Productivity on the Move: The Best Business Tablets of 2017
Buying the best business tablet for your needs can help revolutionize your productivity, allowing you to remain productive while out and about, without having to worry about lugging heavy gear around.
Many of the best business tablets can also replace your work laptop, as they come with components and processing power that enables them to perform as well as standard notebooks.
Android and Apple tablets have a host of apps that allow you to work on them, and of course, with Windows 10-powered business tablets, you can run any app or program you'd usually run on a traditional laptop or desktop PC.
Add a Bluetooth keyboard, and you'll be able to work comfortably on these best business tablets for hours on end.
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 what you need out of a tablet for your business. 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
While Microsoft didn't call this year's tablet the Surface Pro 5, in many ways it's a sequel to the Surface Pro 4 (which also features on our list of the best business tablets), with a 32% increase in battery life - according to our benchmarks -- as well as a refined design that remains thin and light, while also providing plenty of power. The new and improved Surface Pen and Type Cover makes this a brilliant business tablet that can be used as a laptop replacement, and it comes in a range of specifications, which makes choosing the right model for your business (and personal) needs easy.
2. Apple iPad Pro
Apple took the iPad into uncharted territory here. 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 debuted Apple's new split-screen multitasking. It is, quite simply, a massively powerful tablet which can certainly turbocharge your productivity away from the desk thanks to a wide array of business apps -- although we’d like to see more in the way of battery life.
3. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
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.
4. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
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 optional, but in reality it's a necessity for this laptop replacement; come on Microsoft, bundle it already. The good news with the Type Cover in this fourth iteration of the Surface Pro is that it’s much improved this time around.
5. Lenovo Miix 510
Lenovo shows it is just as good at making 2-in-1 devices that are excellent business tablets with the Lenovo Miix 510, a follow up to the Miix 700 (yes, we know, confusing) with a new latest-gen Kaby Lake version of the Core i5 and a strong central pairing of 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. It comes with a detachable keyboard and costs a lot less than Microsoft's Surface Pro line of business tablets, and for the most part it offers similar functionality. This is definitely a business tablet worth considering if your budget doesn't stretch to a Microsoft (or Apple) device.
6. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is the best Android tablet you can buy right now, and it proves that you don't need a tablet that runs Windows to be one of the best business tablets money can buy.
It's stuffed full of power, has an excellent display and features an iPad-Pro rivaling S-Pen stylus and optional keyboard.
The price tag could be a stumbling block, but if you're looking for the best Android has to offer in tablet form the Galaxy Tab S3 is the slate for you.
7. Asus Transformer 3 Pro
Asus threw down the gauntlet to Microsoft 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.
8. Getac RX10
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. Plus it's also light and very portable, despite being such a tough customer. 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.
9. Fujitsu Stylistic R726
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? Wouldn't you know, that's here as well. The R726 also has a first-class docking station and its detachable keyboard is a rather good one, and quality accessories certainly don't do its case any harm.
10. HP Elite x2 1012 G1
Just like the rest of the competition, HP took inspiration from 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." Not everything about the design is perfect -- such as the hinge-- but overall this is a tempter with a great keyboard and screen.
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