Not too long ago, students wanted a laptop to do their homework on. Then tablets came along, and now an iPad is just as likely to be on their list of school supplies.
Laptops certainly still have a place, but tablets have found a market among people who like their very small and light designs, long battery lives, and simplicity.
For parents and students trying to decide on the best option, the editors of TabletPCReview have put together a list of recommendations. Combined with the right software and accessories, these can earn a place in almost any backpack.
Some of the tablets on the market today are capable of being a student's only computer. Not surprisingly, these are among the most expensive available, but they are more portable than any laptop, while offering the same functionality.
This model runs Windows 8 in an Intel i5 processor running at 1.8 GHz, and has a 11.6-inch 1920 x 1080 screen. It also comes with a stylus and software for taking notes with it, and there's a version with built-in 4G LTE. This is a tablet capable of handling anything thrown at it, both from a productivity standpoint as well as entertanment.
College students should seriously consider getting the external keyboard that Samsung offers, as it will make writing papers much easier.
The Microsoft Surface Pro is similar to the ATIV Tab 7, but has a slightly smaller display and a slightly lower cost. Aside from this, the two have quite a lot in common: Microsoft's offering also runs Windows 8 on an Intel i5 chip, and comes with a stylus. An external keyboard is recommended for this device.
Both these tablets run Windows 8, the latest version of Microsoft's flagship operating system. While this has drawn complaints from some users, it is well suited for running touchscreen-based devices like these two models. Bothh will be upgradable to Windows 8.1 when it is introduced this fall, which will bring some much-requested features to this OS.
Many of the most popular tablets are ones that, while very useful, are best used in combination with another computer, like a desktop PC. The tablets are good for taking notes in class, serving as electronic textbooks, or keeping the user entertained, but might not be able to do everything a student requires.
The iPad is responsible for creating the tablet market we know today, and it is the best-selling option. The most recent version has a 10.1-inch display, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, front- and rear-facing cameras, and either 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of storage capacity, depending on price.
There is a version of the iPad that depends on Wi-Fi, while others can connect to AT&T's, Verizon's, or Sprint's 4G LTE network.
There are hundreds of thousands of apps available, in a wide variety of categories, from Office suites to games. In addition, there is a section of Apple's book store dedicated to textbooks that have been enhanced with video and other multimedia content.
Samsung is the world's largest smartphone maker, and it makes some of the best Android tablets, too. This includes the Galaxy Tab 10.1 which has, no surprise, a 10.1-inch display. It includes a stylus and a suite of apps that take advanatge of it, like one for taking handwritten notes.
A version of this device can connect to Verizon's 4G LTE network, but there's also others that just use Wi-Fi.
Although Apple has the lion's share of the tablet market, there are challengers. One of the best of these is the Google Nexus 7, which was put out by Google to show the world what an Android-based tablet could be. This device has a 7-inch display and it runs the latest version of Android on a quad-core processor.
Google will soon begin offering textbooks on its ebook store.
When it's time to take a study break, Google Play offers movies, ebooks, and music, as well as all types of software.
Amazon's tablets used to be focused on ebooks, but the models released last year were much more capable. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 has, logically enough, an 8.9-inch display, making it a better option than 7-inch tablets for reading the textbooks available from Amazon, watching video, or playing games.
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