But a handful of platforms allow you to teach on your phone using a mobile operating system. Two popular options are Palfish and Cambly. While many teachers love the flexibility of teaching on the phone, it is much more convenient to use a tablet as an alternative.
A tablet has numerous advantages over a smartphone
Since a phone and a tablet use the same operating system (Android or iOS), it only makes sense to purchase a tablet. Not only can a table double as an electronic notebook and multi-media device, but you also get a few key advantages as an online teacher.
A tablet can range from a mini tablet that has a 7-inch screen up to a large, 12-inch screen marketed to professionals. Regardless, a tablet has a much larger screen, making the class more manageable and enjoyable for all involved.
More viewing space makes the actual class easier to complete because tablets have a touch screen like a phone but can also typically come with a stylus.
Better battery life
A fully charged tablet lasts a lot longer than a phone does. Because tablets are more extensive devices, they have bigger built-in batteries.
This makes a fully charged tablet a fun, and easy device to teach online with as you don’t have to worry about the battery dying, or worse, have some complicated setup where your phone is plugged in and charging while you have headphones plugged in and are teaching at the same time.
Lightweight and mobile
Tablets are fun, lightweight mobile devices. You can pair them with an external keyboard for increased functionality or easily pack them into any backpack. Tablets are thin and light and only take up a little space.
6 Best Tablets for Online Teachers
When looking for a tablet to buy a tablet, there are just a few things to take into consideration. First is the operating system. Apps only work with Android or IOS. You’ll need a tablet running one of these two operating systems.
Next, you need to take note of the front-facing camera. Most tablets have an excellent picture-taking camera and a mediocre front-facing camera. You’re good to go as long as the front-facing camera is 2 MP or better. Here are the tablets we suggest for online teaching with Palfish and other apps:
- Apple iPad Air
- Microsoft Surface
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A8
- Apple iPad Pro
- Galaxy Tab 8″
- Galaxy Tab 10.1″
- Apple iPad Mini
Apple iPad Air – The best tablet overall
Apple continues to produce and update its tablet line while other companies have moved on from creating tablets. The iPad Air is, from our usage, the best overall tablet for teachers. Not only can you use it for online teaching as this tablet is compatible with various apps and software, but it also performs well when recording screen captures and videos due to the hardware.
The iPad Air will quickly become your favorite device. Lightweight is fast, and it comes with an excellent front-facing camera. If you’ve never experienced an iPad Air, you’re missing out. Apart from Samsung, Apple is one of the only companies producing high-quality tablets for work and play.
The iPad Air is an ideal tablet for teaching English online with Palfish or any other app-based company because it’s got the three essentials: a fast processor, an excellent touch screen, and a good forward-facing camera.
- Excellent size for a tablet. More square in shape that the Tab A and a bit smaller.
- Lightweight. You’ll forget you threw this into your tote bag or backpack!
- You have access to the Apple Store
- Apple products are obviously more expensive but you get quality for the price.
- Has a 1.2 MP front facing camera. A bit of a deal breaker.
- No multi-tasking. The camera turns off if you switch away from an app.
Microsoft Surface 8 – The hybrid choice
The Microsoft Surface 12.3 can double as a tablet or a laptop and has the power to handle pretty much anything you throw at it. With a good integrated webcam, pen, and decent audio, if you need something that is a step up from a basic tablet and has all the power of a laptop, then this hybrid Surface tablet is impressive.
So as you know, the keyboard is not included in this. We consider it essential to get the full use out of this hybrid setup. In addition, a handful of online teaching platforms are not compatible with Android OS (though less of an issue now). With the Surface, you can access Windows 10, consistent with any software.
- The form factor of a tablet with the power of a laptop.
- Full Windows 10 instead of the Android operating system.
- Can function like a tablet with touch screen.
- Accessories are expensive and not included. Namely the keyboard and stylus.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 – A big gorgeous screen
Samsung is a well-known name brand and the primary alternative to an iPad. We love the Galaxy Tab A8 for numerous reasons. First, it comes with a 10.5-inch screen, the perfect size for a tablet. Bigger than your phone, smaller than a laptop, and every bit as portable.
Next is the gorgeous touchscreen on this device. The colors are bright and vibrant. It’s also using Android’s latest and most up-to-date version. Last, this table has a fantastic and affordable price point.
- 8 mp front facing camera which is perfect for online teaching.
- Excellent battery life.
- Beautiful 10 inch screen for online teaching and learning.
- It comes pre-loaded with a lot of bloat ware.
