Strangely, Linux is one of those things that’s known and used every day across numerous industries from all over the globe, and yet the average person on the street would probably tell you that they’ve never heard of it. While many people encounter Microsoft, Apple, and Android operating systems on a daily basis, they’re unaware that there are many more choices of operating systems out there, including Linux. The question is, then, where are all the Linux tablets?
The simple answer is that there are next to none when compared to Microsoft and Apple tablets. To answer why just think of the average consumer. When that person shops for a tablet, they want something that is “plug and play.” They want something intuitive that is immediately easy to customize or that they don’t have to customize at all. Those of you who are hunting specifically for a Linux tablet are probably after something different (and are probably more technologically inclined than most average people). You’re aware that Linux is secure and reliable, and you probably want the challenge of installing and customizing it.
Since there are next to zero “Linux tablets” on the market as of 2018, this article is going to showcase tablets on which Linux distributions can be installed, as well as answer some general questions about Linux and its distributions for tablets.
Editor’s Pick- Linux Tablet
Best Linux Tablet Review
1. Asus ZenPad 3S 10
Key Features: The ZenPad 3S 10 is a 9.7-inch tablet that features brilliant visuals in 2K resolution enhanced by VisualMaster technology. Gamers and multitaskers will appreciate this tablet’s IMG GX6250 graphics, 64GB RAM and speedy hexa-core processor.
- Clear and bright 2K display
- Loud, high-resolution audio
- Inconsistent build quality
- Disappointingly short battery life
2. ThinkPad X220
Key Features: The ThinkPad X220 tablet is an ultra-portable, high-powered device that’s perfect for business. It comes with a durable Gorilla glass touchscreen and a full keyboard with a touchpad. It also features an ExpressCard slot, three USB 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort, a VGA connector and a flash card reader.
- Fast and powerful
- Responsive keyboard
- Large hard drive
- IScreen is somewhat grainy and not anti-glare
- Somewhat heavy when compared to other tablets
- Screen cannot be securely fastened to keyboard
3. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
Get reliable performance from the Intel Core m7-6Y75 processor 1.2GHz (Burst up to 3.1GHz) 4MG Cache
16GB 1866MHz LPDDR3 (on-board) memory, with a microSD card slot that supports up to 64GB, 256GB M.2 Solid State Drive
Enjoy a 12” Screen with Portable Entertainment with a Stunning Display: Whether for work or leisure, the high…
Key Features: The ThinkPad X1 is a 13-inch, 2-in-1 tablet that has been through 200 quality checks. It can be connected to any Thunderbolt 3-enabled device to quadruple its data and double its video bandwidth.
- Superb detachable keyboard
- Sharp display
- Mediocre battery life
4. Acer Iconia W700
Key Features: The Iconia is a sturdy slate tablet designed with a wide viewing angle and a powerful processor. It comes with a keyboard and a cradle and is considered a good laptop replacement.
- Impressive battery life
- High-resolution display
- Cannot adjust viewing angle on the tablet’s stand
5. Microsoft – Surface Pro
Key Features: The Surface Pro is an ultra-light, 2-in-1 device with a sleek, minimalist design that boasts stunning Iris Plus graphics, an extensive battery life and a mighty Core i7 processor. The Surface Pro can be arranged for three modes of use: laptop, studio and
- Flexible kickstand
- Decent battery life
- Runs silently
- Hard to use on your lap
- No Thunderbolt or USB-C options
- Type cover and Surface Pen not included
6. Asus Nexus 7
Key Features: The Nexus 7 is both a portable and powerful 7-inch tablet with 23GB of storage, a high-resolution display and a quad-core processor for smoother multitasking, faster web-surfing and more responsive gameplay.
- Performs smoothly and quickly
- Great visuals and responsiveness for gaming
- Long battery life
- Hard to use on your lap
- Does not support microSD
How We Reviewed Linux Tablets
We compiled our list of tablet recommendations based on research across multiple sources. The tablets mentioned here were, in general, rated highly and recommended by consumers and also by industry experts. We also took the product specs, features and build quality into account.
Price Range of Linux Tablets
The price of tablets that are compatible with Linux varies greatly from a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand. Older models are often available at greatly reduced prices on eBay and Amazon Marketplace and purchasing one of those can save you hundreds – literally hundreds – of dollars.
Linux Tablets: FAQ
What Exactly Is Linux?
Linux is an operating system that came into being around the middle of the 1990s. An operating system, such as the more familiar Windows 8 and Mac OS X, is technically software, and it operates as the middleman between your hardware and the software that you actually notice. For instance, if you tried to install a word processing application (like Microsoft Word) on your computer’s hardware without installing an operating system first, the application would not run because there would be nothing managing the communication between the hardware and the application or software.
How Is Linux Different From Other Operating Systems?
Linux differs from more mainstream operating systems, such as Mac OS X and Windows, in that it is and was created to be open source, meaning that anybody can alter it to create new varieties of the software. You can obtain Linux online through one of its distributions, better known as “distros” in the world of information technology. The best part is that the installation is free. Installing Linux requires no software purchase or server licensing cost, and then you’re free to study it and tinker with it as you will – and even distribute your own distros of it. This open source distribution model has encouraged much innovation over the years, and as a result, Linux has been able to evolve and gain global popularity as a secure and reliable operating system.
Why Do Some People Prefer Linux Over Other Operating Systems?
First, the installation is free. Also, fans of Linux will tell you that it is stable, dependable and secure. In general, with Linux, you run a lower risk of losing data, suffering from computer slow-downs and being affected by viruses and malware. In addition, because it is an open source operating system, developers and tech-savvy consumers enjoy the ability to have access to the code and regular updates.
What is a Linux Distro?
Because developers have been able to install and alter Linux freely for the entirety of its existence, numerous modified versions of Linux exist, including versions for everything from personal to enterprise-level usage. Those modified versions are known as distributions or “distros.” For example, Ubuntu is currently the most popular and widely utilized Linux distro internationally.
Can I Buy a Tablet With Linux or a Linux Distro Already On It?
You might be able to, but it probably won’t be easy, especially if you’re trying to purchase a tablet within the United States. In most cases, you’ll have to look for a tablet on which a Linux distro can be installed. To ease that search, we’ve compiled a list of such tablets for you in this article.
What kind of Linux Distro Should I Put on My Tablet?
This will depend on the model of your tablet. In general, though, you’ll want to install a Linux distro that works well for touchscreens, and after installation, you should still expect to spend some time on setup, tweaking and possibly a few other software additions. For some people, that’s just part of the fun.
Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu are distros that are known for working well for touchscreens. You’ll also need some kind of graphical user interface so that you can actually interact with the buttons and apps on the screen. Unity and Gnome 3 are popular choices.
Linux Tablets: In Conclusion
Every tablet on our list has been confirmed to be compatible with at least one of Linux’s many distros. Overall, we recommend the Asus Nexus 7 for the quality of its display, battery life, speed, easy traveling size and low price point. As evidenced by consumer and expert reviews, the Nexus 7 will be enjoyable for advanced Linux users as well as beginners. To make it even better, numerous Linux tutorials for this particular tablet online