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Tablet for taking notes?

  1. May 5, 2012 #1
    I'm looking to buy a tablet to take notes at school, because I write much faster than I type and I don't want the clutter of physical loose leaf paper or go through the trouble of transcribing my notes onto the computer, not to mention having to draw diagrams with my mouse which is a nightmare.

    I'm looking at products like the iPad and its relatives, but the thing is they have all these features I don't need such as apps and whatnot...I just want to be able to write on the tablet like a piece of paper, then upload the notes to my computer. I don't need music, photos, games, internet browsing, or any type of entertainment/media, etc.

    I'd also like the active surface area to have measurements similar to that of the size of standard loose leaf paper (8.5" x 11").

    I have a Wacom Bamboo Create model, and the screen size is pretty good I guess, but when I first made the purchase and placed the order for it, I was under the impression that it was a tablet you directly wrote upon...unfortunately I think all the Wacom tablet products are just oversized laptop touchpads, which I am not comfortable working with.

    I had one of those Boogie Board things, but they scratch very easily, have issues saving (sometimes they do not save at all or cannot read an entire chunk of the screen so you have to do everything over, moved out of the "unreadable" spot), you cannot erase anything without erasing your entire work, and they are powered by a soldered battery deep inside the device which is difficult to access so you cannot reuse it once it dies. All in all it's a device hard to work with even if you only want the bare necessities like I do. It can't even perform the essentials, such as writing properly (skips pixels sometimes, imprints your hand on the board when you rest your hand on it to write, etc.).

    So if I have no other alternative, I don't mind purchasing a mainstream tablet, but I think it's a waste of money if I buy an iPad to take notes...the thing is, I also heard that using a stylus on a tablet like the iPad will not have good results due to the lack of accuracy in the nature of the capacitive touchscreen (as opposed to an active digitizer screen) on a standard table not designed for writing on, which is why I am searching for a tablet that is specifically designed for writing or even art. I know that Wacom uses the active digitizer technology, but again, I feel uncomfortable having to write blindly while staring up at a screen and not down on the writing surface itself.

    Can anyone recommend any tablets with a display surface and my aforementioned standards?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 8, 2012 #2
  4. May 10, 2012 #3
    Tablet's are not good for notes, the interface is too unresponsive to keep up. Nothing beets a pen.
  5. May 10, 2012 #4
    I would have to disagree, so far I've found my tablet to be amazing for taking notes and doing homework. Not once have I had a problem with the screen being unreponsive, but I do know where you're coming from and I always have a pen/notebook by my side. :approve:
  6. May 17, 2012 #5
    Well all the wacom tablets are actually designed for art and thus can be used for writing as well. It'll be slightly tough to look at the screen while you're writing on a different surface and might take some getting used to but soon you'll get the hang of it. If you still insist, Wacom has the Cintiq range of tablets where you directly write or draw on the display screen. However I wouldn't recommend it since it can be really heavy and um can also burn a hole in your pocket.

    Asus eenote is a good option although its is slightly expensive as well.
  7. May 17, 2012 #6


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    Here's one of my posts from an older thread from this year
    concerning Windows-based "TabletPCs" with styluses and inking-support, first released in 2002
    (which should not be confused with iPad-type "tablets").


    I've got my eye on this slate from Samsung
    however, I'm not thrilled about its "field tested" battery life.... but it's running a Core i5. [I can't stand Atom-based computers.]

    "Inking" on the iPad doesn't come close to inking on a TabletPC.
    Issues with quality, precision/resolution, palm-rejection, no pressure-sensitivity, lack of good ink-editing...
    inking-comparison: Ipad vs TabletPC

    Don't get me wrong... the iPad is great for a lot of other things [and it's cheaper than a TabletPC]... (I like my iPad and iPhone a lot)... but it's not good for serious note taking.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  8. May 23, 2012 #7

    I am a current engineering student and I have had 2 different types of tablets so far, the think pad x61 tablet and the new think pad tablet. The x61 is an older model right now to say the least but it and most tablet PC's have wacom digitizers built in which when you consider you are more or less getting a cintiq with a free laptop that's a pretty sweet deal. However for I class notes etc. I would recommend the think pad tablet (the one running android) it isn't expensive when compared to other tablets but most importantly it has a stylus and an active digitizer. Its really good at notes and free body diagrams and there is plenty of software (quill and ever note) to sync your notes from your tablet to another PC. Which to do anything that requires horsepower cad, games or what have you would be best done on a non tablet PC.
  9. Sep 7, 2012 #8
    Please feel free to update this thread.

    I'm looking for a note taking tablet and need only to over-annotate/add notes to PowerPoints (the form that the lecture notes are almost invariably produced on - PDF's are sometimes used but nowhere near as often). I think other people are using IPads but I don't understand how they handle the PowerPoint format files - is there an app for that or are they converting them perhaps? I suppose something like the Thinkpad tablet mentioned here would be idea but at over £500 (UK Pounds) I can't even consider that.

