Best Laptop for Note Taking – Best 2-in-1 Machines For Students and Artists

Best Laptop for note taking 2021

Note taking via laptops and tablets wasn’t much necessary, I guess, some 5-6 years ago. However, the pandemic times have made it mandatory for students to bring digital gadgets for notes taking and other class-related work.

I mean, I had to purchase another laptop for my designing class apart from my already big MacBook Pro machine.

Last time, I emphasized the importance of laptops for lawyers. Likewise, this is something that is more close to the utilization of laptops. Schools, colleges, and even offices have made it mandatory to have the best laptop for note-taking for better communication and performance.

As I said, I had to shift from one machine to another; it was a whole shift from one purpose to another. This consumed a ton of my energy while selecting a best note-taking laptop for my classes and assignments.

It wasn’t so simple to choose the best machine for student needs; lots for shortlisting, decision changing, and mood swings led me to come across different laptops. So, Let me put that list of best notebooks here. But before jumping onto these, let’s check how I choose my laptop for note taking.

How to Pick a Best Laptop for Note Taking – Don’t Smash Your Head:

Choosing a best note-taking laptop isn’t based on theories and formulas. One thing you have to care about while the selection process is “flexibility.” With that said, regular machines may not help you much. So try looking for 2-in-1 convertible laptops and tablets with touchscreen and stylus pens. So how we choose it let’s see;

Choose Stylus as a WarTime Weapon:

This is the most technical part, I believe, in the selection of note-taking laptops. Tablets mostly come with packed stylus pens. However, in the laptop category, some of the premium machines only emanate with a pre-packed stylus. It seems like it will take time to get this utility to become a standard of touchscreen laptops; till then, you have to rely on third-party styluses. So, how you choose these, here it is;

Two variants will simplify your choice decision; Capacitive and Active styluses – you probably know these by their names. As notes taking and touchscreens are built for broader purposes, these styluses can diverge according to their functionalities.

Discussing the most straightforward digital pen, Capacitive, is primarily used as an alternative to your finger or thumb to deal with extra small icons and text on your screen. This type mostly comes with a rubber nib to mimic the touch of a finger. And with no additive innovation, the functionality is the same here, with Bluetooth as a primary connectivity channel to function on your laptop’s screen.

As these are the most basic types of styluses, you can easily get from 10$-50$ depending on the quality of a stylus; build quality, battery life, weight ratio, nib and friction quality, etc.

On the other hand, active styluses have been revolutionized as touch screens became the standard of a laptop machine. These are smart digital pens coming with critical responsibilities of drawing, sketching, writing, and other stuff.

Rubber nibs in the sister variant have been replaced by soft plastic sleek nibs here. And how intelligent a stylus pen is, it hinges on the make and model of a stylus with plenty of intelligent features. Battery life, sensor quality, connectivity, and budget are the most concerned factors here.

So you get these styluses in the 30$-100$+ range, and apart from big tech names Apple, Samsung, Logitech, you’ll see some other technology brands in the race of putting the best styluses for your laptop.

Big Battery Life – No Question About It: Students simply can’t afford to be junkies always sticking with the plug socket. Or, you can’t afford to face embarrassment during your physical or online classes due to poor battery life. They need to change classrooms, write or buy college essays online, communicate, and usually be on the go. Taking it as a crucial factor, pick the best notes-taking laptop with a 7-8+ hour battery life.

Logically, making 7-8+ hours as a standard duration is due to your average time on your college campus or multiple zoom classes. So, a full recharge can save you absolute luck in case of a plug socket or recharging unavailability.

Processors and Hardware – A big department to Argue About: Laptops with pen support aren’t only meant for taking text notes. Designers, editors, content creators, data analysts, and other technical major’s students have to deal with resource-intensive apps.

So, make a division here. If you are into a professional IT and computing-related degree where resource-parasitic apps would be in your main menu, try to climb big while looking for a processor.

Don’t go for fanless machines; rest, 9th, 10th, or 11th generation U and G series processors will work charmingly for your purpose. But my preference is to go with H series chips to better counter your working.

Otherwise, if you are a research student, mostly get faced with text data types, any regular home and office machine would work. Nonetheless, try to go at least with i5.

Portability – Hunt for More: I mean, this isn’t much of a technical aspect to discuss as everyone loves to have a sleek and slim machine these days. Tablets come in somewhat under 1Kg weight, but for 2-in-1 note-taking laptops, you need to travel between 2lbs to 4lbs.

Apart from these factors, you can align the budget, display quality, size, and other elements with your preferences according to your requirements.

