Best tablets for work and play

The Apple iPad Pro 2020. PHOTO: ST FILE

Here are our picks for basic tablets suited for media consumption, as well as more powerful ones that aspire to replace laptops.


Apple iPad

From $499 on Lazada and Shopee

For the average consumer, the entry-level Apple iPad (2019) is good enough for both work and play, and is affordable to boot.

Besides having a larger 10.2-inch screen, the iPad now has a physical connector that lets it work with the Apple Smart Keyboard. With Apple's iPadOS operating system supporting mice, the iPad can be a very decent laptop replacement for those unwilling to pay for the more costly iPad Pro.

Huawei MediaPad T5

$298 on Amazon, Lazada and Shopee

Huawei recently launched new premium tablets in Singapore, but it is the two-year-old MediaPad T5 that gets our nod for its excellent value for money.

For less than $300, you get an aluminium-clad 10.1-inch slate with a 1,920 x 1,200-pixel IPS display. It also supports LTE so you can browse the Internet and stream videos from anywhere. And unlike Huawei's newer tablets, the T5 has access to Google apps and services.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A (8.0")

$198 on Lazada and Shopee

For a decent inexpensive Android tablet suitable for kids, consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab A. The 8-inch version (there is also a 10.1-inch model) weighs a handy 347g despite having a decent-sized 5,100mAh battery that should easily last a day or more.

Parents can use the included Samsung Kids feature to set usage time limits and monitor the apps used by their children.


Apple iPad Pro (12.9 inch)

From $1,499 (without keyboard) on Lazada and Shopee

With the larger of the two available iPad Pro sizes, the 12.9-inch model makes a strong case as a laptop replacement with its gorgeous display and powerful processor.

In fact, its processor outperforms some notebook chips and it comes with Wi-Fi 6 support, too.

Apple's latest iPadOS also adds various quality-of-life tweaks that improve productivity, such as touchpad gestures. Of course, these gestures will require a compatible keyboard accessory like the Apple Magic Keyboard (from $439).

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

From $1,388 (without keyboard) on Amazon, Lazada and Shopee

For those who must use Microsoft's Windows operating system for work, the Surface Pro 7 is the best option.

While the latest model is a minor refresh with upgraded hardware, it remains a very good tablet. For one, I wish more tablets had the Surface's built-in adjustable kickstand.

Its screen is sharp and vibrant while the display's 3:2 aspect ratio reduces the amount of scrolling when working on spreadsheets and other Office documents.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+

From $1,598 (without keyboard) on Lazada and Shopee

Samsung has consistently produced the best high-end Android tablet. This year's Galaxy Tab S7+ maintains this record with a spectacular 120Hz Amoled screen that is arguably the best display on a tablet now in terms of sharpness, colour and responsiveness.

The latency of the included S Pen stylus has been reduced, putting it on a par with the Apple Pencil. In addition, you can now have three concurrent apps in split-screen mode, up from two. Samsung's DeX desktop mode also works wirelessly now, so you can conveniently mirror the tablet's content to a TV or monitor without a cable.

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