Five Windows tablets for business

Finding a tablet that can replace a laptop for day-to-day work isn't easy, but we're hoping to help you out with that. These tablets have proven to have the battery life, keyboard friendliness, and horsepower to get things done. Strong build quality and stylus input are also common sights for business-oriented tablets, but ultimately the Windows operating system is what enables the widest range of serious software solutions than any other tablet platform.

Ready? Let's dive in.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

The Surface Pro 3 is the grand-daddy of Windows tablets. It's just as much a laptop replacement as it is a tablet, thanks in no small part to its generous 12-inch 2160 x 1440 display, adjustable stand, and full-sized USB 3.0 port. That said, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is priced in line with laptops rather than most tablets. The Surface Pro 3 also offers an active stylus accessory that's perfect for freehand note-taking during meetings. The keyboard cover accessories are well-loved, and offer functional typing in a slim, stylish format.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1

There are a lot of jobs that aren't in an office, and for those that are in particularly rough-and-tumble environs, there's the Panasonic Toughpad series. The Toughpad FZ-G1 is a 10.1-inch Windows 8 Pro tablet that's built with military-grade impact, dust, and water protection. That means you can drop it from 4 feet without a worry. Inside is a i5 2 GHz processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage with microSD expansion. Physical navigation plus buttons plus touch support with gloves or water on the 1920 x 1200 screen make sure you can you can work under just about any conditions. Tack on the optional add-on battery for 20 hours of life, and with optional readers for SmartCard, 2D barcodes, magstripe, and RFID, you'll be able to handle whatever kind of business comes your way.

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$2,625.00 (opens in new tab)

Lenovo ThinkPad 10

Lenovo Thinkpad 10

The Lenovo ThinkPad is a light Windows tablet with plenty of battery life and 10.1 -inch 1920 x 1200 display. A wealth of accessories include desktop dock, keyboard dock, and an included active stylus. Even the snappy cover offers an imaginative flip-down corner for rear camera access. Tucked away inside is a 2.4 GHz processor with 2 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. The starting price is a little high given the alternatives available with similar processing power, but the ThinkPad 10 offers great quality for those with a flexible budget.

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$439.99 (opens in new tab)

Dell Venue 11 Pro

The Dell Venue 11 Pro is a beefy Windows tablet built to get things done. The 64 GB model model features a Core M 2 GHz dual-core processor, 4 GB of RAM, and and a 10.8-inch 1920 x 1080 display. Optional desktop and keyboard docking stations are available, depending on your working situation, plus an active stylus for those that need to sketch or take notes regularly. Security certifications for FIPS and HIPAA are bound to make your IT guy happy.

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$699.99 (opens in new tab)

HP ElitePad 1000 G2

HP Elitepad 1000

The HP ElitePad 1000 is a Windows tablet built rugged and secure. A dedicated Trusted Platform Module bakes cryptographic keys into the device at the hardware level, making it a fine choice in sensitive workplaces. Dedicated accessories enhance the ElitePad's core features for health care and retail sectors, or add protection from physical or software threats. On top of military-grade protection against shock and dust, you'll enjoy a 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200, an 1.6 GHz Atom processor, and 4 GB of RAM.

$719.00 (opens in new tab)

Your favorite Windows tablets for business?

Those are our picks, but there are many more workplace-ready Windows tablets out there. Shout out in the comments with your favorites!