Best Laptops for Note Taking – Find the Real Treasure

1. Acer Spin 5 Convertible Laptop: Overall Best Laptop for Notes Taking

Acer Spin 5

Specification: CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7, 16GB LPDDR4X, 512GB NVMe SSD, Ports: 2x USB 3. 1 Type C w/t Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1x HDMI 2.0, Display: 13.5″ 2K 2256 x 1504 IPS Touch, Battery: Upto 21+Hrs

Why should one buy this? Laptops hardly come with perfection. See this machine; it’s almost an impeccability in mid-tier machines. With the overall execution, build quality, battery life, display quality, performance, and fastest connectivity configuration, it can be a potential laptop for regular entertainment and work. And guess what, Acer gives you the freedom from a third-party stylus, as a high-tech stylus is already in the bag.

Who’s it for? Travelers, Corporate and home users, students, content creators, casual gamers

Why we picked Acer Spin 5? Truthfully, the newer Spin 5 model is a groomed and matured variant from weight to performance to display to battery life. The addition of a stylus pen verily boosts psychological and value to money satisfaction. Besides, the power-oriented hardware configuration broadly opens its wings for more ubiquitous purposes. However, the only point of complaint I found is the single hardware configuration – No base and mid-tier variants.

I believe! making a laptop and stylus a package is the strongest move by Acer in the league of best laptops with stylus support. The high-tech stylus pen is a native of Wacom AES 1.0 technology that flowers great precision and responsiveness due to extended 4096 pressure points.

Powered by AAA batteries, you can give it recharge in less than a minute via an integrated stylus port and let it work for another 90 minutes. The accuracy and smoothness are sublime, yet the only criticism of big handers would be its 5-inch length. Alongside, there is no storage solution for a stylus pen, and you have to be a little careful about your digital pencil.

It isn’t a 4K machine yet; 2,256 x 1,504res IPIS display is much capable of throwing mesmerizing authentic color tones and eye-grabbing sharpness with a decent 100% sRGB coverage and more than ample 400+nits brightness. Around 5.5mm thin bezels keep it aligned with modern trends; you’ll also be an appreciator of touch responsiveness.

Nonetheless, the only objection that users with the most sensitive eyes will have is the PWM flickering on some brightness levels. 

And anything needs to be said about CPU and GPU configuration? The only i7-1065G7 configuration majorly handles CPU-intensive tasks, while IRIS+ 7 GPU handles most of your graphic-related needs. And this doesn’t make this best stylus laptop a bad emitter of noise and heat until you aren’t an aggressive AAA games enthusiast.

If you ask me to highlight some exceptional features without giving a second thought to the query, my answer will be the battery life. The 56Whr 4-cell battery remains in the highlights while giving you as maximum as 21hrs backup on idle mode. While for moderate workflows, you can enjoy 11+ hours which is much more adequate to spend a whole day.

Reasons to Buy:

  • A well-worth all-round machine
  • Stunning display quality
  • Flawless performance for upper midrange work type
  • Sturdily built while keeping lowest weight in check
  • Comes with an advanced stylus pen
  • Jaw-dropping battery life
  • Two thunderbolt3 ports for faster data transfer rates

Reason to avoid:

  • No variation in hardware configuration
  •  PWM flickering detected
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2. HP Spectre x360 13-AW0013DX: Best Notes-Taking Premium Laptop

HP Spectre x360

Specification: CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 1.3GHz 8MB Cache, Ports: 2x USB 3.1 Type C Ports, 1x USB 3.1 Type A Ports, 2x Thunderbolt, Display: 13.3″ diagonal 4K UWVA BrightView micro-edge AMOLED multitouch (3840×2160), Intel Iris Plus Graphics Battery: Upto 12+Hrs

Why should one buy this? Last Spectre (2019) faced a lot of criticism in many departments. It’s good to see this newer iteration sensibly fixed many of the flaws, including the stunning brighter 4K display, better graphics, weight reduction, and most advanced tech IR-based camera that indeed targets students, travelers, and professionals. However, the budget will mostly make swallowing it hard for many users.

Who’s it for? Students, casual-intermediate gamers, content creators, professionals, Artists, and sketchers

Why we picked New HP Spectre? Honestly speaking, the budget seems an issue that can affect many of the students. However, HP nicely matured this machine with many upgrades that brilliantly suit users who love writing and sketching on digital gadgets. And Thanks God! It comes with a good stylus pen that saves you 70$, enabling this machine to happily fall on the list of best laptops with pen support.

The display is still glossy, but HP tried to fix it with a newer 4K Amoled IPS panel which is pure from PWM flickering, improved around 120+ nits brightness and evergreen touch responsiveness. So, that’s a piece of good news for the content creators and intermediate gamers who love slim, sleek, and supercharged machines rather than chubby old-school gaming laptops.

Besides, the active stylus endeavor charmingly with crispier sensitivity turns writing and sketching a mouth-melting marshmallow for artistic works and notes taking.

