The Best Note Taking Tablets
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. Here are my top picks.
The best note taking tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1" with S Pen
If you're looking for a tablet for taking notes, look no further than the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1" with S Pen. From a design perspective, I love the fact that the S Pen stores inside the tablet, so you're far less likely to lose it, and it has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, which makes it perfect for drawing as well as writing. The Galaxy Tab A weighs 1.22 pounds and measures 10.0 x 6.46 x 0.32 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. While the Galaxy Tab A 10.1" only has a choice of 16 or 32 GB of onboard storage — far less than the others on this list — it doesn't matter because its microSD card slot lets you easily add more storage beyond the embedded 16GB of memory (a 128GB Samsung microSD card costs less than $20 on Amazon). All in, the Galaxy Tab A 10.1" rises to the top because it delivers a best-in-class note taking experience for almost half the cost.
Screen: 10.1-inch touchscreen
Pen: included, 4,096 levels of pressure
Storage: starting at 16 GB, expandable with microSD card
Battery life: 13 hours
Weight and dimensions: 1.22 lbs., 10.0 x 6.46 x 0.32 inches
Processor: Octa-Core Exynos 7870
Operating system: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Price: $329 at Samsung, check price at Amazon
For Apple lovers: Apple iPad mini
For people who use Apple products, the new Apple iPad mini is the perfect note taking tablet. Using Apple Notes and iCloud Sync, you can rest assured that all of your notes will be at your fingertips, regardless of which Apple device you access. As its name suggests, the Apple Pencil ($89 on Apple) 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. With a price tag of almost $150 more than the Samsung Tab A and a smaller display, it's hard to recommend the iPad mini as a note taking tablet. But for Apple lovers, the ease of syncing with your other Apple devices and access to iOS apps may be worth it.
Screen: 7.9-inch touchscreen LCD display
Pen: additional purchase, 4,096 levels of pressure
Storage: starting at 64 GB
Battery life: 10 hours
Weight and dimensions: 0.66 lbs, 8 x 5.3 x 0.24 inches
Processor: 64-bit A12 Bionic chip
Operating system: iOS 12
Price: From $379 plus $89 for the Apple Pencil at Apple, check price on Amazon
For Windows users: Microsoft Surface Go
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-inch Surface Go. The Surface Go is easy to carry, weighing in at just 1.15 pounds and measuring 9.65 x 6.90 x 0.33 inches, gets up to 9 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 ($99 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.
If you purchase the optional keyboard, the Surface Go Signature Type Cover ($129 on Microsoft, check price on Amazon), the Surface Go can function as your primary laptop. You can even plug in a monitor, keyboard and mouse, if you purchase a Surface Dock ($199 on Microsoft, check price on Amazon). The Microsoft Surface Go costs almost $200 more than the Samsung Tab A, so the Surface Go doesn't make sense unless want to flexibility of turning your note taking tablet into a full fledged computer.
Screen: 10-inch touchscreen LCD display
Pen: additional purchase, 4,096 levels of pressure
Storage: starting at 128GB
Battery life: 9 hours
Weight and dimensions: 1.15 lbs, 9.65 x 6.9 x 0.33 inches
Processor: Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y
Operating system: 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
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.
[Image Credits: Adonit, Samsung, Microsoft, Apple, reMarkable]