Sometimes a laptop is too much but a phone doesn’t give you the real estate you need to get the job done. That’s where a tablet can be a valuable addition to your repertoire. They might not have value as an everyday use product for every customer, they can make a great complement to or even replacement for your existing computer.
We’re here today to talk about large tablets: those veering closely into competition with laptops (rather than those that are just larger phones). We’ll give you a run through of reviews for some of the best large tablets on the market today and then provide you with some more general advice that you can use when shopping for a large tablet on your own.
- 10 Best Large Tablets: 11inch+ Tablets
- 1. Microsoft Surface Pro
- 2. Apple iPad Pro (12 9 inch, Wi-Fi, 256GB) – Space Gray (Latest Model)
- 3. Fusion5 11.6″ Windows T60 Tablet PC
- 4. Microsoft 2019 Surface Pro 6
- 5. Samsung Galaxy Book 12″ Tablet
- 6. Google Pixel Slate 12.3″ 2 in 1 Tablet
- 7. Huawei MateBook E Signature Edition 12″ 2-in-1 Laptop Tablet
- 8. ASUS Transformer Book Chi 12.5″ 2 in 1 Detachable Touchscreen Laptop
- 9. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 12″ Tablet
- 10. Dell Latitude RUGGED 11.6″ HD Business Tablet
- Large Tablets Buyer’s Guide
10 Best Large Tablets: 11inch+ Tablets
1. Microsoft Surface Pro
The Prodigal Son of Tablets
Microsoft's Surface Pro has rapidly become the standard for what a convertible laptop should look like. Now in its fifth generation, the Surface Pro is a capable performer for professional and casual users. And while the Intel core processor may be a little old at this point, the specs here are still rather hefty for the price you'll pay.
All of that is well and good, but the best the Surface Pro has to offer is its battery life. You can get up to 13.5 hours on a single charge, making it a best choice even for regular business travelers. With three different standing configurations, this tablet can shift seamlessly between work, play, and rest with nothing more than a quick transition. Add in the tons of available accessories, and you're left with a sophisticated tablet that's modular enough to support a wide variety of creative professionals.
2. Apple iPad Pro (12 9 inch, Wi-Fi, 256GB) – Space Gray (Latest Model)
The Apple iPad Pro 12 9" may be an expensive alternative to comparably specced large tablets, but there's more to consider than just the raw hardware capabilities of a tablet. For one, the iPad Pro has one of the best interfaces around - even by the standards of Apple devices. The touch gesture controls here are intuitive but also varied, so you can create navigation methods that are tailored to the way you work or play.
But the components in here rank among the best too. Apple's A12X processor is one of the best and most powerful you'll find in a tablet today, and it makes use of a Retina display for higher resolution and some seriously high quality color reproduction. Smart design sensibilities have been applied to the Apple Pencil too - as the Apple Pencil includes some smart gesture options that allow you to change brushes or swap to the eraser with simple taps.
3. Fusion5 11.6″ Windows T60 Tablet PC
Fierce Performance for a Meek Price
The best tablets in terms of raw specs are nearly as powerful as laptops, but the downside is that they cost nearly as much as laptops also. The Fusion5 T60 is targeted towards customers who want the best tablet they can get on a budget - more precisely, a budget of around $200. The real exceptional thing about this large tablet is how it offers some of the best balanced specs on the market.
Of course, that means making a few sacrifices in terms of power. While there's only 2 GB of RAM and the processor is a little meager, it's more than enough for streaming movies in FHD and typical internet browsing or email management. For the sake of convenience, Bluetooth 4.0 functionality is built right in, so you shouldn't have any difficulty streaming videos and music or transferring files directly through your phone to your tablet.
4. Microsoft 2019 Surface Pro 6
A Multimedia Streaming Machine
The Microsoft Surface Pro isn't exactly the Apple iPad Pro 12 killer, but it is proof that Microsoft can hang with one of the best names in town. Now in its sixth edition, it's taken some already impressive design fundamentals and polished them smooth. The truth is, this is basically a Windows 10 laptop with the keyboard removed. The quad core eighth gen i5 processor would be comfortable in one of the best gaming PCs of 2020, and the screen resolution is almost capable of keeping up with the Apple iPad Pro.
In terms of sound performance, this is one of the best tablets you'll find today. The speakers are loud, allowing you to watch movies and listen to music the way it was intend to be heard. But attach a keyboard to it, and it's one of your best alternatives to a laptop for class, studying, or work.
