The 10 Best Tablets and 2-in-1s of 2017

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The 10 Best Tablets and 2-in-1s of 2017

The tablet market’s major slowdown over the past few years has resulted in a lot of manufacturers severely cutting back or canceling tablet lineups altogether. However, we’re quietly getting closer to tablets and 2-in-1 convertible laptops having the processing power and functionality to accomplish everything you need without pulling out a bulkier computer. These 10 tablets range greatly in price but may be the perfect traveling companion or home accessory depending on your needs. Here are the 10 best tablets and 2-in-1s of 2017:

10. Amazon Fire HD 10

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Amazon’s impossibly affordable Fire tablets have dominated the budget-friendly, small tablet range for years now. While they certainly won’t compare to the likes of the iPad, at prices like $30 and $50, the Fire 7 and 8 are as close to impulse buys as tech gadgets get. If you need to pick up a simple machine that you can use for Facebook and light gaming, it doesn’t get much better than this. And with the release of the Fire HD 10, you get 32GB of storage, faster processing, a better screen and built-in hands-free access to Alexa, for the still-low price of $149. —Eric Walters

9. The Google Pixel C

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There are several aspects of the Pixel C that are fascinating, but the most interesting is that it’s the first tablet designed and built entirely by Google. Rather than partnering with a hardware manufacturer, like it did with HTC for the Nexus 9 and Asus for the Nexus 7, Google chose to go it alone, and it selected a hybrid tablet for its first solo mission. That points to the importance of the form factor. It’s clear tech companies, and the biggest among them, no longer see the hybrid tablet device as a niche, but a significant player in the future of mobile computing. The biggest asset of the Pixel C is, without a doubt, its hardware. Both in design and build quality, the Pixel C is magnificent. It’s aluminum build screams premium, bringing Android tablets to the same level as the iPad after spending much of their existence being considered inferior in build quality. The darker grey, perhaps you’d call it gunmetal or graphite, in particular is striking. In a sea of aluminum devices that are bright and shiny, the look of Pixel C is muted in all the right ways. Google did a magnificent job building the Pixel C from a hardware perspective, but that’s only half the battle with smart devices. Android, while being a sophisticated and gorgeous phone operating system, still has much ground to gain in the tablet market. The Pixel C in particular is supposed to be a device that can fit in the area between smartphone and computer, but its software doesn’t allow that to ever become a reality. —Eric Walters

8. Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 510

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If you’re looking for a Windows convertible tablet with the Surface Pro 4 screen size and performance but also want a built-in mobile broadband radio for 4G LTE connectivity, then the should be at the top of your list. Priced at $599, Lenovo offers a variety of different configurable options for the Miix 510, and at its starting price, the tablet has an equivalent cost of Microsoft’s more anemically powered Surface 3. Additionally, the cost of the keyboard is an extra $130, an accessory that’s included in the price of the Miix 510.—Chuong Nguyen

7. Samsung Galaxy Book

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Samsung is one of the only companies still making decent Android tablets they’re making good Windows 2-in-1s as well. The Galaxy Book has the same premium design that customers have come to expect from the Galaxy brand of smartphones and tablets. However, outside of some nice interactions between your Galaxy phone and the Book, it doesn’t have a ton of features that make it stand out from the Surface Pro—and that includes the price point of this thing. That being said, in terms of specs and features, the Galaxy Book looks pretty good standing side-by-side with the Surface Pro. So if you’re a fan of Samsung, the Galaxy Book is a solid step up from an Android tablet that is a bit more expensive, but quite a bit more capable. —Luke Larsen

6. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet

To address the needs of its business users, Lenovo introduced the first generation ThinkPad X1 Tablet in 2016 with its own unique twist—like add-on modules for expansion—to the familiar form factor that was popularized by Microsoft with the Surface Pro series. This year, the ThinkPad X1 Tablet is back with upgraded internals, supporting Intel’s latest 7th Generation Kaby Lake processor architecture, and an iterative design that brings subtle refinements. It’s a more rugged business alternative to Microsoft’s Surface Pro, boasting excellent construction, superb keyboard ergonomics and Lenovo’s own unique kickstand twist that makes the detachable more lapable when used as a laptop. This year, Lenovo upgraded the X1 Tablet’s processor to Intel’s latest Y-Series Kaby Lake chipset, which comes with better processing and graphics performance, and made some subtle design tweaks that improves on an already respectable build. The keyboard on this tablet is still best-in-class, befitting of the X1 Tablet’s ThinkPad heritage, and the expandable design makes it a very versatile mobile PC. Along with the ability to change a depleted battery if it fails to hold a charge years down the road and the capability to upgrade the SSD, the modular design means that you can add business accessories—like a projector or extended battery—to the compact tablet design when you need to. —Chuong Nguyen

