When tablets first became available, there were generally two operating systems that you could choose from, iOS and Android. Over time though, Microsoft decided to get into the tablet game and started to release tablets using their Windows operating system. Many prefer these to either Android or iOS and we started to wonder what the best windows tablets for designers are in 2020.
If you’ve never used a Windows tablet, knowing why people prefer these over the other options out there is a good place to start.
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So let’s look at the Pros and Cons of Using a Windows tablet.
Pros and Cons of Using a Windows Tablet
Like many other pieces of technology out there, some love it and then others can’t stand to use one device over another. This is the case with Windows tablets as well and we wanted to highlight some of the pros and cons that users have shared online.
Full Desktop Experience
Tablets using Android and iOS are designed to offer a touch-friendly experience on devices designed for entertainment and can also be used for work if needed. A Windows tablet is designed to be a desktop on the go, providing you with a tablet and a Windows interface in one operating system. Windows tablets are designed to get work done first and provide entertainment value second.
One of the best features of using a Windows tablet is that with your Microsoft account and the cloud, you can access the same files on your tablet that are on your desktop and pick up exactly where you left off. This makes working outside the office a breeze and can also increase your productivity as you spend less time moving files to a third-party cloud service so you can access them on another tablet.
Access to Desktop Applications
When you speak to someone who uses a Windows tablet regularly, this is easily one of the biggest pluses about it. Some applications, such as Photoshop can have some trouble running on either Android or an iPad. Applications can be fully installed on the tablet. This is because even though it is a tablet, the operating system is the same as a desktop computer. Accessing many different applications that aren’t normally available on a mobile platform is super easy so you can work whenever and wherever you are.
No Learning Curve
If you work in an office, using the Windows operating system will feel natural to you and that’s because many offices already use Windows on their business computer because of the ease of use. If you go from Windows to an Android tablet or iPad, there might be some confusion on what to do, especially if you’ve never used one before. This can create headaches as you need to learn how the operating system works while with a Windows tablet, you already know how to use it.
One of the biggest complaints with using an iPad is that the connectivity is limited to options that the company has provided. This can cause problems if you want to connect a hard drive, or a camera and don’t have the right connections. This isn’t the case with a Windows tablet. You just have to be sure that the tablet has the ports that you need as different models may have different ports.
To be fair, not every Windows tablet is overly expensive. Affordable tablets are usually not very powerful or poorly made. Most advanced options like the Surface Pro from Microsoft can cost as much as a premium laptop. When compared with high-end Android tablets, Windows tablets will cost more.
Viruses and Malware
Just like your PC, because you’re running a full version of Windows, it can be vulnerable to viruses and malware. While Android and iOS can have malware or security issues from time to time, they pale in comparison to the viruses and malware out there for Windows so make sure you have a good antivirus and anti-malware programs running.
The touch interface for Windows is quite good. However, once you switch to tablet mode, it can take some getting used to. This leaves the interface less robust and not as easy to use as the ones with Android and iOS devices. While this improves with each version of Windows released, it can take a little bit of time to get used to it.
The Microsoft store has thousands of apps available for it. The number of apps is nothing compared to the number of apps available on the App Store for Apple or the Google Play store. While you might be able to install desktop apps, some of the more popular apps out there might not be available on the Microsoft Store. While more apps get added every day, it is still a long way behind the other options out there.
Lack of Accessories
Compared to the competition, Windows tablets just don’t have the accessory support that the others do. While you may find some here and there, the third-party support for accessories is very limited. Overall, the options you have with an Android tablet or iPad is much greater.
