Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The 6 best tablets for business in 2024

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The iPad Pro (2022) sitting in the Magic Keyboard.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Buying the best tablet for business isn’t quite as simple as just buying something from our look at the best tablets. Business users have specific needs which mean they don’t have to worry so much high-end gaming performance or a particularly sharp and speedy display. Instead, it’s mostly about strong number crunching ability, plenty of storage, good cameras for calls, and those kind of responsible considerations.

That’s why we’ve specifically picked out the best tablets for business below. Further down, we’ve also gone into greater depth about how we came to our decisions but rest assured, we’re experts in the field and know exactly what a business user needs from a great tablet. For some of you that may mean one of the best iPads but for others, it means an Android device or even a hybrid laptop/tablet setup.

We’ve featured tablets that cover many different price ranges and requirements so there’s always something that’s an appropriate fit for you here. Here are the best tablets for business.

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The best tablets for business

  • Buy if you want the fastest performing tablet.
  • Buy for a great mid-range option.
  • Buy for the best Android tablet for business.
  • Buy for working away from Wi-Fi.
  • Buy for a budget business tablet.
  • Buy for a laptop/tablet hybrid.

Apple iPad Pro with M2

Best performing tablet for business

Apple / Apple

Pros
Cons

Powerful performance
Could buy a laptop for the same price

Great screen

Powerful enough to replace a laptop, the Apple iPad Pro with M2 chip is a true powerhouse of a business tablet. For some people, it’ll be excessive and it’s certainly expensive rivalling the price of a laptop, but it’s never going to let you down. The M2 chip inside this Apple iPad Pro is the same processor you’ll see in many MacBooks with the only difference here being that you’re using iPadOS instead of macOS. iPadOS has seen many updates over the year meaning it’s highly competent for all your productivity tasks. The Apple iPad Pro also works with the Apple Pencil (2nd generation) and the Magic Keyboard. That means you can be more precise with your taps but you can also type as easily as you would with a laptop keyboard. The Magic Keyboard also has a built-in trackpad so it works well as a laptop replacement.

If you use a Mac anyway, you’ll love that the Apple iPad Pro makes it simple to switch between the two. You can use many of the same apps like Safari, Keynote, Pages, and other everyday business essentials. AirDrop means transferring files is a breeze.

Throughout, the Apple iPad Pro looks gorgeous. It has a 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display which is sufficiently large enough to be able to see what you’re doing. It offers 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness with 1,600 nits of peak brightness. Reference Modes provide a more colour-accurate workflow while there are display technologies like ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color which all mean you get a great picture no matter what the lighting is around you or how fast you’re scrolling. It all means more enjoyable productivity for you.

Specifications

CPU
M2 chip

Display
12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display

Camera
12MP/12MP/10MP

Apple iPad Air (5th generation)

Best mid-range business tablet

Digital Trends

Pros
Cons

Great value for what it offers
No variable refresh rate

Excellent screen

For everyone other than power users, the Apple iPad Air (5th generation) is sure to be a big hit. It remains very powerful with the Apple M1 chip powering proceedings and ensuring you can easily get plenty of work done on the move, whether that’s updating spreadsheets or simply taking video calls and meetings. The M1 chip is one we’ve seen in slightly older MacBooks and it’s a processor that still performs admirably.

The Apple iPad Air (5th generation) also has a great display with a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display looking stunning. The display has support for technologies like True Tone and P3 wide color so it looks great even in low light situations or when looking at particularly vibrant imagery. It lacks ProMotion support so there’s no variable refresh rates here but otherwise, the Apple iPad Air (5th generation) looks exceptional.

Like the iPad Pro, the Apple iPad Air (5th generation) also works well as a form of laptop replacement. It has support for the Apple Pencil (2nd generation) as well as the Magic Keyboard so you can easily use it in a more productive way. Being able to use a keyboard instead of a touch-based interface makes a huge difference.

For video calls, the Apple iPad Air (5th generation) has a 12MP Ultra Wide front camera. It has Center Stage support so you’re always the main focus when moving around on a video call. For capturing photos or snapping receipts on the move, the 12MP wide back camera does a good job of helping you keep on top of things.

