Smaller than a laptop, lightweight, and packed with educational software programmes, tablets are quickly becoming the go-to device for in-class learning. All of them can be synced to the cloud, so you don’t need much storage space, and if you sign up for essential software services on the device, like Office 365, you are ready to tackle whatever the semester throws your way.
If you're a parent looking to pick up a speedy student tablet, consider budget-friendly Android devices, says Lijosh John, a technical service engineer at Al Barsha Electronics LLC in Dubai, who has repaired several tablets in his career. "Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite and A8 are popular choices for school work - performance-wise, they're faster than brands like Lenovo, lightweight, and the battery backup is great. Samsung is also known for its durability," said John.
Other attractive options include Xiaomi models, which have excellent camera quality, according to our expert, and therefore, are worth looking into. However, with a sizeable budget, parents could shop from the latest Apple iPad range, he added.
"No matter the device, we advise against overcharging tablets and suggest buying a protective case, if young children are the primary users," said John. We drew up a list of the best tablets that will stand rigorous assignments and long lectures, so that you or your child can have a smooth-sailing academic year ahead.
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1. Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Tab A8
- Screen-record lectures with note-taking on the Samsung Note app
- Share content between two apps simultaneously
- Expandable storage to up to 1TB
- Lightweight at 508 grams
- Includes cellular connectivity
- No magnetic S Pen
A robust, reliable tablet, the Galaxy Tab A8 has a 10.5-inch screen and a 6.9mm profile, slim enough to easily slip into school bags or backpacks (we recommend buying a protective case – see options here). Equipped with an octa-core processor, there's plenty of RAM for executive functions, at 4GB. If its 64GB capacity falls short, you have the option of upgrading your storage to up to 1TB via a microSD card. Students will appreciate the Screen Recorder feature, designed to capture live online classes, where they'll be able to make notes on the content directly. They could also split the screen between two apps and drag and drop key takeaways quickly. On the Samsung Note app, you can tag your memos by class or content, for sifting later. And, of course, Samsung Kids lets parents introduce their younger children to a safe learning environment, with complete parental controls. This model of the Tab A8 has cellular connectivity, as well.
Bonus: Buy it with zero per cent installments and pay Dh73.17 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh57, a one-year damage protection for Dh95 and a one-year extended warranty and two-year damage protection for Dh121.
2. Best for Productivity: Microsoft Surface GO 3
- Optimised for Microsoft productivity apps
- Connectivity includes USB-C port, headphone jack and microSD reader
- Adjustable kickstand for comfortable use
- Large 8GB RAM space
- 1080p HD front and rear cameras
- Can get warm after hours of use
- Battery life may be lesser than claimed
A hybrid tablet goes a long way, especially when it comes with its own built-in kickstand. The Microsoft Surface Go 3 two-in-one device can be laid flat on the desk for note-taking, propped up for watching lectures or paired with a keyboard (sold separately) for the laptop experience. The 10.5-inch tablet only weighs 544 grams, meaning it can be carried easily between classes in your backpack. Its spacious 8GB RAM lets you run multiple apps at the same time without lag; plus, all your favourite productivity apps in the Microsoft Suite, like Word and PowerPoint, are optimised for Surface. If you want to transfer notes and projects between devices, the tablet has a USB-C port and a microSDXC card reader. Both cameras offer high-definition 1080p video quality, and with these great specs, you can expect to study for 11 hours on a single charge. Add a Surface Pen and a Type Cover keyboard from Amazon.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh175 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh142, a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh238, and a two-year damage protection plus one-year extended warranty for Dh303.
3. Best Tablet for Stylus: Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
- Supports multitasking
- Mirrors PC display in Samsung DeX mode
- 8GB RAM and 120Hz display for gaming
- 12MP front camera
- Expandable storage to up to 1TB
- Comes with a magnetic S Pen
- Battery life is less than the claimed 15 hours
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 is a great value bundle, thanks to the S Pen included. While you could opt for the bigger screens in the S8+ and S8 Ultra versions, we thought an 11-inch display would work best for busy college-going students. Your S Pen not only magnetically snaps onto the back of the tablet, but it also charges itself there, so that you're always ready to jot down notes in class. Its multi-window feature lets you keep track of an online lecture whilst marking up a textbook PDF on the side all at once. Then there's the option of using your tablet like a PC, thanks to the Samsung DeX mode, which is superb for browsing multiple windows just as you would on a computer. When a long study session calls for a quick gaming break, don't hesitate to fire up your favourite titles on the Galaxy Tab S8 - it has 8GB of RAM and a liquid-smooth 120Hz refresh rate.
