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Grow Your Business Technology

Best Tablets With Stylus: 2016 Edition

A stylus-equipped tablet is the perfect alternative to a traditional paper notebook. That's because digital notes can be backed up to the cloud, so they're safe and accessible from just about any device. With the right software, your digital notes can even be indexed and searched through using keywords. Here are the tablets with the best stylus support for 2016.

[For more information on how we test mobile devices, visit our testing methodology page.]

 

iOS




Apple's iPad Pro was built or business, with productivity-boosting accessories such as a snap-on keyboard cover and a stylus, which is dubbed the Apple Pencil. The system comes in two sizes: the 9.7-inch version is the same size as the iPad Air, while the 12.9-inch version is significantly larger, which makes split-screen multitasking a lot more comfortable. Both models offer excellent pen support, with full pressure sensitivity and reliable palm rejection. Just remember that the iPad Pro is a premium system and one of the pricier pen-equipped slates on the market.

Key features:

  • Active stylus support (sold separately)
  • Keyboard (sold separately)
  • Large display
  • Split-screen multitasking
  • Fast performance

 

Windows




The latest release in the Surface Pro line improves on last year's model, with a better keyboard; a bigger, 12.3-inch display; better security features; and an even better stylus. The new Surface Pen (which comes packed with the Surface Pro 4) offers twice the pressure sensitivity of last year's model. An eraser tip has also been added to the back end; it has a rubbery texture that makes erasing text on a digital screen feel more natural. The Surface Pro 4 isn't cheap, though; it starts at $899, with the Type Cover keyboard sold separately for $129. 

  • Active stylus support (included)
  • Keyboard (sold separately)
  • Built-in kickstand
  • Large display
  • Split-screen multitasking
  • Fast performance

Click here for a full review of the Surface Pro 4 on our sister site Laptop Mag.

 

 
 
 

 

The Surface 3 takes most of the Pro 3's best features and crams them into a slightly smaller, more affordable package. For $499 you get support for the same excellent N-trig stylus, in addition to a sharp 10.8-inch display and a handy built-in kickstand, plus support for a magnetic Type Cover keyboard. And while it's not as fast as the more premium model, the Surface 3 provides more than enough power for daily productivity tasks. It also lasts longer on a charge than the Pro 3.

Key Features:

  • Digitizer stylus (included)
  • Kickstand
  • Keyboard (sold separately)
  • Desktop dock (sold separately)
  • USB port
  • SD Card slot
  • Mini DisplayPort

 

Click here for a full review of the Surface 3 on Business News Daily.

 

 

Huawei’s MateBook is a Surface clone with a more affordable price tag. Like the Surface Pro 4, this 12-inch tablet is compatible with a snap-on keyboard and active stylus, both of which are sold separately. Pen support is very good, and the slate offers a stylish and premium design. It battery life is a bit on the short side, but the MateBook is still a decent option for workers who want to take digital note on a roomy canvas.

Key features:

  • Active stylus support (sold separately)
  • Keyboard (sold separately)
  • Large display
  • Runs full Windows 10

Click here for a full review of the Huawei Matebook on our sister site Laptop Mag.

 

Asus' VivoTab Note 8 is a good option if you're looking for a stylus-driven tablet that won't break the bank. At $329, it's one of the most affordable devices you can buy with a Wacom stylus. The Note 8 also has an 8-inch screen, making it one of the smaller slates on this list, so it's more portable but also more cramped to work on. Regardless, you still get zippy performance, long battery life and excellent pen support in a compact, affordable package.

Key Features:

  • Wacom stylus (included)
  • Affordable price
  • Long battery life
  • SD Card slot

Click here for a full review of the VivoTab Note 8 on our sister site Laptop Mag.

 

 

While other pen-equipped tablets are compatible with a snap-on keyboard, most make you buy the accessory separately after the fact. HP’s Spectre X2 comes with a keyboard out of the box, making it a slightly better value than the Surface Pro 4. The  12-inch slate also sports a fully-adjustable built-in kickstand, which can give you a nice slanted writing surface when you’re taking notes with the HP Active Stylus, which is sold separately.

