Personal Computer started a revolution in the early 90s. Since then we have seen the emergence of compact desktop computers, portable laptop devices and finally the mobile phone. Each of these devices were designed keeping in mind a specific requirement and a specific set of users. For example, the desktop computer was designed for the regular office guys, who mostly worked from offices.
The portable laptops were designed for marketers, executives and CxO who most travel a lot and have computing needs on the go. Mobile phone was an accidental entrant when manufacturers figured out that a mobile phone can be used to perform a lot of other functions apart from calling and text messages.
Though Tablet PCs were around since the late 90s, they came into limelight with the launch of the Original iPad in 2011. The iPad was then deemed as a device category in between the mobile phone and the laptop computer. It had a larger screen than a regular smart phone, yet it did not have a keyboard or a track-pad.
However, 9 years later, tablets have grown into powerful devices that can easily be your primary device and an ideal laptop replacement. It carries the flexibility of using the device either as a tablet or attach the keyboard and turn it into a laptop when needed.
Importance and Use of USB Port in Tablets
Tablet computers were initially intended for videos, surfing the internet, editing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. They had storage more or less equivalent to present day smart phones. But, slowly people liked the tablet experience and manufacturers took notice. With slight modifications, a tablet can do a lot more tasks than it was originally built for. This led to a lot of new tablet manufacturers jumping into the bandwagon and the existing manufacturers went back to the drawing boards to design something that could truly utilize the power that lay beneath the tablet.
One of the major reasons tablet devices were not able to match up to a laptop, was that a laptop had a keyboard while a tablet did not have an inbuilt keyboard. This is now a problem of the past and a lot of powerful and modern tablets come with a detachable keyboard. But most manufacturers sell the keyboard as an accessory and many people may not be willing to spend that much right away. Many users may not also be using the external keyboard extensively and this is where the USB ports comes handy. You can easily connect a cheap external keyboard through the USB port and get your typing done as and when necessary.
One of the other reasons why you must have the USB port is for external storage devices. Many users might have multiple devices like say a laptop, a tablet and a smart phone. Transferring and sharing data between them should work seamlessly. Tablet PCs don’t have a large storage by default and hence you might frequently need to plug in a USB pen drive to transfer data to and from the device to maintain storage. So, today people have multiple devices but they need a unified storage medium for all of them.
Part of the problem is solved with the emergence of cloud storage. But an external storage device is useful as you can access your files without wasting your data and larger files will take longer to download over the internet. Another scenario where you might need a USB port is when you take some large videos or files on a pen drive and share it with your friends even when the device is not present with you when you meet your friend.
Photographers and Videographers cannot use a tablet as their primary device without the USB port. They frequently transfer photos and videos to and from the camcorder and tablet. Another real-life application of the USB port is when your mobile phone battery dies down. You can connect the mobile phone with the tablet to charge the device when you urgently need power and do not have a power source handy.
In an office setup, you might need to connect a printer or scanner to your tablet. You might argue that most scanners and printers today support wireless communication standards and hence this is not much of a utility when it comes to having an USB port. But many Government agencies today understand the need for data security and prevention of data theft. So, wired connection is not only faster but also secure and hack-proof.
Some designers, coders and gamers understand the load their activities might be putting on a tablet PC. So, they connect device coolers to prevent the device from early breakdown and overloading the device. Gamers might also want to connect consoles and other peripherals on to the PC and the USB port does their job. We also have friend over at home and decide to watch a movie. That is when we miss an external speaker as the inbuilt speakers are not powerful enough for many people.
Best Tablets With USB Ports
A tablet with USB port can be of great use to photographers, videographers, editors, etc… They can connect their camera and video devices to easily transfer huge files on the go. Along with that, USB port in a tablet can be helpful in connecting various personal devices like mobile-phones, USB data devices (pen-drive, hard-disk, SSD, etc…) and other external devices.
We have listed below all-type of USB tablets, from low-end to high-end. People with normal usage can go with a good budget one while users like photographers who need to connect their camera as well as edit pictures on the same tablet can go with iPad Pro, Microsoft Surface Pro, Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 or other powerful tablet with USB port.
1. Apple iPad Pro (11″ and 12.9″)
When we talk about tablet, there is no way we are not starting with the iPad Pro. Apple revamped the tablet form factor in 2011 when every other company thought that the tablet is dead. The iPad features here not just because it is the pioneer of modern day tablets. It is indeed arguably the best tablet out there in the market. It comes with an 11” and a 12.9” variant. With the liquid retina display and larger screen, you can comfortably do almost any task that you do on a laptop computer.
However, if you need to increase its power and connect the iPad to other accessories like a camera, you can use the USB Type C port that comes standard on the tablet. In addition, the iPad pro features the A12X Bionic processor that delivers commendable graphics performance.
