The Best Windows Tablets for 2024


When the compact nature of even the most portable PC isn’t enough for your zoom-zoom lifestyle, it’s time to look at a Windows 11 tablet for your next purchase. Windows tablets differ from 2-in-1 laptops because they work without a keyboard, with all their internals behind a touch screen. They have the option to work with a keyboard cover or Bluetooth keyboard to serve as a laptop, functionally speaking, but are detachables (able to jettison their keyboards) rather than convertibles (able to flip or fold their screens over their keyboards).

While Windows tablets are a relatively new category in mobile computing, we treat them all the same when applying our collective decades of experience and expertise in testing and reviewing PCs. Since the founding of PC Labs more than 40 years ago, we’ve tested thousands of mobile PCs, more than 150 each year.

We apply the same gauntlet of benchmarks and comparisons to Windows tablets that we do on their laptop cousins. The exhaustive nature of our tests lets us deliver the most informed verdicts in the industry on each tablet we review. Currently, our choice as the best Windows tablet overall is Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9, continuing the company’s and the Surface Pro’s lengthy win streak as the class of the category. Read on for the rest of our picks.

Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. See how we test.

Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (Intel)

Best Windows Tablet for Most Users

Why We Picked It

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9 is currently the best Windows tablet overall, thanks primarily to its snappy performance and lengthy battery life despite its thinness. The tablet comes in Microsoft’s signature svelte design with a stylus-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio screen and well-performing cameras in front and around the back. You’ll find a helpful duo of USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports along with user-upgradable storage on the Surface Pro 9, helping make it the model all other Windows tablets aspire to equal.

Who It’s For

Since the Surface brand has become synonymous with Windows tablets, it makes sense for most buyers to start their search here. Remember that this recommendation is for the Intel-based Surface Pro 9, not the one with the Qualcomm SQ3 processor. Go with this model if you want the standard Windows experience, or consider the Snapdragon version for the utmost battery life.

PROS

  • Impressive performance and battery life
  • Outstanding cameras
  • Sleek design, with inking-friendly 3:2 screen
  • Two Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports
  • User-upgradable storage

CONS

  • Essential accessories still not included
  • No more headphone jack
  • 5G only available with SQ3 processor
  • High starting price

SPECS

Class Detachable 2-in-1
Processor Intel Core i7-1255U
Processor Speed
RAM (as Tested) 16 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 256 GB
Screen Size 13 inches
Native Display Resolution 2880 by 1920
Touch Screen
Panel Technology IPS
Variable Refresh Support None
Screen Refresh Rate 120 Hz
Graphics Processor Intel Iris Xe
Wireless Networking 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.2
Dimensions (HWD) 0.37 by 11.3 by 8.2 inches
Weight 1.9 lbs
Operating System Windows 11 Home
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 13:12
Microsoft Surface Go 3

Microsoft Surface Go 3

Best Budget Windows Tablet

Why We Picked It

Because Microsoft has yet to replace it (and no one has issued a suitable competing product), we continue to recommend the Surface Go 3 as the best budget Windows tablet. Of course, that starts with its affordable starting price, though you need to buy the keyboard cover separately. Regardless, the Surface Pro’s lightweight budget sibling rocks a shiny screen with vibrant colors. We also appreciate its 1080p webcam (a rarity at this price) with Windows Hello for hands-free logins. Top that off with lengthy battery life and an SD card reader, and you have a long-running champ among affordable Windows tablets.

Who It’s For

This model was designed for anyone put off by the price of Microsoft’s Surface Pro but still wanting an exemplary experience. With all of its appealing features, the Surface Go 3 easily remains the top Windows budget tablet, though you should stick to basic computing tasks rather than demanding creative applications with this slate.

PROS

  • Low starting price
  • Lightweight
  • Sunny display with vivid colors
  • Windows Hello webcam with 1080p video support
  • Integrated kickstand
  • SD card reader for easy storage expansion
  • Long battery life

CONS

  • Keyboard cover not included
  • Only one USB-C port
  • Optional extras pump up price quickly
  • Disappointing computing performance, even with Core i3 upgrade

SPECS

Class Detachable 2-in-1, Budget
Processor Intel Core i3-10100Y
Processor Speed 1.6 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 8 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 128 GB
Screen Size 10.5 inches
Native Display Resolution 1920 by 1280
Touch Screen
Panel Technology LED
Variable Refresh Support None
Screen Refresh Rate 60 Hz
Graphics Processor Intel UHD Graphics 615
Wireless Networking 802.11ax, Bluetooth
Dimensions (HWD) 0.33 by 9.7 by 6.9 inches
Weight 1.2 lbs
Operating System Windows 11
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 11:34
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (SQ3)

