Top 10 best business tablets in 2017
Implementing a business tablet, regardless of the operating system, into your workflow could allow you to stay productive while reducing the weight of your gear bag.
Many of today’s best business 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.
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 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.
- High screen
- 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 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.
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
- Hugely powerful
- Large footprint
- Battery life could be longer
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 – although we’d like to see more in the way of battery life.
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
- Short battery life
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.
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
- Gorgeous display
- New improved design
- Problematic UI
- Only 32GB option
Sony’s Xperia Z4 Tablet retains the water- and dust-resistant capabilities of the range’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.
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.
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
- Extremely thin
- 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 the slate in direct competition with the iPad Pro, and unlike Apple’s flagship device, its keyboard is bundled rather than optional.
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
- Ultra-high resolution
- No cheaper version
- Aspect ratio might not be for everyone
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
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
- Not cheap
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
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
- Noisy fan
- 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? 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
This slate is impressive in the usability stakes.
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
- Great keyboard
- Touchpad could be better
- Short battery life
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.