Is the Surface Pro 3 good for taking notes in the classroom?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by saintforlife, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. saintforlife macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    #1
    Starting next semester, I'd like to go completely digital in my note taking in the classroom and want to use the Surface Pro 3 with its digital pen and excellent compatibility with the OneNote app...not to mention the ability to record audio that syncs up contextually with what you are writing (that way you don't miss anything that was said in the classroom).

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Location:
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    #2
    I personally don't find an app as flexible as a notebook. I don't think the actual taking of the notes is the problem, it's the trying to find what you need later that is. Especially when you have to deal with multiple classes.

    A lot of people like the Surface for note taking in OneNote though, considering the Pro 3 just came out, you're not going to find a lot of people who are going to give you a good answer.
     
  3. MozMan68, Jun 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014

    MozMan68 macrumors 68000

    MozMan68

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Location:
    Right here...
    #3
    Except that OneNote and the recording capability has been around for years...and is more than just an "app"...

    I mean, really? The ability to take notes and record at the same time...and see what notes you wrote synced perfectly with what you are listening to...and searching your handwritten notes for any word...and being able to convert them to text and copy into other notes or papers...with images?

    Yeah...that doesn't sound too useful... Go with a pen and paper instead...:p
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    I'd say of all the uses, note taking, with the pen and OneNote is probably the biggest strength of the SP3.

    If I were needing to take a lot of notes then the SP3 would be on my short list.
     
  5. MozMan68 macrumors 68000

    MozMan68

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Location:
    Right here...
    #5
    I'm not even in school anymore and I can't wait to use it for notes and sketches at work. The other thing I'm excited about is the ability to use the Office Lens app on my 1520 to grab shots of whiteboards and tacked up notes so they can be dropped into my own meeting notes.

    I work in product design and marketing...the ability to finally synch all of this stuff with my own notes will really help with the business cases I need to write as well as my meetings with my boss and my own team members. And it doesn't hurt that my company is all in with the MS ecosystem...:p
     
  6. silentbob007 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2010
    Location:
    Little Rock, AR
    #6
    I used my SP3 at a meeting for the first time yesterday and i worked great. I was conflicted about whether I wanted to use OneNote or use Word and have it translate my writing on the fly. I have not tried using recordings. For hand-written notes, however, the SP3 is a million times better than an iPad simply because you can actually write with a fine tip.
     
  7. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #7
    I would not rely solely on technology for that. Especially technology that has not been proven over time. The Surface Pro 3 is not proven. It's all fun and games until OneNote crashes mid lecture.... or you discover that your OneNote notebook file is corrupt and can't be opened.

    I suggest looking at a multi-facet approach. A small notepad to write on, plus an iPad+keyboard or Macbook Air. There is a vast assortment of apps that can do things similar to what you'd want to do with OneNote without having to make an all-or-nothing decision.

    If you shop around, you can find an iPad + keyboard + Macbook Air for the price of a well-equipped SP3. That will give you flexibility and no-compromise tablet and notebook experiences.
     
  8. akuma13 macrumors 6502a

    akuma13

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #8
    But the Ipad and MacBook Air are basically using the same technology as the SP3. He can easily get a notepad and just a Surface 3 (it's a capable machine). What he shouldn't rely on is just that one program One Note. Unfortunately that's Microsoft's failing, not enough robust apps.
     
  9. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #9
    I don't know what you mean that the iPad and Macbook Air are basically using the same technology as the SP3. They run different operating systems, use different processing chips, etc. If by "same technology" you mean they all have a display screen and a CPU, well then... yeah.

    The Surface line of tablets has had software, operating system, and hardware issues from day-1. There are issues that SP3 owners are dealing with (such as keyboard not being recognized on resume) that owners of the Surface, Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, and Surface Pro 2 have dealt with (and are still dealing with).

    I would not trust a Surface device for anything of importance. That is my opinion based on both my first-hand experience and anecdotes of other Surface owners.

    Those who have had different experiences would feel differently but I couldn't in good conscience recommend the Surface for what the OP wants to do.
     
