iPad note taking

Discussion in 'iPad' started by sasskia, Apr 19, 2018.


Should I get the iPad Pro 10.5 in for note taking?

  1. Yes

    25 vote(s)
  2. No

    5 vote(s)
  1. sasskia macrumors newbie


    Apr 16, 2018
    Hey, so right not I have a MacBook Air and an iPad Air. I am in grade 10 and I was thinking about going as paperless as I can for notes because I barely use my notebooks and I feel bad when I just throw them out after.
    I was thinking about saving up for a little and getting the 10.5 inch iPad Pro so I could take notes with the Apple Pencil. I know it's a big investment and I'd probably have to pay for a good note taking app.
    I wanted to get some advice or feedback thanks! :)
    PS: if you have any other suggestions, I'd appreciate it!
  2. Brammy macrumors 65816

    Sep 17, 2008
    I use the iPad Pro to take a lot of notes, but I don't use the Pencil for it. I use either the Smart Keyboard or the on screen keyboard. I use OneNote to take most of my notes for work for school. I prefer OneNote because it syncs across multiple platforms. I use Notes for personal quick notes.

    It's my preferred not taking systems.
  3. kazmac macrumors 604


    Mar 24, 2010
    On the silver scream
    I would test the Apple pencil on the 10.5" iPad Pro and the new 2018 iPad. Being that you're a student, you'd get a very modest discount on either model.

    Do you really need the 10.5 iPad Pro though? If you answer yes about wanting a better screen, promotion, 4 speakers and more storage for the base model (64 vs. 32), then the 10.5" might be for you. I would try both at Best Buy or an Apple store and see which one is more for you.

    Speaking as a student, I appreciate not wasting paper while using my 12.9" iPad Pro to annotate pdfs and write preliminary responses and papers for assignments. The pencil is fantastic for notes and annotations. Lots of folks love their 10.5".

    Whatever you decide, may it serve you well. :)
  4. theygoran macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2018
    I use for note taking as well. With the pen + Microsoft OneNote and it is superb!!!! Expensive ? Yes, but I don’t use papers anymore ;)
  5. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    The iPad is the tool, not the solution. I only became serious about note taking after a I graduated and started working. My boss impressed on me the idea that if I didn’t write something down it may as well have not happened. I was a slow learner but I did get notebooks and started to document more and more things. At my next job my manager made us all keep large lab notebooks and he reviewed them weekly. Later I started keeping a journal. I was not a prolific writer but I kept track of where I went and what meetings I attended and I kept meeting notes. It really helps to jog your memory if you write down even a few details from every day.

    Currently I keep my journal as a plain text document. With this method I can still read my notes from 20 years ago. I also take notes on my 12.9 iPad Pro with the Pencil. These are are great for temporary notes good for a year or two. I wouldn’t trust them for a decade or more.

    I’m still developing my workflow. I’ve gone through a few different note taking apps. I liked NoteSuite a lot but they discontinued that product. I use Notes in iOS for simple things like shopping lists. It’s handy because it syncs to my MacBook Pro. I also tried Notability and Inkflow but have settled on Concepts. I like blending handwritten notes and sketches and photographs. I also use PDF Expert for annotating pdf documents.

    For long term archiving I can export hand written notes as PDF or PNG files.

    My point is that you should first think about why you want to take notes and how you will use them. Then worry about the tool. The app is the least expensive part. Good apps are a few tens of dollars at most.

    To get the feel of using the iPad go to an Apple store and try it out. If they are not busy you could probably take a couple pages of notes as a test.

    I’d also learn more about journal writing and note taking. This is the really important part of your project. Many people find that writing down notes in class helps them remember the lecture, even if they don’t refer to the notes. I find this works better with hand written notes than with typing.

    Good luck.
  6. ericwn macrumors 68020

    Apr 24, 2016
    For note taking I would look at the new entry level iPad as it supports the pencil now. You have two weeks return period in most countries if you buy from Apple, try it out and send it back if it’s not meeting your needs.

    I personally write a lot of handwritten notes and journals and use GoodNotes for my tasks. Nice app, affordable and syncs via iCloud to my other devices.

    Best success!
  7. AlliFlowers Contributor


    Jan 1, 2011
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    The new iPad along with a Pencil will be perfect for you.Just make sure this is something your teachers will allow.

