Best iPad Pro alternatives available in the US today
After all, it was only a couple of months ago that we were ready to bet the house the Cupertino company’s drastically redesigned high-end tablets would see daylight alongside the iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR.
If you’re unwilling to wait any longer, you can obviously still pick up last year’s iOS giants. Extremely well-reviewed after their commercial debut, they continue to dominate the market, helped by a lightly refreshed non-Pro 9.7-inch iPad.
Alternatively, you could always buy a decent Android, Windows 10, or even Chrome OS slate. Because sales aren’t exactly thriving, it’s not easy to put together a robust list of iPad Pro alternatives. But here are your best options available today if you’re bothered by the advanced age of Apple’s latest Pro tablets or don’t consider iOS the most optimized platform for a gargantuan screen.
Google Pixel Slate
The latter is actually pricier than Apple’s Smart Keyboard, at a whopping $199, featuring love-or-hate circular keys, an etched glass trackpad, as well as doubling as a protective cover, just like the competition. Intriguingly enough, a slightly cheaper third-party option promises to make the Pixel Slate look more like a traditional laptop.
The Pixelbook Pen is not new, matching the $99 price tag of the Apple Pencil, while also offering pressure sensitivity and tilt support. Basically, your decision to buy the Pixel Slate over an iPad Pro will come down to whether or not you can live with Chrome OS (and Android apps).
You may also want to consider the entry-level configuration is 50 bucks cheaper than a 10.5-inch iPad Pro... with a beautiful 12.3-inch “Molecular” display in tow. But because the Intel Celeron processor is not ideal, we highly recommend you go for a $799 Core m3 or a $999 Core i5 variant. Both of those pack 8GB RAM, with 64 and 128GB solid-state storage respectively.
Whichever model you end up choosing, a pair of USB-C ports will provide a much higher degree of flexibility and versatility compared to Apple's proprietary Lightning connector.
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Naturally, Surface Pro Signature Type Covers and Surface Pens are available separately at $160 and $100 respectively. The former is arguably more “professional”-looking and productive than Apple’s Smart Keyboard, not to mention “infinitely adjustable” and extra-stylish, with a luxurious Alcantara cover.
The Surface Pen is no pushover either, boasting 4,096 pressure points, compared to Apple’s unspecified sensitivity levels.
As far as the actual tablet is concerned, the aforementioned extra $100 will buy you twice the internal storage of the entry-level iPad Pro 12.9, a generous 8GB RAM, and a blazing fast i5 processor of the latest generation.
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017)
Granted, these are slightly older, significantly slower chips, but compared to the Apple A10X inside last year’s iPad Pros, they should still perform adequately for day-to-day computing tasks.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
On the bright side, the S Pen is included right out the box, and who doesn’t like the S Pen? Just like the Surface Pen, it offers top-notch precision with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, hiding many other proprietary tricks up its sleeve, including translation capabilities, Live Message support for animated handwritten notes, and Screen off memos.
Another thing the iPad Pro can’t do is turn into a full-fledged PC like the Galaxy Tab S4, which doesn’t require any sort of docking station to access DeX mode on an HDMI-supporting monitor.
By far the biggest flaw of Samsung’s newest flagship tablet is the not-so-new flagship Snapdragon chipset under the hood. The cameras were also found to be underwhelming in our in-depth review, but at the end of the day, who takes photos with gargantuan 10.5-inchers?
Last but not least, we should probably mention the Galaxy Tab S4 comes with a shiny glass back, which might be an exciting design choice for some, but it can also be very easy to crack.
Lenovo Miix 630
That’s because the $900 starting price (marked down to $840) not only includes a full-sized detachable keyboard with backlighting and minimal travel and a Lenovo Active Pen, but 4G LTE connectivity as well. In contrast, the cheapest LTE-enabled iPad Pro variant is $779 with no included Smart Keyboard or Apple Pencil, as well as a 10.5-inch screen.
The Miix 630 sports a large 12.3-inch display (albeit with a not-so-impressive 1920 x 1280 resolution), but perhaps its number one selling point is exceptional battery life. We’re talking up to 20 hours on a single charge, compared to 9 or 10 hours for the iPad Pro family.
Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro
The MediaPad M5 Pro is essentially a cheaper Galaxy Tab S4, with an S Pen-style “M-Pen” included at no extra charge, and a pogo pin-connecting keyboard sold separately. Focused primarily on entertainment and gaming rather than productivity, the MediaPad M5 Pro certainly rivals the iPad Pro’s bass-rich, immersive sound with a premium Harman Kardon-powered quad-speaker system... at a fraction of the price.
The Kirin 960 chipset is a little old, but probably fast enough to keep up with your Netflix binging. The 10.8-incher is respectably compact and thin (although not thinner than the 10.5-inch iPad Pro), promising blazing fast charging and up to 11 hours of endurance between charges.
Microsoft Surface Go
It may all be worth it if you really want a tablet compatible with Microsoft’s winning Surface Pen and a $130 version of the company’s Signature Type Cover with the same luxurious design as the larger model and a full-mechanical keyset.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Of course, the 6.4-inch AMOLED “Infinity Display” is not ideal for comfortable content consumption, but the 201-gram weight definitely makes this preferable to the 469-gram and up iPad Pro for the occasional on-the-fly vlogging session.