Still the top tablet, the fourth-generation iPad continues to impress with its fantastic screen and superfast performance. Not to mention its access to the most apps of any tablet (along with the iPad Mini, of course) and a robust coffer of educational courses on iTunes U.
It's expensive, yes, but overall it still offers the best tablet experience.
Android's favorite son is still cheap and still awesome. The fast, comfortable, and capable tablet's best feature, however, may its branding. As a Google tablet, the Nexus 7 will always have the most recent version of Android only a download away. A next-generation replacement is expected soon, but for now the king stay the king.
Though you'll probably want to pay the $20 premium for the ad-free version, the Kindle Paperwhite is still the current best e-reader on the market. With a fantastic screen, nighttime reading light, and Amazon's incredible e-book selection -- including tons of text books -- this should be your first choice when selecting an e-reader.
The Note 8 plays host to the best tablet-stylus implementation yet for the simple fact that it actually works. That's for note-taking, writing e-mails with the pen, and having your handwriting converted to text -- pretty accurately, I might add. It also has one of the prettiest screens I've seen on any tablet.
The Surface Pro is probably your best bet on this list when it comes to getting actual work done. It runs a full version of Windows 8 and includes the -- optional -- best tablet keyboard yet. If you're serious about productivity, this is your best tablet bet. Just be prepared to pay a much higher premium than for most tablets.
The Nook Simple has no ads, includes a well-implemented nighttime glowlight, an expandable storage option, and long battery life. You'll also be able to access plenty of loaned books from Barnes & Noble's huge library.
Distracting yourself from work and school every now and again has been shown to actually increase productivity in some cases. At least that's what I remember reading somewhere and am now unwilling to confirm if it's true or not. My point is that when it comes to media consumption -- an excellent distraction method -- the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is the best tool for the job.