If you’re looking to buy a Linux tablet, you have some options out there today. In this article, we’ll compare the best options and guide you through the Linux tablet world.
After our Linux phone comparison, it’s only natural that we do a Linux tablet comparison. In terms of advancements and options in the market, Linux tablets are far behind Linux phones. Linux phones in general are far behind iPhones and Androids. So right from the start, manage your expectations.
If you’re in a rush, here’s a quick comparison of the best Linux tablets:
|RasPad||$349||10.1” multi-touch screen with 720P IPS screen||8 GB||64-bit quad-core Cortex-A72 (1.5 GHz)||Raspberry Pi pre-installed, has lots of ports|
|PineTab||$99||10″ MiPi 720p capacitive LCD||6000 mAh||2 GB||64 GB||4x ARM Cortex A53 cores @ 1.152GHz||Ubuntu Touch pre-installed, expansion kits|
|CutiePi||$229||8” IPS LCD (1280×800)||5000 mAh||2 GB||4 x ARM Cortex A53 cores @ 1.152 GHz||Raspberry Pi pre-installed, has a handle|
|JingPad||$549||11″, 2K+, 2368×1728, AMOLED, 266PPI, 350nit||8000 mAh||8 GB||256 GB||Unisoc Tiger T7510, 12nm octa-core chipset||JingOS pre-installed, has a great display|
What’s a “Linux Tablet”?
Most people will define a Linux tablet differently. So, for the purposes of our article, a “Linux tablet” is a tablet that ships with a Linux distro out of the box, or at least a tablet that makes it super easy to install Linux on. There are other “non-Linux tablets” that work well with a Linux distro, we also included them in our list.
Read this before buying a Linux tablet
- Sadly, most Linux tablets are focused on developers. If you’re an average user or a beginner, some of these tablets may not be a good fit for you.
- Some tablets are currently out of stock or on pre-order. In some cases, you can’t buy a Linux tablet even if you wanted to.
- If you’d buy a “normal” Linux tablet and install a Linux distro on it, the hardware support is very limited, it may not even work on your tablet. Some apps don’t work well with touch.
Because of this, you’re left with very few choices. Especially if you’re a beginner or if you’re looking for bleeding-edge hardware and features.
Best Linux Tablets – Our Top Picks
Here are some of the best Linux tablets you can find today:
RasPad 3 is the tablet for programmers. It has the most ports out of all other Linux tablets – Ethernet, HDMI, Audio, USB, and Power. You can even swap TF cards without opening the back cover, making it perfect for distro hoppers. It’s compatible with Raspberry Pi OS, Retropie, Linux, Android, and Windows.
RasPad main features
- Open source hardware and software
- Runs Raspberry Pi OS, Retropie, and other OSes
- Has lots of ports
- Easily extensible
- Great documentation
RasPad main specs
- Ports: Ethernet, HDMI, Audio, 3x USB, and Power
- Display: 10.1” multi-touch screen with 720P IPS screen
- Uses Raspberry Pi 4
RasPad price: Without a Raspberry Pi: $219. With a Raspberry Pi: $349
PineTab – Pine64
You already know Pine64 for the PinePhone, but they also have a tablet. You can choose a normal version and a version with a detachable keyboard. It’s one of the best Linux tablets, but the downside is that they are often out of stock. So once you see that they have products in stock, buy them ASAP.
PineTab main features:
- Comes with Ubuntu Touch pre-installed
- Optional detachable backlit keyboard
- Multiple expansion boards for LTE, LoRa, and SATA SSD
- Micro HD Video Out
- CPU: 4 x ARM Cortex A53 cores @ 1.152GHz
- GPU: ARM Mali 400 MP2 GPU
- RAM: 2GB LPDDR3 RAM
- Display: 10″ MiPi 720p capacitive LCD
- Battery: Li-Po 6000 mAh
- Storage: 64GB of eMMC, Bootable Micro SD slot
- Cameras: 2Mpx front-facing camera, 5Mpx rear camera
- Ports: Micro HD digital video out port, USB 2.0 A Host, Micro USB 2.0 OTG, Optional M.2 slot, 3.5mm headphone jack with mic input
PineTab price: Without a keyboard: $99.99, With a keyboard: $119.98
If you like PineTab, you should also check out PineNote.
