With the current trend of amazing smartphones and surprisingly portable laptops, tablets seem to have retreated into the shadows. But this is actually far from the truth.
In recent years tablets have been getting more and more powerful. While they used to be great for reading and writing, these best-budget tablets are now capable of handling much more such as photo editing and working on the go. They are certainly one of my top travel gadgets.
The best ones are a combination of performance and portability at the right price, this is who I love the iPad Air. But, there are plenty of other choices.
So, if you are searching for the best tablet for traveling and working while you go, you have come to the right place on the internet.
Note – Please know, some of the external links on this page are affiliate links, this means that if you purchase after following one, I make a small commission from the sale at no additional cost to yourself.
Why a tablet?
A smartphone — though very portable — is simply too small for completing creative tasks like creating and editing documents, editing photos or executing digital campaigns and promoting your work. Obviously, you don’t have to do any of these things from your smartphone because you definitely have a work laptop.
But as a writer or blogger, sometimes you’ll have to go places and leaving your work behind is never an option. This is where an ultra-portable work machine comes in.
Of course, there are very portable laptops available but what if you want something more compact, much lighter and can easily disappear into your pocket but can still help you stay productive throughout your trip. And you have it, a tablet.
So what features should you look for in a tablet for traveling?
HD Display or Nah?
If your sole reason for getting a tablet is to stay productive on your travels, then you need a tablet that will give you enough digital real estate to work on. Tablets come in different sizes and some are as small as 7 inches in size, this will probably be too small for completing any real work. A 10 to 11 inch tablet will be the most useful.
Next, you have to consider battery life. An ideal tablet for writing and blogging on-the-go should have a battery life of at least 10 hours on a single charge, so you can conduct that research, finish that piece of article and complete some reasonable amount of work before thinking of charging your device again. Of course, you may also need to pack a portable power charger just to be extra careful.
Accessories – Apple Pencil and Keyboards
If you’re completely sold to writing with your PC because you just prefer writing on a physical keyboard and don’t quite find the virtual keyboard in many touchscreen devices very convenient, then you sure need a tablet with a physical keyboard. Yes, some tablets come with physical keyboards and no, this doesn’t make them less portable.
Keyboards that come with tablets are usually very slim and fold back to attach to the body of the tablet. Not all tablets come with a keyboard, some simply give you the option of plugging in a keyboard.
Capable Apple/Android Tablet Readers
As a writer, you’re probably also a reader which means your tablet will also act as your mobile library. This means that while choosing a tablet, be sure to remember that it has to be compatible with your favorite reading apps.
So let’s get right to it, the 10 best tablets for traveling to stay productive on-the-go.
The best tablets for traveling
- The Apple iPad Air
- Microsoft Surface Pro 7
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 10.4”
- All-new Fire HD 8 tablet
- HP Elite X2
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
- Dragon Touch KidzPad Y88X 7 Kids Tablet
- Microsoft Surface Go
- Lenovo Tab M10 Plus
- Asus Transformer Pad Infinity
1. The iPad Air
This beauty beat the other iPads in various online polls since its release, and it’ll take serious courage to argue differently. While it might not be as outlandish as the Pro with specs, or as cheap as the iPad or iPad mini, the iPad Air offers the very best of both worlds in such a way that will leave any buyer without regret.
The curved edges of the previous iPad Air editions have been thankfully disposed for the flat edges of the iPad Pro, and that’s not it as in common with the Pro. The iPad Air also features the P3 Wide Color assistance on Apple’s TrueTone mode, the completely laminated build, and even the anti-reflective coating of the Apple iPad Pro.
Also, with the A14 Bionic chip in tow, the iPad Air houses a 30% faster 4-core GPU, a 40% stronger 6-core GPU, and a 70% better machine learning Neural Engine compared to its predecessors. The iPad Air is just as superbly functional and impressive as the Pro while being cost-effective but rid of all the limitations that hold the iPad and iPad mini. There’s no better choice in truth.
