I recently put out a buyer's guide for the best laptops for writers in 2018, where I broke down the best computer options based on battery life, screen size, portability, and ease of use.
And while there are a lot of great options out there, a lot of writers probably find themselves wanting something even MORE portable, sleek, and easy to use on the go.
Enter: the tablet!
A lot of people think tablets are dead, but on the contrary: tablets for writers have improved GREATLY in the past couple of years. You wouldn't believe the power and features they're packing into these things nowadays.
Without further ado, here's my guide to the best tablets for writers and writing in 2018:
(If you're in a hurry, my top overall pick is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. Check it out on Amazon!)
- Best powerhouse tablet: Microsoft Surface Pro
- Most fun to use tablet: Apple iPad 2018
- Best budget tablet: Asus ZenPad 3S
- Overall best tablet for writers: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
|Tablet||Cost||Screensize||Operating System||Battery Life||Weight|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 4||$$$||12.3 in||Windows||13.5hrs||1.7lbs|
|Apple iPad 2018||$$||9.7 in||iOs||10hrs||1.0lb|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S3||$$||9.7 in||Android||12hrs||15.2oz|
|Asus ZenPad 3S 10||$||9.7 in||Android||12hrs||15.2oz|
The top 5 things a writer needs in a tablet
OK, obviously any tablet for a writer is going to need to be super portable. That's kind of the whole point of a tablet, right?
But a lot more goes into a great tablet than just its size and weight. If you're a writer looking to do serious work on a tablet, you're going to want to make sure yours has most of the following things:
1. Screen size
If you've ever tried reading a longform article or typing out an email on your phone, you know it's a massive pain. Even a crisp display and responsive keyboard can't make up for a sheer lack of screensize.
Most tablets come in one of three ballpark screen sizes: 7 inches, 8 inches, or 10 inches.
7 is likely going to be way too small to do any serious reading, research, or writing. It'll be super easy to carry around, but you'll sacrifice way too much in usability.
8 inches might work for you, but the best tablets for writers and novelists are going to be closer to the 9 or 10 inch screen size ballpark.
2. Keyboard (or keyboard connectivity)
I don't care, man. Digital keyboards just aren't the same.
Any good writer will tell you that the tactile feedback from a physical keyboard is an important part of the creative process, believe it or not. It's not just about typing speed. There's something about the rhythmic click and clack that helps you get in the zone and do your best work.
A lot of the best tablets for typing these days come with a keyboard that folds under or attaches to the tablet body, and many more feature an optional add on for plugging in a keyboard.
If your tablet can't hook up to a real, live keyboard, it's probably not going to be a good fit for writing.
(Also check out my post on the best keyboards for writers)
3. Apps and software
If you're like most folks and just want to use your tablet for games and YouTube, pretty much anything will do. But if you want to get some real writing done on your tablet, make sure you spend some time figuring out which apps you'll need, and get a tablet that'll be compatible with them.
Screenwriters will want Final Draft, which currently only runs on Apple iOS and iPads, for example.
And there are a whole host of great writing apps of all kinds for both Apple, Android, and Windows.
Just be careful about going with a brand that doesn't run one of those big three operating systems. It may be a good deal price wise, but you may find yourself stuck with a tablet that has no useful writing software.
4. Reading functionality
While a pure eReader probably isn't going to be a good fit for a writer, you'll definitely want to make sure you've got access to a library and a way to read through eBooks.
A lot of the top tablets on iOS or Android give you access to Kindle books via the Kindle app, which is great. And you'll also want to make sure you pick a tablet with a high quality, high contrast screen to make reading a breeze.
5. Battery life
The good news here is that tablets generally have a longer battery life than their laptop counterparts during heavy use, but still, not all are created equal.
For long reading and writing sessions, a heft battery life in your tablet is a must. Tablets also, unlike laptops, aren't really all that functional while plugged in and charging (handling a plugged in tablet is a bit awkward). So charging while you work in a coffee shop might not work depending on the plug alignment.
Today's tablets average somewhere around 9 hours of battery life, with the best of them going for up to 15 on a single charge. If working on the go is important to you, set 9 hours or so as the minimum battery life for whatever tablet you choose to buy.
Show me the best tablets for writers in 2018!
OK, here we go! Now that we have a rough idea of what a writer, novelist, journalist, or screenwriter should be looking for in a tablet, let's dig in and take a look at the absolute best tablets for writers on the market in 2018:
The best powerhouse tablet for writers: The Microsoft Surface Pro 1796
Screen size: A whopping 12.3 inches
Battery life: 13.5 hours
Keyboard: It hooks up to something called a Type Cover (sold separately) that covers the screen while traveling and flips over to reveal a keyboard.
Why the The Microsoft Surface Pro 1796 is great for writers: This bad boy is indeed a powerhouse (and has the price to match) with the lowest tier offering packing up to 16 GB of RAM and plenty of internal storage. It also comes with Microsoft Office fully installed, which definitely makes this the best tablet for typing Word documents and by far one of the best tablets for writing a novel.
The most fun to use tablet for writers: Apple iPad 2018
Screen size: 9.7 inches
Battery life: 10 hours
Keyboard: There are a ton of keyboards that hook up to the Apple iPad 2018, some from Apple and several from top third party manufacturers. They're all sold separately, unfortunately, but you shouldn't have trouble finding one.
Why the Apple iPad 2018 is great for writers: Apple just knows how to make great products that are fun to use. The ergonomics and design are on point, the weight and portability are great, the screen is a decent size but super top notch, and affordability is surprisingly good. No writer can go wrong with an iPad.
The best multimedia and best overall tablet for writers: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.
Screen size: 9.7 inches
Battery life: 12 hours
Keyboard: Like the other tablets on this list, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. hooks up to a variety of external keyboards and type cases. Sold separately of course.
Why the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is great for writers: Where to begin? The S3 doesn't have the fastest processor or biggest internal storage, but it has plenty of great features for any writer: One of the tablets biggest claims to fame is its impressive sound system featuring four high quality speakers, not to mention its HDR video compatibility. It also includes a stylus pen for free, which is uber convenient. The super crisp screen and included pen make it one of the best tablets for writing with a stylus.
The best budget tablet for writers: The Asus ZenPad 3S 10
Screen size: 9.7 inches
Battery life: 12 hours
Keyboard: Sold separately, OF COURSE. But at least the Asus ZenPad 3S 10 hooks up unlike some other really cheap tablets out there. Good enough!
Why the Asus ZenPad 3S 10 is great for writers: This is the cheapest tablet for writers on the list, but still comes away looking pretty impressive overall. The screen size and battery life are great. But you get what you pay for in terms of overall speed, performance, and design. It can be a little slower and the ergonomics aren't quite as good as its counterparts, but for being one of the cheapest full-featured tablets out there, it might be a perfect fit for many writers.
Hope this guide to the best tablets for writers has helped!
But I'm curious. Do you use a tablet for writing, typing, research, or anything like that?
If you've got any helpful buying tips, please leave them in the comments!
And if you need something that packs a little more power, check out my guide to the best laptops for writers in 2018!
Disclaimer: I may receive compensation from products or services mentioned on my site, but I stand by any research, opinions, or advice I offer here.