CutiePi is a tablet built with RPi with open source hardware. Every piece of hardware and software is open source. It runs a CutiePi shell with Raspberry Pi OS (Debian-based distro). The unique feature about this tablet is that it has a stand that can act as a handlebar too, making it easy to carry. The only downside is that it doesn’t have a front-facing camera.
CutiePi main features
- Open source hardware and software
- Runs Raspberry Pi OS
- Has a handle that doubles as a stand
CutiePi main specs
- CPU: BCM2711, Quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5 GHz
- Display: 8” IPS LCD (1280×800)
- Battery: Li-Po 5000 mAh
- Connectivity: WLAN 2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE
- Camera: Rear-facing camera 5MP (OV5647)
- Slots: I/O 1x USB type-A, 1x USB type-C (charging), 1x micro HDMI, 1x microSD slot
CutiePi price: $229.00
JingPad A1 runs JingOS – a Linux distro for tablets. It has an 11″ AMOLED 266PPI 2K screen, which is a rarity in Linux tablets. Out of all the Linux tablets, it definitely has the best display/screen. It also comes with a detachable keyboard and a Stylus.
JingPad main features
- Open source hardware and software
- Runs JingOS
- Has a detachable keyboard
- Has a stylus/pen
- Has an 11″ AMOLED 2k display
JingPad main specs
- CPU: Unisoc Tiger T7510, 12nm octa-core chipset with 4x Cortex-A75 cores clocked at 2.0GHz and 4x Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 1.8GHz
- Display: 11″, 2K+, 2368×1728, AMOLED, 266PPI, 350nit
- Battery: Li-Po 8000 mAh
- RAM: 8GB LPDDR4
- Storage: 256GB UMCP storage.
- Connectivity: 2.4G / 5G dual-band WiFi, 2*2 mimo, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/Glonass/Galileo/Beidou, USB Type-C interface, support OTG function
- Camera: 16MP back-camera, 8MP front-camera
- Sensors: Six-axis gyro, Ambient light sensor, Fingerprint sensor
JingPad price: $549
Non-Linux Tablets You Can Install Linux On
Some tablets come with Android or Windows pre-installed, but you can install a Linux distro on them.
Microsoft Surface Tablets
Most Microsoft Surface tablets are pretty compatible with Linux distros. Instead of featuring one specific tablet in our list, we’ll recommend checking this repo that has a list of supported devices with features that work and don’t work on Linux, as well as detailed instructions on how to install a Linux distro on those devices.
Lenovo Tab M10 X605F/L
This Lenovo Tablet TB-X605 is almost fully compatible with Ubuntu Touch. It’s a good multimedia device with a good screen and speakers. You can get the specs here. It’s relatively old (2020), but it’s still worth a mention.
Tablets we intentionally left out
You may notice them on other lists, but there are some tablets that we left out of our recommendations:
- Chromebooks. We’re not sure why Chromebooks are recommended in other Linux tablet lists. They would be a better fit on a Linux laptop list if they are to be included at all. The same goes for other “2-in-1” laptops that aren’t really tablets. Though technically ChromeOS is a Linux distro, it isn’t really focused on privacy.
- BQ tablets. Not sure what happened to the BQ company, but it seems like they no longer exist. If you do come across a BQ tablet (like BQ Aquaris M10 FHD) – it will work pretty well with a Linux distro, more specifically, Ubuntu Touch.
- ASUS ZenPad 3S 10. This tablet is compatible with Ubuntu Touch, but it’s quite outdated (2016 release date)
- Chuwi tablets. Their tablets are pretty good – but they don’t ship with Linux out of the box and some features aren’t supported on their tablets. It can be difficult to install Linux on a Chuwi tablet too.
What distros do Linux tablets use?
Linux tablets included in this list ship with a different Linux distro out of the box. Including, but not limited to:
- Ubuntu Touch
- Raspberry Pi OS
- Ubuntu Desktop and other Desktop distros
Are Linux tablets similar to Linux phones?
Yes, in that they aren’t as developed as Android devices, they both use Linux, and they are both mostly focused on privacy and developers.
Can I turn my Android tablet into a Linux tablet?
It really depends on the tablet you have. Sadly – in most cases, the answer will be no, you can’t install Linux on your tablet because you’d likely be limited with hardware support and functionality. You can always google it and see if you can do it though. Ubuntu Touch has a list of supported devices that may help.
Are you using a Linux tablet? Leave a comment below.
Are you using a Linux distro on your tablet? What distro are you using? What tablet are you using? How’s the compatibility? Leave a comment below.