It is not easy choosing the best tablets for PA school when there are a slew of tablets out there. To make your life a lot easier, we’ve rounded up only the best performing tablets that provide great bang for your buck.

When it comes to portability, note taking and keeping things well-organized, tablets are the way to go. Installing your favourite note taking apps (we’re looking at you, Notability and Microsoft OneNote) on the tablets we’ve recommended is a cinch.

For some physician assistant students, a tablet may not be very, very useful during the didactic year, nonetheless, its importance during the clinical year cannot be overemphasized.

Without further ado, we look at the best tablets for PA school and what is tucked inside each tablet.

Best Tablets for PA School at a Glance

No. Item  
1 Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) (Editors’ Choice) Check Price on Amazon
2 Microsoft Surface Go Check Price on Amazon
3 Apple iPad Mini 6 (2021) Check Price on Amazon
4 Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus Check Price on Amazon
5 Apple iPad Air (2020) Check Price on Amazon
6 Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Check Price on Amazon
7 Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Check Price on Amazon
8 Microsoft Surface Pro 8  Check Price on Amazon
 

 

1. Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) (Editors’ Choice)

best tablets for pa school

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The Apple iPad Pro 2021 is the best tablet for PA school and our Editors’ Choice. It is the best iPad for PA school.

The Apple iPad Pro 2021 is stacked with so much power. Packed with Apple’s powerful M1 chipset and 8GB of RAM, the iPad Pro blazes through apps, browser tabs and videos without any sign of slowdown. 

You can opt for the model with 16GB of RAM. For PA school, the 8GB RAM variant is pretty OK.

But before you get swept up by all that power, let’s not forget that beautiful new Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display. The 2021 iPad Pro’s gorgeous display is on the level of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus. Pictures look more intense, expressive and realistic.

As for audio, you’d be equally impressed. The iPad Pro’s audio is respectable.

New for the iPad Pro is a USB-C port with USB4 and Thunderbolt 3 support. This means you can connect compatible devices and accessories effortlessly.

As you would expect, the iPad Pro isn’t filled with the kind of bloatware that manufacturers usually lade cheap tablets and phones with.

Elsewhere, it offers a ton of storage. Available internal storage includes 128GB, 256 GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB.

Apple isn’t skimping on the battery with the iPad Pro; the 40.88 Wh cell offers excellent endurance.

Sure, the iPad Pro 2021 12.9-inch still a bit out of range for some people, price-wise. However, it gives a lot.

Annotating PDFs with the Apple Pencil 2 is a pure joy.

On the negative side, the colour options are a bit restrictive. Like its predecessors, the  iPad Pros 2021 come in Silver and Space Gray colour options.

For all of this, the iPad Pro 2021 has earned our Editors’ Choice award for the best tablet for PA school.

PROS

  • Outstanding display
  • Super-fast performance
  • Slim build
  • Durable
  • Incredible battery life
  • Good audio
  • USB4 and Thunderbolt 3 support

CONS

  • Limited colour options
  • Pricey

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) Key Specifications

Display: 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR Mini LED display, 2048 x 2732 pixels
Chipset: Apple M1
OS: iPadOS 14.5.1
RAM: 8GB/16GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
Connectivity:  Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 11.05 x 8.46 x 0.25 in (280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4 mm)
Weight: 1.50 pounds (682g)
Rear Camera: 12MP, 10MP
Front Camera: 12MP
Battery: 40.88 Wh

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2. Microsoft Surface Go

best tablets for pa school Check Price on Amazon

With the Microsoft Surface Go, you get most of the features present in the Surface Pro. The Surface Go is cheaper than the Surface Pro.

You can watch Netflix, surf the web and more importantly carry out all MS Office-related tasks on the surface Go. It can handle any light task than can be done on a typical Windows 10 PC.

Because it utilizes Windows OS, apps can be installed from the Windows store facilitated by the preinstalled Windows S which can be updated to Windows 10 or Windows 10 Pro.

The Surface Go is a portable and sturdy tablet which can also double as a PC with a keyboard attached. You can write and draw on its surface. Be ready to download a few updates when you first use the device.