5. Samsung Galaxy Book 12″ Tablet
More Laptop Than Tablet
While the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is one of our favorite tablets on the market, it's the Galaxy Book that earned a spot on our best of list. That's largely because the Windows operating system allows you more versatility than you'd find with the more stripped down Android OS that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 does. Powering this tablet is a later generation i5 processor and a meaningful eight gigabyte of memory.
But this tablet has more than just the heart of a PC. It also comes with a dedicated but detachable keyboard and Samsung's high-quality S-pen so you can shift seamlessly between intuitive touchscreen controls and the more precise results you can get with a mouse and keyboard. The battery can last nearly half a day, and if you find it drained to nothing, you should be able to get to a full charge in just three hours.
6. Google Pixel Slate 12.3″ 2 in 1 Tablet
A Shockingly Good Value
The Google Pixel may be the best deal you'll find on a large tablet. While this Android tablet retails for nearly a grand and packs in the hardware of an entry level PC, it's often available for significantly less money than that. If you need a tablet that can double as a lightweight laptop but don't have a whole lot to spend, this could be your best option.
The front facing speakers at work here are both front facing and surprisingly decent for watching TV or listening to music, and the inclusion of Pixel Slate means that everything continues to update in the background so there's no need to wait for reboots whenever there's a security or feature update. The ports here are fairly generous too. In addition to two USB ports, there's a full HDMI port that you can use to hook this tablet into a separate display.
7. Huawei MateBook E Signature Edition 12″ 2-in-1 Laptop Tablet
The Huawei MateBook E sports a design that makes it look a lot like the Apple iPad Pro 12, and while it can't keep pace in terms of power and design, it's one of the best budget priced alternatives. The specs here are solid if not exceptional, and it runs entirely on the Windows operating system. But this is more than just a tablet. It's a two-in-one converter, and that's a pretty incredible deal considering it clocks in at around $500.
While the smaller size of this screen would normally mean a more cramped experience than what you'd find with a traditional laptop, this tablet comes with a full sized keyboard so you don't have to make concessions for the sake of this tablet's compact size. But the screen is the real star of the show here. The high resolution can't quite match the Apple iPad Pro or the Microsoft Surface Pro, but most customers won't even notice the difference.
8. ASUS Transformer Book Chi 12.5″ 2 in 1 Detachable Touchscreen Laptop
The ASUS Transformer Book Chi looks cool and runs cool. With its included, detachable Bluetooth keyboard, brushed aluminum surface, and curved edges, it looks like a laptop built in the future. And fortunately, it also comes with a pretty substantial cooling system that runs quiet but keeps this tablet from overheating. What displays on your screen will look cooler too. It supports FHD resolution and employs an IPS panel with some excellent color reproduction.
Transitioning between tablet and laptop mode is really simple too. That's thanks to a state of the art magnetic hinge. It makes the keyboard quick to snap away but also offers a pretty substantial hold that doesn't make it just feel like a tablet attached to a keyboard. There's plenty of capacity to expand with this tablet too.
9. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 12″ Tablet
There's no better word to describe the Thinkpad X1 than tough. This tablet has been military tested to ensure that the chassis can withstand practically anything you throw at it, and it manages to look great to boot. It conveys the sense of a piece of military technology while keeping both the form factor and the weight at a more than manageable level. The keyboard snaps into place solidly but easily due to a magnetic hinge.
The hardware specs here are about what you should expect at this price, but the accessories really sing. The webcam is crystal clear even when streaming, and there's a genuinely satisfying but highly accurate sense of responsiveness to your fingers on the keyboard. And suiting the fact that this is a tablet built for business are the security features. Between its encryption measures and fingerprint access, it really hits the mark.
10. Dell Latitude RUGGED 11.6″ HD Business Tablet
Tablets are often treated as cool consumer devices that split the difference between laptops and phones, but they can serve more serious business uses as well. If you work on the go and need a device that can keep up, the Dell Latitude Rugged is the obvious choice. The HD touchscreen is protected by Gorilla Glass but sensitive enough that it can respond precisely to the touch of a glove hand. It's also resistant to dust and the cold and includes anti-vibration precautions.
