Best Tablet for Note Taking

With one in two people owning a tablet in the US, it is no surprise that tablets have become a fundamental tool in many of our everyday lives, and when it comes to note taking this is no different.

Tablets provide an excellent platform for all manner of note taking events, whether it be simply writing out a to-do or shopping list, through to taking detailed lecture/tutorial and/or client notes.

A tablet’s high level of portability, full range of sizes and prices, and an array of alternative user interfaces, also make it a highly adaptable method of taking notes that can suit any recording technique, from typing to physically scribing, and from shorthand to longhand.

In this article we focus on rounding up the best tablets suitable for note taking that come with a stylus (with one exception), this not only provides a full typing or handwriting experience, but also enables the tablet to adapt and to also be used as a portable drawing tablet.

Best note taking tablet round up…

Overall winner – iPad Pro

Apple 11-inch iPad Pro
Pros:
  • Excellent battery life.
  • High processing speed and performance.
  • High-resolution display.
  • Face ID.
  • Good response time.
Cons:
  • Lacks matte display.
  • No stylus pen supplied.
  • Expensive.
  • Limited external device support.
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Firstly for speed and efficiency we only review the products that we feel are the most worthy of selection, and this often results in a list that is a little smaller than the “10 best” collections we commonly see elsewhere.

So the above and below carefully sourced 5 tablets form a list of what we consider to be some of the best products currently available.

In terms of the overall winner; whether you like Apple or not, the iPad Pro is in our opinion the best all-round note taking tablet. 

As its excellent note recording abilities form just a small part of its general all-round high performance, and in many areas its capable of outperforming a lot of basic laptops, let alone being more than suitable for both beginner and expert digital artists. More on this below…

Note taking tablet reviews

Apple iPad Pro

Apple 11-inch iPad Pro
Pros:
  • Excellent battery life.
  • High processing speed and performance.
  • High-resolution display.
  • Face ID.
  • Good response time.
Cons:
  • Lacks matte display.
  • No stylus pen supplied.
  • Expensive.
  • Limited external device support.
Check Price on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

The iPad Pro needs little introduction as most people are more than familiar with both it and its abilities. Available in either an 11 or 12.9 inch display, the screen provides ample room for general internet use, watching movies, document creations, drawing, and of course note taking.

Apple’s trademark liquid retina display has a generous color gamut and motion smoothing technology for an exceedingly clear and true to life picture quality. 

This display also plays a large role in the iPads ability to take fast and efficient handwritten notes whilst using the Apple Pencil. In fact it is the best tablet in this category for this, and that’s without using the tablets function to have two applications open side by side.

…ans note taking can further be enhanced with Apples Magic Keyboard for those that prefer to type.

It’s fair to say that this tablet is a little more than just a note taking tool, and in fact provides many users with a highly portable and functional mini computer.

Pros

  • Large screen size with excellent resolution
  • Powerful output
  • Two apps open side by side

Cons

  • Costs as much as a high-end laptop
  • Accessories sold separately

Microsoft  Surface Pro 6

Microsoft  Surface Pro 6
Pros:
  • High-quality battery life.
  • Powerful performance.
  • Highly versatile.
  • It is sleek, light, and easy to use
Cons:
  • Some will find the design dated
  • No USB-C ports
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The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 provides users with one of best note taking tools for lectures, meetings and when in class. Running on Windows, this tablet feels much more like a laptop than it does a tablet, however provides the extra levels of portability and convenience that a tablet has over a laptop.

This tablet allows users to use it with a keyboard, its Surface Slim Pen, and in classic tablet mode with multitouch technology, making it extremely versatile for many different occasions and uses.

The Surface Slim Pen is among the best styluses on the market, and provides superb smoothness and grip when making pen strokes with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. 

What this tablet offers that others don’t, is that in many ways it is much more akin to a laptop than a standard tablet, yet has the freedom and ease that comes with using a tablet. With its Intel quad-core chip it is certainly the most powerful in this review, and through this will provide an experience that is much closer to that of a PC.

Providing the ultimate tablet/laptop combo, the Microsoft Surface Pro is most suited to users with a little more to do than just note taking.

Pros

  • Runs on Windows
  • Power processor
  • Surface Pen provides 4,096 pressure points

Cons

  • Runs on Windows 
  • No USB-C
  • Accessories sold separately

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

Dimensions: 0.22 x 6.30 x 9.65 inches | Display Area: 10.5 inches | Weight: .88 lbs. | Connectivity Type: USB-C | Storage Capacity: 64GB | Performance: Dual 2.0GHz + Hexa 1.7GHz | Battery Life: 15 hours

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Representing the more general notion of a tablet and what their original use and capabilities were, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is a user friendly device best suited to casual everyday use, and more than capable of being an excellent note taking companion.

