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Back to School 2014 Buying Guide: Tablets

Classrooms at schools of all types are filling up across the nation this week, as students once again return for another year of classes.

As students prepare for another year of learning, retailers  slashing prices on the tools and toys that students will need to get through another school year.

To help guide your back to school purchases, VR World and Bright Side of News contributors have put together a back to school guide for 2014 to help you buy the top tablets, smartphones, dorm room TVs, premium notebooks, low cost notebooks, and gaming systems for your 2014 back to school shopping.

Top Five Back to School 2014 Tablets

College is a bustling and challenging endeavor filled to the brim with reams of assignments, projects with strict deadlines and deep research across countless fields.

The right tech gadgets can make all the difference in the world for surviving the rigors of college life. The portability, power and convenience of tablets make them essential tools that give students the edge they need to shine. Being able to seamlessly record a lecture, take notes, and find info across the internet has become an integral part of student life.

We’ve compiled a list of our top five back-to-school tablets that can arm students with the right tech without breaking your wallet.

1. Asus Transformer Book T100


The Transformer Book T100 from Asus is a two-in-one that combines the portability of tablets with PC-like performance, and has obvious advantages for the hustle-and-bustle of student life.

Specs include a beefy 64GB SSD and an even beefier 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and a quad-core processor clocked at 1.33GHz. The sizable 10.1” touchscreen features 1366 x 768 resolution, and a massive 8060mAh battery ensures up to 11 hours of use.

With an included keyboard dock students can snap in the tablet and write-up essays, and effortlessly detach the screen for on-the-go use.

Windows 8.1 comes standard along with Microsoft’s retinue of built-in apps that are perfect for organizing schoolwork, taking notes, and getting those PowerPoint presentations ready.

Overall this two-in-one gadget has the best of  both worlds. It can deliver laptop-quality performance for tackling in-depth research and assignments and delivers power when needed. It can also just pull away and provide the seamless portable entertainment of a tablet across services like Netflix—making it a great choice for any college-goer’s backpack.

2. Apple iPad Air


The iPad Air merges functionality with an incredibly light form factor with a 9-inch screen that’ll slide home into any backpack.

Utilizing the near-limitless range of apps available on the App Store, students can virtually keep track of everything from assignments to projects anytime on-the-go. iOS 7 ensures that scholars-to-be can keep up to date with all of the latest and greatest features and apps.

A wide range of accessories like styluses and wireless keyboards can turn the tablet into a mini-PC at a whim. The iPad Air’s A7 CPU with 64-bit architecture, 1GB of RAM and a crisp 2048 x 1536 resolution marries performance with quality visuals.

The tablet’s default 16GB of onboard memory is ideal for schoolwork and light use, with and comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB flavors.

Unlike two-in-one devices, though, the iPad Air is a portable option and is best used in conjunction with a Mac (or PC).

3. LG G Pad 8.3


LG’s G Pad 8.3 proves that a tablet doesn’t have to be expensive to do the job. Packed in with an impressive quad-core Snapgdragon 600 CPU that belts out 1.70GHz clock speeds, this tablet can easily out-perform other models in the same price bracket.

2GB of RAM compliments the processing speed for noteworthy multi-tasking, which is a big advantage during those critical moments where you have to do two (or four) things at once.

With the RAM and clock speeds this tablet can become a powerhouse on demand, making it a handy tool for any student’s arsenal.

The screen size, an in-the-middle 8.3”, isn’t bulky and cumbersome like 10” tablets but lacks the small form factor of 7” devices. The G Pad 8.3 fits nicely thanks to its ergonomic design and is easy on the eyes with its clear 1920 x 1200 resolution.

LG’s G Pad 8.3 comes stock with Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) but it can be updated to Kit-Kat, and sports 16GB of internal memory and a SD slot for expanding.

Like the iPad Air, LG’s G Pad 8.3 is half of the equation and a PC is recommended to use alongside the device.

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0


The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is an affordable tablet solution that’s ideal for students who have to pinch pennies and don’t want to compromise performance.

The specs don’t match higher-end tablets (and with a $144 price tag, that’s to be expected) but the Galaxy Tab 3 does tick all the essential boxes.

The Tab 3 sports a dual core processor at 1.50 GHz with a gig of RAM and 16GB of memory, and has access to the Android-based suite of apps with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

This yesteryear tablet can also sync to your Samsung smartphone to seamlessly import/export data and contacts, making it extremely handy. All in all the Galaxy Tab 3 is a solid contender that brings the essentials and leaves behind the expensive extras.

5. Nexus 7 (2013)


The Nexus 7 is a great affordable choice for students who prefer Google’s straightforward approach to organized, integrated content.

Users can tap into Google Now to keep up-to-date on everything from breaking news to trends across the internet, and easily search the web with its voice-activated function.

Syncing across the Nexus 7’s myriad of accessible apps like Google Drive and Google Docs can maximize productivity, all while making it easier to co-ordinate group projects and simply interact with friends.

Hardware-wise the Nexus 7 houses a Snapgdragon S4 Pro CPU at 1.5 GHz, and 2 gigs of RAM for efficient on-the-fly app switching. The screen has been hailed as one of the clearest tablet screens available, running at full 1080p HD at 1920×1200 resolution for pristine movie quality.

The tablet’s 3950 mAh battery boasts up to 9 hours of use on a single charge–making it a great choice for those all-nighter study groups.

Remember that many tablets are only as good as their accompanying devices, and accessories are often needed to supplement functionality. These include Bluetooth keyboards, styluses, cases to protect screens and even separate portable bags in lieu of a backpack.