The Best Tablets for Architects

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

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…

Table could not be displayed.


Great Tablets for Architects


Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16

No products found.

No products found.

The era of the pen and paper isn’t over yet, but the digital world engages people from all industries. Architecture is one of the fields of activity where computers have given professionals a lot more precision, the ability to work faster and more efficiently. As time goes by, technology advances more and more rapidly, offering users throughout the world not only new software, but also new devices that make their jobs so much easier and enjoyable.

The Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 is a device that, unlike traditional graphic tablets, doesn’t need to be necessarily connected to a computer in order to work. It is recommended, however, to connect it to a monitor in case its display’s size isn’t enough for your needs at times. Another unusual thing is the fact that it has its own OS. The fact that it comes with Windows 10 pre-installed means that you can work on it independently. What you need, though, is to install the software that you work with on a daily basis on a laptop or desktop. The Mobile Studio Pro 16 is ideal for architects for a number of reasons. It offers the indispensable features that every professional needs to do professional graphics, 3D animation, architecture, editing and so on. Although in some areas, it can be compared to the Cintiq model of the same brand, it is actually a lot different. Those who are interested in buying one of the best tablets they can find can choose between two sizes: 13 and 16 inch screens. Also, there are two configuration options available: Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, 4 GB or 16 GB of RAM and 64 or 512 of internal storage. You can also choose a configuration with RealSense 3D camera and scanning software. The two models are equipped with different GPUs. The smaller device has Intel Iris 550, while the 16-inch tablet has NVIDIA Quadro M1000M graphics.

If you want a tablet that has high quality screen, is independent from a desktop or laptop and is compatible with plenty of software for architecture, then this is a great option.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 with Pen

No products found.

No products found.

Not too long ago, the thought of an architect working on a tablet while on the field or travelling, wasn’t really an option. How could an architect do such amazing plans using nothing more than a tablet with a screen of 10.1 inches? As technology evolves, more and more options become available for professionals in this field. Nowadays, thanks to super-fast processors that are capable of handling multiple complex tasks, as well as other small components that can be fit in such a tiny box, architects can work whenever and wherever they want.

The Galaxy Tab A from Samsung is the best proof that an Android tablet can serve an architect well. It is a high-quality model that comes with a 10.1 inch screen, with a beautiful display and a low price. The reason why this is suitable for an architect’s notes, sketches and plans is that it comes with an S-Pen that makes everything easier. The tablet is highly portable, as it lightweight, but the truth is that there are other, newer models that are even lighter. For the price, though, it is a great option. 3GB of RAM paired with an Octa-core Exynos processor do a great job sustaining intense activity on the tablet. The S-Pen is hidden inside the tablet, meaning that it is more difficult to lose than other models. As for the design, this tab doesn’t have the premium finish of top-notch tablets such as the Tab Pro S, but it doesn’t need it. When on the field, what you really need is portability, a rough case to protect it in case of a drop and good performance.

This is one of Samsung’s most affordable tablets with an S-Pen, but still, it offers great performance. Its colors and depth of black might not be the best in class, but the tablet does the job it was created for quite well.

Apple iPad Pro


No products found.

No products found.

The iPad Pro is one of the most successful tablets on the market right now and for good reasons. It is multifunctional, it proves to be helpful in all industries and comes with a premium design and mindblowing technical capabilities. Everyone can extract a lot of benefits from using the iPad Pro, but it makes an impact in architecture more than in other fields of activity. Architects usually work on desktops with processors strong enough to deal with the complicated software they are using on a daily basis, specialized laptops or graphic tablets. Although this model has a relatively small working surface, as compared to what some graphic tablets have, it is absolutely amazing at drawing, taking notes and sketching plans.

What the iPad Pro does best is to let you combine all the creative input and output in a single place. It lets you doodle, write down notes, sketch design ideas and renderings. More than that, it is compatible with a lot of drawing and sketching applications that users normally install on their office desktops. The stylus is a game changer, too. It makes drawing so easy, that you won’t even need another piece of paper in your life. The 12.9 inch screen, larger than most tablets, makes details more visible and writing and doodling easier. The fact that one can use side-by-side apps on this tablet helps increase productivity.

Compared to previous models, the iPad Pro has improved graphics. The original iPad had graphics weaker by 360 times. That is an impressive fact and more than that, it helps you realize how fast things are moving nowadays. The Retina 5K display is incomparable to any other screen on the market. Adobe Apps work fast and smoothly on this tab, which is another reasons why, if you are an architect, you should not think twice.

A highly portable, performant and multifunctional tablet such as Apple’s iPad Pro cannot be overlooked. If you are looking for ways to improve your productivity, this is a great investment.

Microsoft Surface Pro


No products found.

No products found.

The reason why every architect should start using a high-quality tablet for work has nothing to do with design, contrary to popular opinion. Although the way the equipment looks also plays an important part, especially for creatives, it has to do more with the flexibility that they give. An architect who isn’t stuck at a desk, next to its desktop computer, is an architect who has freedom of movement, who can get inspiration from different places and put it on “paper” right away and also one who can work on the go. Portability, therefore, is one of the most important factors that should influence your decision as a professional. If you are looking to find a good tablet to do your work on, Microsoft’s Surface Pro could be a good idea.

What the Surface Pro does is amazing to the world of architecture. It helps users advance their designs faster from the ground up. It has a sleek design, it is ultra-thin and lightweight and it is powerful enough to handle the Adobe Suite or other programs such as Rhino, Revit and many more. Its S-pen is great for note-making, drawing and sketching. Comments and notes can be made directly on 3D models. This represents a great improvement for an architect’s way of working.

This tablet is considered to be the most improved device in the Surface series. It has huge advancements in what concerns the display, the pen, battery life, casing and type cover. It has thermal design, Alcantara type cover, pressure sensitivity of 4096 levels and a powerful processor. Buyers can choose between different configurations with more RAM and SSD space, depending on their needs. The Intel Iris Plus GPU delivers amazing graphics, while the screen that integrates PixelSense technology makes everything look realistic. Even though it is two years old, it is still at the top of users’ preferences.

Microsoft Surface Book


No products found.

No products found.

If you have seen what the Surface Pro can do and you were impressed by it, you should wait until you get your hands on a Surface Book. It is considered to be the best ultrabook for architects and students, due to a number of reasons. It is powerful, it has a gorgeous design and great graphic capabilities. Its price is definitely worth paying, not only because its design is futuristic and its display doesn’t have any competition, but also because it can be used for both business and creative tasks. Although it isn’t the newest model and its price is still high, it is more affordable than the Surface Book 2. After all this time, it still makes an impression.

A 2-in-1 tablet, capable of turning into a laptop in a matter of seconds, it gives architects the portability they need. It has a superb 3000 x 2000 pixels display and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 940M graphics card. It is covered in metal, has a glass touchpad and docking technology that makes attaching and detaching the keyboard easier than ever, so that you can turn it into a sketchbook quickly.

The Apple Pencil included in its box is hugely accurate and pressure-sensitive. Its display features a 10-point multi-touch. A great feature that not many Microsoft fans know about is the Ink Workspace that allows you to sketch and take notes when activated. This is a great addition that proves to be very practical in case of projects and collaborations. As for its configuration, we warmly recommend you to go for the Intel Core i7 2.6 GHz with 16GB of RAM.
This tablet is compatible with all design, architecture and note-taking apps that you might need on a daily basis. Trying it once could be enough to even convince you to drop an Apple model for it.


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!

(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.

 3. A Standard iPad or a Larger iPad Pro

No products found.

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.


IPad for Architects & Designers

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/4G 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.

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