- Superfast performance
- Long-lasting battery
- Very bright display
- It’s gorgeous
- The Smart Keyboard has no touchpad
- Keyboard and pencil cost extra
- Stunning 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and P3 wide color
But, all iPads are pretty great
You know what, as you’re here, let’s have a quick look at the other iPad models too. While I would choose the air, maybe you want something with a bit more oomph, like the iPad Pro or something small and beautiful like (. . . trying my hardest not to write me here . . .) like the iPad Mini.
1.2 iPad Pro
The king of iPads is in a class of its own, that is without a doubt. Both the 11-inch and 12-inch types are designed with the calculated complexity to perfectly cater to all the professional needs of artists, editors, engineers, and designers that expect too much from their tablets.
The Apple iPad Pro is an excellent travel companion for any writer and it checks all the boxes for a perfect on-the-go computing device.
The Pros now uses the A12Z Bionic chip to boost its performance beyond the realms of operation of the Air, mini, and many laptops out there to be honest. After all, how many devices (Notebooks, Laptops, tablets) can boast of ROM sizes reaching 1TB like the Pros? Very few.
As for its display, the Pros settled for the same 264 pixels per inch pixel density as the iPad Air and iPad but through its Liquid Retina display. It’s also the only beneficiary of Apple’s exclusive ProMotion working at refresh speeds reaching 120Hz. That’s not to mention the introduction of some new features like the new Light Detection and Ranging Scanner added to the camera group opposite the front-facing TrueDepth camera to enable the Pro to measure time-at-flight and distance. The message is simple: if you want cutting-edge tech, get the money ready.
The Smart Keyboard is a bit shallow but it’s comfortable for typing. The iPad Pro also has an Apple pencil which is great for taking quick notes. Though the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil come with extra costs, they are both very important writing material no writer should do without. Plus, the way the apple pencil smoothly connects with the Apple iPad greatly enhances your experience with the iPad Pro and helps you stay productive.
1.3 Apple iPad
As recently as 2017, when the Apple iPad took the place of the iPad Air 2, it was just a tech piece with just a little more than antique value for those that wanted to take selfies with the Apple logo in-frame.
With time, though, the iPad has gained quality, so much that it can now almost stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the iPad Air on the hypothetical spec shelf. 2020 epitomizes that growth with an A10 processor replacing the now-defunct A10 processor.
There’s the same quality of options in memory as the 2019 iPad, but 32GB and 128GB are far from terrible provisions. And it makes up for some of its lapses by having a 2160×1620 pixel resolution that’s superior to the iPad mini.
1.4 iPad mini
The smallest iPad is not the weakest – that spot is designated to the iPad. It is more attractive to the iPad Pro on two fronts, which is not an easy feat to accomplish.
First, it is a lot cheaper than the Pro, which comes as no surprise given it has a more mobile frame of 7.9 inches in screen dimensions. However, its smaller screen size opened the way for the mini to claim 326 pixels per inch density despite having a really low screen resolution of 2,048×1,536 to put the Pro in the shadows. The mini usually comes with Wi-Fi only, but there’s the version that supports 5G so you can access cellular data when you’re moving without a mobile hotspot.
Just like the iPad Air, it also has the P3 Wide Color assistance on Apple’s TrueTone mode, the completely laminated build, and even the anti-reflective coating of the Apple iPad Pro, as well as the A12 used in the iPad. If you’re looking for a compact tech powerhouse, then look no further.
2. Microsoft Surface Pro 7
How’s a tablet with 12.3-inch touchscreen and an Intel 10th Gen Core i5 or i7 CPU?
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 offers unquestionable sophistication at the weight of a feather.
Unlike Surface devices of old where Microsoft experimented with colors ranging from spaceship grey to suspicious shades of pink, the Surface Pro 7 comes in either a cooler matte black and rich platinum.
Instead, the R&D department went to work to develop different CPU options that provide faster and more reliable performance than tablets outside its price range.
