Last Updated on February 9, 2021
Tablets have been an absolute godsend to just about anyone irrespective of their individual field. From the avid journalist to the passionate teacher to even the learned engineer and stressed out college student, through their compact yet powerful design, they truly make lives easier. Likewise, when it comes to AutoCAD-related work, it stands as no unique exception to this positive trend.
So, whether you’re a budding architect, civil engineer, mathematician, or anything similar, a tablet should be high on your radar. You’ll be able to make quick work of whatever project you’re dealing with via AutoCAD with the aid of a good tablet irrespective of whether you’re working in your office, at your work site, or even mid-air on a long-haul flight! Better yet, with the range of accessories available for tablets in the form of pens and keyboards, it truly has never been easier to adapt the tablet to your own personal preferences.
On this note, to help you navigate your way through the admittedly dense forest of tablets, we’ve collected and reviewed what we think are the most appropriate device for all your AutoCAD needs. Just read on and take your pick!
Best Tablet for AutoCAD of 2020
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (128 GB, Intel Core i5) (Renewed)
Starting our list with a brand we’re all familiar with, Microsoft, their Surface Pro 3 might just offer some of the best compromises between affordability and functionality we’ve ever witnessed. With its 12-inch display cramming a HD resolution of 2160 x 1440, a tablet like this should set just about anyone looking to utilize it mainly for AutoCAD.
You don’t have to worry about performance-related issues as its i5 Intel Core with 1.70 GHZ will be more than adequate for your needs. This paired with its Intel HD Graphics 5000 card means you’ll be set for the years to come, not having to worry about purchasing any additional hardware upgrades. Furthermore, you’ll easily be able to play around with all other sorts applications such as Photoshop and Excel without much hassle with specs like this.
Beyond all this, with its 10-hour battery life and light weight of just 3.19-pounds, carrying the Surface Pro 3 around for your work-related travel will be effortless and won’t require you to rummage for a power cord and a power slot even during the heaviest of usage. Unfortunately, it does not include any sort of pen so this will have to be a separate purchase, but this shouldn’t set you back too much given the Surface Pro 3’s pretty generous price point.
Finally, with 128 GB of in-built storage, you should easily be able to store numerous different projects without having to opt for additional space so you can rest easy to this end.
Google Nexus 9 Tablet (8.9-Inch, 32 GB, White)
Now if you’re totally fine with sacrificing screen size for affordability and portability, Google’s Nexus 9 Tablet will be more than adequate for you. Featuring a humble 8.9-inch display with a powerful QXGA 2048 X 1536 resolution, this tablet truly lives up to the saying: big things come in small packages. This is made clear through its 0.96-pound weight and product dimensions of 8.99 x 6.05 x 0.31-inches.
You could practically fit this into a small bag and not even notice that it’s there! Don’t let all this fool you though – this is still a beast of a tablet in its own right. With a NVIDIA Tegra K1 processing unit, AutoCAD will run just fine on this device and you’ll still have the ability to play around with all other similar applications if needed from Netflix to even gaming.
And if you ever fancy taking a quick photograph, you’ll be able to knock yourself out with its front 1.6MP and rear 8MP cameras.
However, we should mention one catch that may put some off from getting this tablet: storage. With a maximum capacity of 32GB we honestly don’t feel like this would be enough for a job that relies heavily on AutoCAD. The good news however is that you’ll easily be able to purchase additional storage through DropBox and Google Drive with the click of a button though this will be an additional cost.
New Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 256GB) – 4th Generation
Slim, slick, and seductive are the three words that usually pop up in anyone’s mind when they hold an iPad Pro. With its liquid retina display spread across its 12.9-inch screen, anyone using a device like this will have some of the best image and video viewing experiences currently possible.
From all angles, any image shown here will be brilliantly crisp and clear. It definitely isn’t just a pretty looker though – look deeper and you’ll find that the iPad Pro comes fitted with an A12Z Bionic Chip with Neural Engine, easily making it more powerful than certain laptops. And despite how much heat this tablet packs, it still delivers when it comes to battery-life that clocks out at around 10-hours.
This may not be the best in the market, but it certainly is respectable for what it gives users! Carrying it around should too, be a breeze thanks to its 1.41-pound weight so even for those among you who plan on travelling a lot, you need not worry.