It comes with a stunning 12-megapixel camera at the back and a True Depth camera for Facetime and selfies. Bundle the iPad along with accessories like the Apple Pencil, smart keyboard for a complete iPad experience. Be it design, ease of use, processor speed or apps, the iPad Pro is definitely a killer deal with the 11-inch variant starting from $799 and the 12.9-inch screen starting from $999.
2. New Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Microsoft was never known for their design prowess. However, of late the company is coming with some really powerful hardware in a cool piece of product. The Microsoft Surface series is the flag bearer of Microsoft’s increasing focus towards product design.
The 12.3” Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a 2-in-1 tablet device that can be convertible to a laptop with the keyboard accessory. It also comes with the proprietary Microsoft Pen that makes the whole thing a lot easier for designers and artists. The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is powered by 10th Generation Intel processors that support multitasking, amazing graphics, Wi-Fi at lower power consumption thus giving the device a 10-hour battery life.
Connectivity becomes easier with a Type C and a Type A USB port. It also features a 3.5 mm Headphone jack and is handy in case you do not want to invest on a pair of Bluetooth headsets. Microsoft has stuffed the device with all commonly used sensors such as Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Magnetometer. It is powered by Windows 10 operating system and comes with a 30-day free trial of Microsoft Office 365. You can also choose from lovely and bold color variations on the accessories. Arguably, Surface Pro 7 is giving its competitors a run for their money starting from $749.
3. New Microsoft Surface Pro X
It is indeed surreal to find two Microsoft manufactured device in the top 10 best tablets with USB ports category. Considering that Microsoft is relatively late entrant into the tablet market that was previously ruled by Apple. Along with the previously discussed Surface Pro 7, Microsoft launched the Surface Pro X.
The Surface Pro X is a visual delight with thin bezels, a thinner tablet and remodeled accessories. For instance, the pen that comes for the Pro X is not the usual cylindrical pen that comes with Surface devices. It is thinner and slightly flattened at one end to increase its usability even further. It also comes with a dedicated slot for the pen on the keyboard and charges wirelessly when not in use. While to keep the device thinner, Microsoft has ditched the Type A USB port, it has compensated for it by putting two Type C ports in the device.
One thing which might sound as a downside is the lack of a 3.5 mm jack. While it is a step in the right direction, be prepared to buy a Bluetooth headset if you want to buy the Surface Pro X. Microsoft claims that X stands for Xtra ordinary and we must agree, it is an extra ordinary device starting at $999.
4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
Samsung always took interest in the tablet market. It occasionally comes with a new Android-powered tablet. While to be honest, Samsung tablets are not as powerful as the iPad or the Surface owing to the OS.
Nevertheless, if you are looking for an Android tablet, take a serious look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6. Samsung has really put in some effort to make the device relevant and the foremost of them is the camera. It comes with a 13MP and a 5MP dual camera on the back. You can choose between 6GB + 128GB or 8GB + 256GB memory. Samsung claims up to 15 hours of battery life with the 7040 mAH battery and it is definitely one point where the device stands out of the rest.
You can choose between 3 color variants that also matches with the pen! The device has 4 speakers at each corner to provide a great video experience. If you love to watch movies and videos, you will definitely love the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6. The Slip BookCover Keyboard is a handy accessory that will give you a PC like experience on the tablet.
Most importantly, the reason we listed Galaxy Tab S6 here is it’s USB-C port which enables fast charging, easy file transfers and connections.
5. Google Pixel Slate
Google entered the phone market very late. It also came up with a tablet, when we least expected. However, Google devices are known to use the Android OS to the fullest and feature an optimized hardware and software specs. But, Pixel Slate is Google’s first ChromeOS tablet designed mostly for entertainment. Its graphics performance enables high end gaming on the device.
It has a 12.3” molecular display which can cater to most of your entertainment, gaming and official works. The dual front firing speakers provide a great sound quality and movie experience. It is powered by an Intel processor and yet is incredibly lightweight and thin. It is powered by 8GB RAM while the i7 processor variant has a 16GB RAM.
It also has 2 Type C USB ports that take care of the connectivity. One feature that stands out with the Google Pixel Slate is Fast Charging. Google claims that it can give you a 2-hour screen time with 15 minutes of charge. A fully charged device can last up to 12 hours before it needs to be charged again. Google has priced the Slate from $799.
6. Samsung Galaxy Book2
Samsung Galaxy Book 2 is a Windows Powered Tablet. This is pretty much the highlight of the device. To top it up, it has an incredibly long battery life and claims to deliver up to 20-hours of video playback even with the modest 6120 mAH battery.
It has the state of the art AMOLED 12-inch touch screen and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 processor. It also comes with the Samsung S-Pen and the backlit keyboard in the box. So, you don’t have to spend extra bucks on these accessories. One other highlight is that the S-pen and the keyboard never needs to be charged. The Dolby Atmos speakers also provide a truly immersive video and gaming experience.