It has a battery life that most will find lasts up to four days of normal use, and a maximum of 15 hours when in constant operation. 

Out of the box the slick and intuitive software requires little in the way of learning, and new users should find their way around the platform with ease.

For those who like to take handwritten notes, this tablet unfortunately does not come with the software to support a stylus, but for those happy to type, this is a very good tablet at an affordable price.

Pros

  • Slim and lightweight
  • Intuitive software
  • Good battery life
  • Relatively Inexpensive

Cons

  • Low quality camera 
  • Poor audio quality
  • No stylus support

Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet

Fire HD 10

Dimensions: 7.6 x 4.5 x 0.4 inches | Display Area: 7 inches | Weight: 10.1 oz (286 g) | Connectivity Type: micro-USB (2.0) | Storage Capacity: 32GB | Performance: Quad-core 1.3 GHz, 1GB RAM | Battery Life: 12 hours

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Perfect for those on a tight budget the Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet comes fully equipped with bluetooth connectivity to provide support for smart keyboards and styluses, providing both typing and handwritten options for note taking.

Available with either 32GB or 64GB of storage, that can also be combined with a further 512GB via a microSD card, this tablet is more than capable of providing users with full leisure and professional support.

Perfect for those who want to have a tablet on them at all times, with its relatively inexpensive price this provides an excellent note taking tool that can just sit inside a bag until needed.

Best suited for students and those on a tight budget, or who want a tablet that can warrant some abuse.

Pros

  • Excellent performance for the price
  • Good battery life
  • High amount of storage capacity

Cons

  • Limited app selection
  • Average speakers

Lenovo Tab M10 HD 10.1″ Tablet

Lenovo Tab M10 HD 10.1" Tablet

Dimensions: 6.66 x 9.57 x 0.33 inches | Display Area: 10.1 inches | Weight: 1.06 pounds | Connectivity Type: micro-USB | Storage Capacity: 32GB | Performance: Qualcomm SD429, Quad Core, 2 GB of RAM | Battery Life: 9 hours

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Lastly and for those who prefer Android based devices we have the Lenovo Tab M10 tablet. For increased operating and application times this note taking tablet runs on Androids 9.0 operating system powered by a quad-core processor.

Within the same price bracket as the above Amazon Fire HD tablet, but with a larger 10.1 inch screen, It also comes equipped with bluetooth connectivity to support multiple note taking techniques via a keyboard and/or stylus.

Pros

  • Solid performance
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Limited battery life
  • Poor quality speakers

Advantages of buying a note taking tablet with a stylus

There is rarely one singular time when we need to take notes, and rather a series of often unexpected occasions. Whether this be in a sudden meeting, on the go, or simply to add something earlier forgotten.

Note taking tablets provide users with this level of flexibility, and collect and store the recorded information in one singular and safe place that can often be accessed from multi devices.

Additional benefits include…

  • Apps such as OneNote organize and input handwritten notes and convert them into text
  • Clear and direct storage locations 
  • Notes can be backed up in cloud storage
  • Can be easily shared
  • Can be viewed and edited through multiple devices 
  • Tablets have multipurpose uses

What to look for when buying a tablet suitable to note taking

Stylus

Whilst many tablets will work with a third party stylus, it is highly recommended that as the above brands provide, you aim for a tablet that can provide you with its own dedicated pen to ensure its full performance.

This not only may save a small amount of money, but a tablet’s dedicated stylus has been designed around that particular user interface, to provide optimal input, functions and features, that may be lacking with third party products.

Active screen area

For note taking, the screen size is less crucial than when buying a dedicated drawing tablet with a screen for example, and therefore portability is predominantly more important than having a larger size.

The best note taking tablets have a screen area that is both small to be portable, and large enough to adapt to a drawing and/or media platform.

Stylus sensitivity

When it comes to solely just note taking the level of pen pressure sensitivity is less of a concern, and it is the tablets power and speed that takes precedence; it is this that will ensure that all your app’s open quickly and efficiently. 

If looking for a combination of both a tablet’s performance and drawing functions, then pen sensitivity must of course be taken into account, as this plays a large role in the level of drawing an artist can achieve.

Price

Like most items of technology, you get what you pay for and tablets are not different. The key consideration here is to identify what its exact uses will be.

If it’s just note taking and internet use, then you can save money through opting for a tablet with reduced drawing compatibilities. If both are important however, then you must be prepared to be in the higher price brackets for this type of tablet.

Note taking capability

One of the huge advantages of taking notes on a tablet, is that if your app’s are compatible and sync with those on your phone and/or laptop then everything will work together to provide a multi device platform for viewing and editing.

This can be incredibly useful when on the go and in a hurry. More on the type of apps available below…

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