A Review of the 11 Best Tablets for Photographers
Here at PhotoWorkout we have been looking for the best tablets for photography for the past couple of years and it is about time that we published this article and look at recent developments and what's new in 2017.
This is a take on the best tablets for photo editing. A round-up of the 11 best tablets for photography in 2017. There might be a few hits and misses. Feel free to share your own list or add to this if you feel we have missed out on a particular device.
1. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
256 GB, 16 GB RAM, Intel Core i7e
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is billed as a tablet and a laptop. It’s a multifunctional device that is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor. The device has a storage capacity of 256 GB. A key functionality of the tablet is its Surface Pen.
Those who regularly edit and retouch their photos would no doubt agree that the mouse is probably the tool that adds the much-needed convenience to the whole editing process. It gives the laptop a definite edge over tablets when it comes to post-processing images.
The tablet may be good enough to work as a second screen and for portfolio demonstration, something which it performs quite admirably, but nothing beats a mouse when it comes to editing photos conveniently.
Well…Nothing, except the stylus. The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 comes with one in the form of the Surface Pen.
The rear main camera of the tablet has a resolution of 8 MP. It can shoot full HD videos (1920 x 1080p). The front facing camera is a modest 5 MP, also capable of shooting HD videos.
The display of the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is a 12.3” screen with a resolution of 2736 x 1824 pixels. Two things make the screen good enough for on the go photo culling and editing. These are a high pixel density and secondly low glare.
Low glare ensures that the tablet can be used for an extended period of time, something that you would be doing in between flights or when waiting for your client to show up.
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One problem that tablet users frequently talk about is the lack of connectivity with a portable hard drive on the go to store their photos after they are edited. With the Microsoft Surface, you get a full-sized USB port (USB 3.0 to be precise). This immediately extends the storage capacity of the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 to infinite and extending the utility of the device.
2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7″ (32GB, Black)
Powered by Android 6.0 (Marshmellow) and a Quad 1.8 GHz + Quad 1.2 GHz OctaCore application processor, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7” is a small yet powerful tablet with functionalities that would be good enough for light photography work. The tablet comes with a built-in 3 GB DDR3 memory.
The 9.7” capacitive screen has a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. Tablet camera sensors are much smaller than DSLRs. In the same league as smartphones. The rear camera on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7″ has a resolution of 8 MP and can shoot at 2560 x 1440 at 30 fps.
The front facing camera is a modest 2.1 MP. The rear camera can shoot some respectable quality images, but don’t expect too much detail or cropping possibilities out of the original files.
Apart from the built-in 32 GB of storage you also get 1 MicroSDXC slot that extends the storage capability of the device.
3. Lenovo IdeaPad Miix700-12ISK 80QL000BUS 12-Inch Full HD Laptop
Intel m7-6Y75 1.2 GHz Dual-Core Processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Windows 10 Home 64-bit
This round-up of the best tablets for photography would be incomplete without the next entry. The Lenovo IdeaPad Miix700-12ISK 80QL000BUS is a multi-utility device.
The Lenovo ships with a detachable keyboard that gives it the semblance of a laptop. It is powered by a 6th generation Intel Core m7 processor and comes with a 256 GB of Solid-State Drive. Overall 8 GB of RAM of the type LPDDR3 has been installed in the device.
The 12” screen has a resolution of 2160 x 1440 pixels and is powered by IPS technology. So far as tablet display is concerned this is acceptable though nothing out of the ordinary, except that it is a full-HD display.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Miix700-12ISK 80QL000BUS comes with Active Pen with WRITEit technology. This stylus is available for purchase separately and extends the functionalities of a mouse for light retouching work on the go.
4. HP Spectre X2 12-a008nr 12″ Detachable Laptop
Core M3-6Y30DC, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Touch Screen
The HP Spectre X2 12-a008nr 12″ is a laptop and a tablet all rolled into one and ideal for photo editing tasks on the go.