It has 2 Type-C USB ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. You can also use a SSD Card to increase the ROM in the device, in case you like to store a lot of videos and files on your device. However, you can use the super-fast Gigabit Ethernet to browse the internet at lightening speeds. You can make one of these Galaxy Book 2 devices your own starting at $999.99
7. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 3
Lenovo has time and again come up with some customer specific mobile products. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 3 is a tablet computer designed mostly for business professional who are mostly always on the go. It is a detachable 2-in-1 tablet which can be bundled as a PC and a touch-screen tablet.
It has a 13-inch edge-to-edge display that is enough to get your daily computing needs covered. It is powered by 8th generation Intel Processor and comes with an i5 and i7 variant with 8GB and 16GB RAM respectively. Lenovo has brought a refreshing change to the storage capacity of the ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 3. It has 512 GB storage as standard on the i5 model and 1TB on the i7 model. It also packs a decent 8MP rear and 2MP front camera.
For connectivity it features 2 Type-C USB ports and latest Bluetooth protocols. It runs on Windows 10, which means that you can easily use it as a primary professional device which is more than enough to cater to daily needs of executives, designers, developers and coders.
8. All-new Fire HD 10
Amazon’s entry into the consumer electronics segment was least expected but was a runaway success. With devices like Alexa, Amazon has built a strong name in the segment. With the all-New Fire HD 10 Tablet, Amazon has started competing in the tablet computer segment.
With a 10.1” screen and 1080p resolution, one might argue that it is on the smallish side. It has a 32GB and a 64GB storage variant which is expandable up to 512 GB and has a 2GB RAM. The device is powered by Android OS. Amazon seems to have built it for light usage where you can watch a bit of video, browse the internet and edit documents and spreadsheets. If you wish to find a portable tablet that can double up as a primary device, then this device will leave you wanting in a lot of departments.
You can get up to 12 hours of battery life on this device with moderate usage. It comes with an USB Type C port for connectivity. As expected, it seamlessly syncs with Alexa and gives you a seamless Alexa experience. It comes with four color variants of Black, White, Twilight Blue and Plum. As you can imagine, New Fire HD 10 Tablet is not a high-spec device and is priced from $149.99.
9. ASUS Chromebook Tablet CT100PA
ASUS understood the need of a tablet specially designed for the classroom. This led to the Chromebook Tablet CT100PA. ASUS is making it clear in the commercials and official website that the device is built keeping the education sector in mind.
If you are a teacher, or a student who believe in interactive and modern learning ways, you might like to give a serious look to the Chromebook Tablet CT100PA. It has a study build quality which is tested to endure harsh usage and nasty drops. The corners are protected by tough rubber bumpers which reduced impact on screen. The textured finish on the back is anti-skid and fingerprint proof. ASUS has gone on to get a military-grade MIL-STD-810G standard which is indeed a proof of its ruggedness.
ASUS has kept the screen size under 10 inches to make it ultra-portable but without compromising on utility. It has paid attention to details and made a dedicated slot the pen. So now you won’t have to worry about losing your pen. The tablet works on ChromeOS and has 4GB RAM along with 32GB storage. It comes as a single-color variant of dark grey.
10. Vankyo MatrixPad Z10
Vankyo MatrixPad Z10 is the best 10-inch value for money tablet. It comes with 1920×1200 IPS display and runs on Quad-Core MT8163A processor. 3GB RAM + 32GB expandable storage helps you store lots of your stuff and enable smooth operations. You can click clearer pictures with its 13MP rear camera and connect people through video chats with 5MP front camera.
MatrixPad Z10 comes with Android 9 Pie and runs for up to 10 hours with 6000mAh battery. And most importantly, the reason we listed this tablet here is because of USB port. With USB-C port, you can fast charge, transfer files and enable other connectivity options.
Just like laptops replaced a majority of desktop computers, the coming few years can see the laptop being replaced by equally or sometimes more powerful tablet PCs. One of the downside of tablets, when they first arrived onto the scene was that you could not extensively type on them. But with removable and ultralight keyboards, this problem is a thing of the past. Apple definitely leads the pack with the iPad and iPad Pro series of tablets, but we are seeing some really spectacular competition coming from the likes of Microsoft, Samsung and Google.
Emergence of ultralight processors along with portability features like USB Type C connectors have enabled manufacturers to design thin and powerful tablet devices. Surprisingly, with all this power the battery life is commendable and an average tablet PC now delivers around 12 hours of battery life depending on the usage and software. Major operating systems like Android, Windows and iOS have launched optimized UI specially focused for tablet devices.
Competition in the tablet market is heating up. If you are looking to buy a tablet computer and confused about which one to buy, give a thought to these 10 devices. These are definitely the best tablets with USB ports in US today.