    I admire what you're trying to do! (Wish I had students so motivated.)
  8. muzzy996 macrumors 6502

    Feb 16, 2018
    There’s someone who calls herself the paperless student who has a YouTube channel dedicated to demonstrating various applications and how she uses them in her daily life as a college student. I found her reviews to be very helpful in terms of helping me to decide what applications I would want to use to do the kind of workflow that I wanted.

    Everyone is different so it’s best to figure out how you like to take notes and what you will do with them in order to narrow down the applications that you need. For example a lot of people like OneNote because it affords the user limitless paper space but if you’re the type of note taker who intends to print your notes at some point then maybe you want something that constrains you to set paper sizes so that printing is easier.
  9. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    I agree with those who are recommending the 2018 iPad with Apple Pencil. I recently switched from a 12.9 iPad Pro to the 2018 iPad and am using it for all of my notes. I was able to do it with the 12.9 Pro but it was a bit too large for use in certain scenarios.

    But with the 9.7 iPad, the size is perfect. I've switched from using Notes.app and OneNote to GoodNotes and some custom notebook/planner I designed using KeyNote. I created 3 separate ones for Work, Home, and Church. Each with custom tabs. I still use the Notes.app for stuff, but so far this GoodNotes setup has replaced all of my physical notebooks.

  10. kazmac macrumors 604


    Mar 24, 2010
    On the silver scream
    Thanks for sharing. I look forward to hearing more about your 2018 iPad usage here.
  11. rowspaxe, Apr 20, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2018

    rowspaxe macrumors 68000


    Jan 29, 2010
    [QUOTE="sasskia, post: 25996989, member: 1127110"PS: if you have any other suggestions, I'd appreciate it![/QUOTE]

    I would try to test handwriting on both the ipad and and surface pro. To my mind, the surface is a better note writing experience --the apple pencil is 'skates' when handwriting as it has a harder tip than surface pen. In either case, get a white cotton glove w cut fingers. The experience is far better! Note the surface has a camera scan function: handy.

    The surface is a better laptop than the ipad. It wiil support mouse input. I you are doing work with a lot of cut and pasting, this is a huge difference maker. And the surface can drive a large monitor, so you have a 2-fer-1 desktop set up. Surface pro 4's i5 are selling at under $500 w 128 gb on ebay (with cover). This will leave 90 gbs--fine if your doing school stuff and saving to the cloud. Skip any core m 'deals'

    Finally one note with a mouse is the ultimate work tool. There is a curve to learn how to fully exploit this app, but it is amazing. If your looking for games and fun social apps--stick with the ipad. Good luck. ps: i love my ipad, but not for work!
  12. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    The new iPad 9.7 will work with an Apple Pencil as well ( and soon the Crayon ) for about half the price:
    Education store price is about $309US.
  13. muzzy996 macrumors 6502

    Feb 16, 2018
    Again . . Given that you’re looking at a tablet primarily for note taking it’s best if you strongly consider how you will be taking notes and using them from a workflow perspective.

    I totally get what rowspaxe is saying about the HANDWRITING experience between the Apple Pencil and a Surface (or even Android tablets with Wacom styli for that matter) but the physical writing experience is just PART of the note taking equation. I’m not a fan of how the Apple Pencil writes either, as I find it to be too sensitive to initial touch. The feel/experience is not such a minor part that it should be ignored but it can be something you can get used to. For me when I’m annotating PDFs I find I have to zoom in more than I’d like to in order to get cleaner and more accurate annotations. On the other hand, the applications and workflow that the applications allow is something that needs to be considered too.

    I was leaning heavy towards getting a Surface Pro or Surface Pro 4 but what weighed heavily on my decision was the fact that there wasn’t a lot of applications out there on Windows that were designed to take notes in the fashion that I wanted to take notes in. OneNote came the closest but there were limitations to it that I didn’t like. When I discovered the Paperless Student channel on YouTube I went through many of her reviews of various note taking apps to see what applications worked for me and this made making my decision a lot easier.

    Think about how you want to take notes . . Handwritten vs typed? Do you want to drop in image clips and annotate them? Do you want to annotate PDFs easily and freely? Etc. etc. Then look at the various platforms and see how to accomplish those workflows.

