While the stylus is nothing new, in response to stylus totting devices from Microsoft (Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book), Apple has come up with its own Apple Pencil but made this exclusively for iPad Pro with other manufacturers doing the same, bringing back the pen input
Major players such as Samsung, Apple, Microsoft and Lenovo, all have one thing in common, they offer tablets with stylus input. This spelts one thing, that stylus is here to stay.
Microsoft has the Surface Pen, Apple has the Apple Pencil, Lenovo has the Active Pen and Samsung has the S Pen. Call it what you want, advances in stylus or pen input has come along way since those plastic sticks you use on the PDAs. Pressure sensitive screens and tips allow software developers to make better use of the pen not only for writing but for sketching, drawing, colouring and more.
Having the input option is great for those looking for more control of the input with a pen tip rather than a stubby finger. For designers and studio applications, this presents a much needed replaced to the standard digitizing tablet combination. Even big names in the input device accessories market like Wacom are moving towards a writing tablet with screen such as the Wacom Cintiq Pro and Cintiq or simply known as Pen Displays.
But who needs a separate external writing and drawing tablet when you have one built right on the device.
Best Tablets with Stylus
From Apple iOS to Android to Windows, if you are in the market for a tablet with stylus, you may just be spoilt for choice. choice in OSes, choice in profiles and choice in brands. Here is what we will be looking at:
1. Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch and Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch – TABLET
The iPad Pro 9.7-inch is the follow up to the big and successful iPad Pro 12.9-inch which is taunted as a laptop replacement for light computing if you buy the optional Apple Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil to complete the input options. The smaller Apple iPad Pro 9.7 follows this route with support for Apple Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil but with a smaller 9.7 inch Retina Display with 2048 x 1536 pixel Resolution and Wide Color and True Tone Display.
With the demise of Apple iPad Air, a marketing move that sees Apple introducing a cheaper replacement tablet known simply as the iPad, you can see where this is going. The iPad Pro portfolio will stay around as the premium, do all tablet, while the cut down iPad is your cheap and cheerful alternative to those who wants an iOS experience but don’t need the stylus input.
Back to the iPad Pro 9.7, the tablet has a similar dimension to what used to be the iPad Air 2, with up to 10 hours of battery life. It has 12MP iSight Camera with True Tone Flash and Panorama (up to 63MP). It also has a four-speaker stereo sound system. The A9X chip clocks in at 2.16 GHz with 64-bit architecture support mated with a M9 Graphics co-processor. Storage starts from 32 GB with 128GB and 256GB options available. Memory wise, it has the same 2GB memory as the iPhone but its bigger 12.9-inch sibling has up to 4GB.
If you are in the market for a tablet that just works, the iPad Pro 9.7-inch is for you. And, if you are looking for something bigger with more memory then you can’t go wrong with the iPad Pro 12.9-inch.
2. Microsoft Surface Book 2 13.5-inch – HYBRID DETACHABLE
Microsoft Surface Book 2 boasts a 13.5-inch PixelSense 10-point multi-touch display with a resolution of 3000 x 2000 pixels is the highest resolution tablet and at 13.5-inch it is also the biggest tablet in our list that supports a stylus, also known as the Surface Pen. It’s great for presentations, update excel sheets and create documents with ease. With 256GB solid state flash memory (option for 512GB and 1TB) and 8GB RAM (option for 16GB) coupled with either an Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 processor, this tablet is super fast, a true powerhouse and desktop replacement especially when you pick the chart topping 7th generation Intel Core i7-8650U quad-core processor with up to 4.2GHz turbo frequency coupled with a discrete graphics engine from NVIDIA, the GeForce GTX 1050 GPU with 2GB GDDR5 graphics memory.
The battery life sees the biggest improvement from up to 12 hours in the first Surface Book to up to 17 hours in the new generation Surface Book 2. That’s 5 whole hours of binging on your favourite TV shows. Ports include two full size USB 3.0, USB Type-C (new), Ultra high speed Full Size SD card reader, headset jack, and two Surface Connect ports for keyboard or performance base. Both keyboard and tablet connects using a one of a kind proprietary hinge.
