Do portable computers and ultrabooks seem too bulky to you? Would you rather use a lightweight tablet with good battery autonomy for working or for taking down notes in class? The following selection of tablets from manufacturers as diverse as Huawei or Samsung – with or without a stylus – should allow you to do just that.
Some students are already starting to make their way back to school and many of them are no longer taking down notes on paper, but are bringing with them a table instead; this trend has even spread to some high-school students. Professionals who are in need of a portable computer terminal are also adopting this behavior since a tablet will often provide them with enhanced productivity relative to a smartphone.
For these purposes, ultra-portable PCs as well as other types of highly portable computers such as Chromebooks are good options due to their full keyboard and streamlined user interface. At the moment, however, we are considering the needs of people who require the most compact device possible or who have to contend with an intermittent WiFi signal. The following is our selection of tablets geared towards productivity as well as accessories (in order to be productive, nothing beats using a keyboard worthy of the name).
Huawei MediaPad M3
The Huawei MediaPad M3 – which we were able to test – is equipped with an 8.4-inch display, a HiSilicon Kirin 950 SoC (2.3 GHz), 4 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage space as well as a front and rear-facing 8-megapixel digital camera and a 5100 mAh battery.
This is a high-performance device which is capable of doing much more than simply taking down notes; its display is quite substantial and it has enough battery autonomy to last for the whole day without difficulty. It currently retails for around 310 euros.
Why not choose a Chromebook?
Obviously, Chromebooks constitute a highly viable alternative; Chromebooks are very versatile computers and some models are capable of running Play Store Android apps. If you are interested in purchasing a Chromebook, choose a model that is compatible with the Play Store and which is equipped with a touchscreen if possible.
Apple iPad 2017
While some of you will probably be complaining that “PC4U is recommending the iPad”, we fully stand behind our decision to recommend the latest model of iPad, the iPad 2017. It is equipped with a good-quality 9.7-inch display, a powerful Apple A9 processor (1.84 GHz), 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage space. It also has a 1.2-megabyte front-facing camera as well as an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and 9 to 10 hours of autonomy.
Lenovo Yoga Book
The Lenovo Yoga is a very comprehensive and balanced product. It distinguishes itself from the competition by its “multifunctionality” – it can be controlled via its tactile keyboard and via a stylus. This is one of the more atypical Android devices among those that we are recommending.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
A much more conventional Android tablet, the Galaxy Tab S3 is equipped with a 9.7-inch display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC (2.15 GHz), 4 GB of RAM, a front-facing 5-megapixel camera and a rear-facing 13-megapixel camera. In addition, it uses a 6000 mAh battery.
This tablet is a standard within its category; its display is very good, its performance characteristics are more than satisfactory and its battery autonomy is irreproachable. Its S-Pen is also a non-negligible asset for taking down notes. However, this quality comes at a rather high cost – around 550 euros.
Apple iPad Pro 2017
The iPad Pro has a 10.5-inch display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, an Apple A9X processor, 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage space, a front-facing 7-megapixel camera as well as a rear-facing 12-megapixel camera.
Conceived for multitasking, this tablet performs very well and we particularly appreciate its 120 Hz display and its Apple Pencil. This tablet retails for around 620 euros.
Microsoft Surface Pro 2017
This little gem is not cheap; the Surface Pro 2017 is equipped with a 12.3-inch display and is available in several different variations with different processor, RAM and SSD configurations. This tablet – which runs Windows 10 Pro – has been optimized for the taking down and sharing of notes, thanks to its Surface Pen stylus (sold separately); it has also been optimized for web surfing and is equipped with dedicated functionalities such as the ability to directly annotate web pages (like the Galaxy Note 8).
What Bluetooth keyboard should you choose?
A Bluetooth keyboard is the best ally of users who value productivity over finesse. There are dozens of models available on the market, namely models which also serve as protective shells for tablets and which are adapted to a specific model of tablet. There are also standard Bluetooth keyboards such as the Logitech Key to Go – which we tested, and which has the advantage of being compact and splash resistant (you can never be too careful). If you are looking for a small-size model, you may want to consider Microsoft’s Bluetooth keyboard: the Universal Foldable Keyboard. This keyboard, which retails for around 70 euros, folds in half to make it easier to transport.