The Best Note Taking Tablets


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With their small form factor and light weight, tablets are the perfect device for taking notes. But not everyone takes notes the same way. Some prefer typing, which is great for verbatim capture, and others prefer longhand, which studies have shown to enhance your ability to remember material from a presentation or meeting. So in finding the best note taking tablets, I focused on products that let you do both with ease, giving you an inexpensive laptop as well as a tablet. Here are my top picks. 

For Apple users: Apple iPad 10.2-inch (8th gen)

If you’re looking for the perfect tablet for taking notes, Apple’s new 10.2-inch iPad (8th gen) is the best choice. Head to the App Store to load up on popular note-taking apps like Evernote, OneNote and Google Keep. And if you are an Apple user,  Apple Notes and iCloud Sync will put all of your notes at your fingertips, regardless of which Apple device you access. As its name suggests, the Apple Pencil ($99 on Apple, check price on Amazon) feels like a pencil in your hand and has great precision (4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity), which means it’s perfect for drawing as well as text. The iPad is also compatible with Smart Keyboard for iPad ($159, check price on Amazon), which is a full-size keyboard, standard and cover that attaches through the Smart Connector. 

Screen: 10.2-inch touchscreen LCD display
Pen: additional purchase, 4,096 levels of pressure
Storage: starting at 32 GB
Battery life: 10 hours
Weight and dimensions: 1.08 lbs, 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29 inches
Processor: 64-bit A12 Bionic chip
Operating system: iOS 14
Price: From $329 plus $99 for the Apple Pencil at Apple, check price on Amazon (as of 10/28/2020, the price was $299 for Space Gray and Silver tablet)

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

For Android users: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

If you’re looking for an Android tablet for taking notes, look no further than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. The S Pen, which comes in the box, has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, which makes it perfect for drawing as well as writing. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite weighs 1.02 pounds and measures 9.63 x 6.07 x 0.28 inches, so it will easily fit in your bag and with 13 hours of battery life, you’ll have plenty of power for the day. Through the Google Play Store, you can load up on all of apps you need, including popular note taking apps like Evernote, OneNote and Google Keep. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite starts at 64GB of onboard storage and has a microSD card slot that lets you easily add more storage (a 128GB Samsung microSD card costs less than $20 on Amazon and a 256GB card is less than $30 as of 10/28/2020). You can also purchase a Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Book Cover Keyboard ($99, check price on Amazon) to turn the Tab S6 Lite into a clamshell-style laptop. 

Screen: 10.4-inch touchscreen
Pen: included, 4,096 levels of pressure
Storage: starting at 64 GB, expandable with microSD card
Battery life: 13 hours
Weight and dimensions: 1.02 lbs., 9.63 x 6.07 x 0.28 inches
Processor: Octa-Core Exynos 9610 (4 at 2.3GHz + 4 at 1.7GHz)
Operating system: Android 10
Price: $349 at Samsung, check price on Amazon (as of 10/28/2020, the price was $279)

Microsoft Surface Go 2 with optional accessories

For Windows users: Microsoft Surface Go 2

If you want a note taking tablet that has the flexibility of a Windows 10 laptop and an excellent pen, the best choice is the 10.5-inch Surface Go 2. The Surface Go 2 is easy to carry, weighing in at just 1.2 pounds and measuring 9.65 x 6.90 x 0.33 inches, gets up to 10 hours of battery life and has plenty of power for taking notes and writing papers with its Intel Pentium Gold Processor and 4GB of RAM. The Surface Pen (starting at $68 on Microsoft, check price on Amazon) has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity for sketching as well as taking notes, and it has a rubber eraser at the top, which feels like an old-school pencil eraser. And, of course, you can write within Windows 10 apps, like OneNote, Microsoft Word and any other program that accepts pen input. The Surface Go 2 comes pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home in S mode, which locks you into apps available through the Microsoft Store. You can choose to switch out of S mode to full Windows 10 for free if you need it, though you can’t switch back once you’ve made the change.

If you purchase the optional keyboard, the Surface Go Type Cover (starting at $76 on Microsoft if you buy with the Surface Go 2, check price on Amazon), the Surface Go can function as your primary laptop. You can even plug in a monitor, keyboard and mouse in your home office, if you purchase a Microsoft USB-C Travel Hub ($71 on Microsoft, check price on Amazon), or for more ports, a Surface Dock 2 ($179 on Microsoft, check price on Amazon). 

Screen: 10.5-inch touchscreen LCD display
Pen: additional purchase, 4,096 levels of pressure
Storage: starting at 64GB (128GB SSD available as an upgrade)
Battery life: 10 hours
Weight and dimensions: 1.2 lbs, 9.65 x 6.9 x 0.33 inches
Processor: Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y (can upgrade to 8th Gen Core m3)
Operating system: Windows 10 Home in S mode (you can switch to full Windows 10)
Price: starting at $399 plus $99 for the Surface Pen at Microsoft, (check price on Amazon)

Take notes on your existing smartphone or tablet

If your tablet has its own stylus accessory available, it’s worth buying. Styluses that are custom-made for specific tablets offer better integration, better accuracy and more features than any third-party stylus. Even though they’re more expensive, device-specific styluses are worth it if you want to take handwritten notes. If your device doesn’t have a device specific stylus. Check out our pick below.

Adonit Mini 4

Adonit Mini 4

If you’re looking to try out note taking on one of your existing devices, start with the Adonit Mini 4. Though writing with the odd disc-style tip of the Adonit Mini 4 may be a little tough at first, it makes for accurate handwriting and will make you a convert to handwritten digital notes. It can be used with any smartphone, tablet, or laptop with a touchscreen.

Price: $19.99 on Adonit, check price on Amazon

Updated on 10/28/2020 with new product picks.

[Image Credits: Woman using tablet via BigStockPhoto, Adonit, Samsung, Microsoft, Apple]

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