Sing me a song of tablets.

My wife and I mostly got cash for Christmas, and we would like to spend it on a nice gadget instead of just dumping it into the general household fund. Right now we’re trying to decide between a 12.9” iPad Pro and some flavor of Microsoft Surface, and we could use some good outside opinions.

We’re both pretty happy in the iPhone ecosystem. My iPhone SE is serving me well and I have no plans to replace it even though it’ll be paid off soon. My wife’s SE has had two screen replacements and is getting unreliable. She plans to get a new phone soon regardless of what we do on the tablet front. Right now my wife is playing WoW on a 2012 MacBook Pro with an Xbox controller (we have nice gaming desktops, but are still traveling for the holidays). WoW is big enough that it’s running off an external HD. I’m on an iPad Air 2 and its 16 gigs of storage are pretty tight. It’s only worth about $50 as a trade-in, so the current plan is to strip most of the books and stuff off of it and have it be a dedicated Hearthstone and web browsing device.

The main thing I want is a nice big portable screen for reading PDFs of art-heavy rpg books. Having a functional laptop upgrade would be nice too, but honestly what’s constraining us with the MacBook is the small amount of storage. I have a Bluetooth keyboard already so I’m not lookin to buy any keyboard covers or anything like that. I find myself tempted by the various stylus options but honestly don’t know what I would use them for. If the Microsoft option actually works ok for pc games then that’s a real upside, but not one that’s worth compromising on tablet quality.

So, gwjers with tablets, what devices have y’all been happy with? How are you using them? Have you any recommendations for us? Got any tips for evaluating display models in stores?

If you want a tablet get an iPad. If you want a computer that sometimes can also work as a tablet then get a Surface.

If you have key apps that run on Windows that is a big plus for the Surface. Generally apps on the iPad will be cheaper.

If you try some store demos make sure to pay most attention to the weight and how you would hold it. Personally I think the iPad 13” and the Surface are both too big to use comfortably as a tablet for very long. If your expected use case is to mostly sit it down and use as a monitor or writing surface then I would get the Surface. They are really nice tech and have a good quality feel to them. I know Costco has a Surface 6 bundle for $1k right now, if you are interested in that model.

Yes, Surfaces are not tablets. They are pcs with a touch screen. You can do way better for the price just getting a laptop.

Tablets that are designed for touch are iPad and Android-based. If you like the iOS ecosystem, you can’t go wrong with an iPad.

I've only used the giant iPad pros at work for testing, but they seem comically large. I like a big screen for commute media consumption, but those things are too big even for me.

Yes, the 12.9" iPad Pro can be comically large, and while it's not great at being hand-held, it's definitely portable. And its screen is gorgeous. The 10.5"/11" version is ideal for most people, at least the ones who want more than what the basic iPad gives them. The basic iPad is technically a step backwards from the iPad Air 2's screen and thinness.

Just echoing what others have said. I've owned a Surface Pro, an iPad mini, and even an 8" windows tablet. As a tablet, the iPad works best, as it's designed to be used as such and the self-contained ecosystem of iOS means everything will (most of the time) work smoothly.

My Surface has been great, but it is more of a mobile lap top than a tablet. The Windows tablet was somewhere in-between (since its smaller size made it more portable). Most programs work fine on a Windows machine touch screen, though occasionally I do have to open up the "On Screen Keyboard" program, as opposed to the standard on screen keyboard, for additional function keys and key combinations. They were much better for productivity than the iPad, but (particularity the small Windows tablet) never have been as easy to use or worked as smoothly.

That said, after having used the small Window tablet for several years (it because practically unusable due to OS bloat), I do miss it after replacing it with the iPad mini. Even two years later I still find myself wishing I had a small tablet so I could get a few things done that just aren't doable on the iPad (organizing and tagging files, for example).

Thanks for the help everyone. After typing up my post, my mother in law took us to Costco. After looking at the two devices my wife decided we should get the iPad. It helped that they had the exact model we wanted right there. And our old iPad is still a usable device. And windows randomly crapped out on me on my desktop lately. The Exalted 3rd Edition pdf looks gorgeous on this screen. It is a bit heavy, but that’s nothing a good stand can’t fix. It’s certainly lighter than the 600 page books that I’d be buying if I didn’t have it.

Now I have to decide whether to get Civ 6 here or on the Switch.