Best business tablets to buy in 2019
Surface Pro? iPad Pro? We take a look at some of the best tablets around
Over the years, as mobile phone screens have expanded and become more sophisticated, the tablet has taken a backseat - commonly the backseat of a car, where parents use them to keep their children quiet.
So, too, have laptops become lighter and slimmer - with many now boasting touchscreen capabilities.
But the tablet hasn't died just yet. Not in the business space, at least. They have become an almost essential tool for some, with many organisations introducing a tablet and a detachable keyboard instead of the standard laptop or even a desktop PC.
They offer workers more fluidity and ease of use. Touchscreen devices are great to use in tight spaces, such as the cramped rush-hour commute, and the capabilities are improving every year with manufacturers adding neat business apps to make it easier to work outside of the office.
Syncing calendars, annotating documents, and taking notes are all possibilities on a tablet, making it arguably the ultimate tool for mobile working. What's more, the market is booming with superb models from Apple, Samsung, Huawei and others. But which is best? What size do you need, and which operating system works best for your workforce?
To help you pick the right one for your enterprise needs we've compiled a comprehensive list of the best tablets around.
Google Pixel Slate
With such an impressive set of features, including an eighth generation, Core i5-8200Y processor with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, a 12.3-inch display with a super resolution of 3,000 x 2,000 pixels and a highly adaptable design, it's no surprise there's a pretty high price tag on this piece of kit.
At almost 1000 when you add on VAT, the Google Pixel Slate doesn't come cheap, especially considering it runs on Google's Chrome OS rather than the more desirable MacOS or Windows 10. One of the big questions here is "Do you splash out on the Pixel Slate or spend a little extra and instead opt for a MacBook Pro or Dell XPS 13?'
But one of the major factors that should influence your decision is that the Pixel Slate has been designed as a 2-in-1 laptop rather than a standalone laptop. Whip off the keyboard and it's a super-powerful slate. So in this respect, it's probably more comparable to the Apple iPad Pro, but just with double the storage.
The top features of the Google Pixel Slate are no doubt the keyboard and the pen, which both come at an extra cost and bump the price up even further. The slate itself works very well indeed and although the Core i5 Y-series CPU isn't as powerful as others in the same category (and Google is seemingly charging a premium for it), if you have the cash to spend and want to try out a Chrome-powered device, the Google Pixel Slate is certainly one to consider.
Google Pixel Slate key specs
|CPU||Intel Core i5-8200Y|
|Display||12.3in, 3,000 x 2,000 pixels|
|Battery life||8hrs 48mins|
Price when reviewed: 791 exc VAT
Read our full Google Pixel Slate review for more information.
Microsoft Surface Go
The Microsoft Surface Go is a smaller and cheaper version of the highly desirable Surface Pro with a 10-inch display, a lower-powered processor and less storage than the flagship, but retaining many of the same features as its bigger brother.
Although in principle, the Surface Go shouldn't be included in the same bracket as its bigger brother, it works extremely well for what it is and you'll probably quickly start to respect its might in such a small package.
Even when demanding pretty strenuous workloads, the Surface Go coped well, despite only packing in a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Pentium 4415Y processor compared to its peers' i5 and i7 models. And, with USB-C support included, it means you can easily add peripherals including a mouse or external display if you so wish.
But battery life was certainly a disappointment and you will probably find you need to pack a charger in your bag as well as the device itself and surely this takes away from the pocketability of a smaller tablet?
Microsoft Surface Go key specs
|CPU||Intel Pentium 4415Y|
|Display||10in, 1800 x 1200 pixels|
|Battery life||6hrs 23mins|
Price when reviewed: 424 exc VAT
Read our full Microsoft Surface Go review for more information.
Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro
Huawei's MediaPad M5 Pro is a more powerful version of its M5 tablet, with a stylus and keyboard, offering a significant boost compared to its entry-level predecessor.
At around 450 including VAT for a 10.8-inch Wi-Fi-only tablet with 64GB storage, it's not the cheapest on the market (see the Surface Go, above), but it gives a fair performance when compared to others in the same bracket.
