Which is the most suitable ultra-portable device for full LaTeX functionality?

With "ultra-portable" I mean devices like the iPad or the Asus Eee Pad Transformer with low weight, long battery lifetime, fast boot etc. I am not speaking of smart phones.

With "full LaTeX" I mean a well maintained LaTeX distribution like MiKTeX or TeXLive in combination with a nice comfortable editor like WinEdt or TeXstudio.

I have read the various posts on TeX.SE regarding LaTeX on iPad and Android phones (note that Asus Eee Pad has Android OS). What I am missing, however, is a recommendation which device/OS I should buy having LaTeX compatibility in mind as one of the main applications I want to use on that device. The point is that I really want to base my decision on the suitability for LaTeX.

Possibly none of the devices mentioned above is really good for LaTeX (yet) and one had better forget about tablets and get a netbook or ultrabook like MacBook Air or Asus Eee PC instead!?

  • I'm using a HP netbook and it's slow, but otherwise fine. I probably wouldn't install LaTeX on an Android phone, though, and do not have any experience with tablets.
    – mbork
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 13:44
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    TeX Live runs on the Raspberry but due to the lack of a monitor it's probably not an option. Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 13:52
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    I use my Lenovo Thinkpad X121 Netbook with an AMD E-450 processor for such stuff which gives me a battery lifetime of about 6-7 hours on Linux. Although it has only a netbook processor it is quite fast in LaTeX compilations. I cannot really imagine working on longer texts on a tablet... Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 13:54

5 Answers 5


(Disclaimer: I'm one of the developers of VerbTeX)

The Android/iOS/Windows8 App VerbTeX uses a full TeXLive distribution (pdflatex) in the background to generate PDFs which will you can display and download.

Since those editors have features like Syntax Highlighting, Dropbox/Box integration, Line Numbers, Collaboration, etc. I guess this could be an option for you.

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    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 16:46

I have a transformer TF300 and while I don't use it for LaTeX stuff (I prefer to use a netbook with Linux) it may be an alternative with some limitations.

Big problem is that there aren't many LaTeX apps for android. Basically you are forced to use Droid Edit for code editing and then TexPortal for compiling. I've tried both apps with medium size/complexity projects and they work. But I would not suggest to use them as you primary work tool.

Another alternative would be to rely completely on a webservice like ShareLaTeX so to circumvent the lack of apps. In that case a 3G version of the tablet may be your best choice (like the Transformer TF300TG)

If you plan to actually write code, you should also buy a keyboard, so again the Transformer may be your best choice among tablets.

All considered, I believe there is still no comparison between Android and Linux/Mac for LaTeX stuff, so I would strongly suggest to buy a ultrabook or netbook depending on your finances.


(Disclaimer: I'm one of the Texpad developers.)

May I suggest looking at Texapd for iOS (http://texpadapp.com/ios). We have local typesetter that is currently we believe the most completely LaTeX system on iOS with advanced fonts, beamer and tikz. We also have a full package manager that practically delivers the whole of texlive to you:


Like the OS X version, the app will open multi-file latex projects starting from the root and also allow you to search across files. There's autocomplete in the iPad version, synctax highlighting, dropbox support. Full list of features is online at http://texpadapp.com/ios .


I'd look at this from a slightly different direction - if you're happy with extensive text-work on a tablet, or you use an accessory keyboard, find a device with hardware specs that meet your requirement and install linux on it. It's certainly possible on the Eee Pad Transformer and probably will be on many android devices, though you'd have to do your homework.

That way you should have a real configurable installation, that works offline, and will work with your editor of choice.


For me, my Samsung netbook gives me around 8 hours battery on Linux. A bit slow rendering LaTeX; but having a real keyboard and an (albeit small) screen in a package that fits in a briefcase is enough for me. To finish off, I've set up a fixed machine as git server, so I can share stuff with my other, larger machines, that way (or just pulling/pushing among them in a pinch).

I've been using an Android tablet with the official stackexchange application to participate here for a week or so, and that convinced me that I never want to do "real work" on it. Writing a short answer, editing a question that is mangled, perhaps typing a couple of equations is OK; anything more is unadulterated masochism.

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