As we subjected various brands of pen tablets to our rigorous and tireless testing, our highest recommendation goes to the Apple iPad Pro 12.9, recently launched by Apple this 2020. It's, by far, the most outstanding option for those who are looking for best tablets for taking handwritten notes.
It used to be that tablets have been relegated to internet browsing, video streaming, online shopping, playing mobile games, and other such activities. However, people today have virtually let go of the traditional pen and paper method of taking notes and brought their gadgets in to take its place. With more and more tablet brands creating increasingly innovative ways to “handwrite” on a display screen, consumers today add this specific feature when they make their selection.
The range of best tablets for taking handwritten notes is quite extensive, and buyers will need to be meticulous in their choice or be guided by both online reviews like these as well as the advice of well-meaning friends and acquaintances to make sure that they make the smart decision. Depending on your particular preferences as to function, display quality, pen sensitivity, or even batter life, you have your work cut out for you as far as your selection is concerned.
Table of Contents
Top 10 Best Tablets for Taking Handwritten Notes in 2020
Here are the top 10 best tablets for taking handwritten notes along with their features. They are listed below:
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Wacom DTK2200 Cintiq Display Tablet
Lenovo Yoga Book
Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro Tablet
Apple iPad Pro
Google Pixel Slate
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
Samsung Galaxy Tab A
The Apple iPad Pro 12.9 has made a huge fan base after its launch in the market. The product has a liquid retina LCD. Along with this, it has an A12X Bionic chip.
It has been said that this product is far better than the intel-based laptops. It comes with a new version of the Apple pencil. This pencil is magnetically attached to the side of the product.
Also, the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 is the iPad available in the market with the largest screen. Apple has launched many features in this product.
One of those is the face id. It has replaced the fingerprint scanning with the home button. People said that the new feature of face id is better as compared to the fingerprint scanning. As said above, there is no home button which means the user has to navigate the iPad through different flicks and gestures.
2. Microsoft Surface Pro 6
The Microsoft surface pro 6 models were launched in the year 2018. The product is the new version of the Microsoft surface pro 2017 model.
It has come with some features which include better display size and extended battery life. The Microsoft surface pro 6 would be the best option if you want to purchase a tablet of Windows.
The product comes with an Intel quad-core chip. The same chip is used in the laptops. Another amazing feature of the product is that you won't face any problem while connecting to the peripheral devices.
People reviewed that the pen which comes with the product is very good for sketching. Moreover, you can use it as a tablet as well as a laptop. The screen size of the surface pro is 12.3 inches, which is a very comfortable one. Also, the product is very light in weight.
3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
If you are bored with the iOS and you have already too much money on the android products, then you can go for the Samsung galaxy tab S4.
The product is not too expensive and has nice features. Samsung galaxy tab S4 has a screen size of 10.5 inches with a screen resolution of 2560 X 1600.
Along with this, it has thinner bezels. A new feature has been introduced in the product which is 2.1 lockable mode.
This mode uses the DeX software for getting the interface of a personal computer.
The feature will work when it will be connected to Samsung's book keyboard cover. There are many things which you can do on android and not on iOS. One of the most amazing features of the product is that you can extend the memory of the tablet by placing an SD card.
4. Wacom DTK2200 Cintiq Display Tablet
If you are searching for a tablet that would be best for sketching, then you must go for the Wacom Cintiq 22 HD touch pen display.
The product comes with a drawing area of 50cm X 30cm. It has a screen resolution of 1920 X 1080.
The Wacom Cintiq 22HD touch pen display provides a larger drawing area as compared to the rest of the tablets.
People said that they have got the best drawing results from this product. Its super-sensitive stylus is very amazing.
The product comes with an integrated stand. This integrated stand helps the user to adjust the angle of the tablet according to the position of the user.
The attractive display of the Wacom tablet comes with sixteen million colors. Many people said that the Wacom Cintiq tablet increases the quality of the work.
5. Lenovo Yoga Book
The people were very curious about the Lenovo Yoga book tablet after its launch in the market. The Lenovo Yoga Book is the blender of the laptop and tablet.
It comes with a digital capacitive keyboard. This keyboard turns as a drawing surface as well as handwriting surface when needed.
The product comes with a stylus that is worth purchasing. It has a screen size of 10.1 inches and a 1920 X 1200 screen resolution.
Its display hits the number of 16.7 million different colors. It has another surface which is the capacitive Halo keyboard. The product does not have digital keys.
Though it is a suitable product for writing notes. The user can use the stylus pen for writing notes over the Halo surface. The tablet will work as a digital notebook. Moreover, the product is quite chunky as it rotates at 180 degrees. The Lenovo Yoga book would be the best option if you are confused about whether to purchase a laptop or a tablet.
6. Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro Tablet
The Huawei brand has a very great collection of tablets. The Huawei has all tablets from basic to pro.
If you want a tablet for basic working like writing notes on it then you can choose models of Media Pad pro which are super affordable. The product is not too expensive even though it comes with great screen size, display and with many amazing features.
