We select the best tablet computers for working on the move.
While most tablets are aimed at being consumption devices, focusing on entertainment and leisure apps, tablets can also play a viable role in business. They can distil the power of a laptop into hand-held form, opening up a whole new realm of business mobility.
Rather than lugging a laptop around, a tablet can be the perfect solution to achieving business productivity on the move, whether it be in a taxi, plane or visiting a boardroom. Working from a touchscreen also allows interactive content such as graphs, presentations and video to be accessed in an instant.
To help you make sense of the vast choice of tablets, we’ve put together this list of the best tablets.
If your needs are modest, you’ll find any number of budget tablets that can do the job – and if you really don’t need the tablet capability, you can find plenty lightweight laptops (which we’ll cover in a future feature).
However, if you do want the advantages of a tablet, the following models are a cut above the ordinary, offering business-grade features that can enhance your productivity on the move.
Business tablets at a glance
|Price||4G option||Screen||Storage||Geekbench 4 multi-core benchmark score||Video-rundown battery life score|
|Apple iPad 9.7in (2017)||From $469||Yes||9.7in 1536 x 2048 pixels||32GB or 128GB, no microSD||4,204||14hrs 47mins|
|Apple iPad Pro 10.5in||From $979||Yes||10.5in 2224 x 1668||64GB, 256GB or 512GB, no microSD||9,380||12hrs 59mins|
|Apple iPad Pro 12.9in||From $1,199||Yes||10.5in 2224 x 1668||64GB, 256GB or 512GB, no microSD||9,146||9hrs 8mins|
|Lenovo Yoga Book||From $699||No||10.1in 1,920 x 1,200||64GB, microSD||3,222||7hrs 22mins|
|Microsoft Surface Pro (2017)||From $1,119||No||12.3in 2736 x 1824||128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB, microSD||5342 / 7544 / 9390 (Core m3/i5/i7)||11hrs 33mins|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 4||From $899||No||12.3in 2736 x 1824||128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB, microSD||1825 / 8110
(Core m3 / i7)
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7in||From $949||Yes||9.7in
2048 x 1536
|32GB, microSD||4,208||11hrs 43mins|
Next: the reviews
Apple iPad Pro
Apple’s professional-grade Apple iPad Pro tablets have gone from strength to strength, and their latest iterations are truly something special. In our tests, the new A10X Fusion-powered iPad Pros left other tablets in their dust – and they were even able to out-perform some laptops.
On the downside, the iPad Pro can’t run full desktop applications like the Surface Pro. But with an outstanding range of iPad apps to choose from, and the option to add the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil, the iPad Pro is a powerful business device.
It’s also pricey, with the 12.9in model in particular starting at $1,199. To this end, we think the new 10.5-inch model – a significant upgrade from the previous 9.7in iPad Pro – is a more appealing option for most people, starting at $979.
But whichever model you choose, you’ll be getting the best business tablet available.
Microsoft Surface Pro
Microsoft’s flagship convertible device is the absolute peak of the company’s engineering efforts. A sleek, elegant and powerful business machine, the Surface Pro packs strong performance into a slim frame, with a gorgeous display and all-day battery life to boot.
Because it runs full-fat Windows 10, the Surface Pro offers access to a much larger variety of software. That, combined with its excellent built-in kickstand and optional Type Cover, makes the Surface Pro that much more versatile than the iPad Pro – and a genuine laptop replacement.
The Surface Pro isn’t cheap, starting at $1,119 and ranging up to a whopping $3,999 for high-end specs. That price doesn’t include the keyboard or stylus either – which is no different from the iPad Pro and most other tablets, but somehow seems more problematic with Microsoft pitching the Surface Pro as a laptop replacement.
Still, if you want a versatile business hybrid, the Surface Pro is as good as it gets.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
There’s no better Android tablet than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. It has a superb high-resolution AMOLED display and while it’s not the fastest tablet around, it’s a step up from the Galaxy Tab S2.
And with its bundled S-Pen stylus and useful accompanying apps, the Tab S3 is ideal for note-taking in business meetings and the like – and there’s an optional Book Cover keyboard, which works similarly to the iPad Pro Smart Keyboard.
Starting at $949, the Galaxy Tab S3 isn’t cheap, however, and for similar money you can get an iPad Pro, which is a superior device in terms of performance and range of tablet-friendly apps. But the S-Pen is included in the price, and if Android is your platform of choice, the Tab S3 is the best tablet available.
Apple iPad 9.7in
Starting at under $500, the entry-level 9.7in Apple iPad is excellent value for money. While it’s not quite as technically capable as other, more expensive devices, it’s still more than capable of holding its own as a business tool.
It is missing some of the more explicitly business-focused features of the Pro range, such as Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support (although you could always use a Bluetooth keyboard), but you still have access to the outstanding library of iPad apps – and, overall, it’s unquestionably the best tablet available at its price point.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4
If you want a Windows hybrid but can’t stretch you budget to the latest Surface Pro, Microsoft is selling the Surface Pro 4 at a discount – starting at $899.
The 2017 Surface Pro offers much improved battery life, better performance and other enhancements, but the Surface Pro 4 is still an excellent – and very versatile – business device.
Lenovo Yoga Book
The Lenovo Yoga Book isn’t strictly a tablet – it’s a 2-in-1, but flip over the keyboard and the Yoga Book becomes a tablet that’s surprisingly slim and light. And it’s a hybrid like no other.
In laptop mode, the futuristic ‘Halo’ keyboard shines out of a completely flat touch-sensitive surface, but tap a button and the keyboard becomes a second tablet surface, directly mirroring the main screen, allowing you to draw and write with the supplied stylus.
Alternatively, you to draw or write on actual paper over the top of the tablet area using the ‘Real Pen’ stylus, which can become a ballpoint pen by slotting in one of the supplied ink cartridges. Microsoft OneNote simultaneously creates a digital record.
On the downside, the Halo keyboard lacks the usability of a real keyboard, battery life is average and the Atom x5-Z8550 processor is not a great performer. In the $899 Windows model, that chip feels rather sluggish, but the Android version not only runs more smoothly, but it’s also great value at $699 – and remember, that also includes a keyboard.
This feature is based on an article that originally appeared at IT Pro.