5. Galaxy Tab S3

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Samsung refreshed its flagship tablet line this year with the Galaxy Tab S3, a beautiful slab of metal and glass with a gorgeous screen and top-tier specs. But, like the iPad Pro before it, the S3 is not purely a tablet. It’s being sold alongside a keyboard cover, which the company hopes will endear it to consumers as a potential replacement for their laptop. Unsurprisingly, aside from the exceptional build materials, the star of the show here is the 9.7-inch, 2048×1536 Super AMOLED display. Samsung has nailed displays for years, and that doesn’t let up here. The screen is vibrant, with punchy colors and deep blacks and gets exceptionally bright, to the point that it hurt my eyes in low light. Performance, much like the rest of the device, is reminiscent of other top-tier Samsung machines. That is to say, it’s largely smooth, but the company’s heavy-handed software occasionally gets in the way and bogs things down. If you want a great Android tablet that you can use for surfing the web and watching videos on the couch, it doesn’t get much better than the Tab S3. If you want something similar to the iPad Pro, but running Android, Google’s operating system doesn’t have anything better to offer. But, if you want a device that can replace, or at least sub in, for your laptop and allow you to get serious work done, the truth is tablets aren’t there yet.—Eric Walters

4. Lenovo Miix 720

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For mobile users, Lenovo’s Miix 720 is a powerful tablet that can replace your laptop with its bundled detachable keyboard folio cover and active stylus. With its familiar convertible form factor, the Miix 720 joins a growing list of competitors that aim to ape and outshine the category defining Microsoft Surface Pro. And the Miix does just that—balancing performance, futureproof port selection and upgradeability, making this the ultimate “pro” level tablet. Despite its placement at the top of Lenovo’s consumer tablet lineup, the $1,029 starting price of the Miix 720 makes it a more affordable alternative to other solutions. This year’s model packs in Intel’s latest 7th Generation U-series Core i5 or Core i7 processor and ships with Lenovo’s Active Pen stylus as well as the keyboard cover. Measuring a svelte 11.5 × 8.27 × 0.35 inches with a 12-inch display, the Miix 720’s dimensions are similar to those of the Surface Pro. On the back, you’ll find a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus, while a 1-megapixel 720p HD webcam sits on the front. By drawing from its expertise in creating some of the most coveted business computers on the market, Lenovo has created a sleek alternative to Microsoft’s Surface Pro that delivers more “pro” features to more advanced users. —Chuong Nguyen

3. HP Spectre x2

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While the Spectre x2 borrows the iconic Surface Pro form factor, HP added its own design flourishes to make the Spectre a uniquely luxurious alternative to Microsoft’s category-defining detachable. A unibody frame, mid-century-like modern design, attractive Ash Silver paint coat, Midas-like copper accent and a rich Saffiano faux leather folio gives the Spectre x2 a level of sophistication and elegance that’s largely unrivaled in the tech space. As it stands, there’s plenty to love with this form factor—a bright and high resolution screen makes this tablet an appealing choice for artists, a thoughtfully designed keyboard delivers an excellent typing experience, the quick charge technology is a great feature for road warriors and students, and the bundled pen works well for doodling, drawing and note-taking. —Chuong Nguyen

2. Surface Pro

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Microsoft  gave the Surface Pro meaningful upgrades this year, even if the design remains largely unchanged from the prior iteration. The Surface Pro gains newer Intel Kaby Lake processors, and the Core i7 model benefits from even better graphics performance with support for Intel’s Iris Plus discrete GPU, all wrapped in the iconic form factor complete with a kickstand. Better battery life, optional LTE configurations (coming later this year) and more options for fanless configurations round out some of our favorite feature upgrades for 2017. As priced, the Surface Pro remains a halo product to showcase the versatility of the Windows 10 operating system. If you want the best showcase tablet from Microsoft’s engineering efforts, the Surface Pro retains its position as an aspirational piece of hardware targeted at creatives. —Chuong Nguyen

1. iPad Pro

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Ever since Apple released the iPad Air a few years ago with its new ability to multitask, I went out and immediately got one. Since then, my dream ultimate dream has been to work remotely using only my iPad Pro and the accessories that make it more than a tablet. So when Apple announced the new iPad Pro with hardware improvements, screen size increase from 9.7 inches to 10.5 inches, and new and improved multitasking features, I naturally freaked out. With iOS 11, the iPad has finally grown up. I’m surprised it’s taken this long for Apple to implement Drag and Drop on the iPad. This is something that is necessary when dealing with a touchscreen especially when there isn’t a trackpad or mouse. The new feature lets you drag files and photos between apps in pretty much every configuration you can imagine.Gone is the 9.7-inch version and in its place is a larger 10.5-inch screen. What’s great about this is that you get more screen real estate without sacrificing the weight and the size of the entire iPad isn’t that much of a difference. This will help a lot of people have a truly portable device for travel (depending on your needs) without having to lug around a MacBook Pro which is three times the weight of a 10.5-inch iPad Pro. Apple also improved the refresh rate to 120Hz meaning smoother animations and lower latency when using an Apple Pencil. —Jamie Pham

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