Simon Sage
  • SP3 all the way!
  • I love all these "top tablet" articles. Always SP3 + the rest. I was open to options when I purchased but..... SP3, no regrets.
  • True. For me, the sp3 has been fantastic! The dell venue 11 pro is great also, strong battery life and a fantastic light weight - a brilliant iPad replacement even, something that runs a proper os (not a mobile one, like ios) and fully featured to boot, but oh so light. Another good choice. Oh, also got customised xps13s - these are fantastic, great build, no whining noises and the keyboard. Plus they're light. Not a tablet per se but very mobile.
  • Very useful articles, plus the views from comments can be helpful. I went with the SP3 and very happy.
  • +SP3
  • SP4... Soon :P
  • I hope! I also hope they will release a cheap one (probably i3) with 128GB of storage, 64GB is like 28GB of actual use, because the rest the OS and applications took it up.
  • I hope by the launch of Surface Pro 4 will make Surface Pro 3 drop prices. kinda costly, but yeah. I know, I shouldn't be ranting because there's alot of alternatives out there.
  • The Toughpad was on Top Gear last week! SP all the way tho.
  • RIP Top Gear
  • I'd imagine it's temporary - the remaining shows are budgeted for and it is too much of a cash cow not to continue with. I've met and had dinner with the big man a number of times and am not surprised this happened. He can be a right numpty. But then he is also a great front man. Hopefully it'll be resolved and soon.
  • Was it the episode 7 season 22? I didn't see it, in what scene exactly?
  • Where May and Clarkson are in the tearoom and have just got Hammond's position from the Toughpad... #bringbackclarkson
  • Ahh, the episode 6, where clarkson and may left hammond stranded in canada for watch testing, ok thanks
  • Waiting for SP4, have S2.
  • Same, but I have S1
  • Not every business application needs fancy hardware. You can buy five HP Stream 7's for the price of a Thinkpad 10, and that could be important for a small business (or one with a lot of employees).
  • +Superfish
  • Geez people give it a rest , yes Superfish was bad but also on a limited number of Lenovo systems in a limited timeframe. Overall Lenovo produces some of the best Windows hardware out there. All of the OEM have one or more scandals, you can stop beating the corpse of this horse.
  • ^ agree.
  • Yes agreee, I have the yoga 2 and it's beautiful :)
  • I'm a police officer and we use Toughbooks. They're great. Pretty much indestructible
  • Omg police officer... :o
  • Run for your life then :p
  • Surface 3 pro ftw
  • That price of the panasonic
  • You are paying for the upscaling of protection.
  • As much as I love my SP3, I have worked in military IT contracts and the sp3 wouldn't have lasted a month in the conditions we put the gear through. So the choice is buy one toughbook for a few grand, or buy something less robust and replace it 12 times while having your mission critical gear go down during operation, or worse, combat. The SP3 would get destroyed in short order where I worked. So there is definitely a need for those super rugged laptops/tablets. Even a friend I know moved to toughpads from ipads for his restaurant for ordering and stuff. all the constant humidity was making the ipads super glitchy and unreliable, they couldn't take a single drop, and he was replacing them constantly. So buying toughpads for $1500 each to replace the iPad minis actually saved him a lot of money overall, and saved a lot of headache. He said its been over a year since the switch and not a single issue, despite constant drops, humidity, and getting splashed with water, grease, food etc.
  • Precisely.
  • I'm glad I see so many people out there with SP3 while I'm still rocking my SP1
  • Surface Pro 3 currently but wishing it had another USB port.
  • Get a hub! Works great! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I do, but that is another accessory I have to carry with me.
  • You have to carry what you want to stick into 2nd port as well, so you can carry also a mini USB hub.
  • Haha tell that to the future macbook owners. Sorry, you can't charge your device while copying files from a USB key.
  • ..., GPS, LTE, ...
  • YES! Lets have a "business" tablet with at least the ability to connect to a LTE network without getting out, and starting up a jetpack or some other hotspot.  We can now add tablets and laptops to our Cellular bills for about $10 a month.  Great, if only some were available.   Asus T300 CHI promises this ability, but I bet it won't ship with it (if it ever ships in the US at all.) Dell has announced the ability for the new tablet 11, but still no ability to purchase.   GPS.  Such a simple thing to include yet almost no windows tablets or laptops include the function. (don't list options that do have it, I'm familiar, lets just get it in teh mainstream stuff.)
  • Have to give a mention to the Toshiba Encore 2 Write, which, at $399, is cheaper than all those listed here.  Sure it's low res at 10 inches at 800 x 1280, but it has an active digitizer, Office included, some handy Toshiba applications for note taking and recording, and great battery life.  Gets the job done as my secondary portable work device.
