Do you need a computer anymore? Many people today can take care of 99% of their computing tasks on a phone or tablet while getting a serious bonus in terms of size and usability. It’s easy to see why tablets are now being billed as “computer replacements” by many companies. Being so light and portable makes them perfect everyday-carry (EDC) companions, so here are seven that we think are great.
Apple iPad Mini (Early 2019)
I think the smallest tablet, from perhaps the biggest tablet maker, deserves the top spot on this list. The early 2019 release of the iPad mini made many people happy, because its ultra-popular predecessor was starting to lag behind other models in Apple’s iPad stable. Now, its specs and feature set are on par, though it kept that sweet size. Added processing from the A12 Bionic with Neural Engine and an upgraded 7.9" Retina display with True Tone and Apple Pencil support make it the most capable iPad mini yet. iPads have long been successful in the tablet world, thanks to iOS and the tons of apps available from the App Store, though another big part of it is the multiple versions and colors you can choose. The latest iPad mini can be found in Space Gray, Silver, and Gold, in 64GB or 256GB models with either Wi-Fi only or both Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity.
Microsoft Surface Go
The other major competitor in the tablet/convertible space is Microsoft, with its Surface series. New to the lineup is the Surface Go. A compact 10" size makes it very sensible as an EDC tablet, as does the fact that it runs the optimized Windows 10 S operating system and can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro if needed. It has a solid processing configuration and there are upgraded models available for those in need of more power. Also, it has rear and front cameras and a kickstand for easy viewing of movies or setting up for different uses. Cortana is available, as well. Being able to run a full-fledged version of Windows means you may need some serious tools to go with it. Luckily, Microsoft offers the Surface Go Type Cover for users in need of a keyboard and more of a laptop feel. There is also a Surface Pen, for those looking for a stylus to work with the 10-point touch display.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
A new addition to the always-growing Galaxy family, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e fills a middle ground that makes it a great EDC choice for users interested in watching movies, checking the occasional email, and playing with some apps. At its core is a 2.0 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor, which will keep things running smoothly on the gorgeous 10.5" super AMOLED display. It comes standard with Android 9 Pie so everything is up to date, and has a USB Type-C port and microSD card slot for future expansion. You won’t be disappointed with the S5e—its massive battery will run for up to 14.5 hours on a single charge, so you have an entire day of use.
Google Pixel Slate
Google now has a tablet! The Pixel Slate is its first and is a very competitive offering in the market. Its unique feature is the use of Google’s lightweight Chrome OS instead of the mobile-focused options of many of its competitors, which give great access to all of Google’s productivity-focused apps. It sports a large 12.3" 3000 x 2000 Molecular display and the base model uses an Intel® Core™ m3 processor, 8GB RAM, and 64GB of storage. And it has the Google Assistant built in.
Apple iPad Pro (Late 2018)
Another Apple did make this list because this one is for the power users. The latest iPad Pro, released in late 2018, featured a major redesign that eliminated the home button, added Face ID, and expanded the screen without increasing size. For everyday carry, I think the 11" makes the most sense, since it is a tad more portable and can better fit into smaller bags. Apple has long been a leader in the tablet space, and the the iPad Pro is its most powerful one yet. It also benefits from the use of USB Type-C that makes it compatible with many other standard accessories, including the ability to output 5K to a compatible display. Using iOS and the App Store will give you practically any function you could want, and makes Apple’s iPad Pro a tough one to beat.
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
It’s only fair to add another pro-focused tablet to the list: the Microsoft Surface Pro 6. As the “Pro” name suggests, this tablet is oriented toward power users, although if you are trying to decide between the Pro and the Go, we would recommend checking out this comparison article. The Pro has a lot more going on and is slightly larger, for those looking for a generous screen. This model packs a 12.3" PixelSense 10-point touch display with 2736 x 1824 resolution and has Integrated Intel® UHD Graphics, even on the base model. It is a solid tablet, can run serious apps, and can be outfitted with a great deal of power if needed. Add a Type Cover, and it basically transforms into a laptop.
Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13
Bigger can be better, even for everyday carry, especially if you are a designer or photographer. The Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13 is the largest tablet on this list with a 13.3" 2560 x 1440 display, and it is among the most powerful, sports Wacom’s outstanding stylus technology, and has Windows 10 Pro for running apps such as Photoshop. This is truly a tablet meant for designers and, as a fan of Wacom already, I can see the appeal. You are essentially eliminating the need for a separate computer when you use the tablet. No cables or anything are required, and it has the same hotkey layout so that moving over to it should be a breeze for existing Wacom users.
Do you have your own favorite EDC tablet? Still running a classic model that just won’t quit? Share your stories and favorite equipment in the Comments section, below!