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The 6 best tablets for getting work done in 2014

Jared Newman | Aug. 22, 2014
Can you be productive with a tablet? You betcha, provided you buy the right one

But is it any good as a tablet? It's thicker and heavier than most, though the built-in kickstand helps compensate by letting you prop up the screen. The Windows Store has fewer tablet-optimized apps than its iOS and Android counterparts, but you can use the Web and desktop programs as crutches. You'll need to keep your needs and expectations in check, but the Surface Pro 3 is the best choice if you want your laptop to act like a tablet sometimes.

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro

If you find an iPad too simple, but don't all want the baggage of Windows, Samsung's Galaxy Note Pro splits the difference. This extra-large tablet has a 12.2-inch display that allows for a full-size Bluetooth keyboard (both Logitech and Zagg make them specifically for the Note Pro), and it also includes a stylus for drawing and sketching.

On the software side, Samsung puts that big screen to good use by letting you run up to four apps on-screen at the same time. You can also run certain apps, such as a notepad and calculator, in pop-up windows. Between the multitasking and the file browser built into Android, you've at least got some of the accommodations of a proper PC.

But even here, there are limitations. Android has neither the extensive app selection of iOS nor the desktop programs of Windows, and Samsung's split-screen feature works only with a handful of apps. You'll likely have a better tablet experience on the Note Pro compared to any Windows device, but don't expect the Note Pro to do everything your laptop can.

Lenovo ThinkPad 10

Think of Lenovo's ThinkPad 10 as a "Surface Lite." It has a smaller screen than Microsoft's tablet, and a weaker Intel Atom processor, but it runs the same Pro version of Windows 8.1 and still has a full-size USB port, optional keyboard and optional desktop dock. It's also a bit cheaper, at $829 with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and the tablet alone is about 0.4 pounds lighter.

Lenovo only falters on the little things. The ThinkPad 10 lacks the integrated kickstand you get with the Surface Pro 3, and the optional keyboard and trackpad stand has only one angle that leans too far back for tabletop use. So while it's a fine option for a portable, business-centric Windows tablet, it's not quite the laptop replacement that Microsoft's tablet manages to be.

Asus VivoTab Note 8

On paper, Asus' VivoTab Note 8 is the weakest on this list, with an Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM and an 8-inch, 1280x800-pixel display. It's also somewhat chunky for a small Windows tablet, and it has an awkwardly placed Start button on the side of the device.

 

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