Tablets | Chromebooks | Laptops

NOTE: Lincoln Lutheran Tablet & Laptop Recommendations was published on November 24th, 2013. Prices and other information may have changed since that time. Gizmodo has a nice page for the current best Black Friday deal on tablets, laptops and lots of other electronics.

NOTE 2: The Christmas 2014 version is now available.


The following list of tablets represents many of the current offerings across various price points. All of these devices have at least a 7 hour battery life (the minimum we find acceptable for an educational device), a 7 inch screen, 16MB of storage and have a camera. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. “Ad” prices are based on 2013 Black Friday ads and may or may not be available. We believe that tablets are usually the best device for grades 6-9. Remember to buy a case! Some students might want a case that includes a keyboard.¬†(Click on the column headings below to sort the table.)

ManufacturerOS VersionListAdsBattery LifeScreenWeightCamerasStorage Options
Google Nexus 7Android 4.3$229.00 $199.00 8 hours7in. 323res.0.6 lbs.5mp & 1mp16 32
Amazon Kindle Fire HDXFire OS 3$229.00 $199.00 11 hours7in. 323res.0.7 lbs.none & 1mp16 32 64
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8inAndroid 4.2.2$279.00 11 hours8in. 189res.0.7 lbs.3mp & 2mp16 32
Samsung Galaxy Note 8inAndroid 4.1.2$379.00 8 hours8in. 189res.0.8 lbs.5mp & 1mp16 32
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10inAndroid 4.2.2$399.00 $299.00 8 hours10in. 149res.1.1 lbs.3mp & 2mp16 32
Google Nexus 10Android 4.3$399.00 9 hours10in. 301res.1.3 lbs.5mp & 2mp16 32
Apple iPad MiniiOS 7$399.00 $249.00 10 hours8in. 326res.0.7 lbs.5mp & 2mp16 32 64 128
Microsoft Surface 2Windows 8.1 RT$449.00 $249.00 10 hours10.5in. 208res.1.5 lbs.2mp & 2mp32 64
Apple iPad AiriOS 7$499.00 $379.00 11 hours10in. 264res.1.0 lbs.5mp & 2mp16 32 64 128
Samsung Galaxy Note 10inAndroid 4.3$549.00 $399.00 10 hours10in. 299res.1.2 lbs.8mp & 2mp32 64
Microsoft Surface 2 ProWindows 8.1$899.00 8 hours10.5in. 208res.2.0 lbs.1mp & 1mp64 128 256 512
Tablet Notes:

  • We prefer iPads and are best able to help students with those devices.
  • Previous generations of iPads are just fine (iPad 3 and later) and are usually available at lower prices. We do not recommend buying a new iPad2 at this point as we do not believe that they will last for 3 years.
  • Windows Surface RT tablets are not compatible with all windows programs. Windows Surface Pro tablets are.
  • Microsoft has said some things that make some people think that Surface RT tablets may not be around much longer, but that’s not certain that this point.
  • The battery life in the first generation of Windows Surface Pro tablets was not good. Make sure you’re looking at Surface Pro 2.
  • The Google Nexus tablets really stand out if you’re looking at Android tablets.
  • Many other companies make Android tablets, such as Asus and Dell.
  • This article offers more detailed information about various tablets.


Chromebooks look like traditional laptops, but they are designed to access the internet and to use cloud based applications like Google Docs and Microsoft 360. They are less powerful than traditional laptops, but have better battery life, are lighter and cost less. There is a definite trade-off here, but some of our students really like them. They come with a keyboard and a larger screen than a tablet, but the screen is not a touch screen and they do not have very good cameras. There are other models, but only these two have a battery life of over 7 hours. [xxxcsv src=]


There are literally hundreds of models of laptops that you could choose from. But there are relatively few that will last at least 7 hours. This is a pretty complete list of those laptops. Laptops may be a better choice for some students in grades 10-12. This depends on their level of technical ability and what types of programs they may be interested in. For instance, you can not write programs on most tablets, and some high end programs (in art and design) are not available on tablets. Laptops that are less expensive than this tend to have much lower battery life. [xxxcsv src= id=sorttable] Notes:

  • These prices tend to be the best price I could find on Amazon or Newegg, except for the Apple laptops which are at list price. You will probably be able to get them for $100-$150 off at some point during the holiday season.
  • If these laptop prices seem expensive to you, make sure you are comparing them to laptops with comparable battery life (if you can find any).
  • The RAM, SSD, HD column is for the amount of RAM (main memory), Solid State Drive (think really fast, expensive hard drive) and Hard Drive storage that each laptop has.
  • Apple laptops tend to be more expensive, but they also tend to last longer and hold their resale value better.
  • This article goes into more detail about some of these laptops (warning, it’s a slideshow).

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