The screen resolution of the Surface Pro 7 is recorded at 2736 x 1824, dimensions that deliver a respectable 267 pixels per inch that are expected of such a big brand. You can also be issued of clarity and smooth transitions with the graphics powered by the Intel Iris Plus.
However, the No Suggestions Available Surface Pen used on it allows 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and an innovative N-trig operational system, unlike the Wacom technology that other styli are disposed to.
While the charm of the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is obvious, there’s the option of a separately-sold TypeCover that offers users an impressive 2-in-1 experience through its tough and stable kickstand and a six-pin port.
As for other ports, the Pro 6 has a mini DisplayPort hole, one USB-A 3.0 port, a microSD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack asked well as the mandatory power supply cable port.
Here’s top-of-the-line technology at a delicious price, it’s a great deal.
- Long battery life
- Has a detachable keyboard and a responsive touchpad
- Powerful processors
- Intel Iris Graphics
- So many great features
- Keyboard costs extra
- Next gen, best in class laptop with the versatility of a studio and tablet, so you can type, touch, draw, write, work, and play more naturally
3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 10.4”
Just like they have done so remarkably well with smartphones, Samsung has declared their wish to claim a greater hold on the previously-monopolized market of tablets with this piece.
For its price, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite exceeds expectations on so many different levels, and it’s that strong all-round game you can rely on to bring a smile to your face every time you hold yours.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is dressed in either Angora Blue, Oxford Grey, or Chiffon Pink colors with a 10.4” display with a screen resolution marked at 2000×1200 on a featherweight metal unibody. The intelligent display is accessorized with a 5-megapixel front camera that’s partnered with a rear camera quality of 8 megapixels.
What really steals the show for the S6, though, is the intelligent S Pen and the included PENUP app that’s been intentionally designed to offer incisive response, low latency, and lovely pressure sensitivity with a natural grip that’ll make it your favorite tool for work and study.
Compared to its rivals and their 32GB memory limit, the S6 packs a heavy 64GB of ROM running with an octa-core processor that floats on 4GB of RAM. The inbuilt memory can be further expanded to yield 1TB of internal storage space for those interested. Add to that an unprecedented 7,040mAh of battery life to complete the arsenal of what is the most powerful android tablet you’ll see on the market today.
- Great performance
- Long battery life
- Beautiful display
- Free S pen
- The keyboard costs extra
- The glass back is a fingerprint magnet
- The included S Pen makes it easier than ever to write notes and personalize photos and videos, all without needing to charge. The S Pen attaches...
4. All-new Fire HD 8 tablet
Compared to its previous edition, the Fire 8 HD comes with an improved 2GHz quad-core MediaTek 8168 processor, 2 hours extra battery life, less weight, numerous software updates, the addition of USB-C charging as well as a few other enhancements that makes the $10 price difference a ridiculous thing.
There’s also Fire HD 8’s track record as reliable options despite their wallet-friendly prices to consider.
Indeed, while Amazon has been the king of budget tab acquisitions for some time now, the 2020 edition comes with an interesting dilemma – choosing between two different 8-inch Amazon Fire tabs.
The difference between the two options are extremely similar, but there’s the addition of wireless charging features, up to 1TB memory microSD support (a jump up from previous 512GB capacities), and better performance for a few extra bucks.
There’s also better front camera positioning up for grabs with the Amazon Fire tabs – it’s now placed at the side of the tab which works out better for Zoom calls and other video conferencing alternatives in their preferred landscape mode.
On that note, the display gracing screen of the 2020 version is slightly wider than older versions, and some of its height was sacrificed to deliver uniform bezel width around the entire display. For its price, and even some ways higher, you won’t see less bezels and more screen in the tablet market.
The Amazon Fire automatically ensures a more natural Amazon prime membership that’s affected throughout the device alongside Hands-free Alexa voice assistant integration for an all-round smarter tablet experience.