Bonus: Buy it with zero per cent installments and pay Dh191.58 for 12 months with select banks.
4. Best for Design Students: Apple iPad Mini (8.3-Inch, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 256GB), Pink
- Large 256GB storage capacity
- Compact and lightweight at 293 grams
- 12MP front and rear cameras
- Runs graphics-intensive apps
- Supports DisplayPort
- Apple Pencil is sold separately
The sixth generation of iPad Mini fits in the palm of your hand, making it perfect for the occasional note-taker in class. It features an 8.3-inch liquid retina display and an A15 Bionic chip, boasting colours as vivid as seen on its bigger counterparts. For projects that require shooting and editing videos, this tablet’s 12MP wide back camera and 12MP ultra-wide front camera do the job spectacularly. Graphic design students can add an Apple Pencil, which attaches to the side of the tablet, to sketch and draw. With access to thousands of Apple Store apps, users can use the versatile tablet as a notepad, film studio, scanner, canvas and more. Enjoy up to 10 hours of battery life. Reviewers say the small screen also comes in handy on business trips and is a hit with gamer kids, as well.
Bonus: Buy it with zero per cent installments and pay Dh277.42 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh199, a one-year damage protection for Dh332, and a one-year extended warranty plus 2-year damage protection for Dh424.
5. Best for Battery Life: Xiaomi Pad 5
- Smooth 120Hz performance, approved by parents
- Long 16-hour battery life
- Good 13MP rear camera
- Run two apps at the same time
- Dolby Atmos- and Vision-supported
- Xiaomi Smart Pen is sold separately
From a 120Hz refresh rate to Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is a worthy contender in the budget Android range. Its long-lasting battery gives you a whopping 16 hours of video playback, and parents in the reviews say it works brilliantly as a school device, with a single charge lasting students a week of school. It brings smooth graphics and an 11-inch screen that's always visible under the sun. Reviewers also note how the tablet switches between apps swiftly, much like a smartphone. Expect excellent Dolby-supported audio and video, and listen to lectures in both landscape and portrait display formats, thanks to the four speakers. You can split a long-scroll screen into two or run two different apps at the same time, whatever the class calls for. Since it has 6GB RAM, many gamers have successfully run demanding titles on the Pad 5. And, as our tablet expert John says, the 13MP rear camera clicks decent nighttime photos, note reviews.
Bonus: Buy it with zero per cent installments and pay Dh104.92 for 12 months with select banks.
6. Best Value: Huawei Matepad 10.4-Inch (2022) + Leather Keyboard
- Work on four windows at the same time
- Perform two different tasks within the same app
- Desktop layout
- TÜV-certified display reduces eye strain
- Annotate, capture snippets and convert handwriting to text with the M-Pencil
- Doesn't include stylus
- Cameras are subpar
Another value tablet, the Huawei MatePad 2022 has a 2K resolution display with quad speakers. With a smart keyboard and a mouse, you're all set for a portable desktop experience. A convenient hover-over feature with a mouse cursor even lets you preview apps in small windows without having to open them. You can expand the 64GB storage with a microSD card. Productivity features, like multi-window view for up to four windows, work seamlessly, even allowing you to work on two tasks within one app at the same time. While its cameras are not top-of-the-range, the tablet makes for a decent mid-range device that will serve your education needs without breaking the bank. Our pick comes with a leather keyboard, but make the most of your MatePad notes by adding an M-Pencil stylus. Do note that the tablet doesn't support Google Play Store.
Bonus: Buy it with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh90.42 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for D86, a one-year damage protection for Dh143, and a one-year extended warranty plus two-year damage protection for Dh182.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.