  10. saintforlife, Jun 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014

    saintforlife thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    #10
    Please tell me more about the note-taking experience. Did writing on the glass using the new NTrig pen feel natural (please remember I have never tried this and I need it to feel comfortable)? Did the text on the screen keep up with your writing or was there any lag? When taking notes, did you lay the SP3 flat on its back or did you put the kickstand all the way down to 150 degrees? Also when you say "translate on the fly", do you mean selecting your hand written notes and using the "Ink to text" option to convert it to text?

    Anything else you want to share?
     
  11. Altis macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2013
    #11
    Fair enough, but considering how new the Surface is, you have to pretty quickly let go of old notions in this industry. 1st and 2nd gen may have had issues, but that doesn't say much of anything at all about the 3rd gen. I wouldn't trust an iPad Air any more than a SP3. And if you're that worried, always back up your files (which is very easy on a SP3, what with cloud storage, USB external hard drives, thumb drives... a file structure!) ;)

    As for note taking, it's actually quite good on the SP3. It isn't something I would even bother doing on an iPad (yes, I'm aware that some people do). The SP3 seems like an all-around great school companion. Split-screen multitasking should make it well suited for working on a document and referencing a web browser (for times when you aren't docked into a full size monitor).
     
  12. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #12
    "old notions in this industry"? 3 generations of Surface were released within an 18 month time frame.

    You deliberately avoided quoting this from my post:

    "The Surface line of tablets has had software, operating system, and hardware issues from day-1. There are issues that SP3 owners are dealing with (such as keyboard not being recognized on resume) that owners of the Surface, Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, and Surface Pro 2 have dealt with (and are still dealing with)."

    The Surface Pro 3 continues to have the same issues as the previous generation (Pro and non-Pro) devices. Why did you ignore this aspect of my post?
     
  13. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #13
    I have a SP3 and after initially being very excited about taking notes on it have a bit more of a moderate view now. Writing on glass is a MUCH different feeling than writing on paper, plus the SP3 is quite glossy and if you look at it sideways will attract fingerprints. Writing itself was incredibly smooth and accurate, but once again a different experience than writing on paper.

    Don't worry about OneNote crashing, or nonsense like that, the SP3 is pretty rock solid. I'd worry more if the battery life is what you need. In terms of comparing it to an ipad, I haven't taken notes with an ipad in ages but I'd stack up OneNote, MSWord, PDF marking up, etc as much nicer. The ipad still has the achilles heel of not having any mouse support at all, kind of insane in today's world.

    With that said I personally have some serious caveats with note taking particularly in the field with the SP3. But in a classroom with the SP3 on a desk it's a powerhouse. You can combine writing and typing, you can incorporate pictures, graphics, corresponding audio, graphs, webpages, annotated PDF's, etc etc etc.
     
  14. Altis macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2013
    #14
    Because you need to list them, and/or provide references, in order to address them.

    I could say the same thing with the iPad or iOS 7... people have been dealing with Safari reloads since the early betas, for example. Or if the issues you're referencing are poorly implemented/lack of features, the same could be said as well... People have been dealing with the lack of multi-tasking on iPads since day one.

    I'm just not sure what the issues are you're referring to, is all. ;) I have yet to come across them, but then again, this is a very new product, so who knows. It isn't that I don't believe you... I just need to know of them.
     
  15. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #15
    I haven't come across those issues either. I'm not saying I haven't had issues, just not those.
     
  16. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #16
    Ok, now you are deliberately being obtuse. In my post that you surgically edited, I wrote:

    "The Surface line of tablets has had software, operating system, and hardware issues from day-1. There are issues that SP3 owners are dealing with (such as keyboard not being recognized on resume) that owners of the Surface, Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, and Surface Pro 2 have dealt with (and are still dealing with)."

    To be more accurate, the keyboard covers (TypeCover and TouchCover).

    My purpose in posting these things is not to get the dander up of SP3 fans, but to offer my first hand experiences to the OP. If your experience differs, then post that without having to question my integrity. how about that?
     
  17. Altis macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2013
    #17
    You list an issue that's been addressed by a firmware issue already, no? Google it (I don't want to link spam in here).

    I'm not trying to question your integrity.. Claims need some kind of reference. I'm more than happy to be wrong, but help point me in the right direction. Or perhaps we can both learn something! This isn't about you. ;)
     
  18. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #18
    That goes for any computer, I'd say using that reasoning is perhaps an extreme example to justify to the OP to avoid the SP3.