It runs on the Fire operating system, which is based on Android but you can install Google’s Play Store and gain access to every Android app, including Gmail, Chrome, Google Maps, Hangouts, and the over one million apps in Google Play.
- Works with Alexa
- Great for Prime Members
- Can integrate Google Play Store
- Expandable memory
- Internal memory is small
- Not as powerful as many tablets
- 8" HD display, 2X the storage (32 or 64 GB of internal storage and up to 1 TB with microSD card) + 2 GB RAM. 10th generation (2020 release).
5. HP Elite X2
The HP Elite X2 is a 12 inches convertible tablet designed in the style and sleekness of a notebook. This device is no joke and it packs the Windows 10 operating system coming up to compete directly with the sleek and beautiful Microsoft Surface convertible tablets — and it does a good job of that.
With a thickness of 0.35 inches, the HP Elite X2 is an ultra-slim and very compact device and it weighs 1.83 pounds but this slightly increases to 2.6 pounds with the keyboard attached. Even at the new weight, it’s still a portable 2-in-1 convertible tablet.
For a tablet of its class, the HP Elite X2 is an excellent device to work with as it has the 1.1GHz Core m5-6Y54 chip inside (with Core m3 and Core m7 options) which makes it more than powerful enough for everyday office work plus internet tasks. Its battery will also stay with you long after your workday is over since it lasts for 10 hours on a single charge, this is an impressive feature.
The HP Elite X2 also comes with a detachable physical keyboard that is very comfortable and supports fast typing plus a responsive touchpad which is a bit too narrow — though it works just fine. It also has an active pen stylus which is rechargeable and it’s attached to the tablet via a user-installable string loop. This tablet isn’t just stylish and beautiful, it’s also sturdy and robust and will remain unscathed if dropped from 32 inches above ground onto a wooden floor.
- Durable and sturdy build
- Good performance
- Long-lasting battery
- Keyboard magnets to the tablet and comes off too easily
- It’s a bit heavy compared to its competition
- 12.3" WQXGA+ Corning Gorilla Glass 4 ultra-slim LED-backlit Touch Screen (2736 x 1824)
6. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Another excellent ultra-portable computing device to help you stay productive while on the move is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. The S4 is an Android tablet designed for a busy life both at home, in your office or on the go, it gives you the productivity of a PC and the mobility of a tablet.
With a display of 10.5 inches, it gives you enough space to get some work done and it packs 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage plus a MicroSD card slot which supports up to 400GB.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 has an awesome display that is crisp and colorful with all the apps aligned to the left like in a Windows laptop. And it comes with a keyboard cover which doubles as a tablet cover and if you like to work with a mouse, the S4 has you covered as it comes with a mouse, though this will cost you some extra bucks.
This Samsung tablet also has an S Pen which is great for navigating the tablet, making sketches and jotting down quick notes. The S pen doesn’t need any charging and has a storage space in the tablet which makes it easy to replace after use.
Another exciting feature of the S4 is its long-lasting battery life. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 has a battery built to last for up to 16 hours, this is super impressive. Unlike most tablets, the S4 has a mouse to help you navigate through it, this tablet is built to be an assistant to any hard worker and it also very suitable for entertaining yourself.
- Crisp and colorful display
- Comes with an S pen
- PC desktop-like DeX interface
- The keyboard has no touchpad
- Keyboard and mouse cost extra
- DeX: Transform your tablet into a PC
7. Dragon Touch KidzPad Y88X 7 Kids Tablet
So I’m just throwing a bit of a wildcard in here in case you are after a great table for kids while traveling. Giving them their own one reduces the risk of yours being damaged and increases the chance of you actually getting to use your own tablet.
In a changing world where bright futures are decided less by who’s faster at solving algebra, and more by who’s more acquainted with fast-evolving technology, the Dragon Touch KidzPad Y88X 7 Kids Tablet offers the perfect introduction for your little ones to the world of technology.
