Taking notes on a tablet can be heaven or hell. Depend on what you’re accustomed to, this can be boiled down to preference. Do you like smooth buttery slides on the pad or a more paper-like feel? Personally, I like some resistance when I write, not too subtle, more like writing with a new pen. I know many tablets can simulate this, so I know this is not a difficult requirement, so let’s find out what makes the best tablet for note-taking.
But like everything in life, there are more than meets the eye, right? We’re all constrained to budget, size, even brand fanciness (calling out all fanboys out there).
Not all tablets are created equal. Most of them are specifically targeted to a group of consumers, which means that some will perform certain tasks better than others. This adds to the long list of finding the perfect tablet for your note-taking. But don’t fret. We’re here to help you decide with our clear-cut logic so you can use reasoning to yourself (and your nemesis neighbor if you have to).
How to choose the best tablet for note-taking?
You should be asking yourself these questions before making any purchase, not only for note-taking tablets but also electronics in general.
1. What is your spending plan?
Nobody wants to spend a fortune on features they don’t want. By narrowing it down to a number you’re willing to spend you’ll be surprised how much bang you can get for your bucks, so you can have more room for features to get the best tablet for note-taking.
You may want to check out this brand if you plan for something more affordable:
- Cube iWork 11
- Archos 101 ( need additional stylus )
2. Would you consider acquiring used/refurbished?
You can save a lot by buying used tablets. Buy them from BestBuy, BackMarket, or Walmart, typically you can save 10% to 40%. First come first serve, though. You’ll get a lot of prying eyes on a bargained tablet. For example, this iPad from BackMarket sold for around $700, almost a 40% discount from a new one with very mint condition.
3. Do you prefer a media/mobile tablet like the iPad, Windows tablet PC, or convertible notepad/2-in-1 laptop?
The iPad family
If you want to focus solely on note-taking and drawing, without constrained on a budget, then the Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (M1, 2021) is a solid choice. It’s as powerful as Mac, fast and sleek. You can’t go wrong with this and many users slash artists reporting as a game-changer device.
For digital creatives desiring a good drawing display, the latest iPad Pro 12.9-inch will well and truly deliver. Its display screen is an all-new revitalized version, a mini-LED backlit XDR screen that supplies an exceptional viewing experience in all lighting conditions. In terms of color accuracy, contrast, and brightness, it’s not just one of the best tablet display screens, but among the best display screens, period.
If you’re mainly only on note-taking, this device can be overkill.
Windows tablet PC
The next contender, claimed for users to have a natural writing experience with a pen that feels like a real pen. Use Surface Pen to launch Cortana (not available in all countries/regions and languages) or open OneNote and rapidly take down notes or take screenshots. Keep your pen convenient with the hassle-free magnetic pen storage on the side of Surface Pro 4, this is one of the essential features for getting the best tablet for note-taking.
Surface area Pro 4 features 2 electronic cameras for tape-recording and taking images video: an 8-megapixel rear-facing electronic camera with autofocus and a 5-megapixel, high-resolution, front-facing camera. Both video cameras record video in 1080p, with a 16:9 element ratio. Privacy lights lie on the ideal side of both cameras.
The most natural writing experience, almost flawless.
- Microsoft surface pro 7
Convertible notepad / 2-in-1 laptop
This falls between note-taking tablets and standard laptops. What I like about it that in fact, you can switch on the go from ‘writing’ to ‘typing’ instantly. It’s very useful for surveyors, businessmen on a seminar, college student slash coders, and many individuals who prefer practicality in absorbing information in a visual way. We’re talking about non Windows or Apple OS here. That means you, Chromebook.
While it won’t run Windows apps, a Chromebook can handle web browsing and word processing. Samsung’s 12.3-inch Chromebook Pro is a terrific portable option that weighs simply over 2 pounds. This multipurpose gadget can act as a tablet or laptop computer, letting you remember with a pen or a keyboard. Use the Chromebook Pro as a standard laptop computer, or fold the screen back to use it as an Android tablet. If you don’t want to type (the keyboard is undoubtedly a bit cramped), a built-in stylus lets you take handwritten notes. The biggest disadvantage to this device is that you can’t run basic Windows apps on it, which could be a problem if you require to move beyond word processing and web surfing.
