.

Price: $399+

Via: Samsung

Related links:

20 essential iPhone, iPad apps for college students

The top tablets for kids: 2014 edition

50 resources for iPad use in the classroom

Back to School 2013: What to buy a new college student

30.jpg
5 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

HP Omni 10 3D

The best tablet for: Content and screen sharing

With 32GB storage, 2GB RAM, an Intel Atom processor of up to 2.4GHz and Windows 8.1 operating system, Hewlett Packard's Omni 10 3D tablet is a high-spec option for students focused on productivity. The easy content mirroring, granite finish which gives it a cushioned feel, and the light weight of the mobile device are all plus points, and the screen is clean and sharp. For students looking for an all-round decent workhorse without an extortionate price tag, HP's tablet is a decent option.

Price: $269 - $399

Via: HP

Related links:

20 essential iPhone, iPad apps for college students

The top tablets for kids: 2014 edition

50 resources for iPad use in the classroom

Back to School 2013: What to buy a new college student

13.jpg
6 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Microsoft Surface 3

The best tablet for: Productivity 

If your student prefers the Windows platform on his or her mobile device or you subscribe to the Redmond giant's claim that its tablets can replace laptops, Microsoft's 12-inch Surface 3 tablet, available in both entry and high-end versions, could be for you. The tablet runs on Windows 8.1 and is lighter than its predecessors, and although highly priced, the tablet has decent specs with a full HD 2160x1440 resolution, 4th generation Intel Core processor and up to 8GB RAM. This tablet would be suitable for someone who wants a tablet for multitasking, university work and general use, but is far beyond what a younger child would require.

A separate keyboard accessory can be bought for $150 to create a hybrid laptop, a useful element for students looking to complete coursework — as well as the Surface Pen, which can be used in conjunction with art-related applications. 

Price: $649 with current educational discount

Via: Microsoft

Related links:

20 essential iPhone, iPad apps for college students

The top tablets for kids: 2014 edition

50 resources for iPad use in the classroom

Back to School 2013: What to buy a new college student

31.jpg
7 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Samsung Galaxy Note

The best tablet for: Writing

What I would consider the best tablet for writing purposes, the 8-inch Samsung Galaxy Note comes equipped with Samsung's S-pen, which allows the user to take notes, make annotations on images and documents, and create everything from revision diagrams to doodles. In addition to the writing benefit, the tablet is powered by a 1.6 GHz processor and has 2GB RAM, plus 16GB storage. 

A 10.1-inch version is also available. 

Price: $398

Via: Samsung

Related links:

20 essential iPhone, iPad apps for college students

The top tablets for kids: 2014 edition

50 resources for iPad use in the classroom

Back to School 2013: What to buy a new college student

32.jpg
8 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

The best tablet for: Reading

Focused as a reading tool, Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite is a wifi enabled tablet e-book reader complete with anti-glare technology. I have found the lack of screen glare an improvement on reading on standard tablets, and even in bright sunlight, there's no trouble seeing the words on the screen. As an e-book reader, this tablet is useful for students subscribing to the phrase "reading for a degree," and the price point won't break the bank as you pack them off to college. 

Price: $119

Via: Amazon

Related links:

20 essential iPhone, iPad apps for college students

The top tablets for kids: 2014 edition

50 resources for iPad use in the classroom

Back to School 2013: What to buy a new college student

Related Galleries

Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup
shutterstock-1024665187.jpg

Related Galleries

Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup

8 Photos
Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'
Full of promises!

Related Galleries

Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'

8 Photos
Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup
Asian woman working at a desk in front of a computer and calculator

Related Galleries

Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup

8 Photos
Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup
Person seated at a booth in a cafe looks at their phone and laptop.

Related Galleries

Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup

10 Photos
Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida
ca3b4019-26c5-4ce0-a844-5aac39e2c34b.jpg

Related Galleries

Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida

16 Photos
Incipio, Kate Spade, and Coach cases for Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: hands-on
s22-ultra-incipio-coach-cases-2.jpg

Related Galleries

Incipio, Kate Spade, and Coach cases for Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: hands-on

15 Photos
Casetify Impact Crush Galaxy S22 Ultra case hands-on: in pictures
casetify-s22-ultra-3.jpg

Related Galleries

Casetify Impact Crush Galaxy S22 Ultra case hands-on: in pictures

10 Photos