Apple is trying to elbow itself into the 2-in-1 PC space with the iPad Pro 12.9-inch. They have been trying to replace the PC since they released the iPad and now with the iPad Pro 12.9, they have their eyes on the hybrid PCs.
The iPad was once taunted as the PC killer, now with the iPad Pro, Apple is using the same line again. This time however, they are targeting the corporate segment. They are after business and corporate users who want a bigger tablet and be able to carry out a spot of typing or drawing among other things.
The original iPad and subsequent generations were revolutionary and is a disrupter to the PC market, causing Microsoft to lose market share. Fast forward to today, the iPad Pro 12.9-inch is seen more like a reactive step to the successful Surface Pro 4, a slate with stylus and keyboard cover that has turned many back to Windows.
With other PC manufacturer following up with their take on the hybrid PC, we now have more options to choose from when it comes to a tablet and keyboard hybrid machine.
An iPad Pro 12.9-inch alternative would not be complete without a stylus or keyboard or at least as an option if not included. We have marked out line-up below where a stylus and/or keyboard are included or available as an optional purchases, much like the Apple Pencil and Apple Smart Keyboard.
For reference, here is what other manufacturers are up against:
iPad Pro 12.9-inch Specifications
- 12.9-inch (diagonal) Retina display 2732 x 2048 resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi) LED-backlit Multi-Touch
- A9X chip Dual-core 2.26 GHz (Twister) with 64-bit architecture and embedded M9 coprocessor
- 4GB RAM memory with 32GB/128GB/256GB storage
- PowerVR Series 7 (12-core graphics) GPU
- Wi‑Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac); dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz); HT80 with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 technology, LTE option, lightning port
- 8MP iSight Camera (rear) and 1.2MP FaceTime HD camera (front)
- 10 hours of web on WiFi, 9 hours of web on mobile data network (WiFi + cellular model)
- Four speaker audio, dual microphones for calls, video recording and audio recording
- 305.7 x 220.6 x 6.9mm, 713 grams (WiFi) or 723 grams (WiFi + Cellular)
Top 5 Best iPad Pro 12.9-inch Alternatives
So here of five of the best and amazing 2-in-1 alternatives to the iPad Pro 12.9-inch and yes, Surface Pro 4 is among them.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – STYLUS
With Microsoft’s reference tablet unit, now in its 4th iteration, the Surface Pro 4 comes with Surface Pen but type cover or keyboard is sold separately. The tablet has been very successful since launch and it is the very tablet that won back the heads and hearts of Windows users.
The 12.3-inch tablet is available in a variety of configurations from Intel Core m3 to Intel Core i7. Memory configurations can go up to 16GB while storage up to 256GB with front and rear facing cameras and useful ports. Even with all that, it is still a nice little package at 8.45mm thin and weighing up to 786 grams depending on the configuration.
- Display: : 12.3-inch PixelSense display, Resolution: 2736 x 1824 (267 PPI), Aspect Ratio: 3:2, Touch: 10 point multi-touch
- Processor: 6th Gen Intel Core m3, i5, or i7 – MORE PROCESSOR OPTIONS
- Memory & Storage: 4GB, 8GB or 16GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB SSD Storage – MORE MEMORY OPTIONS
- Dimensions & Weight: 11.50 x 7.93 x .33 in (292.10 x 201.42 x 8.45 mm), i5/i7: 1.73lbs (786grams), m3 1.69lbs (766grams) – LIGHTER*
- Graphics: m3 Intel HD graphics 515 or i5 Intel HD graphics 520 or i7 Intel Iris graphics
- Battery & Power: 9-12 hours of video playback depending on configuration
- Cameras: 5.0MP front facing HD camera, 8.0MP rear facing autofocus camera with 1080p HD video recording
While Surface Pen, Microsoft’s stylus is included, the keyboard is optional. We are winning the war half way here as since iPad Pro 12.9 does not include the Apple Pencil or Smart Cover keyboard, both are optional.
