Microsoft Surface Pro 3

If you want a tablet, but you need a laptop, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 can be that for you. It's essentially a laptop that thinks it's a tablet, with a keyboard that seamlessly attaches and doubles as a cover.

You can use Microsoft Office for writing papers and, with the newly added digipen, you can actually write them instead of typing. The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is the priciest on this list, but it's also the most capable, if you're looking for a serious workstation.

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CNET Editors' Rating
4 stars Excellent

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition)

For basic productivity tasks and surfing the Web, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition) is capable of both -- at the same time. The 10.1-inch slick slate offers useful features, like multi-window functionality and a stylus, without the added bulk of a keyboard.

Writers will appreciate the S-Pen integration found on the Note 10.1 and the bright, colorful screen is also great for gaming and movies. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is a high-end tablet for a little bit of work and a little bit of play.

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4 stars Excellent

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

A heavy backpack full of books can hurt your posture and cool outfit, so opt for a simple e-book reader instead.

Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite boasts one of the best e-ink displays, with fast refresh rates and an affordable $120 starting price. You can easily buy books from Amazon, or download from online and local libraries.

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4 stars Excellent

Samsung Galaxy Tab S

Time to come clean: do you just want a tablet for binge-watching Netflix original series and playing whatever mobile game you're currently addicted to? Well, there's plenty of tablets you can do that with, but the Galaxy Tab S is the most spectacular.

The Tab S comes in 10.5-inch and 8.4-inch models, and it rocks a super-AMOLED screens with vivid colors and eye-catching contrast. The pixel-packed slate is also a zippy performer with multi-window abilities and tons of free apps and services.

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4 stars Excellent

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

If you admit you want a tablet for streaming video and games, but want something smaller, the Kindle Fire HDX 7 is a petite slate with smooth performance and Amazon Prime perks.

The small but mighty Fire HDX, which also comes in an 8.9-inch model, features a super-simple user-interface that's easy to navigate and a sturdy, sleek build. You can stream Amazon Prime video if you have a membership, and ordering simple amenities with two-day shipping has never been easier.

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4 stars Excellent

Google Nexus 7

If you just need a simple slate for checking e-mail and surfing the Web, the Google Nexus 7 is one of the best options.

The simple 7-inch slate starts at $230, ships with pure Android, and -- since it's a Google branded tablet -- it gets software upgrades as soon as they're available.

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4 stars Excellent

Apple iPad Mini

Are you an Apple iPhone addict? They have a tablet for that. The iPad comes in two sizes, but the Mini model appeals to students more, thanks to its compact and portable size.

Those wrapped up in the Apple ecosystem with iTunes music and iOS apps will appreciate the seamless transition to the tablet and, with a sharp Retina screen to match its sleek aesthetic, the iPad remains a popular choice among many.

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4 stars Outstanding

Where to Buy

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2013)

Part Number: B00AWH595M
MSRP: $119.00 Low Price: $99.00 See all prices

Where to Buy

Apple iPad Mini 2 (space gray, 16GB)

Part Number: ME276LL/A
MSRP: $299.00 Low Price: $249.00 See all prices
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