Best Tablets for Students 2017: Back to school tablets

Heading back to school or starting university? Whether you need a cheap Windows or Android tablet that’s bag-friendly and can hammer out assignments, we pick the best tablets for students to buy in 2017.

At home the tablet is the go-to gadget for quickly browsing the web, streaming TV shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime or most likely clocking up a ridiculous amount of hours playing games.

When it’s time to wave goodbye to the six week summer holiday and get back into work mode, most people will probably opt for a laptop over a tablet to take into the classroom or the library. There’s plenty of reasons to consider a tablet as an alternative instead.

iPad Pro 10.5

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  • 10.5-inch ProMotion Retina display
  • iOS 10 (with an update to iOS 11)
  • 4GB RAM, 64GB storage (higher options available)
  • Price: £619 

Yes, the iPad Pro 10.5 is expensive but it could very well be the ultimate tool for students.

The gorgeous display is perfect for binge-watching between classes and the upcoming iOS 11 software update makes it feel like a proper laptop thanks to the new dock and better multitasking. There’s plenty of power, storage and RAM but it’s the add-ons that really help it shine.

The Apple Pencil is perfect for taking notes and the Smart Keyboard is good for longer essays. They’re expensive add-ons, but that’s what your student loan is for.

Read the full iPad Pro 10.5 review

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  • 9.7-inch Retina display
  • 32GB storage, 2GB RAM
  • Impressive battery life
  • iOS 10 (will be updated to iOS 11)
  • Price: £339

If you don’t have the cash to splash on the iPad Pro 10.5 and aren’t bothered about having a tablet to replace your laptop, the basic (and cheapest) iPad is a good shout.

This iPad has very similar internals to the older iPad Air 2, but the screen isn’t quite as good. Still, it’s fast and runs all the App Store apps perfectly. The battery life is fantastic and it still looks great.

Read the full iPad 9.7-inch (2017) review

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  • 8-inch HD display
  • Tight Prime integration
  • 16GB storage plus microSD
  • Price: £79.99

If you want a tablet just for watching movies and browsing the web, plus you don’t have unlimited funds, we’d suggest you plump for the Amazon Fire HD 8.

This no-frills slate is durable and comes with 16GB storage (plus microSD expansion). There’s direct access to the Play Store, but Amazon’s App Store is well-stocked with games and apps, while there’s the Alexa voice-assistant here too.

The real killer feature though is the tight integration with Amazon’s excellent services. You can download films and TV shows from Prime Video, plus there’s music streaming and free book rental. You’ll have to be a Prime member, but that’s cheaper for students too.

Read the full Amazon Fire HD 8 review

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  • 12.3-inch display
  • Fanless Core m3 or Core i5-U and fan-cooled Core i7-U processors
  • Up to 13.5-hour battery
  • Price: £from 799.99

If you want something more than a tablet, the Surface Pro is a good pick. The latest hybrid from Microsoft can act as both your tablet for watching films or playing games, plus your laptop for more serious work. It runs a full version of Windows 10, just like any other laptop, and has plenty of power thanks to choice between M3 and Core I processors.

The battery life is fantastic, the high-res PixelSense display sharp and vibrant plus there’s support for the Microsoft Pen if you want to completely replace your notebook.

Read the full New Surface Pro review