The Best Stylus for Your iPad or Other Touchscreen Device

After testing 18 styluses in five categories for over 20 hours to find the best touchscreen stylus for sketching, writing, and navigation, we think the Adonit Mark is the one most people should buy, thanks to its unmatched combination of accuracy, comfort, and price. The Adonit Mark’s triangular anodized-aluminum body fits in your hand as perfectly as a grade-school pencil, and it writes smoothly on the iPad’s screen without offering too much or too little resistance. As cartoonist and designer Rich Stevens explained after testing the Mark, “For the cost of a pizza, it’s definitely worth doing some drawing with it.” Both of our experts cited it as their must-have stylus after the Apple Pencil, our pick for iPad Pro owners. If you can’t find our main pick, you need a great option for kids, or you want a wider stylus body, we also highly recommend Studio Neat’s Cosmonaut: Its thick rubber body feels great in the hand whether you’re 6 or 60, and it offers surprisingly good precision for a large-tipped rubber stylus. Popular among Wirecutter staff, it’s also one of the most durable styluses we’ve ever tested.   If you own an iPad Pro, plan to do a lot of writing and drawing, and…

The Best iPad Keyboard Cases

An iPad makes a much better laptop substitute—or at least a better productivity tool—when you’ve got a real keyboard to type on. After testing more than 100 keyboard cases over the past few years, including dozens of models specifically for the iPad Air 2, we think that Belkin’s Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 is the best one. It isn’t cheap—typically it sells for $100 to $130—but it is the most versatile and complete keyboard case we’ve tested.1 (If you’re looking for something for an iPad Pro, we have a separate guide to the best iPad Pro keyboard cases.) If you don’t use a keyboard regularly, and especially if you like to keep your iPad as thin and light as possible, we think a separate Bluetooth keyboard with a sturdy iPad stand is a better option than a keyboard case. That being said, the Qode Ultimate Pro has a few tricks up its sleeve that make it particularly appealing. Most important, the typing experience is very good: It has all the expected keys, in the right places; those keys are also backlit for easy visibility. And though most keyboard cases limit you to landscape (horizontal) orientation and a single angle, the Qode lets you use your…

The Best Multiport USB Wall Charger

After surveying more than 1,100 Wirecutter readers and using six iPads to test 19 top models, we can safely say that Anker’s PowerPort 4 is the best USB wall charger for most people. It costs a little more than Apple’s single-port 12W USB Power Adapter, but the Anker model can push out more than three times as much power and charge four devices at once. In fact, it can simultaneously charge three full-size iPads at full speed while also charging a smartphone. Surveyed readers said they preferred chargers that plug directly into an outlet, and this is the most powerful one we tested to do so. Additionally, Anker’s charger allows connected devices to draw the advertised amount of power; some of the competition doesn’t. This 40-watt four-port charger is just as wide as Apple’s iPad charger but larger in its other dimensions because of its extra ports. It plugs directly into an outlet instead of using a detachable power cable, but thanks to the orientation of its prongs, it covers only a single outlet instead of crowding your power strip or wall plate. Anker’s PowerIQ technology identifies what kind of device is plugged into each port and delivers the proper amperage without your having…

The Best Cheap iPad Cases

Apple’s current iPad line includes four models, and each requires a different-size case. Apple makes one case that fits most models—the Smart Cover—but it’s expensive and it protects only the screen. We think most people don’t need to spend a lot of money to get solid protection for their tablets, and over the past three years, we’ve spent more than 80 hours researching and testing dozens of cases (and putting in hundreds of hours of real-life use) to find the best affordable options. We’ve focused our recent efforts on the iPad (5th generation), the iPad Pro models, and the iPad mini 4, but we also have picks for older models. There aren’t yet many noteworthy cases for the latest 9.7-inch iPad, and even fewer are from established brand names. The best option for simple, inexpensive, slim protection is Moko’s Ultra Slim. We’ve recommended this case in the past for some other iPad models, and we think it’s the best case for most new 9.7-inch iPad owners. It fully covers both sides and all edges of the tablet, has a sturdy lid that doesn’t move around or come open when you don’t want it to, and looks pretty nice, too. ESR’s Lightweight Smart Case Trifold Stand is very…

The Best Lightning Cable for iPhone and iPad

If we had to buy an extra Lightning cable for charging our iPhone or iPad, or replace one that’s broken, we’d choose the 3-foot Anker PowerLine Lightning cable, because it hits all the right notes in terms of design, functionality, and price. It’s impossible for us to test every Lightning cable, but having tested hundreds of them since Apple replaced the 30-pin connector in 2012, and after comparing the PowerLine cable against our previous top picks, we can say that Anker’s cable stands out from the crowd. Anker’s PowerLine cables charge iPads, iPhones, iPods—and the plethora of Lightning-based accessories Apple introduced over the past year—at their maximum speed (though the 12.9-inch iPad Pro can charge even faster with a special cable and charger). They also fulfill our readers’ number-one request: sturdiness. Anker builds its PowerLine cables with Kevlar fiber and PVC strain-relief collars that should prevent fraying during normal use. Plus they’re affordable: The 3-foot cable is half the price of Apple’s 1-meter (3.5-foot) Lightning to USB Cable. Add to this Anker’s reputation for stellar hardware, its fantastic customer service, and an awesome 18-month warranty, and it’s clear why this cable is our pick. If you prefer longer or shorter cables, you can pick up the PowerLine…