ASUS Transformer 3 Pro T303UA 2-in-1 Hybrid – STYLUS OPTIONAL
At first glance, the Transformer 3 Pro looks very much like the Surface Pro 4, those square edges, the kick stand and magnetic keyboard. But it does not only look the part, the 2-in-1 hybrid from ASUS means business.
Just like the Surface Pro 4, it may not have the portability and slender body of the iPad Pro, it comes packed with a lot of fire power, with sixth generation Intel Core i7 processor and PCIex4 Gen 3 SSD storage with SATA3 super fast storage.
You can even connect an optional ROG XG Station 2 for gaming grade graphics or Audio Pod for better audio with quad speakers, 360° surround sound and 5.1 channel virtual surround.
The body is made from premium-grade metal, a far cry from plastic Transformer tablets we are use to. After all, this here is a Pro, and a Pro deserves aluminium-magnesium alloy goodness. Given the bulk, it is still weighs only 800 grams and measures 8.35mm thin. There are two colours to choose from, icicle gold or titanium gray and four ASUS Transformer Cover keyboard colours. The integrated metal kickstand has a 155° step less hinge and can go up to 170° angle.
What really makes the Transformer 3 Pro stand out from the rest is the 3K display, packing 2880 x 1920 pixels with an extra-wide colour gamut of 121% sRGB and 85% NTSC for more vivid and accurate colours. It also aces on connectivity with USB-C with data rate up to 10Gbps and Thunderbolt 3 port with data rate up to 40Gbps. For good measure, Asus has also thrown in a full size HDMI port.
Finally, its not an iPad Pro 12.9 alternative without a stylus, ASUS Pen offers high-precision 1024 levels jotter for all those notes and ideas. And, instead of a finger print scanner, it can take advantage of Windows Hello using the front infrared camera for facial recognition and instant login.
- 12.6-inch (16:9) LED backlit WQHD+ (2880 x 1920) 60Hz Glare Touchscreen with 85% NTSC – BIGGEST, HIGHEST RESOLUTION
- Intel® Core™ i5 6200U Processor or Intel® Core™ i7 6500U Processor – FASTER PROCESSORS
- 4GB / 8GB LPDDR3 2133MHz SDRAM Onboard Memory and 256GB/512GB SATA3 M.2 SSD storage with multi-format card ready
- 2MP front facing IR camera and 13MP rear camera
- Integrated 802.11AC, Bluetooth 4.1, combo audio jack, 1 x USB 3.1 (Type C), 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI and 1 x Thunderbolt 3 port.
- Built-in stereo 2W speakers and array microphone with Harman Kardon technology and ASUS SonicMaster Premium
- 39 Whrs Polymer Battery with quick charge 60% in 60 minutes.
- 298.8 x 210.1 x 8.35 mm (WxDxH), 800g
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S 12-inch 2-in-1 Hybrid Tablet – KEYBOARD INCLUDED
The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S uses the same 6th generation Intel Core m processor as the Surface Pro 4. It is also a tablet first with a stylish body coming in at a mere 1.5 pounds (693 grams) and a slight 0.25 inches (6.3 mm) thin. That’s more up the iPad Pro 12.9’s street. In fact, it is both thinner and lighter than the iPad Pro 12.9 measuring 6.9mm and weighing 713 grams even with a full metal body.
The Full HD+ display uses Super AMOLED technology that takes viewing to an elevated level with strikingly clear videos and pixel-perfect images. Samsung Galaxy TabPro S includes a very impressive detachable full size keyboard with integrated precision touchpad but no sign of a stylus.