The display is excellent for the price – don’t expect an Apple iPad Pro-like screen!

With regard to speed and performance, this tablet is just OK. It is not as lightening fast as the Apple iPad Pro 12.9, Apple iPad 9.7, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4.

You will only notice the not-so-fast speed if you have ever used high-end tablets in the past. Opening multiple browser tabs or apps will make it lag somewhat.

You can play games (light games, of course) on the device, but it is best suited for small tasks like surfing the web, reading ebooks, checking mails, editing tasks on the go as the name suggests.

It has a USB-C port and a port for speakers and headphones. It is shipped with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB or 64 GB of internal storage.

The bezels are just perfect for holding the tab when the keyboard isn’t there. You don’t want to worry about accidentally tapping something on the screen.

Like some reasonably priced tablets out there, the Microsoft Surface Go battery will not last the whole day if you are constantly streaming videos and playing music. To get the most from the battery each day, we recommend using its battery saving mode and setting the screen brightness to its darkest.

If you’ve always wanted a productive, flexible, handy desktop alternative, without compromising efficiency, then the Microsoft Surface Go is easily the way to go.

PROS

  • Excellent display
  • Good design
  • Affordable price
  • Decent performance and speed

CONS

  • Not as good as Apple tablets
  • Average battery life

Microsoft Surface Go Key Specifications    

Display: 10-inch display, 1800 x 1200 pixels
Chipset: Intel Pentium 4415Y
OS: Windows 10
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
Size: 9.65 x 6.89 x 0.33 inches (245 x 175 x 8.3 mm)
Weight: 1.15 pounds (522 g)
Rear Camera: 8-megapixel camera
Front Camera:  5-megapixel camera
Battery: 3411 mAh

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3. Apple iPad Mini 6 (2021)

best tablets for pa school

 

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The Apple iPad mini 6 (2021) is an outstanding iPad with impressive specs.

Built on Apple’s speedy A15 Bionic processor and featuring 4GB of RAM, along with an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD screen, it has specs that rival other flagships. The A15 Bionic processor that powers the 2021 iPad mini can handle everything you throw at it.

Aside from its super fast processor, the screen stands out, too. Text looks sharp on the screen as do photos and videos.

Storage is a bit restrictive. Available internal storage includes 64GB and 256GB only. If that’s your main concern, you should probably lean toward the 2021 iPad Pro 12.9-inch which comes in 128GB, 256 GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB.

As far as sound goes, what comes out of the phone speakers is actually decent.

You can write, draw, annotate PDFS, and take notes with the Apple Pencil (2nd generation). The Apple Pencil 2 attaches magnetically to the iPad mini 6.

Apple says the 19.3Wh battery in the iPad mini 6 provides an all-day battery life, however, in truth, the battery will last up to 10 hours on a single charge.

On the negative side, the 2021 iPad mini has no headphone jack. That’s slightly painful.

You’ll be hard-pressed to be disappointed with the iPad mini 6 performance. Overall, this is an exceptional iPad you can take anywhere and one of the best tablets for PA school.

PROS

  • Exceptional display
  • Super-fast performance
  • Beautiful design
  • Light and portable
  • Compatible with Apple Pencil 2
  • Very good webcam
  • Long battery life
  • USB-C charging

CONS

  • No multiuser support
  • No headphone jack

Apple iPad Mini 6 (2021) Key Specifications

Display: 8.3-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD display, 1488 x 2266 pixels
Chipset: Apple A15 Bionic
OS: iPadOS 15
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Connectivity:  Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 7.69 x 5.31 x 0.25 in (195.4 x 134.8 x 6.3 mm)
Weight: 0.65 pounds (293 g)
Rear Camera: 12MP
Front Camera: 12MP
Battery: 19.3 Wh

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4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus

best tablets for pa school

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Right now, our absolute favorite Android tablet is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, which is also one of the best tablets for PA school.

Like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is one of Samsung’s best tablets you can buy now. It packs as much oomph as the Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch).

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus’ screen is a nice, large, 12.4-inch display with 120Hz refresh rate, bolstering its gaming credentials. Its Super AMOLED display is super responsive, amazingly bright, colorful to boot and delivers a stunning picture quality thanks to its HDR10+ feature. You won’t have problems using it in direct sunlight.

