There are tablets, there are notebooks, and there are tablets with keyboards that combine both worlds. But which is the best tablet with a keyboard? That depends, as so often, on personal preferences and requirements. We tell you which Android, Windows and iPadOS tablets are really worthwhile.
- Read more: The best tablets 2023 in the test
Tablet with keyboard: the connection of two worlds
A tablet is suitable for leisurely surfing on the sofa. With the touch control you navigate smoothly through the Internet, consume movies and series on a (compared to the smartphone) larger display and perhaps finish the one or other note.
A tablet with keyboard and pen, on the other hand, combines the world of the classic tablet with the advantages of a notebook. These devices allow you to work productively and write a 2,000-word text in Word or send a long e-mail, while combining the advantages of a compact and lightweight design with the touch control of a tablet.
A tablet with a keyboard comes in almost all shapes, colors and sizes. There are Windows 11 tablets, Samsung tablets with keyboard and devices from Apple, Microsoft and many other manufacturers.
Which model is right for you depends on many factors and the planned area of use:.
- Which operating system do you prefer? Windows, iPad OS or Android?
- What do you expect from a tablet with a keyboard and how powerful should it be?
- How large should the display be?
- How expensive should the device be? Can you, for a lower price, do without a few features?
Tablets with keyboard and pen: notebook features as an upgrade option
Important to know: A tablet with keyboard thereby marks the counterpart to a convertible (also called 2-in-1 convertible or convertible notebook). The difference quickly becomes obvious:
A notebook with a touchscreen whose display can be folded back is called a convertible. This turns the laptop into a tablet with a keyboard. As one, combined unit.
In contrast, a tablet with keyboard is just… a classic tablet, but you can optionally equip it with a keyboard (and pen), which in most cases also serves as a protective case (a so-called “cover”).
So this means: You take a normal tablet to which you can attach a flat and compact keyboard to turn it into a notebook. A convertible is more of a notebook than a tablet, while a tablet with a keyboard is the other way around.
There can be advantages and disadvantages to this, of course:
- Convertible notebooks usually rely on Windows or ChromeOS as the operating system
- Convertibles are sometimes (not always) more powerful than tablets with a keyboard
- A tablet with keyboard and pen is in many cases narrower, lighter and more compact than a convertible
- In addition, there is more choice in the operating system here – in addition to iPadOS, there are also Windows, Android and Amazon’s Fire OS to choose from, for example
As mentioned, your very personal preferences and requirements for the tablet play an important role here. Since these are just “normal” tablets that you can expand with a dockable keyboard, many of the best tablets with a keyboard are generally also the best tablets you can buy. Here are a few recommendations for tablets with keyboards you can’t go wrong with.
The best Windows tablet with keyboard: Microsoft Surface Pro 9
The best Windows tablet with a keyboard comes directly from Microsoft, and it comes in the form of the Surface Pro 9, which won’t be unveiled until October 2022. The successor of the (drum roll) Surface Pro 8, which previously held the top spot.
In the new edition, Microsoft relies on 12th generation Intel Core processors in the form of the Intel Core i5-1235U or Intel Core i7-1255U, which combine two performance cores with eight efficiency cores and an integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics unit. Up to 32 GB of fast DDR5 working memory promise a high computing speed.
All numbers and names aside: The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is a real and powerful notebook. Just in the form of a tablet. This also means that you have to buy a cover and keyboard separately. But then you get the ultimate Windows tablet experience.
Microsoft also offers the model with an ARM processor in the form of the Microsoft SQ3, which is again based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. However, this does not offer the full range of compatibility with apps and programs, which is why we would rather recommend the Intel counterpart.
However, all the fun definitely has its price. Microsoft charges at least 1,299.00 Euros for the best Windows tablet with keyboard and pen – and that is without keyboard and pen. At least another 149.99 Euros will be added here.
An alternative is of course the predecessor in the form of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8, which uses the previous processor generation and should still be fast enough for most applications. And that at a (meanwhile) significantly lower price.
