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The best Windows tablets you can buy right now
Laptops and desktop PCs probably occupy most of your thoughts when thinking of Windows. However, there’s so much more to experience on the Microsoft platform. From responsive touchscreens to full-size apps, Windows can make a case to power your next tablet. Here are our picks for the best Windows tablets you can get right now.
The idea of a Windows-powered tablet probably isn’t too foreign to you. After all, plenty of people are familiar with the Microsoft Surface Pro line. While the Surface Pro is great and has appeared on this list a few times, there are more options to choose from. We’ve tried to cover all of the bases and give you the best options to pick from.
Buying the best Windows tablet
Windows tablets haven’t quite taken off, so there aren’t too many options out there that make sense. If you’re in the market for a Windows tablet, you likely have a specific use case for it, and you’re already aware of the experience you’re going to get. On the other hand, if you don’t have a specific use case that requires Windows, you might want to look at getting an iPad or an Android tablet instead.
If you’re set on a Windows tablet, you should consider two main factors — budget and size. Windows tablets today are commonly available in the standard laptop screen sizes that range between 10—15 inches. We used to have smaller sizes available a few years ago, but those have become less common now. On the budget side, you will end up spending just as much or more than what you would pay for an equivalent Windows laptop, generally between $400 and $1,500.
Most Windows tablets will come with the option to have a detachable keyboard, either bundled with the tablet or sold separately. As far as the capabilities of these devices go, you can expect them to work just fine for most productivity tasks, depending upon what kind of hardware you pick. Gaming Windows tablets are not mainstream yet, but we can expect more and more options to show up in the market in the coming months.
Some Windows tablets also come running S Mode, a more restricted mode that only allows you to run apps from the Microsoft Store. However, you can disable S Mode and make your Windows tablet run like a regular Windows computer.
The best Windows tablets to buy
- The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is the best overall Windows tablet, packing in the perfect blend of performance and portability.
- The Microsoft Surface Go 3 is the best small Windows tablet, offering the Surface experience in a compact package at an affordable price.
- Asus ROG Flow Z13 is the best gaming Windows tablet you can get, offering an RTX 3050 Ti GPU with support for an external GPU.
- The Microsoft Surface Pro X is the best premium Windows tablet, powered by the Microsoft SQ2 processor and backed by solid battery life.
- The Microsoft Surface Book 3 is the best detachable 2-in-1 Windows tablet, offering a great convertible experience in two sizes.
- Lenovo ThinkPad X12 is the best Lenovo Windows tablet, featuring a 3:2 aspect ratio screen in a great detachable design.
- The Chuwi UBook X is the best budget Windows tablet you can get, providing great value for money with sufficient hardware power and a full metal body.
Editor’s note: We’ll do our best to keep this list of the best Windows tablets updated as new products launch.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8: The best overall Windows tablet
While the Surface Go series might be your best bet for peak portability, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 might be the best Windows tablet around. It’s larger, packs a more powerful processor, and can make many heavy-duty tasks look easy. It’s an upgrade over the already great Surface Pro 7. Unfortunately, like most surface devices, the Surface Pro 8 doesn’t include a keyboard or stylus, as they’re sold separately.
As one of the flagship Surface models, the Surface Pro 8 offers plenty of room for customization. You can choose from an Intel Core i3 processor or go all-out for the Core i7 version. To back that up, you can select anywhere from 128GB to 1TB of storage which should be more than enough for work or play. The Surface Pro 8 rounds out the already impressive spec sheet with a 12.3-inch display, USB-A, and USB-C ports, and it weighs less than two pounds.
See also: Best Surface Pro deals
Microsoft Surface Go 3: The best small Windows tablet
Microsoft’s Surface Go 3 is a follow-up to the Surface Go 2 — a tablet that has popped up on quite a few of our best lists, and for a good reason. Improving upon the Go 2 and being the smallest entry in the Surface lineup, the Surface Go 3 is a great way to take Windows on the go without sacrificing much power. As with most Surface tablets, you’ll have to shell out a bit of extra cash on accessories.
If you’re ready to dive head-on into the Surface ecosystem, Microsoft will set you up with an Intel Pentium Gold chip, or a Core i3 chip, and an integrated Intel HD Graphics 615. As far as options go, you can choose from 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage or double them to 8GB and 128GB SSD, respectively. The handy 10.5-inch screen is easy to stash in a backpack, and the 11-hour battery life should help you stay productive all day long.
Asus ROG Flow Z13: The best gaming Windows tablet
Windows tablet and gaming in the same sentence sound out of place, but it’s getting closer to becoming a thing, and the Asus Asus ROG Flow Z13 is proof of that. Asus took the wraps off of this one at CES 2022, and while it is pretty much the only contender in this category right now, it’s a pretty solid buy.
You get a 13.4-inch 16:10 display running at either 1080p 120Hz, or 4K 60Hz. Powering this gaming tablet is a beefy Intel Core i9 12900H CPU running at 45W, paired with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050Ti running at 40W. While that may not seem all that powerful, it’s an awful lot for this form factor. Asus has also managed to cram an eGPU port that supports up to an RTX 3080 mobile or AMD Radeon RX 6850M XT. Other connectivity includes Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Type-C, USB 2.0 Type-A input, HDMI 2.0, and a headphone jack.