The Best Windows Tablets for Graphic Designers in 2020
- Microsoft Surface Go – $419
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet – $749
- Microsoft Surface Pro 6 – $693
- Acer Switch 5 – $979
- Lenovo Yoga Book C930 – $879
- Dell Latitude 7212 Rugged Extreme Tablet – $899
- HP ZBook X2 – $778
- GAOMON PD1560 15.6 Drawing Tablet – $289
- Microsoft Surface Book 2 – $2280
- Wacom Cintiq 22HD touch pen display – $1699
The Best Windows Tablets for Designers Compared
Small in size but big in value
CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 10.5-inch 1,800 x 1,200 PixelSense touch display | Storage: 64GB eMMC – 128GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac; Bluetooth | Camera: 8MP rear, 5MP front | Weight: 1.15 lbs (522 g) | Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.9 x 0.33 inches
The Surface Go from Microsoft fills the need that many have had for a budget-friendly Surface device. With a thin, light, and portable design, the Go is elegant like it’s big brothers but the price tag makes it more of an option for designers on a budget. If you’re looking for a high-quality tablet that can help you get work done on the go without breaking your bank account, meet your new tablet.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- High res 10 inch PixelSense Display designed to be viewed, touched, and written on
- Lightest Surface yet, starting at just 1.15 pounds
- All day battery life, with up to 9 hours of unplugged power
- Comes with Windows 10 in S mode, to do the things you want with performance that lasts, including Microsoft verified security, Windows Defender, parental controls, and world class support
- Includes multi tasking USB C, fast charging Surface Connect, and headphone jack.Bluetooth Wireless 4.1 technology.Aspect ratio: 3:2 (Keyboard and pen sold separately)
The tablet that moonlights as a laptop
CPU: Up to 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8650U | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | Screen: 13-inch QHD+ 3k (3,000 x 2,000) IPS multi-touch | Storage: Up to 1 TB PCIe SSD | Connectivity: Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 8265 (2 x 2), Up to Bluetooth 4.1 with vPro | Camera: 8MP rear-facing and 2MP front-facing | Weight: 1.69 pounds (890g), 2.79 pounds (1.27kg) with keyboard | Size: 11.96 x 8.88 x 0.59 inches with keyboard
The ThinkPad X1 from Lenovo is a great option for those who are looking for security and the ability to transfer their work quickly with the dual Thunderbolt ports, the Windows Hello login via fingerprint reader, as well as the optional IR camera providing a more secure login will have any designer confident that their work won’t be stolen. The SSD and battery are field serviceable meaning that a certified technician can come to you to replace parts if needed. All this is packaged in a light and sleek design that comes with the ThinkPad Pen Pro providing even more value.Learn More
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- Get reliable performance from the Intel Core m5-6Y57 processor 1.1GHz (Burst up to 2.8GHz) 4MG Cache
- 4GB 1866MHz LPDDR3 (on-board) memory, with a microSD card slot that supports up to 64GB, 128GB M.2 Solid State Drive
- Enjoy a 12” Screen with Portable Entertainment with a Stunning Display: Whether for work or leisure, the high resolution 2K (2160 x 1440) display features widescreen IPS technology and an...
- ThinkPad Keyboard Perfection: The X1 Tablet features the detachable keyboard with the legendary ThinkPad design. The built-in TrackPoint and trackpad replicates the feel of our award-winning keyboard...
- With the detachable keyboard snapped into place, the X1 Tablet is only 1.1 kg / 2.4 lbs.
The Best Windows Tablet Overall
CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 8MP rear-facing, 5MP front-facing | Weight: 1.73 pounds | Size: 11.5 x 7.93 x 0.33 inches (W x D x H)
The bar set by the Surface Pro 6 is what other Windows tablets should strive to provide designers. While it doesn’t bring anything new to the table that makes it stand out from its competition, the best parts of the previous model have been inherited and enhanced thanks to powerful new hardware. The long battery life will help you work as long as you need to get that project done. While it does have a faster processor in it, the Pro 6 doesn’t come with the Surface Pen or Type Cover in the box, but compared to the other choices out there, it still is the king of the hill.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- A best in class laptop with the versatility of a studio and tablet
- More power now with the new 8th Generation Intel Core processor
- Ultra slim and light, starting at just 1.7 pounds. Sensors : Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Gyroscope
- All day battery life, with upto 13.5 hours of video playback
- Pair with our signature type cover in luxurious Alcantara material and rich colors for a full keyboard experience
A great alternative to the Surface Pro
CPU: 7th-generation Intel Core i3 – i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 12-inch, 2,160 x 1,440 IPS touchscreen | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac; Bluetooth | Camera: 3MP rear, 1MP front | Weight: 2.8 pounds | Dimensions: 11.49 x 7.94 x 0.62 inches
For those designers who like the idea and the performance of the Surface Pro, but not the hype, Switch 5 from Acer is a good alternative. The tablet has comparable specs although it does have an older processor. This is one of the best performing Windows tablets out there and one of the best choices that a designer can make especially if they are not looking to give in to the hype and instead opt for a very similar tablet experience.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7200U Processor (Up to 3.1GHz)
- 12.0" QHD 2160 x 1440 Multi-Touch IPS Display
- 8GB of LPDDR3 Memory, 256GB SSD ; 802.11ac wireless LAN
- 2-cell Li-Ion (4870 mAh) Battery, Up to 10.5 Hours Battery Life. Acer Active Stylus
- Refer to the PDF attached below in Technical Specification for User Manual
A Truly Innovative 2-in-1 Laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5-7Y54 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 10.8” QHD (2560 x 1600) IPS touchscreen – 10.8” FHD (1920 x 1080) Flexible E Ink Mobius touchscreen | Storage: 256 GB SSD
The Yoga Book C930 from Lenovo is truly a multitasking tablet. Along with a tablet screen, the C930 has a second, E-Ink display that can act as a keyboard, a sketchpad, or E-reader for documents. While the traditional screen is impressive with its FullHD resolution, the second screen is what will draw designers. With a thin design and lightweight feel, the Yoga Book makes an excellent tablet that has a multitude of different ways it can be used in your work.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Powered by 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7Y54 (1.20GHz, up to 3.20GHz with Turbo Boost, 4MB Cache), Smart dual-core, four-way processing performance for HD-quality computing.