It is powered by an Intel Core m3-6y30, 0.9 GHz dual-core processor and has a 128 GB SSD storage. There’s also a 4GB LPDDR3 SDRAM. The device runs Windows 10 as its operating system.
The screen of the HP Spectre X2 12-a008nr 12″ detaches to form what is essentially a very handy 12” tablet.
Integrated Intel HD Graphics 515 with a total memory of 2095 MB takes care of the display of the screen. The touchscreen itself has a full HD resolution (1920 x 1280) and is powered by IPS technology.
The rear camera on the tablet has a resolution of 8 MP. At 8 MP it is at par with most of the other tabs we have on this list. Expected battery life is up to 10 hours.
5. Apple iPad Pro, 12.9″ Display
128GB, Wi-Fi, Space Gray
You can’t keep an iPad out of this list. No way. And if it is a list of the 11 best tablets for photography in 2016 an iPad is a mandatory entry. The Apple iPad Pro is powered by a Dual-core A9X Chip with quad-core graphics and a 1 GB DDR2 RAM.
The processor is a 1 GHz Apple A6. The empowering operating system is Apple’s iOS 9. Graphics coprocessor is a PowerVR SGX543MP4. 128 GB SSD makes up the onboard storage.
The 12.9” screen is by far the highlight of this device with a resolution of 2732 x 2048 pixels and comes with Apple’s highly acclaimed Retina Display. The rear (main) camera has a resolution of 5 MP.
6. Apple MGKM2LL/A iPad Air 2, 9.7-Inch Retina Display
64GB, Wi-Fi (Silver) US Version
The Apple MGKM2LL/A iPad Air 2 is a 9.7” LED backlit tablet, complete with multi-touch IPS viewing technology and a 2048 x 1536 pixels retina display which has a pixel density of 264 ppi.
The display also comes with fingerprint resisting oleophobic coating. The tab’s display is near flawless even under bright sunlight. Thanks to the anti-reflective coating of the screen.
Unlike the Apple iPad Pro that we discussed above, the rear camera of the iPad Air 2 offers a resolution of 8 megapixels. The auto-focusing camera has a fast f/2.4 aperture lens. Fast aperture lenses, as you can imagine, is ideal for low light situations.
Add to that the fact that the imaging sensor of the iPad Air 2 is powered by back-illuminated technology. Back-illuminated sensors have a significantly better low light performance compared to traditional sensors.
The camera has a bunch of other features. The five-element lens has a hybrid IR filter. It comes with a handy burst mode for those fleeting moments of life. There’s the tap to focus option which is extremely suitable when you want to focus on something very specific and the camera's auto-focusing continually struggles to maintain focus.
The iPad Air 2 is a handy video shooter as well. Though it records only full HD videos at 30 fps. Further, there is a slo-mo option where the footages are recorded at 120 fps to be played back in normal speed for those dramatic effects.
7. Apple iPad mini 4
16GB, Wi-Fi, Silver
This 7.9” tablet with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels and comes with what is known as Apple’s Retina Display. It is a small yet powerful device. The pixel density is 326 ppi.
The Apple iPad Mini 4 is powered by a Dual-core second generation A8 chip with 64-bit architecture and Quad-core graphics. It is driven by Apple’s iOS 9 operating system. This Apple iPad mini 4 comes with 16 GB of internal storage.
The rear camera of the tablet can shoot at 8 megapixels and is capable of recording full HD (1080p) videos. The Apple iPad mini 4 has a 1.2-megapixel front camera, something that may not excite still or video shooters. But then the front facing camera was never the strongest point of the iPad.
8. Fire HDX 8.9 Tablet, 8.9″ HDX Display
Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, 64 GB
The Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 Tablet is powered by a 2.5 GHz Snapdragon quad-core 805 processor. Graphics is powered by the Adreno 420 graphics processor. This graphic processor has shot up performance by 70% when compared to previous version Fire HDX 8.9 Tablets.
The Fire HDX 8.9 has an excellent display of 2560 x 1600 pixels with a pixel density of 339 ppi. With more than 4 million pixels to boot, the display resolution is fantastic, giving you great quality viewing experience.