The outdoor visibility is largely improved due to the more brightened display panel. However, the matte-finish would have been great for many of the users who love to use their gadgets outdoors, like sitting in a gallery, open-air restaurants, etc.

Moreover, with sRGB coverage above 100% followed by the more trimmed bezels, this doesn’t come at the cost of many sacrifices, and you’ll be really amazed by the lovely looking color vibrancy, sharpness, vividness.

On the performance side, the newer processor chip with IRIS+ graphics just does well enough for upper midrange tasks, like aggressive web surfing, mediocre content creations, and intermediate gaming. Crunchy speed and responsiveness are no issues for this Spectre model, but it comes at the cost of high emissions. 

Using it in your lap without using any protective sheets can make your thighs a bit toasty.

Though this Spectre is much more advanced and lighter, what is the super incredible and pure value of money is the battery life despite the effects of 65% enhanced brightness on a parasitic 4K panel. On a middling WLAN usage and regular web surfing, this machine has been bound to produce 13+ hours backup, which is really an astonishing punch.  

Reason to Buy It:

  • Valuable upgrades from the previous model
  • Most responsive touch performance for sketching and writing
  • Stunning battery life despite a battery worm 4KIPS panel
  • Brightness increased 65% from the earlier model with NO PWM
  • Cut in weightage (2.8lbs)
  • Best of the best keyboard design
  • Most elegant design
  • Availability of thunderbolt3 port
  • Robust performance

Reasons to Avoid it:

  • Higher price, sadly
  • Bit warmer and poor heat emissions
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3. ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 –Best Notes Taking Chromebook

ASUS Chromebook Flip C436

Specification: CPU: Intel Core i5-10210U, 512GB PCIe SSD, 8-16GB, Ports: 2x USB 3.1 Type C Ports, SDcard, Display: 14″ Touchscreen FHD 4-Way NanoEdge, Intel Iris Plus Graphics Battery: Upto 9HRs

Why should one buy this? For students hanging between tablets and laptops, this one is the most famous 2-in-1 convertible Chromebook for taking notes. ASUS awards ease to users who look for superbly elegant, exquisite performers, decent battery life, and chic display machine; C436 carries the legacy from its older brother c434. It remains light on your shoulders, but some users don’t find the same modesty on their pocket as it’s somewhat expensive from its previous variant but don’t worry, it’s not an underpowered machine.

Who’s it for? Students, professionals, casual and home users, travelers, teenagers

Why We Picked Asus Chromebook c436? Out of thin air, Some of the most prominent features got our attention. It’s for sure no machine poses a perfection; however, the brilliance in design, battery life, performance, and display there make us go wow. But it has its own pitfalls, such as the not so competitive pricing, glossy display, and, unfortunately, stylus as an optional entity. Overall, this scenario makes C436 an attractive 2-in-1 laptop for notes taking, but I won’t recommend it as the (out of this world) best 2-in-1 laptop for drawing and sketching.

Chromebooks are usually considered as the lite version of regular laptops. However, Asus doesn’t think so, that’s why it makes the C436 as an all-rounder in almost every department. The display is somewhat a stronghold here despite the lack of a pre-packed stylus pen.

The glossy 1080P touchscreen panel is almost an indoor star performer for movie watching and enjoying other multimedia stuff. For outdoors, the 280nits and 117% sRGB (which is way higher than its competitor) for appreciable vividness still don’t pull it out of struggling ground.

Additionally, the glossy surface isn’t much composed for deep and critical sketching and drawing works. For regular writing and notes taking circumstances, it does more than good. Similarly, you will have to be a little careful while selecting a third-party stylus as some of the lower-end active styluses may not work effectively due to glossy touch. 

Asus launched this machine in 3 CPU variants while GPU remains the same – Intel UHD. With an m3 chip for lenient work nature, the core series i3 and i5 10th generation chips are ample for their respective department.

As the machine is much sleeker and light-weighted (2.5lbs), the emissions are somewhat okay. It remains numb on regular multitasking, however, putting some load brings the fan to make some noise. But, it’s bearable, certainly.

The battery seems no issue here. Maybe it’s needless to mention Wi-Fi 6 support in the battery department, but it’s one of the reasons we see battery capableness up to 10 hours. Chromebooks usually don’t give that much. Considering this, you will have not less than a blessing in your bag.