It also is totally compatible with the Apple Pencil which – though not included – is by far one of the finest styluses you can purchase, used by artists and engineers among all walks of life. All this combined easily makes the iPad Pro an excellent device even if you’re just planning on using AutoCAD so if you stick with Apple here, you don’t have to worry about a thing.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – 12.3″ Touch-Screen – 10th Gen Intel Core i5
For those among you looking for a tablet that doubles almost like a laptop, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 should do the trick for you. Coming in either matte black or platinum, this tablet offers a performance that is only rivaled by the finest of tablets and fully-fledged laptops. Though it may err slightly on the side of the more expensive, we think this is a fully justified price for what it provides.
With 8GB of RAM along with an Intel i5 Processor, it goes without saying that AutoCAD will run as smooth as silk here. Better yet, its 12.3-inch screen with its 2736 x 1824 resolution will offer more than ample space for even the most complex of AutoCAD projects and with its 1.7-pound weight, carrying it around will be like carrying a feather. All this is neatly tied up with its battery that can last up to a little over 10 hours on full charge.
However, the only downside we’ve noticed is how this tablet doesn’t come with an attached keyboard. You’ll have to make a separate purchase for this. The same applies for the Surface Pen. This may sound a little annoying and costly but just trust us on this point – they are absolutely high-quality products that will serve you well through the years if taken care of adequately.
Wacom Cintiq 16 Drawing Tablet with Screen
The final product on our list is dedicated to those among you who are perfectly fine with having a tablet dedicated to solely AutoCAD-related work and drawings and nothing more. If you think this is acceptable for you and that you are willing to forgo all the other fancy extras a conventional tablet affords, then the Wacom Cintiq 16 will be a choice product for you. Across its 15.6-inch display and through its 1920 x 1080 resolution, you’ll be able to bear witness to even the finest details of your project.
Complementing this, the display’s 8192 pressure points and tilt recognition provides you with a more precise drawing experience than any tablet above can provide. It certainly is no wild stretch to say that drawing on the Wacom is almost like drawing on paper! The Wacom Pro Pen 2 also is a fantastic device that feels just like a normal pen with its balance and grip that allows it to rest easily within your fingers. It surely isn’t a surprise as to why Wacom is the tablet of choice among so many professionals out there.
Now, setting up the tablet should be a breeze. Just connect it to your computer with its HDMI cable and it’ll be all set to go. Of course, with a tablet like this, you’ll have to purchase a separate computer to actually use it so that may be a downside depending on your perspective. This also means that you won’t be able to carry and use this while frequently moving from work site to work site (e.g. for you civil engineers) – this is a tablet that’s best used in a stable, dedicated office space.
However, if you can live with these limitations, the Wacom will be a product you will absolutely not regret purchasing.
A Buyer’s Guide to Tablets for AutoCAD
Now, storage honestly shouldn’t be a huge issue given how upgrades are both affordable and effortless by way of cloud technology. That being said, if you’re moving around from place to place without access to the internet, it does make sense to opt for a tablet that provides ample space, especially since AutoCAD projects can take up quite a significant amount of storage. All options on our list should provide you with this with the Google Nexus 9 being the sole exception so keep this in mind before you make a purchase.
A good tablet is one that can both do what you want and last for as long as your work takes you. Now while most AutoCAD users will be working in the comfort of their office where power sockets are easily in reach, having a solid battery life will be a life saver on the off chance you are required to travel. 10-hours should be an ideal minimum regardless of what tablet you get which all options on our list will provide.
Nowhere is screen size more important than for AutoCAD users. It is only with a sufficient screen that you’ll be able to work and appreciate the finest and most minute details of whatever project you’re working on. That being said, some people prefer to work with smaller screens as that offers a little more control when it comes to drawing but this is a highly personal preference that you should consider before making any purchase.
If you’re set on getting a tablet for and only for AutoCAD this shouldn’t apply to you as something like a drawing tablet (e.g. the Wacom) will work great for you. However, if you plan on doing all sorts of other things with your tablet from watching Netflix during your downtime to playing around with video and photo editing, a more versatile device like the iPad should be seriously considered.