Why choose a tablet for school or uni?

Here we tell you why a tablet is great for university and help you choose the one that meets your needs

23 Jun 2014

Wondering if a tablet will help your studies in the new term?

In this guide we'll help your work out the tablet that's right for you, and highlight the benefits the devices can bring to your study. 

Key decisions - what do you want it for?

Are you looking for a tablet that can replace your laptop, and become an essay-writing laptop? Or are you just after something to help you revise and chill out with iPlayer and surfing the web? 
Getting the right tablet size and operating system is important here. 

7 - 8" Tablets

Why buy one? Portability. These are lightweight, pocket-sized devices. If you are always on the go and want a tablet that can be used whether you're on the train, at work or sat in a cafe a mini is your best bet.


9 - 12" Tablets

Why buy one? Large screen. These feature a larger screen. If you want to watch movies on the sofa, or do actual work such as writing essays and looking at spreadsheets, then a full-size tablet is the way to go.


Key decisions - operating system

There are 3 main tablet operating systems - iOS, Android and Windows.

Apple iOS

The software that runs on all Apple iPads and iPhones. The latest version features a flatter design and is very simple to use. The key advantages of iOS are the vast App Store and the ability to sync your iPad with other Apple devices and share content and calendars between them. Has its own built-in office-style software (iWork) and can also run Office for iPad. 

Microsoft Windows 8.1

Windows tablets run the same Windows 8.1 software you'll find on laptops and desktop PCs. It's been made tablet-friendly with a touchscreen interface, and has its own app store. It can run the full version of Microsoft Office so is great for getting real work done.


Android is Google's operating system for tablets and smartphones made by everyone from Samsung to Sony. The latest version Lollipop is simple and intuitive to use. The Google Play store offers oodles of apps, as well as books, movies, TV shows and magazines, making Android tablets great for content consumption. Also offers access to Google's cloud-based word processing and spreadsheet apps. 

5 reasons a tablet is great for uni

  1. Research essays and assignments on the go
  2. Write an essay or create and give a presentation 
  3. There are apps to help you save money, stay organised and revise for exams
  4. Watch movies, TV shows and browse the web when you have downtime 
  5. Take notes in lectures and share with your laptop


1) Research assignments and essays on the go

Things to look for:

  • Mini tablet
  • Slim and lightweight
  • Good connectivity - Wi-Fi and 3G or 4G

I Pad Mini With Retina

Whether in the union, library or rushing to a lecture, students are always on the go. Ensure you have a device that can go with you by opting for a lightweight, slim tablet with good connectivity.

The 7.9-inch iPad mini with Retina can be slid inside your bag or pocket and called up when needed.

2) You can actually write essays on one

Things to look for: 

  • Powerful processor - A7 or Intel Core
  • Large, high-quality screen
  • Ability to run Microsoft Office

Surface Pro 3

Want a tablet you can actually write essays on and give presentations with?

Look at something like the Microsoft Surface, or the iPad Air. Each of these boast powerful processors so run software and apps smoothly.

Each has a larger screen, but most importantly they can run Microsoft Office - meaning you can create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on a tablet.

Add a wireless keyboard cover and you're laughing.

Microsoft calls the Surface Pro 3 the tablet that can replace your laptop. With an Intel Core processor it's far more powerful than the iPad Air - it can even handle video editing and Abode Photoshop without any issue. 

But the iPad Air's A7 processor is more than fast enough for smooth running of Office applications. 

Mirosoft Office is also coming to Android tablets in the future, and in the meantime you can download Hancom Office for the Samsung Galaxy - making this another potential option for essay-writing. 


3) Apps to save money and stay organised

Things to look for: 

  • Apple and Android devices have the bigger app stores

Apps are one of the main reasons you should look at a tablet to take to university. With them you can learn to cook, revise for exams, budget your monthly spending and much more.

Both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Android store have roughly 1.2million apps. 

3 great apps for students

  1. Examtime:  De-clutter your exam prep with this digital makeover for revision - using quizzes and flashcards
  1. Evernote: A note taking app that syncs your notes across all your devices, great for lecture notes
  1. Vouchercloud:  Uses GPS to match restaurant vouchers and other deals to your current location


4) A great screen for watching films and learning how to cook

Things to look for: 

  • High quality display - Super AMOLED or Retina

Samsung Tablet Tab S


When you've finished working for the day then you want a tablet that can help you chill too. Tablets are still primarily entertainment devices - take your downtime to the next level with one with a super-sharp screen.

The Galaxy Tab S has Super AMOLED display. Research company DisplayMate recently found that it has the best tablet screen on the market. 

The iPad mini with Retina, meanwhile, packs 3.1 million pixels into a 7.9-inch display. Stuff said it was "bright, crisp and vibrant".



5) Take notes in lectures and pick up on your laptop later

Things to look for:

  • Tablets that sync with your laptop - Apple and Windows
  • Note-taking apps such as Evernote
  • Good on-screen keyboard or options for wireless keyboard case

Portable, able to switch on in seconds and light to carry around - the tablet is perfect for taking notes in lectures.

With apps such as Evernote and a wireless keyboard case you can bash out notes in lectures and then pick up again on your laptop.

Each main tablet ecosystem has a cloud storage service so you can save work and access it from a different device later.


View our full range of tablets


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