  • I think the article was aiming at tablets that could be primary devices for employees. Personally I have an ultrabook for the heavy lifting and a nice Vivotab Note 8 for carry around secondary device.
  • This^. I have a yoga 2 pro and then a dvp8 for flights and hanging out on the couch.
  • Vivotab Note 8 looks great. I ended up getting a dell venue 8 pro on sale. I don't regret it but I wish the stylus wasn't an extra and the device had a place to store it like on the vivotab. I hear the digitizer on the vivotab is a lot better too. ​i also have the Bluetooth keyboard for the dv8p. Implementation of cover and keyboards for transport is a bit clumsy but works well for moderate typing. ​ ​ ​
  • Hmm.  I see.  But I think the Thinkpad 10 and the Toshiba Encore 2 have similar processors (Atom).
  • Surface 2 and a Pro 3.
  • My fav is all the above. Such diversity in hardware and design. This is why the MS ecosystem is so much better the App$e or anyone else. You can have touch if you want or I you prefer power go that way.
  • Dell venue 11 pro for me
  • SP3. Just wished it had a bigger screen, think 13" is the sweet spot.
  • Asus Vivo Tab Note 8
  • SP3 is my baby :)
  • Any other OEM have windows tablets that have the same aspect ratio as the SP3? Would love to see more options not in the 16:9 form factor...
  • But TVs and videos are 16:9...
  • Tablets are not made for only watching videos.
  • HP Elite Pack:
    "[...] you'll enjoy a 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200, an i5 1.6ghz Atom processor (?)..."
    Some misspelled I think, there is no i5 Atom CPU
  • I love my SP3 for work, but there is very little it does that my Dell Venue Pro 11 doesn't handle just as well.
  • Do these tablet really need that high resolution? most of them are only 10.1" but the resolution is (I think) Full-HD. My laptop is 17.3" and it has beautiful 1600x900 screen
  • I agree, to a point. I think my original Surface was fine, but the increased pixel density at that size does make a nicer, crisper image.
  • I can't stand that cut-off look on the Thinkpad 10, what were they thinking.
  • HP x2 is pretty good
  • My SP2 is working just fine for work and play
  • Dell Venue Pro 11 user here. Got the i3 version (7130) and it's beautiful. Mobile keyboard and active stylus make it the perfect for me to take with me to teach in Japan!
  • Lumia 2520
  • Surface Pro 3...accept no substitutes!
  • I just picked up an Encore 2 Write from the MS store. It's been great for notes and reviewing all of my One Note material. Perfect size to carry around. I gave up on android tablets when my Note 10.1 2012 never got an update past 4.1.2
  • SP3 anytime ;)
  • Panasonic toughpad FZ-G1 $2,625.00?? I think I'll pass......
  • Fujitsu Q704/QH77, Q775, and HP Pro x2 612 G1 are better options for business than these IMO.
  • Chopping board
  • SP3 i7/256GB owner. It was a really hard choice between this and the XPS13. I don't think I would've been disappointed with that though, but the tablet, pen and first party device swayed me. Third party OEMs have released diamonds in the past, but there's always something they don't do right and then don't end up supporting at a later date.   Plus, no bloatware. That's worth the price of admission right there!   Looking forward to the SP4. I've been babying this SP3 and will sell it when the SP4 hits.
  • Looking into service really guys that HP elitepad is rubbish even there own technicians cant dissemble the device properly. By this I mean without breaking the glass. Parts aren't instock and with those specs Surface Pro 3 all the way.
  • It's a shame Paul Thurott is so dismissive of Windows tablets. There is clearly a lot of love out here!
    Anyone else slightly concerned about the Windows 10 direction regarding full sized start menu/screen as it affects tablet use? 8.1 has been awesome. Paul is a useless spokesperson for this stuff, and Mary Jo isn't interested in touch.
    Dan - maybe you could step up to the plate as the new Paul? He seems to be more interested in Apple these days!
  • Sp3 all the way
  • I wish MICROSOFT could bring SP3 to my country. Ok!everywhere.
  • Only SP3 Pro
  • Just got the Lenovo ideapad yoga 2 which is basically a discount surface xD
  • Surface Pro 2 8GB, all the power in smaller tablet form. :)
  • I have a Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro 11.6" convertible and it rocks. I have it for a year, has 4gb ram, 128gb ssd and a great i5 processor, the battery lasts about 5 hours, and i really really love it.
  • I have a Lenovo Thinkpad 8 Pro. Maune because it is only 8" that's why it is not included in the list. But I used it for most of my out-of-office business transactions, Skype meeting, presentation, demo, email, etc. It doesn't have 3G/4G so it is always tethering from my Lumia 930 or most of the time Wi-Fi.
  • Does anyone know if any manufacturer builds a 15 inch tablet? A 15 inch Surface Pro would be amazing!!!!
  • Asus transformer, a great help at my work.
  • We have a small fleet of about 100 of the Dell Venue Pro 11's with over a 50% failure rate. Seriously, we are constantly having to fix those machines, avoid at all costs.
  • I have a SP3 and venue 11 pro. Both are awesome.
  • I have the Venue 11 Pro and love it.  Those looking to grab a Dell business tablet in the future should look at the Latitude 13 7000 series.