Despite coming at a steal for its low price, the Dragon Touch KidzPad comes with 20 officially authorized pre-loaded Disney Audio books to save you $120. The 20 books come with classics like Mulan’s Lunar New Year, Beauty and the Beast, Pooh’s Secret Garden, Moana and the Ocean, The Lion King, and many other kids’ favorites. Through the installed KIDOZ app, your kid also has a positive tech space to learn, play, explore and create.
Kids will be kids, and that’s why the kids edition Dragon Touch KidzPad is made with stress-resistant flexible silicone material to make it tough, durable, and lightweight. While the tablet case has enough scratch-resistance to guard against the inevitable drops, bumps, and the occasional pressure while providing a child-friendly grip. The detachable straps also make it attachable to car seats.
The rotatable handle is designed to aid switches between multiple viewing angles and provide eye protection alongside the 1024 x 600 IPS HD display. The system brightness automatically adjusts to surrounding illumination to equally protect your kid’s eyes.
The Dragon Touch KidzPad Y88X 7 Kids Tablet provides eye protection in more ways than one for kids, as the operating system denies in-app purchases, there are no ads, and parents can set different profiles for each kid, block accessibility to certain apps, and set timers on the total screen time and lock times of the device.
Add to that the Family Link feature built for remote monitoring, real-time Google Account activity supervision and reports, as well as the ability to guide them to good content. There’s no better and safer fun tech teacher out there.
- 【Pre-installed KIDOZ app】Pre-installed KIDOZ app gives your kids access to thousands of free apps, games, videos, and filtered websites with no ads or...
8. Microsoft Surface Go
Another Windows tablet that’s an excellent choice for writers and bloggers is the Microsoft Surface Go. This device has the speed and performance of a Windows 10 laptop and the flexibility and portability of a tablet. The 10 inches Surface Go is currently one of the best writing tablets in the market, it weighs only 1.15 pounds and it is just about 0.33 inches thick which makes it a superbly portable computing device.
The Microsoft Surface Go is powered by Intel Pentium Gold Processor and has a RAM of 4GB which gives it an excellent performance speed and allows it to smoothly juggle several tasks without stuttering or lagging. And it has a battery life of 9 hours which is enough for a full workday.
As a writer, if you’ve become accustomed to the tapping sound of your keyboard while writing (which is to be expected) and this helps the flow of your inspiration then you’d surely prefer a writing tablet with a physical keyboard. The Microsoft Surface Go wouldn’t disappoint you in this regard, it comes with a keyboard dock which is very comfortable for typing and a responsive touchpad which makes it feel like you’re actually working with a PC.
It also comes with a Surface Pen which is great for taking quick notes and it has a rubber eraser at the top which makes it feel like you’re using a pencil. And you can write in any Windows 10 apps that accept pen input like Microsoft Word, OneNote, etc. With all the features that can make content creators’ hearts race, it’s clear that this device is obviously designed with hard workers (including writers and creatives) in mind.
- Speedy performance
- Comfortable backlit keyboard and touchpad
- Windows Hello for facial recognition login
- Better battery life than its predecessors
- Thick bezel on a bigger screen
- Keyboard and pen come with extra costs for one of the “budget tablets”
- High res 10 inch PixelSense Display designed to be viewed, touched, and written on
9. Lenovo Tab M10 Plus
4GB of RAM and 64GB worth of storage space are least exciting specifications of the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus, and that says a lot about this overachieving tablet.
Facial recognition, Lenovo’s Entertainment Center, a MediaTek Helio P22T octa-core processor, great battery life, and a 10.3-inch screen with a 1920 x 1200 screen resolution in HD define what can be considered high-end, and that’s what the M10 offers for relatively next to nothing.
For less than $200 you get a full metal-bodied design and impressive build quality that is usually a trait you see with high-end phones and tablets.
