Different professionals often need different hardware. Find out if one of these six tablets might may fill your business needs.
Tablets have long occupied an odd middle ground between smartphones and laptop computers. Larger screens mean the devices are better for consuming media and playing games, but a lack of a full-fledged operating system means tablets are likely to underdeliver for heavier computing tasks.
That’s not the case in 2020, with a multitude of tablets available that can fill a vital role for different types of professional users–in some cases, even replacing a work laptop entirely. If you’re in the market for a new tablet, these six options are each suited to one or more business niches, and could be your must-have device for getting work done on the go.
Apple iPad Pro
Apple has been pushing hard to make the iPad Pro a new option for laptop owners, and there are a lot of features in the 2020 iPad Pro that make it a potential choice, especially for those who wish MacBooks would get a touchscreen. The iPad Pro can reportedly outperform many PC laptops, it has great peripherals like the Apple Pencil, Magic Keyboard case, trackpad, and an 11- or 12-inch screen. iPadOS continues to get more desktop-like features as well, and the software and hardware specs for the iPad Pro make it a solid option for those who do creative work.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7/S7+
If you want an iPad Pro experience but aren’t an Apple user, you’re not out of luck: The Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+ both have similar specs, designs, and peripherals. The Galaxy Tab S7 has a couple of features that the iPad Pro doesn’t: The seventh generation of Galaxy Tabs are available with 5G, and the tablets come with the Samsung equivalent to the Apple Pencil, the S Pen, making them also a great device for creatives. You’ll have to wait a bit, though–the Galaxy Tab S7 series was just revealed and has yet to be released.
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The Microsoft Surface series
As a form factor, tablets are great, yet most suffer from a common problem: They’re mobile devices first, work devices second. That’s not the case with the Microsoft Surface series. These tablets and hybrids are in appearance tablets, but run Windows, making them ideal devices for traveling professionals who want a work machine that’s smaller and more portable with the option to use it just like a laptop. There are a lot of options (and price points) when it comes to the Microsoft Surface series, so you’re best to check it out for yourself and choose the right fit.
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active Pro
If you work in the field, on the front line, or any other place where your tablet is needed for work despite risks of damage, then you need a device that can handle a few bumps, so take a look at the Galaxy Tab Active Pro. Available with LTE connectivity or as Wi-Fi only, the Galaxy Tab Active Pro is MIL-STD-810G and IP68-rated, and its included S Pen is IP68-rated as well; Samsung also reports a 15-hour battery life. Plus, it comes with enterprise management software built in.
HP Elite X2 G4
HP’s 2-in-1 Elite X2 G4 looks a lot like a Microsoft Surface device, but HP claims it has something that the Surface doesn’t: The best PC security “in the world.” A built-in privacy screen, integrated firmware protection, an isolated endpoint security controller, and other security features make the X2 G4 an ideal choice for those regularly working with sensitive data and customer information while on the road.
Apple iPad Air 4
You’d be forgiven if you confused the above picture of the 2020 iPad Air with an iPad Pro: It’s been completely redesigned, and the form factors are the same now. The latest iPad Air is also getting the USB-C treatment as well, and some punchy new internals with Apple’s latest mobile chipset, the A14 Bionic. What the iPad Air has become is, in essence, a cheaper, slightly smaller version of the iPad Pro, making it a great choice for professionals who don’t want to spend the iPad Pro price to get a similar experience.
The iPad Air starts at $599 and is available to preorder from Apple’s website, with availability starting in October.
Editor’s note: This author updated this list to include an additional tablet.