- HP Slate (excellent in portability)
- ASUS 13.3″ tablet PC
- Cube Mix Plus
- HP TX2 (a bit dated)
- Dell Latitude XT
- HP TM2
- HP 2710p
- Fujitsu T2020
- Lenovo X61T
This can be an alternative for cheaper price without sacrificing a lot of quality
We put this species of technology on its own classification because of what makes them unique among other note-taking tablets. They have the ability to mimic writing on paper exactly just like you write on paper. If you’re happened to know Amazon Kindle with e-ink technology, this is something similar. I actually drooling when I saw the side-by-side comparison with paper and screen pixels because It’s more on the former than the latter.
The device itself is light and simple to carry. It measures 177mm by 256mm by 6.7 mm and weighs 350g. Sitting inside the outer frame is a 10.3-inch E Ink screen with a resolution of 1,872 by 1,404 pixels (226dpi). That’s not a particularly high pixel density, but I discovered it great to work with. There’s a big metal plate on the back with 2 rubbery strips all the method along both brief edges, which efficiently stop the tablet from moving on a table when you’re using it.
This gadget can help you combat distraction during your creative writing process, only you and your thoughts.
For writers and publishers, they may find this note-taking distraction-free tablet liberating.
4. What size Tablet PC would you choose?
I found 7 to 8 inches ( 20 ~ 25 cm ) to be the most optimum in size, It’s like the real paper notebook I use to carry on and fit nicely with most laptop bags. However some prefer larger tablets to fit in their arm for presentation and note-taking, it’s akin to clipper board they need it to be ready to take scribbles corner to corner.
Consider these options:
- Light and little (5″ to 8.9″ ~ 12 to 23 cm)
- Compact (10″ ~ 25 cm)
- Mainstream (12.1 ~ 30 cm)
- Large (13.3″ ~ 34 cm)
- Kno Slate 14″
5. How many hours of battery life do you need?
This is important to ask yourself if you want to have the note-taking tablets on the go and don’t want to get attached to power cords. Other usage factors also applied, how will you plan to use it, with the Internet, 4G networks, and so on. Some app draining more batteries than others. Used tablets could potentially have significantly less battery life, and also don’t forget on the software part, some manufacture allegedly doing this from their OS update.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
- iPad family (excellent battery life)
6. What will be the primary use scenario of this tablet? (Email/Web Surfing/Drawing/Word Processing/Entertainment/Notetaking etc)
Will you be using it for solely note-taking, or will you also do anything else on your tablet? Coming back to point no. 3, I’d rather use it not only for note-taking but also occasional entertainment and web surfing, but not word processing and drawing this is essential to make the best tablet for note-taking.
7. What software and jobs do you mean to run? (Microsoft Office or other Word Processing Suite/Photoshop/3D Studio Max/Autocad etc).
Check with your preferences and needs, this is on a whole different checklist to cover.
- Microsoft OneNote
- Google Keep
- Apple Notes
I can state that Android will offer you limited functionality in annotating/importing all document formats you might want to throw at it. OneNote’s benefit is that you can utilize it as one notebook for everything, by importing PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, websites … all of which might be utilized as instructors all have their own choices regarding what their preferred discussion media is. And in OneNote, you can then annotate all those products and have them be completely searchable.
Some things you may want also to consider
- PDF annotation
For budget plan, long battery life, and smooth inking in OneNote, I’d say the Samsung ATIV 500T. It is Atom, running Windows 8, so you can install your old software on it too.
8. Part Specifics.
Do you need to have that pressure level of sensitivity? How about HDMI inputs? Viewing angles? Keyboard docks? This should be added to your checklist if you depend on it.
Like for instance, I’m ok with the lack of a physical keyboard. The most important thing is that it includes a stylus that offers reasonable accuracy for composing mathematical equations, diagrams, and other things that require to be written with a pen to make the best tablet for note-taking.
9. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you need? Would you like expandable memory?
Note-taking apps don’t consume too much hard drive and memory size. You can get away with most specs. If you need to have extra room, opt for cloud storage or external storage connectivity (SD/MMC card, thumbnail drive, external hard drive).
It is necessary to be mindful that this is a fast-moving target and there are no considerable technological/architectural impediments to making specific hardware/software like OneNote in Android/Chromebook the practical equivalent of it in, say, iPad and in some aspects, desktop OS and there are factors to expect them to go there faster than later on.
In Between Windows On ARM gadgets revealed and coming in the future, and with the rapidly growing market share of Chromebooks in education, Microsoft has a lot of market imperatives to make Office fully portable less Google might consume too much of their lunch and a generation of youths may finish college never ever having actually utilized a Microsoft product, same goes for other brands and manufacturers.