When detached, the display screen or tablet works in perfect harmony with Microsoft’s OneNote and Surface Pen. Finished in silver and made from magnesium alloy casing with a minimalist design with the only physical buttons being the power and volume, there is plenty to like.
And, if the Surface Pro 2’s 13.5-inch display is not big enough, pick the Surface Pro 2 with 15-inch. Also with a detachable display, it turns itself into a 15-inch tablet, the biggest tablet from the tech giant that also supports the Surface Pen stylus and Surface Dial.
3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7-Inch – TABLET
A direct competition to the Apple iPad Pro, the Galaxy Tab S3 is in the same class as the iPad Pro with Galaxy Tab A and Galaxy Tab E covering the mid to low end or budget sectors. True to all S class devices from Samsung, they did not hold anything back. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is a 9.7-Inch Super AMOLED tablet with everything going for it. Everything about the device oozes quality and luxury, from its slim and light chassis covered in beautiful glossy glass back to its rounded corners and curved edges, it is simply stunning.
The renowned Super AMOLED display from Samsung is now features High Dynamic Range to deliver cinematic vividness, detail and deep contrast to a screen that fits in your hands. This makes every 2048 x 1536 pixels work doubly hard to pump out the best visual experience for entertainment or work.
The tablet has a superbly precise and pressure-responsive Samsung S Pen Stylus which never needs to be charged. The stylus has great angle sensitivity with the intelligence to translate, magnify, navigate and create with a full palette of brush and pen types. Powered by a powerful 2.15GHz Snapdragon 820 quad core processor, a huge 4GB or RAM and ample 32GB storage expandable with microSD card up to 256GB, its everything you ever want in a tablet.
The stereo sound system with four firing speakers are tuned by AKG, calibrated with your movements as you rotate the Galaxy Tab S3, and intuitively reflect what’s playing on-screen for the best entertainment experience. You can hear sound coming from each corner of the device whether you hold it horizontally or vertically. AKG tuning offers clear, crisp and multi-directional sound effect for an immersive exeprience.
You can easily switch from touch to type with a feather light keyboard (sold separately) that auto-pairs when attached and never needs charging. When all work is done, use the Galaxy Game Launcher to launch your favourite games. Samsung offers the Galaxy Game Pack, a selection of games to make the most of your S3.
It has an average battery life of 12 hours, has 2GB of RAM and has You can capture every detail, even in low light, with a 13MP rear camera, thanks to impeccable autofocus and flash, while the 5MP front camera is perfect for video chats. Available in Silver or Black.
Check Prices on Amazon: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
4. Microsoft Surface Pro 12.3-inch – TABLET
The new Microsoft Surface Pro 5 or known simply as Surface Pro with 7th Gen Intel Core m3, i5, and i7 processors is more powerful than before and is quieter, runs cooler, and is even more efficient. With all that processing power and memory and storage options, it has the capacity to replace your laptop. Featuring a 7th Gen Intel Core M, i5 or i7 processor with 4GB, 8GB or 16GB memory option and a 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB solid state drive storage options, it is more powerful than its predecessor yet lighter than ever before from 1.69 pounds (768g). i5 model and i7 model are slightly heavier at 1.70lbs (770g) and 1.73lbs (784g) respectively.
The amazing 12.3″ touchscreen PixelSense display with 2736 x 1824 resolution has extremely high contrast and low glare. The device has one full size USB 3.0 Port. Apart from that there is a Surface Connect port, Mini DisplayPort, Cover port, 3.5mm combo jack and microSDXC card reader. Like the Surface Book, its has the widest choices of processor, memory and storage combinations of all the tablets in our list. Surface Pro powers through everything you need to do, while being lighter than ever before.
Use the included Surface Pen to mark-up presentations, sign documents, take notes and much more. The average battery life is much improved from 9 hours on Surface Pro 4 to up to 13.5 hours (video playback), it will get you through the day without needing to be tethered to the wall. A Rear Webcam Resolution of 8 MP will meet most requirements. The front facing 5.0MP camera is great for Skype HD calls and Windows Hello face authentication.