Essentially, the Apple iPad Air (5th generation) is the iPad for anyone who simply doesn’t need the extra power and screen size of the iPad Pro and the vast majority of people will be delighted.

Specifications

CPU
M1 chip

Display
10.9-inch Liquid Retina display

Camera
12MP/12MP

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+ Plus

Best Android tablet for business

Andrew Martonik / Digital Trends

Pros
Cons

Fast performance
Battery life could be better

Stylus included

For the ultimate Android tablet for business, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+ Plus will serve you well. If you have an Android phone, you’re already tied into the ecosystem so it simply makes sense. Even better, if you have a Samsung Galaxy phone, functionality between the two goes even more smoothly. Whatever your phone, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+ Plus is super speedy thanks to its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 ensuring that performance flies here.

In conjunction with such technology, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+ Plus also has Samsung Galaxy AI which helps you search more effectively, has a transcribing function, and also helps you format your notes more clearly. If you’re collecting your thoughts or recording a meeting, Galaxy AI is going to help you a ton. Talking of notes, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+ Plus has an S Pen which feels like a real pen so you can easily sketch out designs or take notes in a natural feeling way.

Continuing the productive trend, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+ Plus also has a gorgeous 12.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen with features like Vision Booster which automatically adjusts the brightness and contrast of the display as needed. It means looking through documents is clear while taking video calls looks suitably natural. When on a video call, you’ll look great too thanks to Auto-Focus keeping the attention on you. Hearing the other person is fine as well thanks to Dolby Atmos support within the four speaker system.

If you want a powerful tablet for your business and you don’t want an iPadOS-based system, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+ Plus will fulfil all your needs with Android software running the show.

Specifications

CPU
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Display
12.4-inch

Camera
12MP/13MP

Apple iPad Pro M1

Best for working away from Wi-Fi

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Pros
Cons

Has cellular connection
Slightly older tech

Still pretty fast
Not everyone needs cellular connectivity

While there are seemingly Wi-Fi networks at every turn these days, sometimes that’s not the case and it can be at the most awkward of times. That’s where having a tablet with a cellular connection can be a truly useful thing. It means you don’t have to worry so much about your location as long as you have a cellular signal. That’s a huge selling point for the Apple iPad Pro M1. It sports an older chip but the M1 remains speedy and more than competent. Going for the older processor means that the cellular-based iPad Pro M1 is more affordable.

Besides the prowess of the Apple iPad Pro M1, there’s also a great display. It has a 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display which is about as large as a tablet can get. It has True Tone support as well as P3 wide color so it looks great, even in unusual lighting conditions. Even better, there’s ProMotion so you can browse away without any annoying motion blur.

As you’d expect from an iPad, the Apple iPad Pro M1 is also highly versatile when it comes to being able to connect other devices to it. It has a Thunderbolt port for connecting to fast external storage, displays, or a dock. You can also connect it to an Apple Pencil or Magic Keyboard for further functionality.

For taking video calls, the Apple iPad Pro M1 has four speaker audio and five studio-quality microphones. For the actual call side of things, the Apple iPad Pro M1 has a 12MP wide camera, and 10MP Ultra Wide camera so it’s perfect for making you look at your best as well as allowing you to take photos of important things.

Specifications

CPU
Apple M1 chip

Display
12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR

Camera
12MP/10MP

Lenovo Tab P12

Best budget business tablet

Lenovo

Pros
Cons

Very affordable
Nothing truly stands out

Large screen

If you’re on a tight budget or simply only need a tablet for occasional use with your business, check out the Lenovo Tab P12. It has all the essentials you need without breaking the bank. One significant highlight is its 12.7-inch widescreen display. It’s the biggest display we’ve featured here so it’s a good bet if you need plenty of room to manage your apps. Granted, it lacks the finer details of the screens we see on the iPad Pro so it doesn’t look exceptional, but it’s just fine.

That’s kind of the trend with the Lenovo Tab P12 as it manages to be satisfactory without ever truly wowing you. It runs Android 13 so you have full access to seemingly everything imaginable while its 8-core CPU is speedy if somewhat unremarkable for performance. There’s already 256GB of storage but as with most Android devices, you can easily upgrade the storage with a microSD card if you prefer more room.

