Best Tablet for Reading and Light Computing

Reardons Beard

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Dec 3, 2005
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I have a major project that's just been dropped on my lap (a good thing) and am going to have to read a lot in the coming weeks. Most files will be PDF or digital and as I'll be in the field without printers or any hard copies I want to have a better tablet. Is the iPad Pro the name of the game? What would everyone recommended for something that is durable, easy on the eyes, and will last?

I've always been an Macbook guy with the full keyboard but am going to have to pass on full keyboards for the time being. Not married to Apple and open to other options.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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Sep 27, 2016
7,940
I've liked my Surface Pro 3 for the last few years, most particularly because it has Real Windows with Real MS Office on it, none of this Windows-R nonsense. It's got good brightness and battery life, though I haven't gone over the comparison tests to know how it stacks up. But for example, I can stream 3-4 hours of live video for a sports match on it, even after 3-4 years of wear and tear, without its battery running down to critical levels. So for less-intensive activities with wifi turned off, I absolutely believe you'd get a lot of life out of it. The attached keyboard-doubling-as-cover is pretty helpful for what I use it for, though I suppose you can get away without it, but that's pretty close to your "laptop with full keyboard" scenario, but with the weight and flexibility of a tablet.

Can't speak to an iPad, but we bought the Surface after determining it met all our needs, and it's held up well in that regard.
 

Reardons Beard

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Dec 3, 2005
3,207
Boston, MA
I've liked my Surface Pro 3 for the last few years, most particularly because it has Real Windows with Real MS Office on it, none of this Windows-R nonsense. It's got good brightness and battery life, though I haven't gone over the comparison tests to know how it stacks up. But for example, I can stream 3-4 hours of live video for a sports match on it, even after 3-4 years of wear and tear, without its battery running down to critical levels. So for less-intensive activities with wifi turned off, I absolutely believe you'd get a lot of life out of it. The attached keyboard-doubling-as-cover is pretty helpful for what I use it for, though I suppose you can get away without it, but that's pretty close to your "laptop with full keyboard" scenario, but with the weight and flexibility of a tablet.

Can't speak to an iPad, but we bought the Surface after determining it met all our needs, and it's held up well in that regard.
Thanks for this. My friend had the Surface Pro 2 and I was mighty impressed by it a few years ago. May very well go in that direction - especially for the Word aspect.
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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Mar 24, 2008
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I have a major project that's just been dropped on my lap (a good thing) and am going to have to read a lot in the coming weeks. Most files will be PDF or digital and as I'll be in the field without printers or any hard copies I want to have a better tablet. Is the iPad Pro the name of the game? What would everyone recommended for something that is durable, easy on the eyes, and will last?

I've always been an Macbook guy with the full keyboard but am going to have to pass on full keyboards for the time being. Not married to Apple and open to other options.
Is it mostly text like you're reading a book or is it full of charts, diagrams, schematics you might want to zoom in on etc?

Pure text then one of the Kindle's might be a cheaper option, but otherwise I think the iPad Pro is going to be best. I am not an Apple guy at all, but won an iPad Pro a few years ago and one of the things I like it best for is reading. Android Tablets are pretty much disappearing, much to my disappointment as I'd love a modern 7-8" tablet running stock android.
 

Reardons Beard

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Dec 3, 2005
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Boston, MA
Is it mostly text like you're reading a book or is it full of charts, diagrams, schematics you might want to zoom in on etc?

Pure text then one of the Kindle's might be a cheaper option, but otherwise I think the iPad Pro is going to be best. I am not an Apple guy at all, but won an iPad Pro a few years ago and one of the things I like it best for is reading. Android Tablets are pretty much disappearing, much to my disappointment as I'd love a modern 7-8" tablet running stock android.
Yes. Mostly books and PDFs. This is academic type field research. Less about charts more about words.

The iPad Pro was my guess on what folks are digging. Appreciate the feedback.
 

Rudi Fingers

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Jul 18, 2005
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Thanks for this. My friend had the Surface Pro 2 and I was mighty impressed by it a few years ago. May very well go in that direction - especially for the Word aspect.
2 recommendations:

1) A Surface Go will do the same thing for you, for less money, with a more portable form factor and just-as-sturdy build quality. I have one (the top of the line model that also has LTE) as a secondary road warrior device, and the screen quality is excellent. The Surface pen works great for PDF markup. Battery life is good, but not all day good.

