Instead, we looked for the best representatives of each of the major platforms.With that goal in mind, we began refining our requirements, starting with the things we like in an everyday tablet: Beyond a high price, heavy weight, poor battery life, and a small screen, dealbreakers included running an older version of Android and—with one exception—not supporting stylus input.
Though we don’t think a pro tablet is a great choice as a laptop replacement for professionals yet—issues like multitasking restrictions and software that really isn’t optimized for these devices are limiting—their active styluses can make them good choices as secondary devices for those who prefer drawing or writing to keyboard entry.
After testing the 10.5-inch i Pad Pro with the just-released i OS 11, we’ve made it our new pick as the best i OS-based alternative to a laptop.
Meanwhile, i OS and Android-based pro tablets are much less likely than a Windows device to get hacked, but the operating systems limit both the kind of apps you can install and what they can do—although at least Apple has finally added a file manager in i OS 11.
Compared with general-use tablets, pro tablets also often feature upgraded screens and audio systems, but unless you’re feeling spendy, we can’t justify buying a pro tablet just for a better movie-watching experience.
A third may be that the multitasking agility of a laptop eats away at your ability to focus—if you want to bear down on a document, spreadsheet, or graphic without having other apps in view to distract you, a pro tablet can be a more productive environment.
More compelling for some people—especially in the case of the i Pad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface devices—is the promise of a much improved drawing and writing experience when compared with both traditional passive styluses (which have nowhere near the precision of a pen or pencil) or third-party active Bluetooth styluses, which generally work only with certain apps.Most people won’t, but there are reasons you might.One is that you’re frustrated by the challenge of creating and editing complex documents on a general-use touchscreen tablet—you can’t use an instrument more precise than your fingertip to manipulate things on the screen, and the screen may be too small.I’ve tested the original versions of the i Pad, Microsoft’s Surface, Amazon’s Kindle and Kindle Fire, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, and Google’s Nexus 7, as well as a long line of lesser tablets that nobody misses (for example, the Motorola Xoom and the Vizio Tablet).My everyday tablet is an i Pad mini 4 with 64 GB of storage, but the mobile device I carry most often is a Google Pixel Android phone.We also spent a month with the 2017 Surface Pro, and found it has much better battery life than the older model Surface Pro 4—though if you prefer to use a pro tablet with a stylus, the Surface Pen is now extra.