- 12-inch sAMOLED FullHD+ 2160 x 1140 pixel resolution (216ppi) touchscreen
- Intel® Core™ m3-6Y30 Processor Dual-core 900 MHz / 2.2 GHz with Turbo Boost 4 MB cache
- 4GB RAM + 128GB SSD or 4GB RAM + 256GB SSD
- 5MP Front Facing Camera and 5MP Auto Focus main Rear Facing Camera
- 5,200mAh (39.5Wh, 7.6V) up to 10.5hrs / Fast Charging
- 290.3 x 198.8 x 6.3mm, 693g – THINNEST
Huawei Matebook Signature Edition 2-in-1 PC – KEYBOARD INCLUDED
The Matebook comes with its own portfolio backlit keyboard, one less thing to fork out for but does not support a pen input device. You do get a choice of processors, an Intel Core m3 or the faster Intel Core m5.
The 12-inch touch screen is super sharp pumping out bright colours at 2K resolution (2160 x 1440) offering plenty of details. There is also a built-in fingerprint scanner for quick login, another tick in the iPad Pro 12.9 vs Huawei Matebook.
It also has the same thinness of the iPad Pro at 6.9mm and given its slightly smaller display, also weights lighter at 639grams. Unfortunately, it does not come with a stylus nor does it have a stylus as an option.
- 12-inch Full HD IPS touchscreen (2160 x 1440), 10-finger multi-touch support
- Core m3 or m5: Intel Core m3-6Y30 900MHz (2.2GHz with Turbo Boost) or Intel Core m5-6Y54 1.10 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 2.70 GHz
- 4GB or 8GB RAM memory with 128GB, 256GB or 512GB SSD storage
- Battery & Power: 33.7WHr, 4430mAh (up to 9 hours)
- 5MP web cam
- Dimensions & Weight: 10.97 x 7.64 x 0.27 in (278.80 x 194.10 x 6.90 mm), 1.41 lbs (639.56 grams) – LIGHTEST
HP Spectre X2 12-a001na Detachable Laptop – KEYBOARD & STYLUS INCLUDED
The premium 2-in-1 tablet with stylus and keyboard included is another strong contender. While the screen is only Full HD, it is powered by the 6th generation Intel Core M7-6Y75, an efficient yet powerful processor.
It has an innovative U shaped stainless steel kickstand that rotates to 150° for various angles. The super strong body is made from a single piece aluminium and like the Surface Pro 4, it has rear camera with Intel RealSeanse 3D and two USB-C ports.
While iPad Pro 12.9’s stylus and keyboard are optional, HP Spectre X2’s backlit keyboard and stylus are included.
- 12-inch diagonal WUXGA UWVA BrightView WLED-backlit (1920 x 1280)
- Intel® Core™ M3-6Y30 with Intel® HD Graphics 515 (900 MHz, up to 2.2 GHz, 4 MB cache, 2 cores)
- 4GB DDR3L SDRAM (onboard) memory, 256GB M.2 SSD storage, 1 multi-format SD media card reader
- 5MP HP TrueVision Full HD Webcam (front facing) with integrated dual digital microphones and Intel RealSense 3D Camera with dual digital microphone (rear facing)
- 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2×2) and Bluetooth® 4.0 combo (Miracast compatible), 1 headphone/microphone combo, 2 USB 3.0 (Type-C)
- Bang & Olufsen Quad Speakers, Full size island style backlit keyboard with touchpad that supports multi-touch gesture, Stylus
- 3-cell, 42 Wh Li-ion polymer
- Dimensions & Weight:30.3 x 20.9 x 0.8 cm & 0.82kg (tablet). 30.3 x 20.9 x 1.31 cm & 1.19kg (tablet and base)
- 12.5-inch 16:9 WQHD (2560 x 1440)/Full HD (1920 x 1080)/Wide View Angle
- Intel® Core™ M 5Y10/5Y71 Processor
- 4GB / 8GB LPDDR3 1600 MHz SDRAM, on-board memory and 128GB ISSD storage and MicroSD card reader
- HD Web Camera, Integrated 802.11 agn, 1 combo audio jack, 2 micro USB, 1 micro HDMI
- Built-in speakers and array microphone
- 32 Whrs battery
- Dimensions and Weight: 317.8 x 191.6 x 7.6 ~ 16.5 mm (WxDxH) 1.45kg