The following post is sponsored by Best Buy. Head over to Best Buy for your back to school needs.

You and your children might still be on summer break, but before we know it the sun will begin setting earlier and the leaves will start to change colors. Yes, back to school season is quickly sneaking up on us. We’re going to help you with the tech side of your preparations, however, so that you don’t have to stumble around blindly trying to find what gadgetry will work best for you.

Laptops are becoming a dying breed, and while we still recommend them for a number of purposes, tablets are more powerful than ever. They’re smaller and easier to tote around, especially in the under 10-inch range that we’ll discuss here, and you can even use a Bluetooth keyboard when you need to get down and dirty and write a quick paper. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites now.

iPad mini

We can’t make a mini tablet back to school list without including a tablet with “mini” in it now can we? We’re kidding, of course, since the iPad mini long ago earned its spot as one of the best devices on the market in its size range. It has access to more tablet applications than any competitor, offers an amazingly portable 7.9-inch display – though its 1024 x 768-pixel resolution leaves a lot to be desired, 802.11a/b/n Wi-Fi, a dual-core A5 processor, a 1.2-megapixel front-facing FaceTime HD camera for video chatting with your parents, a 5-megapixel camera and a very capable battery. The iPad mini is a top choice for educational institutions since there is a ton of classroom-friendly software, though you’ll also be able to enjoy a bevvy a games and use it as an entertainment device at the end of the day.

Galaxy Note 8.0

Looking to ditch your pen and notepad? Look no further than the Galaxy Note 8.0. It comes with an S Pen and a special screen that allows it to recognize more accurate levels of pressure for sketching or writing out notes. It packs a speedy 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, an 8-inch display, a microSD card slot for adding additional storage and excellent battery life. We love its ability to run multiple applications at once, so you can surf the web and take notes at the same time, and the ability to collaborate with other Galaxy devices using screen-sharing technology. The 8-inch form factor is perfect for tossing in your bag, and Android offers a ton of customization options that you won’t find on an iPad.

Acer Iconia 8.1-inch with 32GB of storage

The Acer Iconia 8.1-inch tablet stands out for one huge reason: it runs a full version of Windows 8 with a small and portable 8.1-inch screen form factor and a $349.98 price tag. That’s amazing, especially since that means you can run most apps designed for x86 processors (standard PC apps, provided they don’t require insane amounts of power). The tablet packs a 1.5GHz Z2760 Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of expanadable storage, Intel GMA HD graphics, a USB 2.0 port, Bluetooth and more. Pop in a mouse and hook up a wireless keyboard and you’re essentially moving around with a full-fledged PC. Quite amazing – plus it will run a full version of Office, which means you’ll have no excuse for turning in an essay late.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 – Budget Choice

The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is a 8-inch Android tablet with a super affordable price tag. We recommend the Note 8.0 over it because of its S Pen technology, but if you need to save a few bucks the Tab 3 8.0 is an excellent choice. It’s highly portable at just 10.7 ounces and is super thin for its size. You’ll only find 16GB of storage under the hood, but you can upgrade that with a microSD card easily. Other features include a 5-megapixel camera, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, a 1,5GB of RAM, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and an IR blaster for controlling your TV. Like the Note 8.0, it offers support for running multiple applications at once, which allows you to multitask more efficiently on the go.