The Huawei media pad M5 pro tablet works on the 7.0 android version. It has a screen size of 8.4 inches with a screen resolution of 1600 X 2560.
It comes with a storage capacity of 364 GB. It has a battery life of 7500 mAh. It has an aluminum frame which is very light in weight and looks very cool if you take it out at a café. The weight of the product is 499 grams.
7. Apple iPad Pro
The Apple iPad Pro 11 offers better haptic accuracy as compared to the other tablets which are stylus-based.
Here, haptic accuracy means it offers better touch accuracy. The product comes in two screen sizes which are 12.9 inches and 11 inches.
This size of screens is suitable for writing notes as well as for making spreadsheets.
If you are looking for a tablet that is suitable for business use, then the Apple iPad Pro 11 would be the best option.
People said that the best feature of this model is its palm rejection with Apple pencil and pressure sensitivity. The product comes with a fingerprint scanner.
Moreover, the product is quite expensive and the charges for its accessories are not included in its price. You will be charged extra for its accessories like Apple pencil, detachable keyboard, etc.
8. Google Pixel Slate
Another amazing product that is on the top of the list is Google pixel slate 12.3 which also quite expensive.
The Google pixel slate 12.3 is known as Google's pride product because of the molecular display it has. The product delivers the sharper display as compared to the other tablets of the same dimensions.
Along with this, it comes with a brightness of 337 nits. Another fascinating feature of the model is its convertibility. The convertibility of the tablet supported by the magnetic field.
This magnetic field makes the conversion of angle to angle to look natural. Moreover, the keyboard of the slate is another amazing feature.
When you look at the circular keys at first, they might look like they won't work well. But they are very smooth as well quieter when you work with them.
Also, the slate supports its stylus in a great way. Its pressure sensitivity makes the user make effortless taps as well as strokes over the slate while drawing. The product will charge you extra for its additional accessories which include its stylus. Also, Google is working on its Chrome OS.
9. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
The Samsung galaxy tab S6 is known as the best tablet for taking notes as well as for drawing. The product is said as the best product in android.
The most amazing feature of the product is that it doesn't cost you extra for its stylus pen. Its S pen is delivered with the product. Moreover, the S pen does not depend on the battery.
Its S pen supports up to the 4096 points of the pressure sensitivity. The product has a neat Super AMOLED screen.
The screen size of the model is 10.5 inches. Though it has many exciting features. The color accuracy of the Samsung galaxy tab S6 is flawless.
Moreover, it comes with a display of 80% RGB and 112% DCI-P3 coverage. The android version which is used in this product is android 9.0 pie. It is a fast processor. Also, it has an inbuilt facial recognition feature.
Although, the best products do not come at cheaper rates. The Samsung Galaxy tab S6 is an expensive product, but it won’t charge you extra for its stylus.
10. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
The Samsung galaxy tab A is a very nice option if you are looking for a product with a good stylus as well as at a reasonable rate.
Though the product does not offer exciting features it is of good value. The product would be perfect for taking notes.
Why would you buy a tablet for note taking?
Almost every person is a note taker. Whether you are a student, an office worker, an artist, a stay-at-home mom, a musician, a book author, or an engineer, writing down your thoughts, lyrics, grocery list, brainstorming ideas, story line, building layout, is an everyday occurrence. You simply cannot do without a pen and paper at hand.
Today, there exists an option to take your handwritten notes to the digital world. Although you have to pay for all the features that come with having a pen tablet, you get to enjoy all the benefits that a digital paper brings to the table.
So, if you are after the following, this type of tablet will surely work for you:
If you are a note taker, you would have many pads at your disposal to remind you of everything you took note of throughout your life. They may be sitting in your bookshelves or stashed away somewhere. If you have a pen tablet, however, you can benefit from its massive storage (virtually unlimited space) and take as many notes as you can even when you are traveling or simply on the go. You don't have to worry about running out of pages anymore. Plus, you have ALL your notes in one device which you can access anytime.
Handwritten notes are pointless if you have no way of going back to them to review what you have written. The goal of note taking is to serve as a record to remind us of the necessary things when we most need them. With a pen tablet, retrieving your notes is easy as pie. Especially, tablet processors, today have evolved technologically, so searching through your many records and getting the one you need at any point will take a few seconds.
As obviously is the case, especially for students who have been used to lugging around their books and notepads in school, the pen tablet will be the cure-all for your notes' portability issues. Carrying around light and handy tablet, with all your notes in it, sure beats having to bring even a couple of books and notebooks in your bag.
In our comprehensive tablets review, almost all of them, save for the reMarkable paper tablet has more than being a digital paper as its function. Most of them will have more than enough features to overwhelm you if you are new to them. You can consume all the social media that you want, be productive in your artistic pursuits, check your emails, respond to them, do a video call with your friends, and take pictures.
These tablets are for those who will benefit most from a pen tablet such as students, artists, business people, professionals, journalists, book authors, engineers, and even ordinary people who love to read and take notes.
