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Best Apple iPad Pro alternatives you can buy right now

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If you want the power and functionality of Apple’s top-end slate, but without the premium price or the toxic hellstew software that comes with it, you do have options.

Apple offers three different iPad lines: the iPad Mini 4, iPad 9.7, and iPad Pro (which you can get in either 12.9-inch or 10.5-inch sizes). In our review of the iPad Pro 10.5-inch model earlier this year, we said it totally replaced our MacBook. CNET called it a multitasking, file-sorting king and even named it the best tablet of 2018. As for the 12.9-inch model, it’s a dream for graphic designers, but it’s too large to be easily portable and costs as much as a laptop.


(Image: CNET)

While the smaller iPad Pro starts at around $570, the larger one begins at $880. And if you get it with the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil, you’re looking at close to $300 more in accessories. Clearly, the iPad Pro isn’t a whim purchase, and if Apple or iOS aren’t your thing, it’s definitely off the table for you. Luckily, as we said, there are alternatives you can buy right now. We’ve also included a couple that are coming soon.

Here are your best options running Android, Chrome OS, or Windows 10. Not all of them are cheaper, but they do provide a computer-like experience in a tablet or hybrid form factor.

Best Apple iPad Pro alternatives you can buy right now

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(Image: CNET)

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Microsoft offers five different Surface device lines, one of which is Surface Pro. And its latest model — the 12.3-inch Surface Pro 6 — launched Oct. 16. It still has a detachable keyboard, but now comes in a new matte black color and updated eighth-generation Intel Core CPUs.

It offers LTE and up to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. And while it still has USB-A ports, its display is improved to 267ppi. There’s also an autofocusing 8MP camera for video-chatting and Windows Hello login. You can get the Surface Pro 6 with Microsoft’s Surface Pro Signature Type Cover ($159) and Surface Pen ($99), too. So, if you want an Apple Pencil-like experience, look no further. The Core i5 model with 128GB of RAM starts at $899.

Also: Microsoft Surface Pro 6 review: Racing ahead of last year’s model CNET | Microsoft Surface Pro 6 alternatives you can buy right now

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(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

Google Pixelbook

The $999 Pixelbook is another hybrid, meaning it can be used as a laptop or a tablet. This particular form factor doesn’t have a detachable keyboard, but the sturdy hinges easily rotate, so the screen sits flat on the Pixelbook’s body. But what’s most notable about 12.3-inch Pixelbook is the top-of-the-line model is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-7Y75 processor. That’s a high-end Kaby Lake CPU designed for fanless, super-thin laptops.

ZDNet tested the device earlier this year and was able to have 257 tabs open at once and still have memory to spare. So, who should buy this? Anyone who needs a no-holds-barred, great 2-in-1. You also get, for buying it, a terabyte of Google Cloud storage for a year. And it works with an Apple Pencil-like Pixelbook Pen ($99). However, Pixelbook has no LTE and runs Chrome OS, so it won’t have every desktop-class app you may need. But, remember, it does run Android apps.

Also: Google Pixelbook review: The best Chromebook CNET | The Killer Chromebook: Google’s i7 Pixelbook

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(Image: CNET)

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

The iPad may be the most popular tablet, and it is great for many people, but there are some key business features missing from the iPad, including limited keyboard and no mouse support. The $650 Galaxy Tab S4 is a better option that functions much more like a computer in a lighter, portable form factor. It’s an Android tablet, with the Book Cover keyboard designed for business use. You can use it for typing, storing the S Pen, and tablet protection.

What we like most about the 10.5-inch Tab S4 is it includes LTE, Samsung DeX integration, mouse support, S Pen functionality with Air Command utilities, and a multi-window capability. You can also use the tablet as a touch pad, digitizer, or touch keyboard when connected to an external monitor. The Wi-Fi model with 64GB internal storage starts at $650.

Also: Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 review: A premium tablet CNET | Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 review: An Android tablet built for business

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(Image: CNET)

Lenovo Yoga 920

The 13.9-inch Lenovo Yoga 920 is a top-end Windows 10 convertible. It improves on the company’s premium two-in-one ultraportable by adding active pen support and Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, and by throwing in an eighth-generation Intel Core i-series processor for better performance and a long battery life. CNET said the super-slim bezels around its display, all-metal chassis, and unique watchband 360-degree hinge make it seem like a premium laptop.

In our review, we said it’s a good convertible laptop with minor niggles, like the lack of LTE and an SD card reader, and its price. The Core i7 model with 8GB of RAM starts at $1,399.

