Hint: It's perfect for taking to class and reading on the go. 

By Katie Holdefehr
August 08, 2018
Sprint

When you're getting ready to go to college for the first time, your college shopping list can feel never-ending. Between the storage bins and the binders and the laptop trays, it can be hard to parse out the items you'll actually use for the next four years, versus those that will most likely collect dust in your dorm. One item you may want to consider adding to the former category is a tablet. While a full-size laptop will always be a necessity for some majors (particularly those that require a ton of software programs), a tablet you can throw into your bag and take to class will be useful for all kinds of students. 

Why a Tablet?

If you already have a desktop or laptop computer, where does the tablet come in? It's perfect for those times when you want to take your computer with you to class, if you prefer to type digital notes rather than write them out (hey, it's 2018 after all!), or when you're reading on the go. Depending upon your major, a tablet may or may not be able to fully replace a laptop, but if you'll mostly be using it for internet research and the occasional paper, it probably can. And if you do want to use it for, say, typing your thesis, a bluetooth keyboard will make it more manageable. 

The Best Tablet for College

First of all, you want a tablet that's lightweight and will save you from years of back pain. Rather than making you carry around heavy tomes from the library, many modern college classes have e-books available to download straight to your tablet, so you can do your reading for class anywhere. From there, screen quality and memory will be deciding factors—not to mention price. For a tablet that balances all of these features, opt for the LG G Pad F2 8.0. Clocking in at under a pound (12.35 ounces to be exact), this is one of the lightest tablets around. Swap in this tablet for heavy books or a laptop and your back will thank you. Although it's lightweight, it still has an 8-inch-wide screen and 16 GB ROM and 2 GB RAM, plus you can add more memory with a microSD card. Priced at just $150, the LG G Pad probably costs less than that expensive kitchen set a sales associate convinced you you'll need (let's be honest, you'll probably survive on takeout and Ramen packets). 

RELATED: How to Decorate Your Entire Dorm Room at Target for Less Than $100

Pick a Plan 

Once you've invested in the best tablet for college, you're going to want a great coverage plan to match. Sprint has two unlimited plan options, which both include unlimited data, talk, and text, plus Hulu (hello, study break!). And adding a tablet to either plan is super affordable. For example, for a family of two with the Unlimited Basic plan, adding a tablet as a third line with unlimited data is $20 per month with autopay. If you're using your tablet to do research during class and look up directions to your new internship, you'll quickly start to appreciate the unlimited data plan. Particularly if you're on a family plan, you won't want to have to budget your data usage in the midst of finals.