Your Quick Guide to the Best Tablets for Teachers

Say yes to screen time.

Whether you’re finishing up lesson plans, touching base with parents, or firing up your favorite playlist so you can grade that stack of papers, it’s hard to beat the versatility of a tablet. More convenient than a laptop and more powerful than a smartphone, the right tablet can help you get everything done—even though a teacher’s work is never really done. We looked around and found the best tablets for teachers.

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Choosing the Right Tablet

You have plenty of options when it comes to a tablet’s function, design, and style, but there are a few key factors worth paying extra attention to when it’s time to pick the best device for your specific needs:

  • Battery life: For a tablet that can keep up with your entire school day and beyond, look for a device with at least eight hours of charge.
  • Connectivity: Consider how you plan to access the internet as well as whether you want to pay for cellular data.
  • Storage: Room for photos and files on a tablet can go fast, so in addition to the amount of GB, look into cloud options to expand your space.
  • Software: Choose an operating system that’s compatible with the rest of the tech in your home and classroom for seamless integration across devices.

Best All-Around Tablet: Apple iPad

With a 10.2-inch screen, an 8MP back camera, and up to 10 hours of battery life, it’s hard to go wrong with this best-in-show tablet. Starting at under $350, the latest generation of the Apple iPad includes some of the most-lauded features of higher-end devices (think quality performance, responsiveness, and competitive screen size) without the higher-end price tag.

Easily tailor your Apple iPad to your storage and data needs by opting for the 32GB or 128GB size as well as selecting a Wi-Fi-enabled only or Wi-Fi + cellular option, each available in multiple colors to fit your personal style.

There’s great news for teachers who are always jotting down things on the fly, too—you can extend the function of this tablet with add-ons like the smart keyboard or the Apple Pencil, which transform your device into a notebook for writing or drawing by hand.

Real Talk from Reviewers: “iPads are fantastic for folks who want high-tech capabilities with little complexity. Long battery life, easy to use, and syncs with your iPhone.”

Buy it: Apple iPad

Best Bargain or Beginner’s Tablet: Amazon Fire HD 10

If you’re making your first foray into tablet ownership and the verdict’s still out on how much you really need one, or if you’re simply looking to buy on a budget, consider the Amazon Fire. PC Mag calls this device, “The best media tablet you can get for under $150.”

In its latest release, the Fire is faster, more powerful, and has a longer-lasting battery than ever before. And with a 10.1-inch screen, the display of Amazon’s latest device rivals Apple’s newest iPad—at less than half the cost.

Educators with young children at home may also take comfort in the inclusion of Amazon FreeTime—a free feature on every Fire that enables parents to create child profiles in order to set learning goals, manage content, and limit screen time.

Real Talk from Reviewers: “I’ve been playing with it since I opened the box and have discovered the sound quality, image quality, and video playback to be superior to any other tablet I’ve used. I’m pleased with the storage capacity and battery life as well. It’s wonderful and powerful in every way! This will be the tablet I use, exclusively, from now on.”

Buy it: Amazon Fire HD 10

Best 2-in-1 Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

For Android fans, Samsung’s latest Galaxy tablet is unrivaled as a two-in-one device. The Tab S6 provides convenience, ease, and mobility while offering the performance of a laptop, thanks to a speedy internal processor and large (for a tablet) internal memory.

Transitioning to laptop-style functionality is simple with an attachable smart keyboard (complete with track pad) and the latest version of Samsung’s S Pen. Both of these accessories are included with the tablet, so you’ll be set up for the complete user experience as soon as the box arrives.   

Real Talk from Reviewers: “If you want it to be, the Tab S6 can be your laptop. It also syncs well with any Samsung/Android, Gear/Galaxy wearable, or Bluetooth devices. The S Pen acts great as a mouse and is extremely precise. Dex mode is very comparable to the Windows desktop layout. The battery does last all day for me.”

Buy it: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

Best Splurge Purchase: Apple iPad Pro

If you’re after high-end performance, you’ve found it with the iPad Pro. This device pulls out all the stops, from the largest screen of Apple’s iPad suite to noticeably sharp color accuracy to a camera that rivals some of the best smartphones on the market.

Much like what the Samsung Galaxy did for Android users, the Apple iPad Pro is the tablet to buy if you want to replicate the functionality of your laptop with something more portable. This is especially good news if you’ll be carting your tablet back and forth between home and your classroom—those laptops get heavy!

One final note: If you’re upgrading to a Pro and you already use an Apple Pencil with a different product, check to make sure your devices will stay compatible.

Real Talk from Reviewers: “The iPad Pro is simply the best-in-class tablet device. The screen is beautiful, it is crazy fast, and the apps are excellent. Since I store my files on iCloud, integration is seamless: Documents that I annotate appear on my computer within seconds after changing them. So, it is not a laptop replacement for me, but I used it almost as much as I use my laptop.”

Buy it: Apple iPad Pro     

Best Mid-Level Tablet for Media: Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite

Not everyone needs a tablet that gives their work laptop a run for its money. If you’re an Android user looking for a quality mid-range tablet that you’ll mostly use for entertainment or education, the MediaPad M5 Lite from Huawei is a solid choice. It’s less expensive than the cheapest Apple tablet while still providing some of the same key features, like long battery life.

Marketing for the MediaPad has begun to skew toward younger users lately, due in part to the device’s strong parental-control capabilities. This makes the tablet a good contender if you’re sharing screen time with little ones at home.

Real Talk from Reviewers: “I bought this pad so I don’t have to fight with my wife for our iPad Air, and I’m super glad about what I received. It has all the pros the iPad Air has, plus some other features. The sound quality is fabulous! The experience of watching videos is just great with the four speakers and the 10-inch HD display.”

Buy it: Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite

Looking for great deals on tablets as we head this holiday season? Join our WeAreTeachers Deals Facebook page so you can stay in the loop about ways to save.

 Plus, ways teachers can save on laptops. 

Posted by Kirsten Clodfelter

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