The Best Tablets for Architects

Tablets to sketch at home or on location, edit PDFs, remote access your computer, take and send notes

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Updated: 7th Mar, 2016

If you’re interested in finding out what the best tablet for architects is, you’ll benefit from this comprehensive guide. We’re going to spend a lot of time talking about which tablet features are most important and we’re also going to discuss a few models that get rave reviews from architects in the real world. 

Adding a tablet to your current work setup will be a great way to streamline a host of tasks and you’ll also find that your tablet is user-friendly, intuitive and easy to enjoy. Hopefully we can help make choosing one less stressful!

In this article we'll dive straight in with some videos of architects using tablets of different brands and sizes so you get to see the business case for buying one. Then we'll throw in a couple of buying suggestions that should work for most architects. That will be followed by a brief guide to buying a tablet with some tips on what to look out for.

Here we go...

1. The 6,000 dollar Panasonic 20-inch 4K Windows Tablet

It's sized just like the A3 paper that architects love to carry around all day, and the screen is simply gorgeous. To see it is to want it... The price is crazy, you can't buy it on Amazon, but man it's sexy! See it in action here:

 

(That gurgling sound you hear is the sound of me drooling all over my keyboard.) Want one of these beautiful devices? Head over to the Panasonic Shop.

 2. Wacom Cintiq 22HD 21-Inch Pen Display Tablet

This isn't the sort of tablet we normally talk about on Tablet PC Comparison. It isn't one that you can use to play Candy Crush while you're on the toilet. (Actually you can, but it'd take a lot of setting up!) No, this connects to your desktop computer - it's more like a digital piece of paper. So if you need a portable tablet, skip right ahead to the next suggestion.

What can you do on a Wacom? Well, you can do this:

 

Other architects and designers love this, and you will too. Check the latest price on Amazon.

 3. A Standard iPad or a Larger iPad Pro

There's a reason Apple products are the number 1 choice for creative types. The quality of the following video could be better, but it's a pretty comprehensive guide to all the ways you can use a standard iPad to design, create, and keep in touch with clients. It was made in 2012 so expect even better solutions now, and the iPad Pro is an amazing large-screen upgrade on what's discussed here.

 

If the normal iPad is too small for you to draw on, try an iPad Pro. It's large enough to comfortably draw on, and the Apple Pencil is a powerful and stylish stylus. (Try saying that five times quickly...)

The main benefit of buying one of these is that you get the architectural solutions mentioned in the video, plus the entire vast App Store of productivity software, games, Netflix etc. If you're not a fan of Apple, the alternatives are the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Microsoft Surface Pro 4. Both have really nice pens and are just as fast, slick, and powerful as the Apple products. You should pay a bit more to get as much RAM as you can.

Talking of paying more, let's get on with that guide I promised you: 

How Much Can You Spend? 

Everyone has a unique financial situation and this means that architects who want to buy tablets have different budgets. It’s best to get a sense of how much you’re comfortable spending before you start the comparison-shopping process. 

With computer hardware, such as tablets, it’s true that you typically get what you pay for, which means that spending more is often the key to accessing superior craftsmanship and plenty of appealing features. However, you don’t have to buy a high-end tablet. There are mid-range and budget designs which work well, even if they may lack a few bells and whistles.

It’s possible to buy an inexpensive tablet with an Android operating system for one hundred bucks or less. However, this type of tablet may not be the best investment in the long run. In general, tablets which are very cheap don’t perform well for architects. These cheap tablets are meant for those who want to spend time online and/or play some video games online. They are not ideally suited to complex tasks. 

If you can spend more, you really should. Apple provides a host of tablets (iPads) which are costlier but very impressive in terms of features, display and performance. In fact, they are really considered to be the gold standard. While operating systems for Apple models and cheaper tablets may be identical, they are worlds apart in terms of how they perform. This means that an Apple iPad will surely have superior ruggedness, display, storage, battery life and memory.

 

Which Operating System is Best?

As with smart phones, you’ll have a choice between Android, iOS, and Windows operating systems. It’s best to consider your preference before you begin comparison-shopping for operating systems. Windows tablets have gained a beach-head in the market recently after years of feeble sales. That's because Windows 10 was fantastic. Now there's a serious decision to be made.

Each choice has its pros and cons. The rationale behind choosing Android or iOS is that you’ll have access to more software programs and more applications. Windows is far behind in terms of apps, but if you run Windows in your office, you might find it easier to integrate your workstreams if you have a Windows tablet. 

One important fact is that devices which feature Android operating systems tend to cost less. As well, there are more of them to choose from. If cost is a factor, you may get more for your money when you select an Android tablet. Another benefit of Android is the freedom you have to tinker and personalise it. Apple is much more restrictive.

In general, it’s best to choose an operating system that you are already comfortable with. For example, if you tend to use Apple products, the Apple operating system is probably the most practical choice, as you’ll know how to use it from the get-go. We have a bit more detail on this subject in our guide to comparing tablets by OS. Head over there if the decision is still tricky.

Look for 3G Capability 

Any tablet that you buy should be enabled for Wi-Fi. However, some of them won’t feature connectivity of the 3G variety. It’s best to go for 3G if you can afford it, as it will be hard to perform certain tasks without it if you find that you’re out of the range of Wi-Fi connectivity. Any tablet that you choose should also have a good battery life, be rugged enough to stand up to hard usage and come with the right features. 

For more detail on the technical specifications of some of the tablets mentioned in this article, head over to our reviews:

Galaxy Note 10.1

Apple iPad Air 2

Apple iPad Pro

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

We hope you found this article useful, and we look forward to seeing beautiful new buildings pop up that were designed on tablet PCs!

 

 

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