Also: Lenovo Yoga 920 review: One of the best 2-in-1 laptops CNET | Lenovo Yoga 920 review: A premium 2-in-1 convertible

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(Image: CNET)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet (third-generation)

In our review of the latest generation, we said it’s designed to compete with Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro, as it brings tablet computing into the office without compromising on traditional laptop features. It should be the only laptop a mobile professional needs. The 13-inch tablet is very solid, and its durable kickstand hinge supports a wide range of angles. The keyboard is detachable, too, so you can get the full Windows 10 tablet experience.

Plus, there’s an LTE variant.

The only drawback is it isn’t cheap. The Core i5 model with 8GB of RAM starts at $1,290.

Also: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet review: A Surface-like tablet CNET | Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Gen review: A top-quality 2-in-1

Best Apple iPad Pro alternatives that are coming soon

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(Image: CNET)

Samsung Galaxy Book 2

We had to include this one — even though you can’t buy it until Nov. 2. Arriving as a successor to last year’s 12-inch Galaxy Book, the $1,000 Galaxy Book 2 runs Windows 10 S and comes with 128GB storage, 4GB RAM, an 8MP rear and 5MP front camera, two USB-C ports, and a microSD slot. An S Pen and keyboard come bundled together with purchase.

It’s also one of the first devices to use the Snapdragon 850 platform, which promises Gigabit LTE connectivity and a 20-hours battery life. While not a traditional tablet, the Galaxy Book 2 can be used as one, and CNET thinks it’ll be great for those of you who want to work anywhere, anytime.

Also: Samsung Galaxy Book (12-inch) review: A great Windows tablet CNET | Samsung unveils Always Connected Galaxy Book 2 PC

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(Image: CNET)

Google Pixel Slate

When CNET checked out the just-announced 12-inch Pixel Slate, it described the device as a convertible tablet-meets-Chromebook with detachable keyboard that’s basically the iPad keyboard we’ve all wanted for years: one with a touchpad, one that feels like a laptop, and one that adds front and back protection to the tablet when traveling. The Slate is clearly designed to go up against the Microsoft Surface and its workplace-meets-tablet design, but it also seems to come within striking distance of the iPad Pro, especially in terms of price.

The model with Core i5 and 16GB of RAM starts at $599 and will be available from November. It can be paired with the Pixel Slate Keyboard ($199) and Pixelbook Pen ($99). It’s honestly a perfect model for where Apple should take its iPad next. Our only problem with it is the lack of LTE and good desktop-class apps, which can make it a problematic purchase.

Also: Google Pixel Slate, hands-on: the keyboard’s the best feature CNET | Google’s Pixel Slate problem: The Android apps are awful


For more great deals on devices, gadgetry, and technology for your enterprise, business, or home office, see ZDNet’s Business Bargain Hunter blog. Affiliate disclosure: ZDNet earns commission from the products and services featured on this page.

Previous and related coverage:

Apple to hold iPad Pro event on Oct. 30 in New York

The company is expected to announce new iPad models and possibly update its MacBook lineup.

Here’s the next iPad Pro Apple should build: Specs and speculation

Apple’s third-generation iPad Pro is likely to have important but incremental improvements over its predecessor and include technologies introduced in the iPhone X.

New iPad Pro: Fantasy features list

I’ve not owned an iPad in years, but if Apple updated the iPad Pro and added the following features, I’d be the first in line to buy a new one.

Apple iPad Pro Review: A superb tablet waiting for its time to shine

It’s hard to review the new iPad Pro without peering into the future and thinking of its true potential once iOS 11 is released.

I tried to write this article on an iPad Pro. It didn’t go well

Apple keeps insisting an iPad Pro is a computer. So could I switch to it from a MacBook Air?

New iPad Pro 2018: All the rumors on specs, prices, and features CNET

Will the new iPad Pro show up at Apple’s upcoming event?

The iPad Pro 2018 models: 8 things the pros need TechRepublic

The iPad Pro is Apple’s effort to build a tablet for the enterprise, but it would be a better business tool with these features.

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Instagram tests ditching video posts in favor of Reels – TechCrunch

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Instagram is testing a change that turns video posts into Reels, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. The company says the change, which is currently being tested with select users around the world, is part of Instagram’s plan to simplify video on the app.

“We’re testing this feature as part of our efforts to simplify and improve the video experience on Instagram,” a spokesperson from Meta said in an email.

A screenshot posted on Twitter by social media consultant Matt Navarra shows that people who are part of the test will see an in-app message that says “video posts are now shared as Reels.”

The message indicates that if your account is public and you post a video that ends up being turned into a Reel, anyone can discover your Reel and use your original audio to create their own Reel. If your account is set to private, your Reel will only be visible to your followers. The message also notes that once you post a Reel, anyone can create a remix with your Reel if your account is public. However, you can prevent people from remixing your Reels in your account settings.

