Best tablets for business 2016: iPad vs Android vs Surface Pro vs Pixel C - What's the best tablet for your business 2016?
Tablets are becoming increasingly useful when working away from your desk. However, with many platforms and even more manufacturers from which to choose, it is difficult to know which one is the best for you. Our best tablet for business article is here to help. (See also: The most powerful laptops for business 2016)
1. Best tablet for business: Price
If you buy an iPad you will be looking at a high-end price tag. The latest iPad Air 2 will cost between £399 to £659 depending on your chosen specification. If you are looking for something more powerful the iPad Pro is an option for £679 to £899. That is a lot of money.
It is not the most money, however. A more powerful tablet is the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. If you want a powerful Windows device, the Surface Pro is your best option. The Surface Pro 4 starts at £749 and tops at £1,799. More expensive but still an option.
Although if the budget doesn't stretch that far then the Nokia Lumia 2520 is also a good option, priced at £339 it is competitively priced against the iPad Air 2, but it runs Windows RT rather than full-blown Windows 10.
For price alone Google's Android tablets are the stand outs. The Samsung Galaxy Tab s2, priced £399, definitely beats Apple and Microsoft in price. And if you can get it, the Tesco Hudl 2 is a quality device that is priced at £99. Of course price isn't everything.
Google's Pixel C Android convertible tablet and laptop is extremely capable, fast and compared to others is a good choice for the price conscious. The Pixel C cost upwards of £399. You can buy the Pixel C from the Google Store.
2. Best tablet for business: Office software
A big factor in deciding which tablet is best for your business is how much it helps you to work while away from your computer. Apple's iPad is compatible with Microsoft Office, but also comes with its own office software called iWork. This contains Pages (Word), Numbers (Excel) and Keynote (Powerpoint). You do have to pay to install iWork on your iPad as you do Office. This it seems it would be worth using iWork on your iPad only if you use it also on your desktop Mac.
As Microsoft office is the most common choice for Office software, a Microsoft tablet would seem like a good idea. All Microsoft tablets come with Microsoft Office preinstalled. And even if you don't use Office at work, Google Docs is available to download for free from the Windows Store. iWork isnt available for Windows.
Google Docs is becoming increasingly popular because of the convenience of cloud and the way it promotes collaborative working. So if you go Android maybe you should just use Google Docs. Again, iWork is not available for this platform, but a version of Office is.
3. Best tablet for business: Battery life
We haven't been able to test every tablet, so we will have to trust the manufacturers' own figures. Battery life is, of course, crucial if you are going to work away from the main. On paper, the iPads have a pretty strong battery with claimed figures of 9 hours of web surfing using mobile data for the iPad Pro and 10 hours for the iPad Air.
Microsoft has similar figures for its devices with 9 hours of video playback on the Surface Pro 4 and up to 10 hours on the Nokia Lumia 2520.
The Tesco Hudl has the weakest battery of all of these tablets, but keep in mind it does cost £99. However, fighting the Google corner is the Samsung Galaxy Tab s2 with up to 8 hours of web surfing using Wi-Fi and up to 12 hours of video playback, so it should definitely last as long as you are away from the desk.
4. Best tablet for business: Data security and virus protection
Another major factor in deciding which device is best for business use is security. In this respect Apple fares quite well with the iPad's two-factor authentication feature. This allows an acceptable layer of security when accessing your files.
This works by you first entering in your Apple ID and then a six digit code sent to either your phone by text or another trusted mobile number.
Apple tablets also now feature Touch ID which is a fingerprint identity sensor which allows only the person with that registered fingerprint to access your tablet. And of course viruses are virtually unheard of in Apple iPads, because you can install only pre-approved software from the Apple App Store. However, this does not mean its immune from them completely and as the amount of Apple OS users increases, so does the chance of getting a virus.
5. Best tablet for business: Data security and virus protection, part II
While Apple is looking good in the security area, Microsoft is also quite good at protection - but it has to learn to be. Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender antivirus pre installed so you have that peace of mind knowing your Microsoft Surface is at least protected from the worst malware. You can find additional some antivirus software applications downloadable from the windows store for free if you need the extra protection, and of course you can pay for additional third-party support. Microsoft also offers some handy extras, for example with your type cover on your Surface Pro 4 you can get a fingerprint scanner.
The Nokia Lumia 2520 offers you a Nokia treasure tag which you can attach to your jacket or keep in your pocket and it alerts you when you are about to leave your tablet or when it has been taken without you knowing. Unfortunately the Nokia Lumia 2520's Windows RT 8.1 does not include Windows Defender, but then Windows RT is similar to the iPad's iOS in being largely untargeted by thieves.
While Google Android has many antivirus softwares downloadable on the Google Play Store it is debatable as to how required or even how efficacious they are. Samsung backs up this available protection by building in "Multifunctional integrated fingerprint technology" which is a pretty quick fingerprint sensor. The Hudl falls short in terms of security as it comes with no unique security features and protection from viruses would rely only on you downloading one from Google play store. Again, you may not need antivirus. The main question is preventing your device, and your data being stolen.
In this respect none of the tablets we looked at is entirely safe, but none is particularly vulnerable either.
6. Best tablet for business: Accessories
As the iPad Pro is the newest of all the tablets here (alongside the Surface Pro 4), it doesn't offer all that many accessories. You can pick up the Apple Pencil which is a stylus that costs $99, and the Smart Keyboard which is $169. The iPad air offers slightly cheaper accessories with the Smart case at £65 and the Smart cover at £29. While neither seem like work essentials, they would come in handy and add physical protection to that already impressive internal security.
The Surface Pro 4 has an impressive array of helpful optional extra equipment including the free Surface Pen stylus, the excellent Microsoft Pro 4 type cover and the Microsoft Surface dock. The Nokia Lumia 2520 does not come with such an extensive accessories listbut you can get the Power Keyboard for £79.99.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 only has one Samsung accessory and that is the book cover, but the Hudl is available with a plethora of colorful cases all ranging from between £5 to around £20.
7. Best tablet for business: Conclusion
I think the Surface Pro 4 is the best tablet for business use as in terms of software, access to entire Windows world is almost unbeatable. It is a power PC in a tablet shell, so it is definitely excused for its high price tag. For a little less money the other two high end devices are very close contestants, with the Samsung offering great battery life at an unbeatable price and the iPad Pro with its excellent cross platform document compatability.
However, if you're looking for a cheaper device then my choice would be the iPad Air as it has great cross platform file compatibility and great data- and virus protection. Although the other two do fall short in some of those areas, the Hudl is unbeatable in terms of price. If you can afford it, a Windows tablet is the best for business. But iPad offers a good compromise between cost and productivity. And Android is a viable option for those who wish to pay less. (See also: 10 best business antivirus 2015 UK: Best antivirus for business.)
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