- 10.8" QHD (2560 x 1600) IPS touchscreen with pen support Display; Integrated Intel HD Graphics 615; 360° flip-and-fold design
- 4GB LPDDR3 system memory for basic multitasking; 128GB SSD offer enough storage for your files
- 802.11 AC (2 x 2) + Bluetooth 4.2; 2 x USB-3.1 (Gen 1) Type-C, microSD card, 2MP HD camera with microphone, 2 x speakers with Dolby Atmos
- Windows 10 Home; Fingerprint Reader, 10-point touch E-ink keyboard with active pen. This Lenovo Yoga Book laptop has a second screen that switches between a keyboard and tablet display as needed....
The Best Outdoor Tablet
CPU: Intel Core 6th Generation i5-6300U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 11.6inch FHD (1920X1080) Outdoor-Readable Glove-Capable Touchscreen w/ Gorilla Glass | Storage: 128GB SSD | Weight: 4lbs | Camera: 8MP | Connectivity: 802.11AC Dual-Band Wi-Fi + BT 4.2 |
Look, we can’t spend our entire lives working at a desk on our latest project. Sometimes you just have to get outside and enjoy a nice sunny day. For those days, the Latitude 7212 Rugged Extreme Tablet from Dell is the one we’d carry with us. With a tough plastic shell and corners with grip to help you hold on to it, the 7212 can survive small falls, rain, dust and extreme temperature changes. It is truly a world-ready tablet. While a keyboard is available for the tablet, some have mentioned issues with the touchpad. If you’re looking for a tablet that can handle what Mother Nature might throw at you, the Latitude 7212 is a great choice.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product...
- Intel Core 6th Generation i5-6300U Processor (Dual Core, up to 3.00 GHz, 3M Cache, 15W) + u-blox NEO-M8 GPS card
- 11.6inch FHD (1920X1080) Outdoor-Readable Glove-Capable Touchscreen w/ Gorilla Glass | Dual Webcam
- 8GB 1866MHz LPDDR3 Memory | 128GB 2.5 inch SATA Solid State Drive | (Keyboard not included)
- 3 Year Dell Manufacture Warranty | Primary 2-Cell (34Whr) battery | Windows 10 Professional | 802.11AC Dual-Band Wi-Fi + BT 4.2
An excellent laptop or desktop alternative
CPU: 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro M620 w/ 2GB | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 14″ 4K Touchscreen | Storage: 256 GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wifi + Bluetooth | 2x Webcams| Weight: 4.85lbs | Camera: 720 pixels
Attached to its keyboard and closed, the ZBook X2 looks like any other laptop you may find on sale. With its sleek, premium build, the ZBook X2 has a strong specification set that can provide designers with an excellent alternative to traditional choices for getting work done. The 14-inch, the touch panel has a matte anti-glare finish with an integrated electromagnetic resonance (EMR) layer developed by Wacom, a company known for its graphics tablets. While the digital pen is an optional purchase, it has left and right-clicks functions and an eraser without using a battery as the EMR layer charges the pen. Much like a Wacom tablet, the ZBook comes with function buttons that you can program and best of all can use full versions of Photoshop right on the tablet thanks to the Windows operating system.Learn More
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The Best Tablet For Beginning Designers
Active drawing area: 13.5 x 7.6in | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels | Connections: USB | OS: Windows
While its designed to be primarily used as a drawing tablet, the beautiful display, and sensitive drawing pen, plus the use of the Windows operating system made this a perfect choice for any beginning designer. The 10 shortcut keys are easily programmable so you can streamline your work and while it is not a wireless tablet, you still have an amazing surface to draw on and can use Photoshop thanks to the Windows OS. If you’re just starting out and money is an issue (when isn’t it though?), the PD1560 is a great first tablet for designers.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- 【FOR ONLINE TEACHING & MEETING】You can use PD1560 pen display for online education and remote meeting. It works with most online meeting programs, like Zoom, and so on. 【FOR DIGITAL ART &...