As with any other test, it’s unknown when or if Instagram plans to roll out the change more widely. If the change does become permanent, it may pose some challenges. For example, it could be difficult to post a horizontal video if it gets uploaded in a vertical Reels format. In addition, Instagram did not say how this change will affect current videos on Instagram.

The test comes as Meta has been betting big on Reels. As part of its Q1 2022 earnings, the company revealed that Reels now make up more than 20% of the time that people spend on Instagram. It’s not surprising that Instagram is looking to expand Reels even more by replacing video posts altogether. If the company does end up making this change permanent, it could boast about people spending even more time viewing Reels. 

Last year, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said the app was “no longer a photo-sharing app,” noting the company was prioritizing a shift into video amid significant competition from TikTok and YouTube. The company then took a step toward its larger goal of making video a more central part of the Instagram experience by combining IGTV’s long-form video and Instagram Feed videos into a new format simply called “Instagram Video.”

If Instagram decides to turn all video uploads into Reels, it would consolidate the company’s video elements even further. Last year, when Mosseri laid out Instagram’s priorities for 2022, he said the company would double down on video and focus on Reels. He even hinted that Instagram would consolidate all of its video products around Reels and continue to grow the short-form product, which indicates that this change may have always been the plan.

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Crypto wants its own iPhone – TechCrunch

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Image Credits: TechCrunch

Apple’s relative hostility to the desires of crypto developers hasn’t gone unnoticed, and as the industry buckles down for a bear market, some of its proponents are pushing forward plans to rebuild the iPhone with their own industry’s best interests at heart.

Hello and welcome back to the Chain Reaction podcast, where we unpack and explain the latest crypto news, drama and trends, breaking it down block by block for the crypto curious.

This week, my co-host Anita was off, so I was joined by TC+ Senior Crypto Reporter Jacquie Melinek, who discussed some of the wild happenings in crypto, including FTX’s flirtations with Robinhood and the latest drama at Celsius.

We also talked about the big surprise announcement of the week: the Solana-backed Saga smartphone. The new device will operate with crypto capabilities baked into its silicon while serving as a regular Android-based smartphone as well. The device doesn’t ship until next year, allegedly, and Jacquie and I had plenty of thoughts, so listen along above!

Our guest: Doodles CEO Julian Holguin

This week, I chatted with Julian Holguin, who is the CEO of the NFT project Doodles. The collection of 10,000 NFT profile pictures is one of the most popular crypto projects on the web and Holguin just banked funding from Alexis Ohanian to push the startup behind the art even further.

Chain Reaction podcast episodes come out every Thursday at 12:00 p.m. PDT. Subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify or your alternative podcast platform of choice to keep up with us every week.

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Visby Medical tests positive for a Series E extension at $1B+ valuation – TechCrunch

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Medical diagnostics company Visby Medical raised $100 million in a Series E round earlier this year. Today, the company told me it extended that round by an additional $35 million at the same valuation as the rest of the round. This financing will enable Visby Medical to scale production capacity from tens to hundreds of thousands of monthly tests. It will also further expand its product lineup to include COVID + influenza A/B combination testing, antimicrobial resistance panels, and deliver at-home PCR diagnostics to consumers.

“The valuation is just over $1B post-money,” a spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch over email. “The extension is at the same valuation as the rest of the round, which we think demonstrates that these are long-term investors, not influenced by short-term fluctuations in the public markets.”

The company told me it consciously sought out investors that would be eager to continue to invest long-term. The original $100 million was led by Ping An Voyager Partners and joined by the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP). The round also included participation by existing investors including John Doerr, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, ND Capital, Artiman Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital, Blue Water Life Science Advisors and Nissim Capital.

The extension round of an additional $35 million was led by Lightrock, who joined existing Series E investors including John Doerr, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, ND Capital, Artiman Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital, Blue Water Life Science Advisors and J Ventures.

“At Visby Medical, we are revolutionizing patient care by developing diagnostics that healthcare providers can use to test for any infection at anytime, anywhere,” said Visby Medical Founder and CEO Adam de la Zerda, PhD in a statement to TechCrunch. “Especially during these times of market slowdown, our investors have shown significant confidence in Visby’s innovative technology and mission. This funding will enable us to further our goal to provide the world’s first instrument-free handheld PCR platform to accurately and rapidly test for a variety of serious infections to anyone who needs it.”

Visby’s PCR diagnostic technology is being developed in multiple therapeutic areas and is aimed to address a critical and growing global need: to combat the significant rise in infectious diseases, including on-the-spot STI rapid testing solutions.

The financing goes to show that there’s still money out there, and it’s encouraging to see that companies are more forthcoming about announcing both round extensions — which traditionally have been frowned upon by the investment community — and valuations as part of their funding journey.

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