The Galaxy Tab S7 Plus’ credentials are further established with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, which is complemented by 6GB or 8GB of RAM.

Samsung has made available three storage/RAM variants on the Tab S7: 128GB/6GB, 256GB/8GB, or 512GB/8GB.

What’s more, it supports 5G connectivity.

As for the sacrifices one has to make, the optional book cover keyboard case isn’t a chart-topper, however, it makes the Tab S7 Plus a viable laptop replacement.

Looking for a tablet that can last all day? This is it.

But overall, this is one of the best tablets money can buy for those willing to pay a premium and the best Android tablet for PA school by and large.  

PROS

  • Beautiful super AMOLED 120Hz display
  • Excellent battery life
  • Stunning display
  • Very good build quality
  • 5G Connectivity option
  • Fast performance
  • Thin and Portable
  • Excellent audio

CONS

  • Limited port offerings
  • Pricey

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus Key Specifications

Display: 12-inch, Super AMOLED, 1752 x 2800 pixels
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+
OS: Android 10, upgradable to Android 11
RAM: 6GB/8GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Size: 11.22 x 7.28 x 0.22 inches (285 x 185 x 5.7 mm)
Weight: 1.27 pounds (575 g)
Rear Camera: 13MP, 5MP
Front Camera: 8MP
Battery: 10090 mAh

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5. Apple iPad Air  (2020)

best tablets for pa school

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Apple has always won the tablet race. The Apple iPad Air is no exception. This tablet is one the best iPads that isn’t an iPad Pro.

It is lightweight, thin and comes in handy for simple tasks like reading, using the internet and streaming videos. It is also great for taking notes with the Apple Pencil.

The Apple iPad Air can boast the same battery life as Pro iPads. It is also super fast as it utilizes Apple’s A14 processor.

The iPad Air has more than enough memory: 64 GB or 256 GB storage space. The choice is yours.

Good price, speed, excellent performance and portability are some of the hallmarks of the iPad Air.

One trivial drawback is that the left and right bezels are so small; you may accidentally tap something on the screen.

The Apple iPad Air is highly recommended for physician assistant students.

PROS

  • Cutting-edge display
  • Very fast performance
  • Responsive OS

CONS

  • Finger print scanner could be better

Apple iPad Air Key Specifications             

Display: 10.9-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD display, 1640 x 2360 pixels
Chipset: Apple A14 Bionic chip
OS: iPadOS 14.1
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 9.75 x 7.03 x 0.24 inches (247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1 mm)
Weight: 1.0 pounds (458 g)
Rear Camera: 12MP
Front Camera:  7MP
Battery: 28.6Wh

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6. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7

best tablets for pa school

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Another good Android tablet for PA school deserving of note is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7.

It’s juiced up with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.

There‘s another spin on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7: You could opt for the model with 8GB of RAM. There are variants with 256GB or 512GB of storage. The model with 6GB of RAM is adequate for PA students.

Mystic Black, Mystic Silver and Mystic Bronze are colour options you can choose from.

As far as the design and build quality are concerned, Samsung nailed it. The Galaxy Tab S7 sports a design similar to the iPad Pro.

At 9.9 inches and 1.1 pounds, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is a lightweight and easy travel companion.

Aside from gaming, the tablet allows you to do many other things effortlessly.

Given its Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ chipset and 6GB of RAM, the Galaxy Tab S7 can handle multiple tabs running simultaneously without any sign of slowdown.

As far as sound goes, what comes out of the tablet speakers is actually decent.

Battery life is reasonable, allowing for a full day’s work.

A minor but is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7’s DeX mode. It still has room to grow.

There’s no getting around the fact that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 remains an excellent tablet, and one of the best tablets for PA school.