Another interesting feature on the Fire HDX 8.9 is the Dynamic Light Control feature. This changes the white point of the display dynamically, depending on the color and warmth of the ambient light.
The result is that any white elements in the image would appear as pure white when the ambient light cast is corrected using the dynamic white point. Whites appearing whites, regardless of the ambient light, gives you a better display performance.
The Fire HDX 8.9 Tablet incorporates the Dolby Atmos experience, a first. Best experienced when you are plugged in with headphones, the sound is realistic to the point you will actually be looking around to find the source. Every piece of sound bite would be thrown at you simulated from a direction where you normally expect them to be heard from.
But undoubtedly, the feature that we are most interested in is the camera. The Fire HDX 8.9 Tablet has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. You can capture great quality stills as well as full HD videos with it. The front camera is capable of shooting 720p HD videos.
But that’s not all. The rear camera has a number of other features that should excite your creativity. Plus, it has a LED flash. Further, it also incorporates an electronic image stabilization system.
The biggest benefit with the Fire HDX 8.9 Tablet is probably the huge free storage that comes with it; a standard for all Kindle devices. You practically get a free unlimited storage for all your personal content on the Amazon platform. Add to that the unlimited free storage for all Amazon content that you have access to.
9. Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet SGP771 32GB 10.1″
Wi-Fi + LTE Factory Unlocked Tablet (Black)
The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet SGP771 is a 10.1” tab with a built-in storage of 32 GB. Storage can be extended via the MicroSD card slot for up to a further maximum of 128 GB. It is powered by a Quad-core 2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 64-bit processor and an Adreno 430 graphics chip. Built-in memory is 3 GB.
The capacitive 10.1” screen has a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. The rear main camera has a resolution of 8.1 megapixels. It can produce images of the size 3264 x 2448 pixels. At 1920 x 1080p full HD resolution the camera can produce videos at a frame rate of 30 fps.
The front camera of the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet is a respectable 5.1-megapixel camera. It can do more than just projecting a clear video during skype or video calls.
10. Wacom Cintiq 13HD Creative Pen and Touch Tablet (DTH1300K)
The Wacom Cintiq 13HD is undoubtedly a device designed for image editing and retouching. It has a premium quality 13.3” HD display that offers a wide viewing angle.
The resolution of the screen is 1920 x 1080 (full HD), can display 16.7 million colors and supports multi-touch. The bright HD display is perfect for those complicated retouching jobs.
The device has been designed to replace a traditional mouse and will work only when connected to a computer. It is extremely accurate and convenient when working with traditional photo editing tools such as Photoshop and Lightroom.
Designed for image editing with the Wacom Creative Pen the screen is pressure sensitive (an incredible 2048 levels of sensitivity). This allows you to work with the Creative Pen as you would normally do with traditional brushes, markers, and pens to perform an array of creative work.
Plus, the Wacom Cintiq 13HD has four customizable ExpressKeys for fast access. These ExpressKeys or also known as Rocker Keys can help you save a lot of time. The manufacturer provides a 3-1 cable to connect the tablet to your PC or Mac in order to get going.
11. ASUS ZenPad S 8 Z580CA-C1-BK 8″ 64 GB Tablet
The final tablet in this discussion is the ASUS ZenPad S 8 Z580CA-C1-BK. This is an 8” tablet with an internal memory of 64 GB. The tiny 8” display is IPS and the display comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
The tablet is powered by an Intel Z3580 Super Quad-Core 64 Bit 2.3 GHz processor. Two tablet has two cameras on either side. See all specs here.
The rear one has a has a resolution of 8 MP and the front facing one has a resolution of 5 MP. External storage is provisioned via a MicroSD card slot. The ASUS ZenPad S 8 Z580CA-C1-BK supports up to 128 GB of external memory.
The Best Tablets for Photography in 2017
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Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly.
He has been writing for over 6 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favorite pursuits.
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