- Buy Microsoft Surface Pro 9 – Price: € 1,479.24 *
The best Apple tablet with keyboard: iPad Pro
Apple has also updated its own tablet top model iPad Pro in October 2022 and now equips it, for example, with the new and faster M2 chip or Wi-Fi 6E. This makes it clear: The new iPad Pro of the 2022 model generation is the best Apple tablet with a keyboard – followed by the iPad Pro 2021, which we already tested against the iPad Air 2022.
Why the Pro? Well, without going into too much detail: The Apple iPad Pro offers so much power that you can even edit elaborate 4K videos or edit pictures with it. The tablet is available with either an 11-inch or 12.9-inch display. The latter even has a higher resolution and improved brightness of 1,000 nits or 1,600 nits for HDR content.
The Apple iPad Pro has a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3 for up to 40 Gbit/s including support for an external display with a resolution of up to 6K at 60 Hz and many other gimmicks.
Other special features can be found in the excellent keyboards in the form of the Magic Keyboard with free-floating design or the Smart Keyboard Folio. These are anything but cheap, but they are also of a correspondingly high quality.
But in the Apple cosmos, various third-party manufacturers also offer really successful keyboard covers that are more than worth their money. Logitech, for example. Here, we have already tested the Slim Folio for the iPad ourselves as an example.
- Finding the best iPad for you: Buying guide for all tablets from Apple – Basic, Mini, Air and Pro
Apple-typically, of course, you benefit quite strongly in its own ecosystem if you combine the best Apple tablet with keyboard, for example, with a Mac or MacBook. For example, through Sidecar, which allows using a tablet as a second display.
However, it does not necessarily have to be the Pro model. The iPad Air or the particularly compact iPad Mini are also very good alternatives that are perfectly suitable for most everyday tasks.
- Buy Apple iPad Pro 2022 – Price: € 1,443.94 *
Best Samsung tablet with keyboard: Galaxy Tab S8 series
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8 series includes the S8, S8+, and S8 Ultra. All three models are excellent tablets and mark the best Android tablets currently on the market.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 is the smallest tablet in the series and relies on an 11-inch AMOLED display that resolves at 2,560 x 1,600 pixels and offers a refresh rate of 120 Hz. The S8+, on the other hand, is slightly larger at 12.4 inches and offers a higher resolution. In comparison, the top model in the form of the S8 Ultra is equipped with a 14.6-inch AMOLED display and thus offers the best picture.
All three models offer excellent features, which is why you should base your purchase decision on the display size and thus also on the general dimensions of the Samsung tablet with keyboard.
Thus, the three Samsung models are also the best Android tablets with keyboards. The compact S8 in particular is a real price-performance tip, because you can get it for less than 650 Euros (including the S Pen for pen input), whereas the Tab S8 Ultra is about twice as expensive. However, you still have to buy a keyboard cover, but it is already available at quite low prices.
There is an alternative in the form of the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro, an exciting 12-inch tablet with a 120 Hz AMOLED display and high-quality features.
- Buy Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 – Price: € 688.99 *
The best Lenovo tablet with keyboard: IdeaPad Duet 3 Chromebook
The March 2022 Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3 Chromebook offers quite a lot at a comparatively low price. Because for under 400 Euros, the keyboard cover is directly included in the scope of delivery.
As a Chromebook, the Lenovo tablet with keyboard relies on Google’s Chrome OS, which is similar to the Android smartphone operating system. The hybrid device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2, which is supported by either 4 GB or 8 GB of working memory and at least 64 GB of system storage depending on the configuration.
That is not an earth-shattering amount, but Chrome OS mainly relies on cloud services and requires significantly less resources than other operating systems. Particularly noteworthy are the 11-inch display with a 2K resolution and the impressive battery life of around 12 hours.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3 Chromebook probably can’t replace a genuine and high-performance notebook, but with the features it offers, it’s great for writing texts and emails, drawing and much more.
If you’re looking for an affordable tablet with a keyboard that’s great for on-the-go use, Lenovo’s device is definitely worth a look.
- Buy Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3 Chromebook – Price: € 387.03 *