looking for a solid tablet for handwriting notes

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by chlc, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. chlc macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2014
    I think my main limiting factor is my budget of $220 USD.

    I purchased two cheap $100 tablets from BB and sent them back because they just weren't going to cut it. I currently have an Asus tf103, but I'm planning on sending that back. It's 10.1" and at first I was thinking I could deal with it, but it's a little too big for my taste / it's not super light.

    I'm trying to make myself love the 8" note by Galaxy, but it just looks unappealing to me (physically). I'm strongly considering an iPad Mini, however I am just not sure if android / os apps will be sufficient for note taking (from everything I've read here it seems like they would work fine).

    I'm a bit against getting a windows tablet primarily because I already have a 15" pc that is running Windows 8 (just ordered a new battery and ac adapter for the laptop, it's been dead for a little over a year and I've owned it since 2012). I also have a 13" late 2013 rMBP and I've been bringing that to class, but I want to switch to handwriting (it helps me remember more) but I want to keep my notes digital. I've been using evernote on my mac, but I'm not sure if the iOS / Android versions are any good.

    If any of you use android tablets, what note taking software do you use?

    Getting close to just giving up and hanging on to my Asus tf103, haha there's just so much research I've already done.

    Oh I have an adonit jot pro that I may or may not return depending on the stylus.

    Any advice you can render will be very much appreciated! Looking to place an order of some kind tonight and end the madness haha. I'm a neuroscience and econ major hence the emphasis on handwriting notes ( lots of diagrams :/ ). I don't plan on buying a bluetooth keyboard since I have my mac and windows laptops.
  2. mi7chy macrumors 603


    Oct 24, 2014
    The current two best precision pen technology are NTrig and Wacom. Galaxy Note phones and tablets use Wacom and the two best note taking apps are Lecture Notes and OneNote. If you're going to spend a significant amount of money I highly a quality device like Surface Pro 3 , Thinkpad Helix2 but no lower than Thinkpad 10 since they all use NTrig or Wacom and use OneNote.
  3. chlc thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2014
    Thanks for the suggestions! Unfortunately I feel like everything you suggested is out of my price range :/ . I will definitely look into Lecture Notes though. Do you think a Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 would work well with that app and an adonit jot pro?
  4. mi7chy macrumors 603


    Oct 24, 2014
    Personally, I'm used to the precision, proper palm rejection and system wide API so I wouldn't use anything so frustrating that makes me jump off a building but everyone's threshold is different. Definitely test run NTrig and Wacom then Jot Pro and decide for yourself. If budget is a concern definitely check out the Galaxy Note II phone which you can find in good condition for about US$150-200. Even though it's only 5.5" it's very precise so you can write tiny and the plus is it's always with you in pocket.
  5. DanGoh macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2014
    You're not gonna find a good tablet for note taking for less than $300. You're better off saving up more or not getting anything at all IMO.

    Note taking isn't even that great on a tablet. I have an iPad Air and I'd much rather use pencil and paper for my class note taking.
  6. chlc thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2014
    Ultimately that's what I'm thinking I'm going to do. I'm mainly buying this as a test run and if it doesn't work out, I'd throw it up on eBay / amazon.

    However that being said, after a bit more digging I found these online:


    They're samples of notes taken using Lecture Notes on a Note 8. This is more or less exactly what I'm trying to do, I was just wondering if there was a slightly more attractive tablet that could achieve notes of that caliber ( I know at my price range aesthetics should be the last thing on my mind hah ).

    I don't mind pen and paper, I just hate having additional notebooks / binders and I have a tendency to not sift through my notes / lose them :/ . Typing up notes in class has helped greatly, but I remember so much more by handwriting them. I've looked into the life scribe route / smart pen route but that ultimately isn't what I'm looking for.
  7. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    If you want to take notes like that I'd recommend the surface pro 3, the form factor and pen input are superb, not to mention Office/Word/Excel etc and OneNote, nothing an Android tablet can hold a candle to IMO.

    edit: just read your initial thread more carefully, you want something around $220. If you can find it, I also own an Asus Vivotab Note tablet, a 8" tablet with a Wacom digitizer. I have seen them around for $200-$300 for the 64gb version. Highly recommend it, comes with full windows AND an Office 2013 license which will save you more money.
  8. 324b21 macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2015

    You should check out Notability or GoodNotes for the iPad. Both can do what you mentioned. They both have the zoom-in option so you can make your notes as detailed as needed. They both have palm rejection, too.
    I've been using Notability for 3 years now to take notes for all my classes in college and I can't recommend it enough.
  9. viskon macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2012
    You can get a Note 10.1 used on Ebay within your price range.
  10. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    Just as an idea, if you have a phone with a high resolution camera (4S or better), just write the notes by hand then snap a photo of each and upload them somewhere.

    Then you'll always have your hard copies at home (great for studying), digital copies on the go, cheap and easy.
  11. ozaz macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2011
    Out of curiosity, what is it about this option that doesn't appeal to you?


    For the purpose of hand written notes direct on the tablet screen, steer clear of iPad or any tablet without active digitiser.
  12. chlc thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2014
    I actually tried this! I have a 16GB 5c though. I just kind of got sick of it after awhile.

    While I plan to primarily use my tablet for note taking, having a smaller device that I can access basic social media apps on and the like would be helpful. Buying a life scribe pen falls into my price range, but for that price I'd rather get full featured device. . Also all of my courses utilize lecture slides, so I wouldn't be able to annotate pdfs and what not.

    Yeah I'm coming to the conclusion that I just need to get a tablet with an active digitizer.

    So now I'm down to the Galaxy Note 8 or the Asus VivoPad Note 8 ( I really want an 8" or 9" tablet, 10"+ was cumbersome for me)
  13. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    I see used very good condition Note 8 tablets on eBay for as low as $170... some even with 3G if you ever felt like enabling it.

    (Of course, always read eBay details to make sure you're not bidding on one with a cracked or scratched screen, or missing the pen or power supply.)
  14. ozaz macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2011
    I think those are probably your best Android & Windows options if you want to stick to 8".

    On Windows, Dell Venue 8 Pro might also be worth a look - currently $250 from Dell Outlet. But I'd probably go with the Asus over the Dell due to integrated Pen holder and Wacom-based pen. You may find the following thread and associated spreadsheet useful for Windows options:



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