    I think overall, the track record of the SP models are such that we can expect fairly good stability within windows for note taking.
     
  19. m98custom1212 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2013
    Location:
    Toledo, Ohio
    #19
    You can backup onenote.. which you should do anyways.
     
  20. Mcdevidr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2013
    #20
    I got one of these for just this reason. I didn't even bother with the flimsy type cover ( I don't need or want a laptop ). The note taking in one note is great. I am not in classes yet but I have experimented with it and it works great. I also plan to use this for practicing piano as I soon plan to put my PDF sheet music collection of 100gb on a micro sd and carry that with me for practicing sight reading.

    I don't understand why people are recommending an ipad with keyboard and a mac book air. Typing notes is an awful experience for me in a classroom as is having a screen in front of my face. The SP3 I can lay flat on a table and use as I would a piece of paper.

    Then there are the benefits of it also being able to browse and play games. I love this device. As mentioned before though the battery just don't compare to the iPads, that is one thing I hope they change on the next one.
     
  21. silentbob007 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2010
    Location:
    Little Rock, AR
    #21
    The pen feels fairly natural as it has a bit of heft. It doesn't feel like writing on paper, but I haven't found it too slick. When I write, I like it flat on the desk as I'm not real comfortable trying to write on an angle ... though I did not try it at 150 degrees. This is my first foray into Windows 8 and tablets, so I'm still getting used to it. I have not tried converting hand writing to text in OneNote ... I've been doing it in Word.

    There might be a tiny bit of lag, but given I hadn't really thought about it until you asked, it is pretty close. Palm reject is pretty good in OneNote but not quite as good outside in legacy software (ie, if my hand rests on a scrollbar or the taskbar those seem to over-ride the palm reject).
     
  22. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #22
    OneNote was just one example. It is a powerful tool. With that power comes complexity. And with the way the OP planned on using it there is a greater possibility of file corruption or program crash than using it to simply jot notes in an organized manner. If in my terse manner of describing the issue I gave the impression that OneNote is unstable, I apologize.


    If you have never had a Surface let you down when you depended upon it then I can see why you would say that. I give many lectures seminars, and presentations. in the 5+ years that I've used Apple products I have never had an issue with them. (4 or 5 devices during that time) They have been completely reliable and dependable... I always had a "plan B" available, but never had to use it.

    With the Surface, "failure" rate was high enough that I could not depend upon it. That's been my experience and that is what I speak from. I know that there are others who have the mirror opposite experience... and they are free to speak from that.

    I don't know how well the OP is served by overly optimistic "go for it bro!" pats on the back.
     
  23. MozMan68 macrumors 68000

    MozMan68

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Location:
    Right here...
    #23
    I have zero Surface experience (picking my first up next week), but I have used my iPad extensively in the field for lectures/presentations as well (no MBP experience as well).

    My main reason for using my iPad was convenience when travelling...not pulling out of my bag at security, weight, personal use when not presenting, etc.

    My issues with the iPad were as follows:

    * The iPhone Remote app rarely worked (if ever)...on the one occasion it did work for me for part of my presentation, it still did not allow the use of the laser button. Didn't affect every presentation I gave, but when the iPad had to be in another part of the room it was a pain. Looking forward to at least having the USB port on the SP3 for an external pointing device when needed.

    * Up until earlier this year, I had to convert all of my powerpoint presentations to Keynote to make them work properly. Graphs especially had to be saved as images on my laptop before sending over to my iPad. Yes, we now have Office on the iPad...but it still isn't the same. I actually preferred my modified Keynote versions. Now I can create and modify my presentations in the format approved by my company once.

    The only two things I think I will really miss from my iPad (as I went through it last night to reset so my wife could use it) are Find My Friends (keep track of my kids) and my Wall Street Journal app. Just so use to the WSJ app, but will obviously still have access to the website version. Can't imagine it will be as good, but will try out for the first time today.
     
  24. aznguyen316 macrumors 68020

    aznguyen316

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    #24
    Handwriting is indexed and searchable with OneNote. Subjects can be organized as well.
     
  25. m98custom1212 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2013
    Location:
    Toledo, Ohio
    #25
    The Surface is rock solid with the newest firmware
     

Share This Page