Guide to the Best Tablets for your Business

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Tablets are changing the way we work.

Amid the rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), cloud computing and the rollout of 4G networks we’ve taken our work out of the office and into our homes.

And slates are a key part of this trend. Analyst Gartner says business purchases of tablets are set to triple between 2013 and 2016.

Another report from Forrester found many employees are editing documents they started on their work PC at home on their tablet, sharing and co-editing work on tablets via cloud, and using them in the workplace to enhance presentations.

Of course, they can also be used for picking up email on the go, and dialling in to Skype conference calls from pretty much anywhere.

But to enjoy these benefits you have to choose the right tablet.

We’ve dug out some of the best business tablets, as selected by experts working for tech review and news sites including TechRadar and CNET.


Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Key features:
- Full Windows 8.1
- Ability to run Microsoft Office
- SkyDrive storage
- Keyboard with kickstand

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 is basically a high-powered laptop squeezed into a tablet – perfect for business use and the best of the new generation of Windows tablets. A CNET reviewer called it a “productivity solution” and TechRadar named it among its top 5 tablets for business.

Here’s why.

It runs the full version of the Windows 8.1 operating system, so you have the same power and functions of your office computer and can share contacts and diaries across both.

As Sir Richard Branson says, we are living in an age where “remote working is easier and more effective than ever”.

And with full Microsoft Office, you can work on spreadsheets and documents from wherever, and use SkyDrive cloud storage to save a document on your office PC before picking up in the exact same place on the Surface Pro 2.

When working on the go you’ll appreciate the long battery life (around 8 hours) afforded by the latest Intel Core i5 processor, which is “fast enough to keep up with mostly anything you throw at it”, according to CNET.

Touchscreens aren’t great for working on documents, but the Surface Pro comes with a clip-on keyboard and kickstand which pretty much turns it into a laptop, while there’s also a digital stylus for making notes on presentations and e-signing documents.

The CNET reviewer said: “You get seamless integration with Microsoft’s productivity suite: Office, SkyDrive, Skype, the cooperate compatibility of Windows, etc. It’s amazing how everything comes together… so much power in such a little device.”

Google Nexus 7
Google Nexus 7Key features:
- Portable size
- Affordable price
- World’s sharpest 7-inch tablet
- OfficeSuite Pro app

The Google Nexus 7 was also named among TechRadar’s top five tablets for business, while CNET said “pound for pound, the Nexus 7 is the best small tablet you can buy”.

CNET hailed its “razor-sharp full-HD screen, silky smooth performance, long battery life, meagre weight and affordable price”.

Although no laptop replacement, this Android tablet is great if you want to deck out your entire workforce with tablets that can work wherever they go for a reasonable price.

It’s a mini-tablet, measuring seven-inches and weighing 290g, and has more than 9 hours’ battery life on a single charge.

So you can use it on the train or sofa to catch up with emails and make Skype calls before popping in your pocket and heading into the office.

It boasts the world’s sharpest 7-inch screen, putting 2.3 million pixels in your palm. CNET says the screen makes “text look very sharp” – great for reading and responding to emails on the go.

Download the Office Suite Pro app from the Google Play store to view, create, edit and print Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.

TechRadar said: “Just because the Nexus 7 is small doesn’t mean it’s under-featured, it can handle emails, work documents, movies, music and other media just as easily as the competition, although the screen size is restrictive in some pursuits.”

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Galaxy Note 10.1Key features:
- Digital stylus that turns your hand writing into type
Multi-screen for fast multitasking
- Runs Polaris Office

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is another tablet experts recommend for your business. US tech magazine PCWorld named it among its top five tablets for business and CNET gave it four stars out of five in a review.

Here’s why.

CNET said the tablet will offer you a “bold, super high-definition screen, loads of power, a handy stylus and decent battery life”.

We think this quad-core Android tablet is great for giving presentations in the office, and for making notes, editing documents and multitasking from home.

A total of 59% of employers who responded to a CBI survey in 2011 were offering teleworking – also known as remote working or working from home to their staff.

And the digital stylus means this is a great tablet for that. Make notes for tomorrow’s meeting with the digital stylus S Pen, and have the football on SkyGo and your meeting notes on Polaris Office side by side on the same screen with Multi Window.

With Polaris office you can create documents and spreadsheets as you would with Microsoft Office. When it comes to giving presentations, you can use it to set up the slides – or open a presentation you were already working on in PowerPoint, while the S Pen is handy for annotating or highlighting pertinent points.

And because the tablet has a super-sharp (2,560×1,600-pixel resolution) 10-inch display, those colours will be crisp and sharp enough to keep your colleagues engaged.

When scrawling down email addresses and phone numbers with the pen, the tablet will drop them into your address book – great if you’re taking down a contact’s details.