Almost everyone is interested in buying sets of tablets for their schools these days. 2014 has been the year where they are starting the gain a lot of attention with primary schools. Like the world of Interactive Whiteboards a few years ago, there are a lot of choices out there so I’ve decided to take a look at what’s on offer out there at the moment and give a review. If you think I should be reviewing a tablet not listed below, let me know and it will be added in the next review if I can get my hands on it. The following tablets are listed in order of my personal preference and prices are approximate.
1. Microsoft Surface Pro 3 – €819
The latest tablet from Microsoft is a powerhouse of a machine that runs Microsoft Windows 8.1, similar to what most modern laptops run. This means you can install all your favourite programs that are on your laptops including Microsoft Office. It has a 12 inch screen, which is large enough for all sorts of activities. Surface tablets allow you to turn them into laptops with a keyboard that snaps to the edge. The only downside to this tablet is its price. However, it is easily the best tablet on the market right now.
2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S – €379
This has been consistently voted the best Android tablet in the world for quite some time. Android is an operating system made by Google and it’s amazing how it isn’t in more schools. There are thousands of great apps for it and one can have lots of on-screen widgets to make them unique. As many schools are using Google Apps for Education, this tablet seamlessly works with these accounts.
3. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet – €469
Similar in quality to the Samsung above, it is also waterproof, which might prove useful in some classrooms. However, its price lets it down somewhat but it’s still a very good choice for the classroom.
4. iPad Retina Display – €389
The iPad was the original tablet that kicked all the craze off a few years ago with a number of schools buying into them in their early days. There are 3 main flavours of iPad out these days and this one is my favourite because of its price and size. iPads are generally known for the thousands of apps that are available. They are also known for their ease of use. However, they are incompatible with Windows laptops and computers that most schools have. In order to hook them up to a projector, you have to invest further in something like Apple TV. Finally, their office equivalent is a much poorer relation to that of Microsoft Office.
5. Google Nexus 7 – €219
This 7″ tablet runs the Android operating system and has excellent specs for a cheaper device. However, the screen is only 7 inches in size. This would be useful for smaller hands but not good enough for reading PDFs / documents, etc.
6. iPad Mini – €299
Similar to the Retina Display, this iPad has all its feature except on a smaller screen. The small screen gives it a number of disadvantages similar to those above.
7. Microsoft Surface 2 – €319
Don’t get confused between the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 (which is difficult to get a hold of these days). The Surface 2 comes with an operating system called Windows RT, a cut down version of Windows. This means you can’t install software unless it comes from the Windows App Store, which is very limited. However, it comes pre-installed with Microsoft Office, which is almost worth the cheaper price tag alone.
So there you have it. The list is topped by Microsoft and it also has my least favourite tablet. Android tablets are wonderful but seem to get lost amongst the education market. What do you think? Do you think some of the tablets should have featured higher?