Apple iPad Pro 12.9” – Best Professional Tablet
The iPad Pro is a professional-level tablet aimed at being used for creative work. It’s excessive for most people, but if you want to get the most premium tablet on the market, this is it.
The first feature we like is the excellent front-facing camera at 7 MP. This is more than acceptable for teaching online. It also has the most giant screen and the best processor on the list.
This tablet is quick, responsive and it can handle multiple applications at the same time. As it’s marketed and designed for professional use, you can technically use this device as you would a laptop.
- Powerful processor that can handle more advanced applications like video editing.
- Thin and lightweight.
- Excellent front facing camera, essential for teaching.
- Sleek, sexy design.
- Comes with a stylus.
- No headphone jack. You need use your Airpods.
- The stylus attaches magnetically.
- No multi-tasking when you switch away from an app. This is an annoyance not found on Android devices.
Galaxy Tab A 8 Inch – Cheap, small tablet for teaching
The Galaxy Tab A 8″ is the smaller model of the Tab A 10.1″, and it tops the list for one main reason. It meets all the requirements for teaching English online for any mobile app platform.
An awesome 5 MP front facing camera, bright and colorful touch screen, lot’s of internal storage, long battery life and it’s small and light weight.
It has all the features of the 10.1 inch model but it simply comes in a smaller package and less weight. While we personally love the iPad Mini, the Tab A 8 inch is a good, entry level tablet.
- Wonderful touch screen that is both colorful and vibrant.
- Long battery life.
- Multi-purpose. You can teach, read and use this work work related purposes
- Lot’s of internal storage built in.
- Good front facing camera coming at 5 MP.
- No stylus.
- Headphones that come with this device are mediocre.
Galaxy Tab A7 – Great budget friendly tablet (8.7 inch)
The Galaxy Tab A is a 10.1-inch tablet that is wonderful for online teaching with Palfish. It comes with a beautiful touch screen, a lot of internal storage, a handy stylus, and some weight, so it feels like a book.
This tablet comes with its case designed to prop up the tablet at different angles and is multi-purpose. Because the screen is 10.1, videos can be watched in full HD. It’s also a comfortable device to use as a reading device.
- Excellent touch screen that is colorful and vibrant.
- Comes with a stylus, quite useful once you start using one.
- Long battery life. Takes a long time to charge but lasts a long time once fully charged.
- Multi-purpose. Teach, watch videos, read. This things is a digital notebook.
- Perfect size. A 10.1 is the ideal size for a tablet. Not too big, not too small.
- Front facing camera is 2 MP, which is good but could be better.
- The headphones what come with the tablet are average.
- It’s not light weight.
iPad Mini – Small, lightweight and powerful
The iPad Mini offers portability and convenience in a smaller form factor, allowing teachers to enjoy many of the features of an iPad while in a smaller form factor. If you’ve not held an iPad Mini, it’s really the perfect size for a tablet. Small, squarish, lightweight, with a vibrant screen and powered by the latest IOS.
You can also use the Apple Pen with the iPad mini and get a Bluetooth keyboard. However, if you really want a keyboard, the iPad Pro is a better choice as you can buy a keyboard case instead of using a 3rd party keyboard like you must do with the mini. The only drawback of the iPad Mini is its very average front-facing camera (12 MP). Good enough to teach an online class, but nothing outstanding.
- Slim and lightweight design.
- Long battery life.
- Vibrant screen and an intuitive user interface.
- The front facing camera could be much better as you’ll be using it much more than the primary camera as a teacher.
Fire Tablet – Avoid for online teaching
One thing we want to quickly mention is the Fire Tablet from Amazon. It’s an excellent device for what it is, but we’ve noticed this device being recommended for online teaching and learning on Facebook and other websites and our readers asking why it’s not on the list.
This tablet does not use IOS or Andriod. As such, you don’t get access to the Play Store for Android or the App Store on IOS. With teaching apps like Palfish, you won’t be able to download and install such apps.
Get a Fire Tablet if all you’re looking to do is read books, watch videos and listen to music.
Best Consumer Tablets For Online Teaching – Conclusion
So there you have it, Teach and GO’s list of the best tablets for online teaching for apps. Overall if you’re teaching online and want to use a tablet over a laptop, our favorite is the classic iPad mini.
If however you’re looking for a dedicated writing tablet with a pen however we have a separate guide on that you can check out.
Editorial StaffThe editorial Staff at Teach and GO is a team of teachers with a broad range of experience led by David Unwin. We have been creating helpful advice, guides and tutorials for teachers since 2018.
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