The Surface Pen and Keyboard are now sold separately.
Check Prices on Amazon: Microsoft Surface Pro
5. Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 510 12.2-inch – HYBRID DETACHABLE
IdeaPad miix 510 houses a powerful 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5-6200U processor with Core i7 option available and supports 802.11bgn and Bluetooth Wireless connectivity with LTE option available for mobile. It has a screen size of 12.2 inches and max screen resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixel, that’s more than Full HD (1920 x 1080). The 12.2 inch FHD+ IPS GL touch display is impressive.
But what is even more unique about the tablet is the backlit detachable keyboard option. Apart from the standard travel keyboard that doubles as a folio case, you can also get a backlit keyboard with, both with precision touchpad. The tablet is being sold as a 2-in-1 laptop. However, the tablet has a similar profile to the Surface Pro 4 with a kickstand.
It does not have just any kickstand but a kickstand based on Lenovo’s special watchband hinge. The kickstand is attached to the body of the tablet with 280 individual pieces of stainless steel offering complete flexibility and strength giving you a working and viewing angle of up to 150°, so you can get from touchscreen typing to viewing a video in style.
Complete with Windows 10 Professional as the OS this is a do anything kinda machine. We favour the 256GB PCIE SSD hard disk and 8GB DDR4 2133 SDRAM option with a smaller model; half the memory and storage also available. Both versions come with the i5-6200U processor.
Other features include the 2MegaPixel front camera, 5MegaPixel rear camera, Dolby enabled stereo speaker and the all important Lenovo Active Pen stylus. There are 2 USB ports, a USB 3.0 Ports Type-C and one USB 3.0 Port to attach accessories. It uses a 2-cell Lithium Ion battery offers 8 hours of battery life between charge. Available in Platinum Silver or Ebody black finish.
Check Prices on Amazon: Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 510
6. Lenovo Yoga Book – CONVERTIBLE LAPTOP
FHD 10.1″ Android Tablet – 2 in 1 Tablet (Intel Atom x5-Z8550 Processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD), Gunmetal, Champagne Gold or Carbon Black (Windows only)
At just under 2 lbs, the Lenovo Yoga Book is the world’s thinnest and lightest 2-in-1 android tablet. On-Demand Halo Keyboard With Haptic Feedback makes every task easier. The keyboard also doubles as a writing tablet, digitiser and drawing and sketching area. You can make notes or sketches using a stylus with real ink. All notes are instantly digitized when you write with the Real Pen stylus.
Type on the Halo keyboard that appears when you need it – and vanishes when you don’t. Get things done on our custom version of Android that lets you be productive like never before. Thin, light, and stylish, 10.1 inches Yoga Book sets your imagination free – anytime, anywhere. Do more with one notebook: type, take notes, browse the web, even draw.
With up to 15-hours of battery life, it’s designed to go all day. It has a maximum screen resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels. Powered by a 2.4 GHz Intel Atom processor, 64GB SSD and 4GB RAM, there is plenty of power and room for anything you throw at it. It also lets you enjoy Cinema-Level Sound and Video with Dolby Atmos speakers.
Access Google Play and download your favorite Android apps onto the tablet. The hinge opens 360º allowing the Yoga Book to be used in 4 modes:
- Lie-flat Create Mode for note taking and drawing;
- Browse Mode as a compact 10.1” tablet;
- Watch Mode for entertainment;
- Type Mode as a productive laptop.
You can even be more creative by using two hands: one on the screen to select tools, pan, and pinch-to-zoom the other hand using the Real Pen to draw on the Create Pad. You can use the included Book Pad clipboard to magnetize your papers and easily keep them in place. Do it while looking at your screen and seeing your notes being digitized before your eyes, or using the Lenovo NoteSaver application to use your Yoga Book as a smart paper pad—folded open for the most natural way to take notes.
Check Prices on Amazon: Lenovo Yoga Book