Choosing the best tablet for business depends on what you need it for.
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Finding the best tablet isn’t easy. With so many models offering all types of features at various price points, choosing the best business tablet can be a challenge.
Although all tablets are created for the mobile lifestyle, no two tablets are alike. While some tablets are built for productivity, others are built for operations and daily tasks. Some can be used for work and play, while others mean strictly business. Some may also have longer battery lives and better capabilities, but others may be a better fit for your budget.
To help you find the perfect tablet, here are five of the best business tablets to fit any business user's needs.
iPad Air — For the tablet purist
The iPad Air is a great choice for business users that seek both productivity and business functionality in a tablet.
In addition to the thousands of business apps available on the Apple App Store, the iPad Air also comes equipped with iWork, Apple's suite of productivity apps. iWork includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote, Apple's version of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, respectively. Collaboration is also a breeze with iWork for iCloud, which enables teams to access, edit and share files and documents across any iOS, Mac or PC device.
The iPad Air also runs on iOS 7, a developer-friendly operating system that makes it easy to build and distribute custom apps for all types of businesses and industries, from service providers to manufacturing, construction, health care and more.
Retailers and restaurants will also benefit from the iPad Air's point-of-sale capabilities. Square, PayPal Here and other mobile credit card processors are 100 percent compatible with the iPad. They also typically offer more features and better support for iPad users than other compatible mobile devices.
Weighing only 1 lb., the iPad Air sports a thinner, lighter design than other tablets. It boasts a nearly 12-hour battery life, stunning 9.7-inch Retina display, blazing-fast performance on the faster A7 chip and 4G LTE capabilities for on-the-go Internet connectivity.
The iPad Air starts at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only model and $629 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model.
Surface Pro 2 — For the Windows-powered business user
The Surface Pro 2 is a productivity powerhouse and is the most portable version of Windows yet.
Running on a complete version of Windows 8.1, the Surface Pro 2 enables business users to do anything they would on a Windows laptop or PC on a tablet. It has an edge over other tablets in that it is entirely compatible with Microsoft Office, Photoshop and similarly performance-heavy programs that cannot run on other tablets.
The Surface Pro 2 was also built with versatility in mind — it can be used as a tablet in form, as a laptop with the dual kickstand and keyboard, or as a full-powered PC when connected to the optional plug-and-play docking station.
The Surface Pro 2 is powered by the ultrafast Haswell processor and a battery life of roughly 9 hours. It also has a 10.6-inch display and an active stylus. The Surface Pro 2 also comes with a full-size USB 3.0 port, mini DisplayPort, and microSD card reader. The optional docking station has three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort, a Gigabit Ethernet connection and audio input/output, making it easy to connect external devices such as a flash drive or secondary display; it also charges the tablet and any connected peripherals.
The Surface Pro 2 is known for its hefty price tag, retailing at $899 and up. The optional docking station will set you back another $199. Note that the Surface Pro 2 does not come preinstalled with Microsoft Office.
Dell Venue 11 Pro — For the Surface Pro 2 alternative-seeker
The Dell Venue 11 Pro is another Windows 8.1-powered tablet that will give business users a run for their money.
The Dell Venue 11 Pro may be less powerful and have a lower price point than the Surface Pro 2, but don't be fooled — not only does it have a longer 10-hour battery life, but it also ships with Microsoft Office Home built-in, whereas the Surface Pro 2 requires a separate purchase. As a full-powered Windows device, users can also run any business software that they would on laptop or PC.
Like the Surface Pro 2, the Dell Venue 11 Pro also has a docking station, which lets users transform the tablet to a work-ready PC. It includes extra USB ports, a mini DisplayPort, an HDMI port and audio input/output for easy access to external keyboards, monitors and other peripherals.
The Dell Venue 11 Pro costs $499.99.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) — For the pen-and-paper user
The Galaxy Note 10.1 is a premium Android tablet for multitasking, scribble-loving business users. Featuring the super-functional S Pen, the Galaxy Note 10.1 lets users quickly finish tasks and get on with their business.
One of the Galaxy Note 10.1's best features is the Multi-Window Mode. Not only does it enable users to split the screen and run multiple apps, it also allows them to run duplicate instances of the same app to perform multiple tasks. It also seamlessly integrates two separate apps; for instance, it has the ability to drag images from the photo gallery in one window and into an email client in another.
What makes the Galaxy Note 10.1 stand out is the S Pen, a stylus lets users write on the screen for all types of functions. S Pen-enabled apps include Action Memo, a note-taking app that categorizes written notes into users' contacts, email, to-do list or other utilities; Scrapbooker, which allows users to draw a box around content to capture and save it for future use; Screen Write for taking screenshots and jotting down notes on them; S Finder, an internal search engine that can search through S Pen-enabled apps (including written notes); and Pen Window, which lets users create a window to open an app within an app. The S Note app also allows users to perform several "written" tasks, such as sketching charts and quickly scribbling notes during a meeting.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 also includes its KNOX app, which creates a separate container for business use. This is especially useful for companies that have Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs, as it keeps business apps and data separate from personal ones.
As a power-packed device, the Galaxy Note 10.1 makes a compromise with a shorter battery life of less than eight hours. Nonetheless, this tablet has a speedy 1.9-GHz Samsung Exynos 5420 processor with 3GB of RAM and comes in 3G + Wi-Fi and LTE + Wi-Fi models. And just like its name, the sleek Galaxy Note 10.1 has a sharp and vibrant 10.1-inch display and weighs just 1.23 lbs.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 starts at $549 for the 16GB model and $599 for the 32GB model.
ASUS Transformer Book T100 — For the bargain hunter
The ASUS Transformer Book T100 is a Windows 8.1 netbook-tablet hybrid that packs a punch — without breaking the bank.
Like the Surface Pro 2 and Dell Venue 11 Pro, the ASUS Transformer Book T100 can do anything and run any business app that other Windows devices can. What makes it stand out is that it is truly a bargain. Tagged by ASUS as a "2-in-1 ultraportable laptop with 10-inch tablet," the T100 includes a keyboard dock with a buttonless touchpad that turns the tablet into a netbooklike device. And unlike the Surface Pro 2, the T100 comes with a free copy of Microsoft Office 2013 Home and Student, which costs $139.99 when purchased on its own. It also comes with a year of unlimited storage space via the ASUS WebStorage service.
The T100 has a 10.1-inch screen, weighs 1.2 lbs., and has a whopping 12 hours and 28 minutes of battery life. It is equipped with 1.3-GHz quad-core Atom Z3740 processor with Intel's new Bay Trail platform and 2GB of RAM, giving the T100 enough power to perform business tasks.1.3-GHz quad-core Atom Z3740
The ASUS Transformer Book T100 starts at $349 for the 32GB model.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.