    The new generation iPad isn’t a bad compromise if budget is an issue BTW.
  14. PhoneI macrumors 68000

    Mar 7, 2008

    Do not listen to this person. The Surface Pro is complete garbage. Its an unbelievably bad tablet and an awful laptop.
  15. Mr. 123 macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2016
    I recently got the iPad 2018 and it’s been great. I have used it for note taking but not with the pencil which I didnt buy. I’d say get the 2018 iPad instead of the pro!
  16. denisbarbov macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2013
    In my experience, the iPad Pro is second to none in that regard. I own the 10.5" version, and while I wish it was bigger sometimes(although if I were to use OneNote that problem would be solved), it is perfect for note-taking, studying, and media consumption.

    What sealed the deal for me is ProMotion. Using it with the pencil makes the delay from touching the screen to inputing the movement is almost not noticeable, and reading/surfing the web is a joy. Trust me, after seeing either Pro, any other tablet/phone/ laptop that doesn't have the 120 Hz refresh rate is going to look outdated. I recently got an iPhone X, and while I love every single bit of it, I wish it had ProMotion.
  17. PhoneMe1 Suspended


    Mar 23, 2018
    Yeah but you payed through the nose for it.
  18. Frankfurt macrumors 6502


    Dec 4, 2016
    IPP 10.5 goes for $499 now. Bargain given how much more you get.
  19. PhoneMe1 Suspended


    Mar 23, 2018
    Try over $979 64gb wifi where i live v $469 32gb wifi iPad 2018.
  20. denisbarbov macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2013
    I got it in August last year so it was the only option. Plus, you always do that with Apple products. Thought about the Surface but it was too big and didn't have the best reviews.
  21. muzzy996 macrumors 6502

    Feb 16, 2018
    Cost, performance and feature differences are measurable things but value is subjective. Just because one finds less value in a measurable difference shouldn’t detract from someone else’s value of the same thing.
  22. mrklaw macrumors 68020

    Jan 29, 2008
    Yeah seems the US gets regular sales, can skew the discussion. Surprising how firm pricing is in most other countries.
  23. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    I agree. However, some of the hyperbole surrounding those subjective preferences are not helpful to the people who visit these forums for reasoned opinions.

    In the Macbook Air forum, there are a few that will claim that the screen on the Macbook Air is a pixelated blurry abomination. That is the kind of hyperbole that goes on for every Apple product for which there is an alternative with higher specs.

    If someone finds value in ProMotion to pay more for that feature (along with all of the other added features), that's fine. But to follow that opinion up with, "trust me...everything else looks outdated", well... not helpful.

    The first gen iPad Pros were fine with regard to latency of the Pencil. Except for those looking to find fault, the Pencil was very well received by those who wanted it. The ProMotion introduced in the 2nd gen took a great thing and made it better. Just because something "better" now exists does not suddenly make what was previously great, terrible.

    Are there empirical differences between Pencil latencies on ProMotion and non-PM devices? Yes. Are they as noticeable in practical use as some claim? Not really. That is why nearly all comparison videos use slo-motion to display the difference.

    All that to say, if one wants to take the "value path" of Apple products, they are not going to be disappointed with the cost/value proposition. For those who want to take the "premium path" understanding that they're getting more features at a higher cost, they will find value for them as well. But I really don't see the point of trying to persuade a person to choose one over the other.

    As of this post, I am one of only two who voted "no" (I recommend the 2018 iPad), clearly I "think different" so factor that into what I said. lol.gif
  24. mrklaw macrumors 68020

    Jan 29, 2008
    The ‘budget’ iPad 2018 is probably the best non-pro iPad ever. Maybe you could argue the air 2 display might have been better, but this will be faster and has pencil support
  25. muzzy996 macrumors 6502

    Feb 16, 2018
    I’m not a fan of using lavish embellishments to prove a point either but I do understand that people do so as a means to demonstrate the value that they find in a particular feature. I agree that such posts that express the opinion that nothing else compares may be less constructive than simply expressing that there’s a difference but I do think that they sometimes have underlying value when you sift through the noise. Sometimes its just how some people communicate their values.

    My response was actually a reaction to the embellishment just as much as it was the response that the cost was possibly not justified. At the time it seemed as though the thread had the potential to tangent into a debate on the value one poster finds over the other regarding the ProMotion feature.

    Personally I have no skin in the game when it comes to what other people purchase. I happen to think that the OP should consider the new iPad vs the pro given what they posted about their age, budget and desired functionality.

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