And while this may be a tablet built for work out in the field, it still looks great. The screen supports high definition resolution and makes use of an anti-glare surface that makes everything look visible even in bright and direct sunlight. And since Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities are both baked in, you can keep in contact with your colleagues no matter where you happen to be.
Large Tablets Buyer’s Guide
Even more, than a lot of the gadgets we review on this site, what defines the “best” tablets for anyone is going to be predicated on specific and individual needs. A large tablet fits loosely between the utility of smartphones and PCs, and that means that the usage for any one person is likely to be limited and focused on some rather specific needs.
For that reason, we’re going to put less of a focus on what the “best” specs and features are in concrete terms and instead highlight what the specs mean and under what circumstances they’re important.
And while we’ll cover the important specs highlighted under each entry on our list of the best large tablets, we’ll also dig into other features that either aren’t as high of a priority for most users or which can’t be defined in purely numerical terms.
When shopping for the best large tablets around, pricing is fortunately pretty standard. Competition among large tablet manufacturers means that price usually translates into pretty standardized specs. As a result, we can usually break down the best tablets into budget priced large tablet models and more premium large tablets. You can expect the former tablets to cost you just a few hundred dollars, while the former tend to run with a price tag of anywhere between about 500 and a thousand dollars.
The biggest exception to the standardized pricing is Apple. While similarly priced Android and Windows tablets will usually sport similar prices, Apple charges a bit of a premium for their tablets (and for that matter, with all of their devices). We’ll dig a little deeper into the advantages of each operating system soon, but suffice to say, an Apple tablet like the iPad Pro will cost you a bit more – but it comes with other distinct advantages – so a comparison of specs and pricing isn’t an approach that really does the Apple iPad Pro justice.
Being the lightweight devices they are, you aren’t going to find a tablet that includes a dedicated graphical processor, and that’s fine. That’s because the gaming potential a tablet’s central processor can handle outstrips that necessity. If you’re really interested in some casual gaming, you may want to pay a little more attention to whatever integrated graphical co-processor is built in, but it won’t make a great deal of difference the majority of the time.
Far more important to pay attention to when looking for the best tablet is what central processor it uses. As the beating heart of a tablet, finding a strong CPU is going to be critical to how well your tablet will run, and that impacts everything from streaming videos to juggling multiple tabs on your internet browser. Most tablets you’ll find will make use of an Intel Core m3 or Intel Core i5 processor.
If you just want the best overall performance, the i5 is going to be your best choice. As Intel’s middle of the road processor, it’s capable of handling your gaming needs decently, provide you with great multitasking performance, and the ability to run some serious programs, including some of Adobe’s software. The m3 may be weak in contrast, but it instead focuses its attention on running cool and maintaining high battery life. That may not be that much of an asset when shopping for a dedicated laptop, but it’s great when you need a more lightweight machine as an alternative to your computer.
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Almost any sort of task you need to do can be accomplished regardless of the operating system that your tablet runs on, but that doesn’t mean that some navigational interfaces and general design quirks aren’t going to be preferable to others. Unfortunately, we’re talking about an issue that depends a lot on personal preference, but we can break down the distinct advantages and disadvantages that the major operating systems typify.
iOS is the operating system you’ll find on an iPad Pro, iPad Air, and any other Apple tablet devices. And in general terms, we find it to be the best tablet operating system around. The fact that it’s built off of years of Apple engineering means that an iPad Pro or iPad Air is going to come with one of the most solid and intuitive interfaces around, and the presence of the iPad Pro on the tablet market since practically day one means that they have the largest selection of apps around.
But there are some distinct downsides to iOS. Like most Apple devices, an iPad tends to cost significantly more than much of the competition, and the fact that Apple is so proprietary with their hardware and software means that once you’ve bought an iPad, you’re generally locked into the ecosystem. Apple offers great cross compatibility between your iPad and other Apple devices, but you can’t count on your iPad to work very well with non-Apple devices. Hardware on iPad devices is also incredibly strong. The Apple Pencil ranks among the best styluses.
That proprietary nature of the iPad means you’ll get some of the best security features you can find in a tablet, but it also means that you’re locked out of a lot that you wouldn’t otherwise be on Windows. You may need to jailbreak your iPad to make the most of it, and that brings its own selection of problems. If you already own some Apple products and have a little extra to spend, an iPad makes sense. But everyone else should recognize that there might be more long term cost in an iPad.
