The best mobile devices for students

The phones, tablets and smartwatches to get you through another school year.

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Will Lipman/Engadget
Will Lipman/Engadget

There's no negotiating on this: You need a smartphone at college. Powerful flagships like the iPhone X and the Samsung Galaxy S9 promise speedy performance, but even more affordable options like the Xperia XZ2 Compact and OnePlus 6 offer an impressive amount of bang for your buck. Though not necessary, you might also want a tablet for book-reading, or a smartwatch that double as a fitness tracker. While the Apple Watch is the most obvious choice for an iPhone user, other brands have offerings that are just as stylish -- stuff you won't be ashamed of wearing around campus.

As for tablets, Apple's 9.7-inch iPad doesn't break the bank (at least before you add on accessories) and is now compatible with the Apple Pencil -- a tool once reserved for the higher-end iPad Pro line. Meanwhile, the Microsoft Surface Pro offers laptop-grade power, though we recommend paying extra for the accompanying keyboard. Lastly, you'll also find a Kindle on our list, mainly because its e-paper screen can be much easier on the eyes than a phone or a tablet.

Find all our picks in our 2018 back-to-school guide and while you're there, check out the other 13 categories we covered.

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