In addition, the M10 weighs just about 460g, just enough to know you’re holding more value for your money, and light enough for you to enjoy the 5-MP front-facing camera (which works wonders is usable for Zoo and Skype video calls or the odd selfie. And there’s even more value to be found in the 8-MP main camera.
When it comes to ports, the M10 is up there with the very best tech, boasting a Type-C USB port for charging and connections, as well as its 3.5mm headphone Jack. The M10 also comes with a MicroSD slot that supports external memory spaces reaching 256GB for extra capacity.
As far as functionality, the M10 doesn’t let down with its Android 9 Pie Software build version allowing more room to explore what’s the latest modifications to the Android life.
There’s also a series of modes to cater for every person. There’s a ‘kids’ mode’ to safely give your kids some screen time, and a ‘productivity mode’ when it’s time to roll up your sleeves. Just as the M10 is seamlessly doing with an amazing list of specifications, you’ll be able to punch above your weight with the M10 in your hands.
- Good performance fitting for the best tablet for travel
- Great battery life
- Good display (great for movies) and solid speakers
- Sharp cameras
- Old Android version (Android 7.1 Nougat)
- Premium look and feel with metal back cover and slim, narrow bezels. Enjoy your favorite videos on the 10.3" FHD display with TDDI technology
10. Asus Transformer Pad Infinity
The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity was once described as the new Android King, and it was no exaggeration.
If you prefer Android to iOS and Windows on a tablet and are an ASUS fan. then the Asus Transformer Pad infinity would be a good choice.
This device is packed full with very exciting features and it’s the only Android tablet with a full HD display which is amazingly crisp, bright and colorful.
One of the most impressive features of the Transformer Pad Infinity is it’s speedy performance and very fast load times, thanks to the new quad-core processor – Nvidia Tegra 3 T33.
Completing everyday tasks provides no challenge for this tablet and if your favorite recreation is playing video games, then prepare to be completely entertained with the Transformer Pad Infinity as it was built with gaming in mind, plus you can’t help but admire the crisp clear image quality and beautiful display – a few things that make travel-sized windows laptop replacement a lost topic in your mind.
This Asus tablet is 0.37 inches thick and it weighs 1.4 pounds which is very portable for anyone, and it has a battery life of about 7.5 hours.
The virtual keyboard is also very responsive and has the Swype-style trace feature which allows you to spell words by tracing lines between letters. For a physical/bluetooth keyboard, the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity is compatible with the Asus keyboard dock which houses a full-sized USB 2.0 port, a microSD card slot and a 19.5Wh battery that significantly extends the battery life of the Transformer Pad Infinity.
While a little outdated now, this android tablet still holds up to the newer models while offering the bonus of a price tag that shows it’s a year or so outdated.
- High-res display
- Fast performance
- Long-lasting battery
- Finger pressure distorts the display
- Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, 10.1" LED Backlight WUXGA (1920x1200) Screen, latest generation Corning Gorilla Glass 2
Final Thoughts on finding the best tablet for travel
The perfect tablet for traveling depends on several great features but mostly it depends on personal preferences, and of course budget. There is a reason Apple and Microsoft have high prices, they are pure class.
However, that doesn’t mean you cannot find some great value options. Just be careful of falling into the cheap tablet trap, many of the unbranded clones quickly become sluggish and have a dull display, it can never be great for anyone.
But, that said, there are some diamonds in the rough, just see my post on the best tablets under $200 to check them out,
So, a tablet should have a decent performance and should multitask really well so that you can easily glide between apps, conduct research without getting frustrated and barely withholding the urge to smash the damn tablet on a wall. It should also have a battery that is strong enough to see you through a full working day before it requires another charge.
And, if you’re a writer committed to writing with a physical keyboard, then it should have a keyboard dock or at least support one.
With your must-have tablet features laid out, you’ll find out that choosing the best tablet for traveling becomes super easy and less confusing. And if you want my opinion, I strongly recommend the top pick which is the Apple iPad Air, it really is the perfect balance of performance, portability and at a reasonable price too.