For video calls, the Lenovo Tab P12 has a 8MP front camera which lacks any special features but is fine for taking a quick call. On the back is a 13MP rear camera which is perfect if you need to take a photo of a project or snap some receipts for later consultation.

Specifications

CPU
MediaTek Dimensity 7050

Display
12.7-inch

Camera
8MP/13MP

Microsoft Surface Pro 9

Best laptop/tablet hybrid

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

Pros
Cons

Can use Windows as usual
Not a regular tablet

Powerful performance
Weak cameras

If you want a laptop but you also need a tablet and you’re really not sure where to begin, how about the Microsoft Surface Pro 9? It effectively offers the best of both worlds as you can use it as a tablet as needed but also switch over to using it as a regular laptop too. It runs Windows 11 so it’s the Windows version you know and love. It’s powerful too with an Intel Core i7 processor only really potentially outperformed here by one of the Apple M chips. Other than that, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 truly flies as helped by its 16GB of memory and 256GB of SSD storage.

Like we said, this is a laptop with a twist, but that’s why we adore the Microsoft Surface Pro 9. Its screen is a hugely important part and it doesn’t falter. It has a 13-inch PixelSense Flow display with 2880 x 1920 resolution. The display is virtually edge-to-edge so no space is wasted here while everything looks great. That’s aided by Dolby Vision support which may be only really used when watching movies but hey, we all have moments where we’re working a little slower, right? Where the screen will help more as you work is its Dynamic Refresh Rate which adjusts to up to 120Hz as needed so scrolling is always sleek.

The only place the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 truly falters is its cameras. It has a 5MP front camera and 10MP rear camera which is fine but lacking compared to the competition. If you need the best detail on your calls, maybe look elsewhere or plan to add a separate one via the Thunderbolt 4 ports available. Whatever your plans on this front, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 will still delight.

Specifications

CPU
Intel Evo Core i7

Display
13-inch PixelSense Flow

Camera
5MP/10MP

How we chose these tablets for business

When we collated our list of the best tablets for business, we considered some key things before just throwing out some names. Picking a tablet for business is a little different than the average tablet purchase as it’s not like you need to worry about how well it plays games or how good the screen is when watching movies. Sure, you might do those activities once in a while, but the main aim here is business purposes. To help you come to your decision, we’ve listed everything we considered when making our decision.

Processing power

If you’re working hard on your tablet, you don’t want such activities to be slow and cumbersome. That’s why it’s important to have a powerful tablet. A $99 tablet simply won’t cut it when time is money, and you need to work efficiently. That’s why we’ve focused on tablets that offer plenty of power and high performance. Even our budget offering is still pretty speedy so you’ll be happy with the results. It’s worth considering the kind of storage involved too as well as how much RAM is offered, as all this hardware adds up to ensure speedy performance.

Stick with a good screen

A good screen is great for gaming and movie watching, but it’s almost as important when working too. If you’re poring over spreadsheets, documents, or even simply email, you want to do so clearly. A large screen helps a lot here but you also want one with refined features like variable refresh rates or simply enhanced color options. It could even help with eyestrain and general comfort levels. Ultimately, no one wants to struggle to see what they’re doing so it makes sense to go with a bigger display so you don’t have to keep holding the tablet close to your face all the time.

Don’t forget the cameras

These days, video calls are a vital way to keep in contact with clients, employees, and anyone else you might wish to talk to. Any camera will do but it’s sensible to go for one with as much MP as possible. Some tablets have fairly weak front-facing cameras so if you take regular calls, this could frustrate you. Features like autofocus and Center Stage help a lot too. The front-facing camera isn’t all that matters either. The rear-facing one can be useful if you need to take a lot of photos for work. That could be to update clients on projects unfolding or it could be to take records of the receipts you’re collecting and need to expense later.

Keep on working with good battery life

If you’re buying a tablet, you’re almost certainly planning on moving around a lot with it. If you don’t want to be tethered to a power source, make sure your chosen tablet has good battery life. Most of the ones listed here do but it’s good to be aware of your needs. Not everyone needs over 12 hours but it can be useful if you’re having a busy day or you’re liable to forget to charge as often as you should.

This article is managed and created separately from the Digital Trends Editorial team.

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