As an engineering major and a big nerd, I am obsessed with tech gadgets, laptops and tablets. Every field has its own requirements and engineering is one of those that requires versatile and powerful computers. So, what kind of tablets and 2-in-1 laptops are useful for engineers and engineering graduates?
General Requirements for Tablets Fit for Engineering
From technical point of view, I recommend these specifications:
- A powerful processor (at least Intel i5)
- At least 4 GB of RAM
- Hard disk drive capacity not important as long as you can install your required programs
- No hassle connectivity (Bluetooth, WiFi, USB ports) Support for using mouse (this is very important which will be discussed below)
- A universal operating system (Hint: Windows OS)
My first 2-in-1 laptop/tablet was the Microsoft's Surface Pro 3. I had bought it in 2014 and I still use it. It is important to buy a Windows tablet. The software programs I use - AutoCAD, Catia, Solver and ANSYS are only compatible in Windows OS. Yes, there is support for Mac too but not all software developers release Macintosh version of their software.
Enter Surface Pro 6.
Surface Pro 6 comes with up to 1TB Memory
Microsoft has continued its line of the Surface Pro tablets with the new 2018 model of Surface Pro 6 ($899). Just like SP3 (that was originally covered in this article in 2014), it is fully customizable and available in different models and configurations:
- Intel Core i5 configuration available with 128GB SSD drive and 8GB RAM
- Intel Core i5 or i7 Processor available for all models with SSD greater than 256GB
A typical engineering student or even an engineer only needs the maximum performance for certain projects only (1-2 times a year). For such purpose, it is easy to get away with a lab or the office computer and take full advantage of the perfectionist the Surface Pro 6 is. It is best to get the right device that fulfills 95% of your computing requirements than to sweat for the rest 5% which can be done with the help of a desktop computer in a computer lab.
Do you like Surface Pro tablets?
Surface Pro 6 is universally compatible with most applications
The major benefit of using a tablet like Surface Pro 6 is that you can take your favorite Office programs, including the full Microsoft Office 365 Suite, on-the-go and use an appealing touch interface to get work done. Of course you can also download your preferred entertainment apps including games, music and movies from the Windows Store. But as an engineering student, you can fully install AutoCAD, Catia and even ANSYS.
Surface Pro 6 is a tablet with the versatility of a laptop
With all these things said, I still think the SP6 is the best tablet you can get for performing engineering works because you will be working more with the desktop side of the system. Utilizing it as a desktop, one is able to easily plug-in many peripherals without much difficulty. Microsoft has made some inroads into bringing the traditional Windows' desktop to the tablet and it will be the future of computing. The improved use of touch greatly enhances the experience.
Much has been made and said of the touchpad keyboard. It works well, especially if you're on the go travelling on a bus or in an airplane, however, it is no replacement for a touchpad on a laptop keyboard. The display is the highest quality that offers a stunning 2736 x 1824 resolution. This high-definition 267 ppi pixel density is only matched by a retina display on an Apple product.
Surface Pro 6 (Professional Review)
I recommend buying the 128 GB or 256 GB versions. Personally, I would get the Intel i7 processor model with 256GB version since you won't be needing much space on my tablet anyway. This also keeps the cost price low (with more value for the price) and work smoothly for engineering works.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.