Technologically challenged? Then you may not see the benefits of a tablet over a laptop — but your teen does. Whether she's still in high school or headed off to college, the features that tablets offer students are ultra useful. First of all, they're sleek and less cumbersome than a laptop, making them easier to carry from class to class. Most teens are adept at touchscreen typing, thanks to hours spent smartphone texting, but for those who aren't, keyboards can be docked or connected via Bluetooth for typing. Saving notes and documents with these compact devices isn't a problem, either. Many tablets now come with free cloud storage.
With the decision made that a tablet will be the most useful school supply for your kid, the only thing left is the toughest decision of them all: which one should you choose?
Take Note of (and On) the Samsung Galaxy Note
Whether you choose the 8-inch or the 10-inch, students who prefer handwriting their notes to typing will love the Samsung Galaxy Note. It comes with an S Pen, a digitized stylus that makes writing, diagrams and drawings crystal clear. Researching or working among different apps is a snap with the multi-window mode.
X-Perience the Xperia
Lighten your student's load with the Sony Xperia Tablet Z. It's a fabulous reader that's ideal for students who want to go full-on digital with textbooks, eliminating the need to lug the hard copy versions around. Opt for the 10-inch screen for easier reading of said schoolwork and for viewing a video now and then. Every kid needs some downtime, right? The Xperia is a wise choice for the accident-prone, too. Being dust- and water-resistant, an occasional spilled drink or tumble into the dirt won't phase this tablet.
A Good Idea
If what your student is looking for are tablets for music and games, Lenovo has a couple of devices at both ends of the price scale. For a budget tablet, the IdeaTab A1000 is a functional little multimedia tablet that's been optimized for music. The speakers are superior quality, considering that the A1000 is a lower-end model. At the higher end is the super-light Miix 10, with a sharp, HD Multitouch LED screen, perfect for gamers on the go. The Miix comes with a keyboard, too, making it a useful alternative for a laptop.
An Apple for the Student
You knew that Apple would land in a list of tablets somewhere, and here it is. This year, it's the 4th generation that students will be packing back to school, and for good reason. The iPad is just about the closest a tablet can get to a laptop without actually being a laptop. It's a top performer, featuring a range of useful apps, crisp display, a quality camera, and Wi-Fi so fast, you'll get whiplash.
Fire Up Their Education With a Kindle
Originally e-readers, Kindles are now going head-to-head with the big guys as all-purpose tablets. The newest generation, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9, has features you'll find in most budget tablets, such as ease of use, an app library, your choice of email programs, and compatibility with Microsoft Office and OfficeSuite Professional 6. Plus, you can't beat the book and video content available through Amazon Prime. Another thing the Kindle Fire offers that can't be beat — even by the iPad — is the battery life, clocking in at approximately 10 hours.