  • Active stylus support (sold separately)
  • Keyboard (included)
  • Large display
  • Runs full Windows 10

Click here for a full review of the Spectre X2 from our sister site, Laptop Mag.

The Venue 11 Pro 7000 doesn't come with a pen out of the box, but it is compatible with Dell's Active Stylus, sold separately for $30. Unfortunately, Dell's pen technology doesn't quite offer the precision of a Wacom or N-trig pen, but it's more than good enough for basic digital note taking. Stylus aside, the slate has a lot going for it, including a sharp 10.8-inch display and an Intel Core M processor that offers desktop-like power in a slim package. It's also compatible with Dell's snap-on keyboard, as well as a desktop docking station, making it one of the most versatile slates on this list.

Key features:

  • Active stylus (sold separately)
  • Fast performance
  • USB 3.0 port
  • Mini HDMI port
  • SD Card slot
  • Long battery life

Click here for a full review of the Venue 11 Pro on Business News Daily.

 

Android




If you prefer Android to Windows on your tablet, Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 might be your best overall option. The slate features a vibrant, 10.1-inch display and zippy performance, plus handy software features like split-screen multitasking; most Android tablets only let you view a single application at a time. You also get an active stylus that slides out from a slot on the side of the device, so you can jot down a few notes before stowing it again. And since it runs on Android, the Note 10.1 offers a better selection of touch-optimized apps than competing Windows slates.

Key features:

  • Active stylus (included)
  • Fast performance
  • Split-screen multitasking
  • Keyboard (optional)
  • Slim design

Click here for a full review of the Galaxy Note 10.1 on our sister site Laptop Mag.

 

 

Want a little more room to write? Samsung's Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is just like the Note 10.1, but bigger. Like that slate, it offers a brilliant screen (measuring 12.2 inches this time), a slim profile and snappy performance. You also get the same active stylus that you can stow in a slot on the side of the tablet. One big software difference is that the Note Pro 12.2 lets you run up to four apps in split-screen mode, with each one occupying a quarter of the screen; the Note 10.1 only allows for two apps at a time.

Key features:

  • Active stylus (included)
  • Fast performance
  • Split-screen multitasking
  • Slim design

Click here for a full review of the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 on our sister site Laptop Mag.

 

 

HP's Pro Slate 8 isn't your average pen-equipped tablet. In addition to supporting traditional stylus-on-screen writing with full pressure sensitivity, it also has the ability to capture ink-on-paper notes and instantly create a digital copy in real time. It works because the slate uses four microphones to pick up inaudible, ultrasonic frequencies emitted by HP's Duet Pen to locate its precise position in space. In addition to that bit of technical wizardry, the Pro Slate 8 also offers a premium design, long battery life and hardware-enabled security. But starting at $450, it's pricier than other 8-inch competitors.  

Key features:

  • Active stylus
  • Ink-on-paper note-taking
  • Premium design
  • Long battery life
  • Hardware-enabled security

Click here for a full review at the HP Pro Slate 8.

 

 

If you're looking for the most affordable stylus-equipped slate out there, HP's Slate 7 Extreme might be it. The device, which launched early last year, can now be found for as little as $100 on sale. You get decent performance, a compact 7-inch screen and a slim design. Plus, the slate comes with an active stylus that lets you jot down notes right on the screen. HP even included a couple of note-taking applications of its own to help you get started.

Key features:

  • Active stylus
  • Affordable price
  • Compact design
  • SD Card reader

Click here for a hands-on look at the HP Slate 7 on our sister site Laptop Mag.

 

Brett Nuckles
Brett Nuckles

Brett Nuckles has been a working journalist since 2009. He got his start in local newspapers covering community news, local government, education and more before he joined the Business News Daily staff in 2013. He graduated from Ohio University, where he studied Journalism and English. Follow him on Twitter @BrettNuckles.