- 【10 EXPRESS KEYS & 8192 PEN PRESSURE SENSITIVITY】-- 10 shortcut keys are customizable . 8192 leves's pen pressure gives you better control of lines. About 2 hours to 2.5 hours for full charge of...
- 【ADJUSTABLE STAND】-- You can find a perfect and comfortable position by dragging the switch to adjust the angle of pen display . 【3-in-1 CABLE】-- To reduce the cable clutter.f there is no hdmi...
- 【OS SUPPORT& PROGRAM COMPATIBILITY】-- Windows 7/8/10 or later, Mac OS 10.11 or later; compatible with most major drawing software. Works great Photoshop、Pant Tool SAI 2、Cilp Studio Paint,...
- 【Others】---Please use extra hdmi adapter if there is no hdmi port on your computers. We don't usb to hdmi adapter. And better using one to one type hdmi adapter instead of multi ports hub. If you...
The Best 2-in-1 Tablet Available
CPU: 8th generation Intel Quad-Core i7 Processor | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch and 15-inch PixelSense Touchscreen | Storage: 256GB – 1TB | Camera: 8MP | Connectivity: 802.11abg | Weight: 3.62lbs
When Microsoft released the Surface Pro, they set the bar for how 2-in-1 tablets were supposed to be and with the Surface Book 2, that bar was raised just a little farther. While the Book is designed to provide more of a laptop feel, the machine can do just about everything with ease. The 15-inch screen along with an Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card inside can make your design work look impressive. With faster performance and longer battery life, the Book 2 is a more fully realized professional PC than the Surface Pro. The combination of a high-quality tablet with the looks and performance of a laptop makes the Surace Book 2 a great choice for any designer.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Microsoft Surface Book 2 Features a 8th generation Intel Quad Core i7 Processor, 1 TB of storage, 16 GB RAM, and up to 17 hours of video playback
- Enhanced Graphics performance with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 discrete GPU w/2GB GDDR5 Graphics Memory
- The fastest Surface Book yet, with 2x more power; Bluetooth: BT4.1 LE
- Vibrant PixelSense Display: Now available with an improved 13.5" touchscreen
- Four versatile modes of use and new USB C port
The Largest Screen on a Windows Tablet
Active drawing area: 19.5 x 11.5in | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Pen pressure sensitivity: 2,048 levels | Connections: DVI, USB 2.0 | OS: Windows
If you’re a graphic designer, you know that the more screen you have, the better you can do to make your work exactly the way you want it. The Cintiq 22HD tablet from Wacom gives you so much room with 22 inches of display that lets you draw right on the screen and the stylus is sensitive enough to respond to your subtle expressions. While the stand can take some getting used to, if you’re serious about your design work, you have to have this tablet.Learn More
Latest Price on Amazon:
- 22 inches HD display features a wide format, full HD resolution and extra wide viewing angle
- Work naturally and intuitively directly on screen; Sketch, paint, design and edit directly on the surface of the screen
- Wacom's most advanced pressure and tilt sensitive pen technology replicates the natural effects and experience of working with conventional tools such as pens, markers, and brushes
- Time saving express keys, work easier and faster with customizable express keys, 1 touch access to your favorite shortcuts
The Best Windows Tablets for Designers in 2020
The sheer amount of options that are out there for you to choose from when you are in the market for a new table is staggering. Narrowing that down to the best windows tablets for designers isn’t easy but we feel like we have come up with a wide array of options for you to choose from and we hope it can make the process of choosing a new Windows tablet.
Do you have a Windows tablet that you think is the best but you don’t see it on our list? Let us know in the comments below!