    In a nutshell: What should I look at for note taking by over-annotating PowerPoint slides?

    I found this:-

    It compares the ASUS EP121 Eee Slate Windows 7 Tablet PC with the iPad

    Which looks great - maybe it's not the latest device but again, it's over £500 (UK pounds) - closer to £1000 (UK Pounds)

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  10. Apr 18, 2013 #9
    Best way to do handwritten digital notes

    I recommend taking a look at CamNote Binders or an Infinity Binder (www.theinfinitybinder.com) for doing handwritten digital note taking. The Infinity binder is a dry erase binder that integrates with the free CamNote app (www.camnote.com). Both options overcome the lack of responsiveness that most tablet notetaking apps suffer from. Plus, you don't have to worry about battery life as much. As for which tablet to use: Nexus 10, Nexus 7, or Samsung Galaxy Tab.
  11. May 11, 2013 #10
    Here is another way to go. You write on paper but the pen "remembers" what it wrote

    The simpler way that I see people do is write on paper then use their phone to shoot a photo. You can also shoot a photo of the whiteboard and capture exactly what the instructor wrote. So any phone with a good camera could work for you.
  12. May 19, 2013 #11
    Note 10.1 by far: http://www.samsung.com/es/galaxynote_10.1/

    I have it, and also the phablet version, the note II. The S-pen is inmensely better than any pen for the Ipad and or the ASUS tablets. The included note taking apped is optimised for use in physics/enginering. The tablet is powerfull and fluid, has all the ampliacility possibilities, etc, etc,

    At the level of physics/enginering apps there are many ones (beyond, of course, powerfull sci calculators).

    The most powerfull one (for symbolic calculation) is máxima on android which has all the functionalities of the PC (linux, windows) one. That includes many, many things, including native support for tensor calculus (something that even mathemathica lacks because you need thir part packages). Well, you actually can have access to wolphram alpha, which comes integrated with the note taking app (the app recognices a formulae writen whit th s-pen and sends it to wolpram alpha to do the actual calculations) but I dislike cloud computing and I almost doesn't use.

    For enginers, or people who need numerical calculus, they have octave, which is the very well known matlab clone. Once agian you have a matlab version for android that can connect to the cloud or to a version running ina PC, but as I said I hate that solutions and I don't use it personally.

    Those two programas are pretty ok, but are command line oriented. For a more graphically oriented enviroment you have mathstudio that is a complete symbolic calculus program whit lot of functions included and that also has a script language. Unfortunately it has been almost a year withouth actualizations that could correct some minor mistakes and bring still more capabilities.

    There are more scientific options, but these three are probably the most complete ones and they give power engought for most tasks even at advanced level.

    Of course you also can get a windows 8 tablet with a wacon stylus (for example the samsung ativ, with an atom processor, or the microsoft surface, with an i-5 one) and you would have more options in computing (and all kinds of) software, but you don't really need it and android is a better tablet software that windows 8.
  13. May 24, 2013 #12
    You can look at ASUS memo pad. The specs is good and design for note taking. Nevertheless, it will depend on what you really need.
  14. Nov 8, 2014 #13
    Well that's very cool if your school and teachers permit any gadgets :D
  15. Nov 8, 2014 #14
    The iPad is by far the best. But forget about uploading your notes to a computer. The iPad REPLACES the computer. The neat thing is the iPad comes with the ah this you really like a word processor, presentation and so on so you really don't need a notebook computer. The low-end tablets just a not very good and not really even cheaper either. the Apple iPad "Air" is $339 at the Apple re-furb store. I like the full size one not the mini because the keyboard is nearly full size. With this you really can ditch the notebook PC.

    I have a 27" iMac. I create content on the iPad and it always automatically syncs to the iMac and vice versa. So If I take notes on the tablet they appear when I get home on the Mac with no action on my part. Same if I create a presentation at home on the 27" iMac. It will be available on my iPad so I can present it on a projector. Again I don't have to upload or download or take any action.

    I'm both a full time teacher and a grad student so I see this from both angles. The only reason NOT to have a setup like this is that you can't afford it. But really $339 is not to bad especially as it saves you from the need to buy a notebook computer. (but I still do like the larger screen desktop machine for creating content.
  16. Nov 8, 2014 #15
    I use a tablet for my note taking and I highly enjoy it. It is very responsive and even has a built in app to transform whatever equation you wrote into something like LaTeX. The one I use is the samsung note pro 10.1. They even have a bigger model which I thougt I would need but the 10.1 works great and any bigger is unnecessary.

    I would not recommend the Ipad simply because it does not have palm recognition software, meaning that you have to write very unnaturally in order to write anything. . Anyways, good luck to you and this 2 year old thread!
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