2) That said, if you are planning to use the tablet without the keyboard most of the time, the iPad "fingers only" experience is still way better than Windows 10. An iPad Air is scary fast (way faster than the Surface Go, which is fast enough for what you are using it for), lasts all day on battery, and can be bought at Amazon for $480. Like the Surface Go, it handles PDF reading well (and it works with the Apple Pencil if you want to mark up PDF's) , and it has the option for the Smart Keyboard cover if you want to use it to type up documents. The current iPad Pro is amazing, but it doesn't have anything you need above and beyond the current iPad Air.
 

Blacken

Robespierre in a Cape
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Jul 24, 2007
12,113
I use a regular iPad, non-Pro, for a couple hours of reading and note-taking with the Pencil. I bought an iPad Pro and returned it; I didn't really find it particularly useful.

Android Tablets are pretty much disappearing, much to my disappointment as I'd love a modern 7-8" tablet running stock android.
Android applications have always been awful in large formats--even when somebody cared about the tablet experience while writing an app (hi)--so I dunno about that.

(I used to use Android tablets for managing my video production systems, to the extent that I wrote software to do it. iOS is just...better for it.)
 

Reardons Beard

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Dec 3, 2005
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Boston, MA
2 recommendations:

1) A Surface Go will do the same thing for you, for less money, with a more portable form factor and just-as-sturdy build quality. I have one (the top of the line model that also has LTE) as a secondary road warrior device, and the screen quality is excellent. The Surface pen works great for PDF markup. Battery life is good, but not all day good.

2) That said, if you are planning to use the tablet without the keyboard most of the time, the iPad "fingers only" experience is still way better than Windows 10. An iPad Air is scary fast (way faster than the Surface Go, which is fast enough for what you are using it for), lasts all day on battery, and can be bought at Amazon for $480. Like the Surface Go, it handles PDF reading well (and it works with the Apple Pencil if you want to mark up PDF's) , and it has the option for the Smart Keyboard cover if you want to use it to type up documents. The current iPad Pro is amazing, but it doesn't have anything you need above and beyond the current iPad Air.
Thanks for the tip on the Air. This actually makes the most sense for cost as well, if it is up to task and all that.
 

nighthob

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Jul 15, 2005
7,708
Yes. Mostly books and PDFs. This is academic type field research. Less about charts more about words.

The iPad Pro was my guess on what folks are digging. Appreciate the feedback.
The IPad Pro is easy on the eyes. Zagg makes great keyboard covers for them, too, so that you don’t need to skimp there.
 

luckiestman

Son of the Harpy
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Jul 15, 2005
11,684
I don’t enjoy any of these for reading academic journal articles. I print most stuff out if I’m really going to go through it.

Sony makes one I would like but it is too expensive.

For novels, I have one of the old kindles that is not a lit screen.


Edit: meant to link this. It is expensive for what it is but maybe you’re a money guy. iPad Pro if you want something that you can use for other stuff


Edit2: that link looks weird so I’m posting this too

https://www.sony.com/electronics/digital-paper-notepads/dpt-series
 
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gtmtnbiker

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Jul 15, 2005
359
iPad is the way to go. Rock solid, light, great battery life.
I'm a Windows guy but I'm disappointed with the Surface Pro 3 in terms of the above factors.
I don't plan to get a Surface again. Much happier with the traditional Lenovo laptop.
 

Nick Kaufman

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Aug 2, 2003
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The iPad mini is the perfect size for reading books. It is th size of a book, its what the iPad was meant to be. In the lasted three version, they added a stylus, so you can combine it with OneNote and jolt notes quickly.

If you want to do more, like work, then you look at a laptop or the 13 inch iPad.
 

sueh1

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Aug 16, 2004
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Realized this thread was very similar to my Pro thread (which got moved from P&G). So, pasting my last question here just in case people aren’t looking at that one:

So, I went to Best Buy and looked at all 3 iPads. $325 for regular, $499 for Air, $675 for Pro, with Memorial Day sales. It was hard then to justify the more expensive ones, other than amazing display on Pro. Seeing that I won’t use it for much more than Instagram and Netflix, and an occasional ebook. Is there any reason I’d regret buying the basic for those needs, anything bad or glitchy about that one?