Windows is a more heavyweight operating system, and Microsoft hasn’t always had much success outside of the personal computing space, but the advent of the Microsoft Surface Pro has allowed them to really expand the quality of their operating system for tablets. But that’s not to say that the Microsoft Surface Pro is the only option if you want tablets that can run on Windows. Since it’s more open source than the OS that the iPad uses, there’s a decent amount of manufacturers that incorporate Windows into their tablet design.
What a Windows tablet provides is a high amount of customization. This is a desktop operating system through and through: just one that’s been optimized for responsive use with a variety of different devices. That means that you have a broader library of native software to work with than you would with iOS and broader customization options. It also means that you’ll need to be more careful. The curated design of Apple’s tablets means that the options available are usually polished and highly secure.
Android tablets are the tablet du jour right now. Google’s expansive suite of cloud based services is a perfect fit for the tablet space, and the wide open nature of the operating system means that you have access to what’s arguably the largest selection of apps and software available. But it also means that you’ll need to wrestle with greater security issues, and you’ll sometimes have to experiment a little more to make sure your software is going to run right.
An Android tablet is highly customizable, and that applies to both the user and the manufacturer. If you’re looking at different Android tablets from different manufacturers, you can be pretty assured that they’ll make different use of the Android design. That means that you should pay particularly close attention to what it’s like to navigate an Android tablet. That level of diversity can be an asset, but it will require some more delicate footwork. Android tablets are also the most prolific models on the market right now, so you have lots more variety to choose from.
When looking at the display, shopping for a tablet can be significantly easier than shopping for a TV or a monitor? Why? Because there are significantly less factors to consider. Metrics like refresh rate, response time, and input lag are rarely listed (and rarely important) for tablet owners. That means the only two considerations you need to worry about are screen size and screen resolution.
Size isn’t going to be much of a factor when browsing our tablet guide since almost all of our listed tablets sport a screen size of right around 12 inches. Anything bigger than this is approaching the size of more traditional laptops, while anything smaller is covered in our other tablet guides.
That relatively small size means that resolution probably won’t be a huge deal either. While tablets in this size offer resolutions ranging from Full HD 1080p to 2K, the smaller size of the panel means that the difference between resolutions isn’t going to be that noticeable. A higher resolution is always better of course (and a potentially necessary inclusion for some creative professionals), but the average consumer won’t notice that much of a difference between the various tablet resolutions.
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Memory and Storage
Memory and storage accomplish dramatically different roles in a tablet, but we’re lumping them together because they’re essential components of a tablet that nonetheless won’t require that much investment to top out the reasonable capabilities of a tablet. That said, these components aren’t always as easy to replace as they are on a laptop, but you usually don’t have to be a pro to get things properly upgraded.
Memory stores data your computer might need in the future, letting your central processor more readily make corrections and adjustments without having to draw that information from the storage hard drive. But how much memory do you need? That depends on what you plan on doing, and manufacturers are usually pretty good about making sure that the memory is well suited to the rest of the specs. As a general rule of thumb, anywhere from 4 GB (for mid-budget users) to 8 GB of memory (as in high end models like the Microsoft Surface Pro) is most common.
Storage capacity will really depend on what you’re using your tablet for, but smart users can make the most of what they have. A quarter of a terabyte hard drive doesn’t really account for much these days, and that’s the most commonly sized hard drive you’ll find, even in the best tablet models.
In both the cases of memory and storage, upgrades are usually available, and they’re usually pretty effectively priced. But storage is usually the easier of the two. Popping in a micro SD card or sometimes a USB drive is often all you have to do to give yourself a little more space for apps, photos, and videos.
One of the best tablet advantages is that it can serve as an alternative to your computer when you’re on the go. But if you’re a regular traveler, how long your battery can last on a single charge might be worth paying attention to. Most batteries can last at least seven or eight hours, but many extend that life to more than half a day – a valuable asset if you’re a power user with pro needs.
What we love about large tablets the most is how versatile they are. Whether you’re a student, a creative pro, or someone just looking for a convenient way to stream movies in bed, what you’ll want is going to vary. But whether you’re shopping for a Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 or an Apple iPad, the information above should still apply.
And if you aren’t quite ready to pull your trigger on a pro level tablet, there’s no need to worry. Here at Hotrate, we offer a ton of guides to some of the coolest gadgets around, and we’ll keep this review list updated as new and cooler versions of larger tablets trickle into the market.