On the desk: The best gaming PC desktops to get
Microsoft Surface Pro X: The best premium Windows tablet
The Microsoft Surface Pro X is a powerful alternative for users who want to stay connected on the go. It’s LTE-enabled, so you can easily manage tasks from just about anywhere you have service. However, that also means that the Surface Pro X is designed to dominate cloud applications rather than full-scale desktop replacements.
One feature that sets the Surface Pro X apart from the rest of the candidates on our list of the best Windows tablets is the unique Microsoft SQ2 processor. It delivers a powerful multitasking performance and helps the 13-inch screen achieve up to 13 hours of battery life. You can choose from 8 or 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage to keep everything running smoothly.
See also: Microsoft Surface Pro X review
Microsoft Surface Book 3: The best detachable 2-in-1 Windows tablet
One of the most powerful entries in the extensive Surface line is the Microsoft Surface Book 3. It’s a true 2-in-1 in that you can press a button to completely detach the screen from the keyboard. Microsoft has gone all-out in crafting a premium experience, but it comes at a bit of a cost.
The cost isn’t a sacrifice in hardware. The laptop itself is just rather pricey. It’s available in 13.5 and 15-inch versions. You can boost the specs up to 32GB of RAM and a whopping 2TB of storage. The Surface Book 3 truly aims to compete with some of the most advanced laptops on the market, and the unique hinge design helps it stand out from the crowd.
See also: The best laptops you can buy
Lenovo ThinkPad X12: The best Lenovo Windows tablet
The Lenovo ThinkPad X12 is probably the most powerful Intel-powered option on this list. It’s a true 2-in-1 with a fully detachable keyboard, yet it packs a punch to keep up with Intel’s 11th-generation hardware onboard. The device even brings in a sharp Full HD Plus touchscreen to keep you locked into your work. Those who need a Windows tablet on the go can also set up a 4G data plan through your favorite carrier.
At just 2.4 lbs with the keyboard, the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 is extremely light and portable. The Precision Pen makes it feel like you’re simply carrying around a notebook. Lenovo took a page out of the Microsoft Surface playbook with the detachable keyboard design as well. The ThinkPad X12 packs up to 10.36 hours of battery life, and modern standby can be ready at a moment’s notice.
Chuwi UBook X: The best budget Windows tablet
You may not be as familiar with Chuwi as you are with some of the other options on the list, but the UBook X is one of the most affordable options on this list by a good margin. The budget-friendly price makes the UBook X a solid pick for the all-around good list of specs.
The UBook X doesn’t pack a powerful Intel Core chip. However, the quad-core Intel Celeron N4100 can hold its own for many light tasks. The handy and affordable Windows tablet is also equipped with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. That is more than the Surface Go 3 offers with its entry-level variant. Chuwi chose to build the UBook X with a full-metal body and keyboard, which lends a premium feel. It packs one USB-C port, one USB-A port, and a headphone jack.
The other side: The best touchscreen Chromebooks you can buy
Windows tablets vs the competition
The tablet market isn’t quite one where Windows is a leading player. For now, Apple iPads have a huge lead, providing the best value for money, an impressive app ecosystem, and a streamlined lineup of models. On the other hand, Android tablets barely exist, but a few models are available as alternatives, should you want to move away from Windows. However, Chromebook tablets are more of a proper alternative to Windows tablets, if you’re looking at the Google side of things.
Of course, if you’re looking at a Windows tablet, you likely have a workload that requires you to use Windows. Windows has a unique advantage concerning its software catalog. Traditional computer apps being available on a tablet adds to the functionality, and if that’s what you want, look no further.
Also read: The best iPads you can buy
On the other hand, if you want a portable computer but Windows apps aren’t a requirement, an Apple iPad would likely serve you better as a tablet. You also get a lot of apps, so finding a replacement for Windows apps you have been using is easy too. On the other hand, if you want a desktop experience, you can opt for a Chromebook tablet. You get support for Android apps and Linux apps, in addition to the suite of Chromebook apps.
Android tablets, as of now, aren’t the best way to go. There are some solid options from some manufacturers like Samsung, but Android hasn’t been great on tablets for a long time. Google did recently say tablets are the future, but we cannot recommend Android tablets over Windows tablets, iPads, or even Chromebook tablets, just yet.
Frequently asked questions
Windows tablets are available in a variety of different specifications. As such, they have a wide range of prices. Most Windows tablets are available between the $400 to $1,500 mark.
Windows tablets run on Windows, while iPads run on iPadOS. They have different sets of compatible apps. iPads run apps off the App Store. Windows tablets run apps from the Microsoft Store if in S Mode, or any Windows apps if they’re not in S Mode.
Windows tablets and touchscreen Windows laptops will provide similar software experiences. However, touchscreen Windows laptops are more common and mostly come with the full power of a laptop, which often includes dedicated GPU options. You can make your pick according to your usage preferences.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is the latest Microsoft Surface. The Microsoft Surface Go 3 is the latest one in the Go lineup.
Windows tablets can run all Windows apps. Windows tablets in S Mode can only run apps through the Microsoft Store. However, you can easily switch out of S Mode and install any Windows app. Some ARM-based tablets may not run the x86 Windows apps too well. But most run just fine with in-built emulation.
You can connect AirPods to Microsoft Surface, or any other Windows tablet. Although, do note that you will miss out on some exclusive functionality to Apple devices. However, they should work just fine otherwise.