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (SQ3)

Best Windows Tablet for Battery Life

Why We Picked It

At first glance, you may not be able to tell the difference between this tablet and Microsoft’s Intel-based Surface Pro 9. However, put these two bad boys side-by-side in a battery rundown test, and you’ll know which is the Arm SQ3 model by how much longer it lasts. Thanks to its incredibly efficient Qualcomm processor, this unit has the best battery life of any Windows tablet we’ve tested to date. The SQ3 chip also features a 5G module and radio, allowing for high-speed cellular connectivity. Coupled with all the other features seen in the mainline model, the SQ3 Surface Pro 9 brings a lot to the table.

Who It’s For

This is the Windows tablet to get if you need maximum mobile connectivity and longevity while traveling or commuting. However, you must be aware of its limited app compatibility: Because it runs on an emulated version of Windows 11—necessitated by its Arm-64 instruction set—this tablet doesn’t work with every single app written for Microsoft’s operating system.

PROS

  • SQ3 model delivers long battery life and 5G connectivity
  • Premium metal build
  • Best-in-class kickstand and keyboard cover design
  • SQ3 supports advanced camera and voice call features
  • Superior 1080p webcam
  • User-accessible SSD

CONS

  • SQ3 processor brings the usual Arm-based drawbacks: lackluster performance and compatibility
  • Core feature differences between Intel and SQ3 models can be confusing
  • No headphone jack
  • Keyboard cover still sold separately
  • New colors only available on Intel model

SPECS

Class Detachable 2-in-1
Processor Microsoft SQ3
Processor Speed 2.4 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 16 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 256 GB
Screen Size 13 inches
Native Display Resolution 2880 by 1920
Touch Screen
Panel Technology IPS
Variable Refresh Support None
Screen Refresh Rate 120 Hz
Graphics Processor Qualcomm Adreno GPU
Wireless Networking Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth, 5G
Dimensions (HWD) 0.37 by 11.3 by 8.2 inches
Weight 1.95 lbs
Operating System Windows 11
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 21:16
Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable

Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable

Best Windows Tablet for Business

Why We Picked It

While Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9 works just fine in an office, the Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable has more features and options that are simply better for business use. For starters, Dell includes a keyboard cover and stylus holder in the package, which should help IT fleet buyers simplify their order. Of course, the Latitude 7320 Detachable also features an Intel Core i7 CPU with the chipmaker’s vPro security and manageability. Its spacious 13-inch touch screen and three-year warranty make it an even stronger corporate competitor.

Who It’s For

IT managers and fleet buyers looking for a more secure alternative to the best Windows tablet from Microsoft should definitely consider the Latitude 7320 Detachable. However, if you’re a contractor or other independent worker, we’d suggest a consumer model that can provide more power and quality-of-life features.

PROS

  • Included keyboard cover with built-in stylus holder
  • Integrated kickstand
  • Roomy 13-inch display
  • Decent audio volume
  • Intel Core i7 processor with vPro support
  • Three-year standard warranty

CONS

  • No 4K display option
  • Merely average computing performance
  • Expensive as configured

SPECS

Class Detachable 2-in-1, Business
Processor Intel Core i7-1180G7
Processor Speed 1.3 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 16 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 256 GB
Screen Size 13 inches
Native Display Resolution 1920 x 1280
Touch Screen
Panel Technology LED
Variable Refresh Support None
Screen Refresh Rate 60 Hz
Graphics Processor Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Wireless Networking 802.11ax, Bluetooth
Dimensions (HWD) 0.33 by 11.4 by 8.19 inches
Weight 1.7 lbs
Operating System Windows 10
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 12:37
Dell Latitude 7230 Rugged Extreme Tablet

Dell Latitude 7230 Rugged Extreme Tablet

Best Rugged Windows Tablet Overall

Why We Picked It

Of course, not everyone who works with a Windows tablet works indoors, and our answer for them is Dell’s Latitude 7230 Rugged Extreme Tablet. Dell built this slate to withstand the elements and unfortunate events such as spills and drops. Its sunlight-readable touch screen works with gloved hands, and Dell even includes a stylus pen in the package. Naturally, the Latitude 7230 Rugged Extreme includes optional 4G or 5G connectivity. Its most exciting feature? Two hot-swappable batteries that stretch its already long battery life to, theoretically, infinity.