Reasons to Buy it:

  • Elegant design crafted in a silverish magnesium alloy chassis – Durability uproars
  • Exquisite display for entertainment and work
  • Decent performance
  • Sleek, lightweight, and sturdy hinges for a laptop to tablet conversion
  • Much ample battery life
  • Wifi-6 support with 2x USB-C

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Not a perfectionist considering professional sketching and drawing
  • Somewhat pricier.
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4. Microsoft Surface Pro 7: Best Tablet for Notes Taking

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Specification: CPU: Intel Core i7, i5, i3, 4-8-12GB RAM, 128GB-1TB PCIe SSD, Ports: MicroSD reader, 1x USB-A, 1x USB-C, Display: 12.3″ PixelSense Touch-Screen, Battery: Upto 10+Hrs

Why should one buy this? This may not be the perfect machine in many departments; however, you can find it in the queue of best note-taking tablets for various reasons. First of all, the laptop to tablet conversion is creamy, and you won’t find any connectivity issues. On the other hand, when you don’t want to go for a full-fledged laptop, the PixelSense display technology, immense battery juice, brightest display, and firm performance will essentially fulfill your notes-taking and digital writing needs.

Who’s it for? Students and professionals, midrange budget users, home and casual gamers, Artists and sketchers

Why we picked Microsoft Surface Pro 7? Though with the “NEW” Pro 7 Tab, it seems like Microsoft didn’t have enough new ideas in her bucket to bring to this 7th iteration of SurfaceBook. I mean, the same old design, thick bezels, no thunderbolt3 support weaken its case in many perspectives. However, if you are genuinely focused on notes taking and some drawing works, it can meticulously be a good tablet laptop with pen support regarding your expectations.

Microsoft has made enough buzzes in the market through its PixelSense signature display technology. Due to this, applaudable sharpness, vivid colors, and good brightness capitalize note-taking on SurfaceBook Pro 7 a breezy experience for creative work types and weekend entertainments.

The native stylus pen comes with this machine, which ensures you get a chicly writing experience on your tab. The cream-like responsiveness and good weight and grip design bring sweet goodies to your note-taking abilities.

Though Microsoft SurfaceBook isn’t a new boy in town, nonetheless, if you are looking for the best 2-in-1 gadget for drawing, it is certainly the best budget machine.

On the performance side, the 7th edition comes with lots of hardware variations. From m3-i5-i7 with different RAM and hardware specs, it brilliantly performs in every combination. We tested the i7 version, and it did enough for our daily and office work routines.

Primarily, we don’t see any significant improvement in the battery department. However, the 11+ hours backup time is more than enough for casual to intermediate types of needs. It would have been fabulous if Microsoft goes above this limit; current battery performance is still highly respectable for students, travelers, and professionals.

Reason to Buy it:

  • Overall a good tablet for notes taking
  • PixelSense technology is really good
  • Most versatile hardware configuration
  • Upgraded with USB-C type
  • Superb performance
  • Excellent responsive touch
  • Admirable battery life

Reason to Avoid:

  • Same old design
  • Still no Thunderbolt3; why?
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The Bottom Line – Who Wins The Race?

So, in a race of best laptops for note-taking, who wins your trust? I know, sometimes it becomes troublesome to judge which machine is the winner for your needs. For that scenario, take my help and keep an eye on my recommendation.

Well, my clear winner is the Acer Spin 5 14-inch 2-in-1 laptop. The machine has largely been honed from its previous model and performs like an all-rounder without making you think further on the budget side. The already packed stylus is like a bonus seeking its competitors, and boy, what a battery life.

I mean, you can easily find sufficiency in 13hrs backup, but it is something that is way beyond this mark, and it adds wings to its horizon to target a greater portion of the audience. Apart from this, display vise, it’s above the standards of the market.

I already discussed it – the only problem is this model only finds its destiny with the i7 processor chip.

Other than this, HP Spectre x360 is a tremendous machine when it comes to an HD display, touch performance, elegance, battery life, and overall processing job. Very Truthfully, this machine is much more capable than Acer Spin 7.

However, placing it in the runner-up section is only because of the soared budget tag, which won’t be an easy breath for everyone.

Other than these, you can check out other best laptops and tablets for notes-taking according to your preferences.

Bust the Myths, Not Your Mind – FAQs:

How to Take notes on Surface Pro 7?

The easiest way of taking notes on surface pro 7 is through the OneNote app. Type in the search bar, and you directly land at OneNote and start writing there with your stylus. Otherwise, you can open the Action Center and go to OneNote.

Is a 2 in 1 laptop worth it?

Yes, the future is about Flexibility. So, a 2-in-1 laptop is totally worth it when it comes to flexibility. For scenarios, like traveling, meeting, classes, and such other scenarios where you feel a bit shy of hanging a laptop on your screen, 2-in-1 laptops come really handy.

Is it better to take notes on paper or laptop?

Writing through your hands makes it easily remember-able for a longer time. In this age of digitization where writing on paper is just becoming obsolete, making notes digitally is a better alternative. So yes, it is a better option to take notes on a laptop.