The Best Micro-USB Cable

If I were to buy an extra Micro-USB cable or replace a broken one, I’d choose Anker’s PowerLine Micro USB (3ft), because it hits all the right notes in terms of design, functionality, and price. We can’t test every cable, but we’ve tested dozens of Micro-USB cables over hundreds of hours and compared the PowerLine against our previous picks, and Anker’s cable is easy to recommend. Anker’s PowerLine cables charge Micro-USB accessories and devices at their maximum speed.1 The cables also address the number one request of our readers: durability. Anker builds its PowerLine cables with Kevlar fiber and PVC strain-relief collars that should prevent fraying during normal use. The cables are also affordable, with even the most-expensive model—the 10-foot length—priced at less than $10. Add Anker’s solid reputation for hardware quality, the company’s well-regarded customer service, and an impressive 18-month warranty, and you can see why this cable is our pick. If you like the appearance and possible—but not guaranteed—extra durability of a nylon-wrapped cable, spend a few dollars more and choose Anker’s PowerLine+ MicroUSB. Our teardown revealed the interior construction to be the same as our pick’s, and it has the same 18-month warranty, but Anker says it’ll withstand twice as many bends,…

The iPad Is the Best Tablet

We think Apple’s iPad (5th generation),1 released in spring 2017, is the best tablet for most people because it offers the best combination of speed, features, screen size, ecosystem, and price. The iPad line is the best selection of tablets for many reasons: They’re solidly built, they perform well, they have fantastic screens, they run a reliable and easy-to-use operating system, and—maybe most important—they have the largest app library and accessory ecosystem of any tablet. They also come with the best support of any brand. If you’re looking for the best tablet, your biggest question is likely “Which iPad should I buy?” The things that have made all iPads great tablets—such as an unbeatable selection of outstanding apps, stellar hardware quality, long battery life, and unrivaled customer support—help them continue to best other tablets on the market. The 5th-generation iPad’s significantly lower price than the model it replaced (the $400 iPad Air 2, our previous top pick) makes it even more appealing and simplifies the decision between it and other iPad models: Although the iPad Pro and iPad mini models will be better for some people, the 5th-generation iPad is the best all-around value. (Though you may want to spring for more storage.) The 5th-generation iPad is more than enough tablet for most…

The Best iPad Pro Keyboard Cases

The iPad Pro makes the best argument yet for an iPad as a laptop substitute and power-user productivity tool. You’ll get a lot more out of it with a real keyboard to type on. After testing every keyboard case we could get our hands on over the past year—for all three iPad Pro sizes—we haven’t yet found the perfect one. (You might be better off with a separate Bluetooth keyboard.) But we think Apple’s own Smart Keyboard for 10.5-inch iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard for 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and Smart Keyboard for 9.7-inch iPad Pro are the best currently available, because each version offers a pretty good typing experience in a slim and relatively light package that’s easy to put on and take off. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is quite a bit bigger and heavier than Apple’s other tablets, and adding a bulky keyboard case can make it a bit awkward to hold. But if you want a keyboard case (say, for typing on your lap), rather than a separate keyboard, Apple’s own Smart Keyboard for 12.9-inch iPad Pro is still the best available. The Smart Keyboard adds significantly less weight and bulk than other options and is easy to put on and take off thanks to a Smart Cover-like magnetic…

Can an iPad Pro or Surface Pro Tablet Replace Your Laptop?

We spent 120 hours over the past year using eight high-end tablets at a desk, on trains, on buses, and on planes to see if we could recommend any of them for in-depth work: tasks such as serious writing and editing, taking extended notes in Evernote, and answering volumes of email at greater length than we’d want to do on a phone. We also asked artists and other professionals how they’ve incorporated these pro tablets’ styluses into their work. Though we don’t think a pro tablet is a great choice as a laptop replacement for professionals yet—issues like multitasking restrictions and software that really isn’t optimized for these devices are limiting—their active styluses can make them good choices as secondary devices for those who prefer drawing or writing to keyboard entry. What we found is that a tablet based on a smartphone-descended operating system, like the iPad Pro (iOS) or Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3 or Google’s Pixel C(Android), imposes limits on how you can work with multiple programs and get data on or off the device; and though tablets running a touch-optimized version of a desktop operating system—like Microsoft’s Windows 10-based Surface Pro—don’t have those multitasking or input/output challenges, they struggle to match the battery life…

The Best Android Tablets

After spending hundreds of hours over the past several years researching and testing tablets, we think the best full-featured Android tablet for most people right now is the Asus ZenPad 3S 10. Other Android tablets are cheaper or more powerful, but the ZenPad offers the best combination of speed, display quality, and features for the price. That said, if you’re not already invested in Android, an iPad is a better tablet in general. The ZenPad 3S 10 has much better hardware than our previous pick, the now-discontinued Nvidia Shield K1. The ZenPad has a crisp, bright 9.7-inch display with the same resolution as the 9.7-inch iPad (2048×1536). It includes 64 GB of storage and 4 GB of RAM, which is the same as what comes in much more expensive devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3—but the ZenPad costs less than $300. The six-core processor provides snappy performance, and the USB Type-C port supports fast charging for the tablet’s large 5,900 mAh battery. This hardware wasn’t put to proper use until the ZenPad recently got its Android Nougat update—the updated OS makes the tablet faster and more capable, with a less-cluttered interface and split-screen app support. If you want a cheap tablet for watching videos,…