Who It’s For

This is the best Windows tablet for first responders, field workers, and anyone who needs a computer for extreme outdoor situations. The Latitude 7230 Rugged Extreme blows past the MIL-STD 810H specs for travel hazards like shock, vibration, weather, and temperature extremes. What’s more, its IP65 ingress protection rating means it can survive dirt, dust, and heavy rain, though it can’t actually be submerged as many smartphones can.

PROS

  • Rugged design can survive almost anything
  • Sunlight-ready touch screen works with gloved hands and included pen
  • Plenty of features, including 4G/5G mobile data
  • Optional handle for grab-and-go use
  • Dual hot-swappable batteries with long battery life, too

CONS

  • Heavy and chunky
  • Middling performance
  • Keyboard not included

SPECS

Class Rugged, Detachable 2-in-1
Processor Intel Core i5-1240U
Processor Speed
RAM (as Tested) 16 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 512 GB
Screen Size 12 inches
Native Display Resolution 1920 by 1080
Touch Screen
Panel Technology WVA
Variable Refresh Support None
Screen Refresh Rate 60 Hz
Graphics Processor Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Wireless Networking Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth
Dimensions (HWD) 0.94 by 11.65 by 8 inches
Weight 3.5 lbs
Operating System Windows 11 Pro
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 15:34
DT Research DT302RP Rugged Tablet

DT Research DT302RP Rugged Tablet

Best Rugged Windows Tablet for First Responders

Why We Picked It

Our pick for the best rugged Windows tablet would be fine for first responders, but workers in those fields generally need something more compact than the Dell Latitude above. With a 10.1-inch, sunlight-legible display in a lightweight magnesium-aluminum frame, the DT Research DT302RP is ideal for emergency response, police officers, or operators in war zones. This is underlined by key factors such as a long-lived, hot-swappable battery and a rugged design that surpasses MIL-STD 810H requirements. The included stylus with built-in storage is a bonus.

Who It’s For

The DT Research DT302RP fills a niche for field workers needing a rugged yet highly portable device. Additional features like magnetic port covers reassure anyone who needs to take Windows apps into harm’s way.

PROS

  • Rugged design for extreme conditions
  • Lightweight, magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis
  • Long-lasting, hot-swappable battery
  • Sunlight-legible display
  • Pen included, with storage clip and tether
  • Magnetic port covers

CONS

  • Beefy design made bulkier with handle
  • AAAA battery for stylus tough to replace
  • Adequate performance but not top-tier

SPECS

Class Rugged
Processor Intel Core i7-1355U
Processor Speed
RAM (as Tested) 32 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB
Screen Size 10.1 inches
Native Display Resolution 1920 by 1200
Touch Screen
Panel Technology IPS
Variable Refresh Support None
Screen Refresh Rate 60 Hz
Graphics Processor Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Wireless Networking 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), Bluetooth 5.2
Dimensions (HWD) 7.7 by 10.7 by 0.79 inches
Weight 3 lbs
Operating System Windows 11
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 8:07

Buying Guide: The Best Windows Tablets for 2024

Like the Apple iPads that sparked them, Windows tablets come in a range of sizes, computing power, and prices, with no single slate that best serves every user’s needs. All current models now run Windows 11. As you begin shopping, you’ll find that they fall into a few different categories, and that they don’t parallel the same concerns you have when shopping for the best laptop.

First are inexpensive models with 10-inch screens, designed to let you browse the web and enjoy streaming a movie from Netflix or Amazon Prime. Because these budget devices usually rely on low-power processors and minimal storage, they’re better used as a second or third device to serve alongside your laptop or smartphone. In other words, these aren’t full-powered devices that can replace a conventional laptop PC.

Then, you have larger 12- and 13-inch tablets designed to work with an included or optional stylus pen and docking keyboard. These give you a better way to take notes in class or type up an email or a term paper, and they generally provide a well-rounded Windows experience. The leading example is the popular Microsoft Surface Pro. Microsoft remains the dominant company in this market.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (Intel) tablet

(Credit: Molly Flores)

Finally, you’ll find premium and business systems designed as productivity tools rather than media consumption devices. Two other major PC companies, Dell and Lenovo, have dabbled in these with their Latitude and ThinkPad lines, respectively. The Microsoft Surface Pros also qualify for this category.


What’s the Right Processor to Get in a Windows Tablet?

With Windows tablets ranging from low-power entertainment devices to potent productivity tools, how do you know which to buy if you plan to use your device for both tasks? As with conventional laptops, a lot comes down to the processor.