Like the Surface Go, there's USB-C support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 and even 4G connectivity (for the cellular version of the device), plus microSD card expansion with support for cards up to 256GB. The processor is fast, but won't keep up with better-equipped models such as the A10X Fusion in the 10.5inch iPad Pro, but its 4GB RAM does ensure it can complete the majority of tasks without too much strain at all.
One thing that probably isn't as intuitive is the Android Oreo operating system. Although it's been optimised as a desktop with a layer on top of the core OS when the keyboard is added, it's not as desktop-friendly compared to Windows 10, Chrome, or even iOS on the iPad Pro.
Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro key specs
|CPU||HiSilicon Kirin 960|
|Display||10.8in, 2,560 x 1,600 pixels|
Price when reviewed: 417 exc VAT
Read our full Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro review for more information.
iPad Pro 12.9in
The iPad Pro 12.9-inch could be considered as the closest alternative you'll get to a laptop. As its name suggests, it's a 12-inch iPad, with the option of a keyboard to turn the tablet into a 12-inch MacBook. Almost.
The third-generation iPad Pro 12.9-inch is fast. Although it's not as fast as a MacBook Pro quite yet, it will be able to run the full version of Photoshop that certainly takes a significant amount of power.
The design of the latest 12.9-inch iPad Pro has seen some refinements, including the replacement of the Touch ID button with facial recognition and USB Type C support - perhaps the most significant design tweak for the iPad Pro.
But it's a cut-down version of the universal connectivity port, allowing you only to connect a limited range of external devices. Although it can be used to charge your tablet, you can't connect up things like printers. It will allow you to transfer photos from a camera and a secondary monitor, but that display will only mirror what's on your iPad rather than doubling up your screen estate.
Apple has moved where the contacts are for the folio case (so no reusing your old case and there's a thinner bezel, with an updated keyboard and Apple Pencil to boot.
Both of these accessories will cost you more than previous versions and the tablet itself is more expensive too, at 969 for the 64GB iteration. The top of the range version with the keyboard case and pencil will cost a whopping 2,187.
Apple iPad Pro 12.9in key specs
|Display||12.9in, 2,732 x 2,048 pixels|
|Battery life||10 hours continuous video|
Price when reviewed: 969 inc VAT
Read our full Apple iPad Pro 12.9in review for more information.
Starting at under 340, the entry-level 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 Pencil and keyboard support, but if you're willing to sacrifice these, the iPad is unquestionably the best tablet available at its price point.
Apple iPad key specs
|Display||9.7in 2,048 x 1,536 LCD|
|Battery life||14hrs 47mins|
Price when reviewed: 282 exc VAT
Read our full Apple iPad review for more information.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 doesn't have anything on the iPad Pro, and it's almost twice the price of the 9.7in iPad. You're basically better off buying one of Apple's tablets for virtually every conceivable task and use you would want to carry out with this tablet.
However, the Tab S3 is the best Android tablet out there. If you feel the need to use an Android device over an iOS one then Samsung's premium tablet would be a good choice - although we would prefer an iPad.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 key specs
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 820|
|Display||9.7in 2,048 x 1,536 AMOLED|
|Battery life||11hrs 43mins|
Price when reviewed: 499 exc VAT
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review for more information.
Lenovo Yoga 920 review
Recently there's been a wave of exciting 2-in-1s entering the market, and Lenovo's Yoga 920 is perhaps one of the best examples. It manages to strike that pleasing balance between appealing aesthetics and powerhouse performance, without the typical loss to longevity in the process.
Lenovo's Yoga 920 truly earns its place as one of the better convertibles on the market today. While its asking price is a little above the average, we feel it's worth it given the excellent package get.
Lenovo Yoga 920 review key specs
|CPU||CPU Intel Core i7-8550U 1.8GHz|
|Display||13.9in, 1920 x 1080, IPS|
|Battery life||12hrs 29mins|
Price when reviewed: 1,124 exc VAT
Read our full Lenovo Yoga 920 review for more information.
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