What to Look for in a Pro Tablet

Touch, swipe, read, play, browse—like a pro.

Man holding tablet.
A tablet is a great way to the portability of a laptop with the ease-of-use of a mobile device.Pixabay

Today’s high-end tablets can handle hardcore gaming, intense office productivity and deftly juggle tons of different apps at once.

Apple iPad Air (10.5-Inch, Wi-Fi, 256GB) - Space Gray
The tablet that created the modern product category, this model is compatible with a world of accessories.Apple

Tablets today come in a few flavors. There are some based on mobile operating systems, like Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. Some companies, including Microsoft, have begun making Windows laptop computers that fully detach from the keyboard, turning them into part-time tablets.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – 12.3" Touch-Screen - 10th Gen Intel Core i5 - 8GB Memory - 128GB SSD (Latest Model) – Platinum with Black Type Cover
A built-in kickstand sets this line apart: the stand flips out from the back, and can be adjusted to any angle.Microsoft

One major difference between types of tablets is in their processor. Mobile-based tablets like the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab use mobile processors, just like a phone. This enables them to be very thin, have great battery life and stay cool. While mobile processors made amazing progress in the last decade, they can’t compete with the full laptop processors in some Windows tablets in terms of power. Their sacrifice, though, is battery life and cooling.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 10.5",  256GB Wifi Tablet Rose Blush - SM-T860NZNLXAR
This model has the option to attach a magnetic keyboard to feel more like a laptop computer.SAMSUNG

One big question that’s nagged tech folks forever: can a tablet replace a laptop? The answer, with high-end tablets, is a qualified “yes.” That said, tablets are generally smaller than laptops, which means that keyboard accessories are also smaller, and thus less comfortable to use for lots of typing. It’s still a little clumsy on many tablets to mess around with file management, and using your finger to navigate a smaller screen can be awkward for detailed work like spreadsheets. That said, in a pinch, these machines are absolutely powerful enough to handle most productivity needs.