Microsoft Surface Go 3

(Credit: Molly Flores)

Intel’s Celeron and Pentium processor lines include several chips built for low-power usage and passive cooling. These are two necessary attributes for tablets, since they house all of their components behind the screen, which itself generates heat. These CPUs can work without built-in cooling fans and provide several hours or even a day or two of light use without having to plug in and recharge. Low-power processors like these lack the processing oomph you want for applications like Adobe Photoshop, but they are ideal for checking email or Facebook and then kicking back with some streaming videos, and the draw on the battery may be less, leading to better battery life.

At the other end of the tablet CPU spectrum are Intel’s Core and Core Ultra processors, also seen in full-fledged laptops. While these CPUs draw more power and require more cooling hardware, they’re much more capable, letting you run demanding applications. Slates with these chips are priced more like laptops (usually above $1,000), but you get performance to match their increased cost.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (SQ3)

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

Some of the best Windows tablets have ditched Intel processors in favor of Arm-based alternatives from companies like Qualcomm and MediaTek. They include the earlier Microsoft Surface Pro X and later Surface Pro 9 (SQ3), which use Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. (We haven’t seen any recent tablets with CPUs from Intel rival AMD.) These models have tended to be battery-life champs but underperformers.

In 2024, you can expect a wave of Windows tablets featuring Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon X processors and even perhaps Intel’s next-gen “Lunar Lake” chips. These silicon solutions have AI-ready hardware, designed with elite-level efficiency in mind. Their neural processing units (NPUs) are core clusters designed to handle AI-specific tasks such as managing chatbots and automatic system optimizations.


Windows Tablet Security and Connectivity

Once you’ve decided which processor will fit your usage pattern, it’s time to move on to the features that make handheld PCs far more flexible than conventional laptops. Sensors previously seen in smartphones bring new ways to interact with your PC, with accelerometers, gyroscopes, and e-compasses providing positional awareness for both automatic screen rotation and new immersive applications.

Microsoft even has a Windows tablet version of FaceID, which lets you unlock your Apple iPhone or iPad Pro simply by looking at it. Called Windows Hello, it’s also available on laptops and desktops, but it is most useful on tablets that don’t have a keyboard handy to enter a secure password.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022)

(Credit: Kyle Cobian)

Let’s not forget tablets’ touch screens. With capacitive screens that track five or ten fingertips at a time, you can pinch, swipe, and tap your way through any task, even those that would have required a keyboard and mouse years ago. Many tablets also come with optional digital pens or styli. Some are housed in “garages” or holes in the tablet chassis that secure the stylus and charge its battery. Others must be carried separately or cling magnetically to one of the slate’s edges.

Windows Tablet Stylus

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

There’s also the question of connectivity. With eminently portable designs, it’s only natural that some users want tablets with not only Wi-Fi internet access but the same no-hotspot-required mobile broadband they enjoy on their smartphones. A few of the best Windows tablets on the market have 5G and LTE connectivity options that work with a mobile phone plan.


Don’t Overlook the Convertible Hybrid

Finally, what if you simply can’t live without a real keyboard but don’t want the hassle of carrying a separate one? As we mentioned, convertible laptops offer keyboards that fold around the back so that you can use them in laptop, tablet, or propped up in presentation or kiosk mode. We’ve focused on detachable Windows tablets here, but to learn more about convertibles see our roundup of the best 2-in-1 laptops.

The switch from a laptop to a tablet doesn’t come without issues. The thin confines of a tablet make worries about heat buildup all the more critical—especially when that heat is literally in hand. Touch screens add a new opportunity for frustration when taps and touches won’t register properly, and the opportunities provided by docks and accessories also open up the chance to lose a valuable part of your PC while out and about. (Say what you will about tablets, you’ll never misplace your keyboard while using a conventional laptop.)


So, What Is the Best Windows Tablet PC to Buy?

As noted up top, our choice as the best Windows tablet overall for most buyers is the Microsoft Surface Pro 9. That said, we’ve waded through the current tablets available and tested and compared dozens to discover what works and what doesn’t, so check out our other recommendations above if that model is out of your price range, battery-life comfort zone, or usage profile. If you’re set on a Surface model but not sure which way to go, a good additional resource is our guide to which Microsoft Surface you should buy.

And if you’re not married to Windows, read our roundup of the best tablets overall and our look at the best Android-based models. (Our overall best laptops roundup is worth a look, too, if you’re on the fence between a Windows tablet and a classic clamshell laptop.)



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