In association with PC World Business
Tablets are now a well-established form factor in businesses, big or small, especially after the arrival of Windows 8.1 and the new generation of processors from Intel and AMD which helped slim down the devices and improve battery life significantly.
The fact that most of them can be used with a keyboard and a few of them with a stylus makes them far more flexible than their counterparts.
Their versatility combined with the fact that prices have been going down as demand pent up means that they are now more popular than ever.
We've rounded up some of the latest and most popular models on the market from the biggest PC vendors around, for most scenarios and in a number of form factors.
1. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
The latest in Redmond's line of successful hybrids
Weight: 786g | Dimensions: 292 x 201 x 8.4mm | Screen size: 12.3-inch | Resolution: 2736 x 1824 pixels | CPU: Intel Core i5-6300U (2.4GHz) | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB
This is THE tablet convertible that has been making the most noise over the past few months. Microsoft hailed the Surface 4 Pro as a genuine alternative to laptops thanks to some unique features. However, this isn't a cheap device, particularly when you factor in the extra cost of purchasing a "Type Cover" keyboard. Price is only part of the story though; the 12-inch 4:3 better-than-full-HD display is sharper than most laptops while the magnetic Surface Pen lets you annotate documents seamlessly. With up to nine-hours battery life, the Surface 4 Pro should prove to be a worthy replacement (and possibly an upgrade) to most desktops and even laptops.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4
2. Dell Venue 11 Pro
A nicely specified and reasonably priced slate
Weight: 733g | Dimensions: 280 x 176 x 10.8mm | Screen size: 10.8-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels | CPU: Intel Core M 5Y10 (800MHz) | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 128GB
Dell is not the first name that comes up when you think about tablets and the US-based manufacturer proves once more its acumen by offering a nicely configured, decently-priced tablet. The Venue 11 Prosports an Intel Core M 5Y10 processor and is paired with 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD (rather than the slower eMMC-type storage) and Windows 8.1 Pro. It is about the size of the Surface 4 Pro but with a different form factor and a lower resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) and a lower price point as well. And while some might say that it is thick, that allows the Venue 11 Pro to offer a bigger battery and a full-size USB 3.0 port. Note that the keyboard dock (which has a built-in battery as well) costs an additional £111.
Read the full review: Dell Venue 11 Pro
3. Lenovo ThinkPad 8
A tablet designed with the enterprise in mind
Weight: 404g | Dimensions: 224 x 132 x 8.8mm | Screen size: 8.3-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1200 pixels | CPU: Intel Atom Z3770 (1.46GHz) | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 64GB
The first of two Lenovo products in this list; this is the ThinkPad 8, an 8.3-inch tablet that inherited the prestigious ThinkPad name from the company's award winning business laptop line. As expected, this has been designed and produced with the enterprise in mind. As such, it does have a number of enterprise-ready security features like TPM 2.0, mobile device management, workplace join and an auto-triggered VPN function. But that's not all, the ThinkPad 8 even comes with 4G connectivity, a dual digital array microphone with noise cancellation and VoIP optimization for these all-important video conferencing sessions. This isn't a particularly cheap device, but its features make it an absolute bargain if you're after a dedicated Windows tablet.
Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad 8
4. Lenovo Yoga 3
A potent hybrid from Lenovo
Weight: 1.2kg | Dimensions: 290 x 197 x 15.8mm | Screen size: 11.6-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels | CPU: Intel Core M 5Y10c (800MHz) | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB
Until the arrival of the Asus ZenBook UX305, the Lenovo Yoga 3 was the best value-for-money Ultrabook in the market. It still remains a very potent 2-in-1 device as its 11.6-inch display makes it a bit more portable than almost all the other convertible products on the market. That display is a full HD touchscreen one as well; other features include a power-sipping Core M processor, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and a massive three USB ports. The Yoga 3 is ideal for those who want a proper keyboard with the ability to rapidly switch to a tablet mode when needed.
5. HP Pro X2 612 G1
A powerful machine with plentiful security features
Weight: 920g | Dimensions: 307 x 210 x 12.8mm | Screen size: 12.5-inch | Resolution:1920 x 1080 pixels | CPU: Intel Core i5-4202Y (1.6GHz) | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB
Should you need a more powerful device then the HP Pro X2 612 G1 is definitely worth a look. It is a detachable tablet (i.e. it comes with a keyboard dock), although not a cheap one by any means, and it costs far more than both of the Lenovo devices above. However, you get what you paid for; for starters, it comes with a more powerful Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD. Then there's Windows Professional as well as a slew of security features introduced by HP (HP Sure Start, HP BIOSphere, HP Client Security etc). Lastly, the connectivity options (4G, two USB 3.0 ports, Displayport, RJ45 and DSub) are on par with any full-size laptop on the market.
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