PROS

  • Beautiful 120Hz display
  • Excellent battery life
  • Good design
  • Fast performance
  • Thin and Portable

CONS

  • DeX-mode could be improved

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Key Specifications

Display: 11-inch, IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 1600 x 2560 pixels
Chipset: Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865+
OS: Android 10
RAM: 6GB/8GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Size: 9.99 x 6.51 x 0.25 inches (253.8 x 165.3 x 6.3 mm)
Weight: 1.1 pounds (498 g)
Rear Camera: 13MP, 5MP
Front Camera: 8MP
Battery: 8000 mAh

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7. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

best tablets for pa school

 

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You should also consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite when looking to buy a tablet for PA school.

It sports a 10.4-inch display, which is large and bright enough for reading, annotating PDFs, viewing images and gaming without straining your eyes.

Its internals are nothing to scoff at – given its price point, that is. Tucked inside the tablet are the Exynos 9611 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of storage and Android 10 OS.

As far as performance goes, the Samsung S6 Lite can hold its own against the mid-range models. Apps load quickly and run smoothly, but not as snappy as they do on an iPad.

For the physical build, the tablet is thin and light. Weighing in at a scant 1.02 pounds (0.46kg), you won’t have problems slipping the Samsung Galaxy S6 Lite (9.6 x 6.1 x 0.3 inches) into your tote, going to and from work or school.

The tablet comes in three delightful colours – Oxford Gray, Angora Blue and Chiffon Pink – each of which has a unique look and feel.

On another important front, the Tab S6 Lite’s camera gets the job done at the lowest-possible level. There are two cameras, including an 8MP on the back and a 5MP on the front.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is arguably one of the reasonably priced Samsung tablets that ships with a pen.  It is worth mentioning, though, that the S Pen isn’t as good a stylus as you’ll find on the Apple iPad Pro.  That said, the S Pen does a decent job when it comes to note-taking.

You may consider using the Tabs S6 Lite’s Dark Mode which reduces eye strain.

Next is battery life – it is pretty solid. The Tab S6 Lite will stay powered up for an entire workday.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite isn’t a perfect tablet. Its One UI isn’t as cutting-edge as the iPadOS. Plus, palm rejection could use some improvements.

The minor drawback aside, using the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is a joy. It is a good tablet for PA school.

PROS

  • Beautiful display
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Good audio
  • Robust design
  • Ships with S Pen

CONS

  • Some apps could use some improvements

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Key Specifications

Display: 10.4-inch screen, 2000 x 1200 pixels
Chipset: Samsung Exynos 9611
OS: Android 10
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB/128GB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Size: 9.6 x 6.1 x 0.3 inches (243.8 x 154.9 x 7.6 mm)
Weight: 1.02 pound (462.7 g)
Rear Camera: 8MP
Front Camera: 5MP
Battery: 7040 mAh

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Notable Mention

The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is a good tablet for PA school worth mentioning. 

8. Microsoft Surface Pro 8

best tablets for pa school

 

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PROS

  • Good display
  • Beautiful design
  • Works well with external devices
  • Excellent Windows 11 integration
  • Impressive webcam

CONS

  • Stylus and keyboard sold separately

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Key Specifications

Display: 13-inch display, 2880 x 1920 pixels
CPU: 11th Gen Intel i5-1135G7- Intel i7-1185G7
OS: Windows 11
RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Storage: Up to 1TB
Size: 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches (287 x 208 x 9.3 mm)
Weight: 1.96 pounds
Rear Camera: 10MP
Front Camera: 5MP
Battery: 51.5Wh

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No. Item  
1 Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) (Editors’ Choice) Check Price on Amazon
2 Microsoft Surface Go Check Price on Amazon
3 Apple iPad Mini 6 (2021) Check Price on Amazon
4 Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus Check Price on Amazon
5 Apple iPad Air (2020) Check Price on Amazon
6 Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Check Price on Amazon
7 Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Check Price on Amazon
8 Microsoft Surface Pro 8  Check Price on Amazon
 

 

Bottom Line

We’ve reviewed the best performing tablets for physician assistant (PA) students in detail. These tablets are a great pick for PA students who need tablets that just work without issues.

Every tablet we’ve recommended is what considering for PA school depending on your preference and budget.

Tablets have limitations. Again, if you do not enjoy note taking on a tablet you might want to consider the best laptops for PA school.