Implementing a tablet, regardless of the OS, into your workflow could allow you to stay productive while reducing the weight of your gear bag. Many of today’s best tablets come with processing power that rivals standalone laptops. And when you add in a decent keyboard, getting work done on a smaller, slimmer form factor device will be easy.
While some slates offer manageable price tags, the market is still dense, and the top dog offerings with consumers are still not exactly the best option for small business and enterprise users.
No matter if you rely on Windows, Android, or even iOS, there’s something worth recommending. It’s only a matter of figuring out what your priorities are. And to help you choose the best tablet, here’s our overview of the market at the moment, and the 10 tablets we’d recommend for the business user.
For the sake of clarity, we will only look at pure tablets, and detachables when it comes to convertibles. 2-in-1 hybrid models are closer to traditional laptops as their keyboard can’t be totally detached.
1. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
The tablet that can replace your laptop
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824, 3:2 aspect ratio | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 |Camera: 8MP rear-facing (1080p HD), 5MP front-facing (1080p) | Weight: 1.73 pounds | Dimensions:11.5 x 7.93 x 0.36-inch
Vastly improved Type Cover
Type Cover still sold separately
Intel Core m3 at entry level
A higher resolution screen, a thinner design and a move to Intel’s more powerful Skylake processors all help to make this portable tablet a capable replacement for your laptop. Sadly, the Type Cover keyboard is still an optional necessity for this laptop replacement.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4
2. Apple iPad Pro
The biggest tablet Apple’s ever made
CPU: Apple A9X | Graphics: Integrated | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.9-inch, 2,732 x 2,048 | Storage:32GB | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 | Camera: 8MP iSight (1080p HD), 5MP FaceTime (720p) | Weight: 1.57 pounds | Dimensions: 8.68 x 12 x 0.27-inch
Expansive, usable screen
Battery life could be longer
Apple takes the iPad into uncharted territory. The iPad Pro’s optional accessories add to the cost of the tablet, but the keyboard cover and Apple Pencil stylus make the iPad even more suited for business and creative users. The iPad Pro also debuts Apple’s new split-screen multitasking.
Read the full review: Apple iPad Pro
3. Dell XPS 12
Dell has a clever new take on the 2-in-1
CPU: 1.1GHz Intel Core m5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, 3,840 x 2,160 | Storage: 256GB | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 8MP rear (1080p), 5MP front (1080p) | Weight: 1.75 pounds | Dimensions: 11.46 x 7.6 x 0.31-inch
Inventive hinge-less keyboard base
Sharp, rich and accurate 4K display
Soft touch plastic coating all over
Even though the new XPS 12 takes its inspiration from the Surface Pro line, Dell’s keyboard dock is highly usable and is included in the cost of the slate. This laptop replacement also supports Dell’s Active Stylus for digital inking.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 12
4. Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Beautifully designed to handle accidental spills
CPU: 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 | Graphics: Adreno 430 | RAM: 2GB | Screen: 10.1-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 | Storage: 32GB | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 8MP rear (1080p), 5MP front (1080p) | Weight: 0.86 pounds | Dimensions: 10.0 x 6.57 x 0.24-inch
New improved design
Only 32GB option
Sony’s Xperia Z4 Tablet retains the water- and dust-resistant capabilities of the line’s previous models, making it a good slate for business users who may not need a fully rugged device. Add in the keyboard dock, and this tablet becomes a versatile machine for composing emails and writing documents on the go.
Read the full review: Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
5. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
For diehards of the Big Blue era
CPU: Intel Core m7-6Y75 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch, 2,160 x 1,440 | Storage: 256GB | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 8MP rear, 2MP front |Weight: 1.8 pounds | Dimensions: 11.45 x 8.97 x 0.20-inch
Modular design is cool
A plethora of ports
Average battery life
The ThinkPad X1 Tablet is probably one of the best designed convertible devices on the market, and one where engineers clearly had a great time building a slate that crams in so many features that it’s hard to believe that the X1 is so thin and portable. It bears all the hallmarks of a signature ThinkPad device: the finish, the red colour scheme, the Trackpoint, the shape of the Accutype keys, everything down to the ThinkPad logo at the back. Aficionados will love it while others might balk at the price – this is vintage ThinkPad at its finest.
Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
6. Samsung Galaxy TabPro S
This ultra-light Windows tablet is the latest iPad Pro challenger
CPU: Intel Core m3-6Y30 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12-inch, 2,160 x 1,440 | Storage: 256GB | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 5MP rear, 5MP front |Weight: 1.5 pounds | Dimensions: 11.43 x 7.83 x 0.25-inch
First-class AMOLED display
Flimsy keyboard base
Aspect ratio might not be to everyone’s taste
Samsung has been very quiet lately when it comes to tablets with the Galaxy Tab S2 being the last significant Android model. Fortunately, Windows is undergoing a bit of a revival at the moment in the mobility segment, and the Galaxy TabPro S may well mark the comeback of the South Korean company as a more strategic partner for Microsoft. The TabPro S is one of the few Windows tablets to sport a screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio putting it in direct competition with the iPad Pro, and unlike Apple’s flagship device, its keyboard is bundled rather than optional.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S
7. Asus Transformer 3 Pro
A better value proposition than the Surface Pro 4
CPU: Intel Core i5-6200U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 12.6-inch, 2,880 x 1,920 | Storage: 256GB | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 13MP rear, 2MP front | Weight: 1.7 pounds | Dimensions: 11.7 by 8.3 by 0.3-inch
16GB RAM by default
No cheaper version
Aspect ratio might not be for everyone
Asus threw down the gauntlet to Microsoft a few months ago with the launch of the Transformer 3 Pro. The device, which is the only tablet we know of that comes with 16GB of RAM as standard, easily surpasses the Surface Pro 4 in terms of sheer value for money although Microsoft’s flagship tablet remains the better known (and probably more trusted) of the two. Other than the standard keyboard, the Transformer also has a docking station, a stylus and even a trusted platform module (TPM) for improved security within an enterprise setting.
Read the full review: Asus Transformer 3 Pro
8. Getac RX10
A tough tablet that fears nothing
CPU: Intel Core m-5Y10C | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 10.1-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 | Storage: 256GB | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 8MP rear, 2MP front |Weight: 2.65 pounds | Dimensions: 11 x 9.65 x 0.74-inch
Built like a tank
Light and portable
Battery life could be better
Getac’s RX10 dares to go where no other tablet can thanks to its rugged design and bright screen. If your work takes you into the field, you’ll be thankful that Getac equipped this slate with a screen that’s readable even under direct sunlight. This slate will sustain a fair amount of hardship including being dropped, or assaulted with dust, water and much more. As expected on such a device, there are also plenty of expansion options including hot-swappable batteries as well as a barcode scanner and an NFC/RFID card reader.
Read the full review: Getac RX10
9. Fujitsu Stylistic R726
A worthy Surface Pro 4 competitor with plenty of options
CPU: Intel Core i7-6600U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 | Storage: 256GB | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 5MP rear, 2MP front |Weight: 1.8 pounds | Dimensions: 12.55 x 7.91 x 0.37-inch
Full-fat Core i7 CPU
Impressive range of accessories
Maximum 8GB of RAM
Fujitsu certainly used the Surface range from Microsoft as its inspiration for the Stylistic R726, but then applied its own spin by making this convertible far more enterprise-friendly with a surprisingly (relatively) low price tag. An impressive range of accessories? Check. Extreme serviceability backed by a top notch aftersales warranty? Check. A plethora of ports and connection options? Check. Active stylus? Sure, that’s here as well. The R726 also has a first-class docking station and its detachable keyboard is a rather good one.
Read the full review: Fujitsu Stylistic R726
10. HP Elite x2 1012 G1
Impressive usability from the company formerly known as HP
CPU: Intel Core m7-6Y75 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch, 1,920 x 1,280 | Storage: 256GB | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 5MP rear, 2MP front |Weight: 1.8 pounds | Dimensions: 11.8 x 8.4 x 0.3-inch
Kickstand allows screen to tilt to almost any angle
Touchpad could be better
Short battery life
Just like the rest of the competition, HP followed Microsoft’s playbook when building the Elite x2 1012, which clearly targets the business market. Like Fujitsu, HP made sure that its product was designed with enterprise users in mind. It is sturdy, undergoing a 12-point stress test, is very easy to upgrade and comes with a number of security features. There’s an active pen and a keyboard, and our reviewer said that typing on the latter was “as comfortable as it is on a real notebook”.
Read the full review: HP Elite x2 1012 G1
Chuong Nguyen, John McCann and Henry Casey also contributed to this article
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