They are also for those with more disposable income of the less price-sensitive group (although cheaper tablets are now available), who will not shy away from spending a bit more for these benefits.
Given all these considerations, who are the likely target clients for these pen tablets?
Who should get this?
Manufacturers of best tablets for taking handwritten notes may seem to be targeting a particular market niche, but in truth, the target market is a lot broader.
Students today belong to the millennial and generation Z who are technologically adept and are seeking advancements in tablets, laptops, and similar devices that will enable them to perform better in their pursuit of learning.
This segment of the target market is one of the most that will benefit from a note taking device as this activity is a considerable part of their day-to-day as students attending multiple classes, and which will go on for several years. They also need books that are part of their education, all of which they can electronically store in their tablets.
The tablets’ additional functions will also help them as students when they do research, communicate with their professors and classmates, and find enjoyment when they take breaks (games, internet browsing, online shopping).
Professionals are engaged in numerous activities in the conduct of their business to include jotting down notes during meetings, preparing presentations to shareholders, employees or clients, and being in constant communication with everyone in the supply chain daily. They are continually multi-tasking and in need of a device more portable than a laptop computer where they can maximize their productivity even when they are on the go or move from place to place as required by their business.
Best tablets for taking handwritten notes will serve business professionals as it will provide them access to everything they need in one handy device.
The portability of these pen tablets will also appeal to frequent travelers as they can have a way to bring all the necessary documents with them wherever they go and take down notes as they travel. Best tablets for taking handwritten notes come with all the functionality of a tablet, which can make the regular trips less of a hassle by taking advantage of the many sources of amusement that a gadget like this offers. You can spend hours or even your entire waking moments engaged as you explore everything that you can do with this device.
Handiness is extremely important for travelers as the journey becomes more comfortable when you pack as little as you can, bringing only the things that matter the most in your trip.
This market covers the entire screen-generation who spends most of their time glued to their devices, interacting with people on every social media platform. They also do video streaming, playing mobile games, listening to music, reading e-books, writing blogs, and making videos, taking pictures, among others. All of these online activities may require note taking at some point. Though the feature is secondary to all other purposes of the tablet, it’s an excellent addition to the many things that the multimedia consumers can do in their devices.
Looking for Laptop Auxiliary
With the advent of 2-in-1 tablets today, that double as laptop and tablet, some people have found it cumbersome to be lugging around a laptop computer. Though they can keep a fully functional laptop at home or in their place of business, or maybe they own a tablet but has limited functionality, a device that can work as both even in limited capacities will come in handy.
Most business people will need a device that will fulfill productivity requirements that their laptop supports but will be portable enough to be comfortably brought anywhere. Most best tablets for handwritten notes address these needs.
Artists can also take advantage of best tablets for taking handwritten notes by using them as a canvass for sketching, sculpting, drawing, and painting. With the seamless integration between the Apple Pen and iPad Pro tablet, they can bring their creativity with them wherever they go and enjoy the fantastic innovation as their typical blank canvass and paint are digitized without sacrificing the expression of their artistic skills.
Writers are another target consumer that will majorly benefit from best tablets for taking handwritten notes as they find themselves getting ideas for their compositions at any time when creativity strikes. Apart from taking down book or article ideas, writers can also keep as much of their output in the tablet and retrieve them when necessary. Like students, they can do their research on the tablet, communicate with their editor, publisher, and others, or find relaxation in other things that you can do in your device such as listen to music or watch movies.
How did we pick out the best tablets for handwritten notes?
We took pains over each of the tablets that made it to the list of the best in various retailer websites and browsed through thousands of reviews to narrow down our search for the best tablets for handwritten notes. We want to make sure that our recommendation will deliver excellent features like best tablets for taking handwritten notes should.
Although most of the tablets that make it to the lists have additional features or even have the note taking as secondary to their other offerings, we have selected those who made it based on the availability of digital paper tablets. We took into consideration only the standards that will matter to a tablet made for handwritten notes.
If you are taking down notes, the pen's sensitivity will matter most to you to make your writing smooth and easy. The closer it is to the experience of writing on paper, the better. If you are engaged in a graphic design undertaking, you will likely need an ultra-responsive stylus with the maximum pressure sensitivity and palm rejection typical of drawing tablets and which the Apple iPad Pro delivers unparalleled. It has the best haptic accuracy among all stylus-based tablets currently in the market.
The Apple Pen and iPad Pro tablet are seamlessly integrated with virtually no lag as you sketch, draw, or take down your handwritten notes. There is almost no difference in writing, no paper, and on this brand of tablet.
Screen Active Area
The size of the functional area in your tablet matters as handwritten notes will not always be texts but elaborate diagrams and graphs, complex computations, building layouts, and even landscape drawings. It’s difficult to be restricted by space when your creative juices are continuously flowing. You want to have as much expanse as you need to continue working.
This feature is especially important for artists who will need a crisp and sharp display to showcase all the colors and hues in their artworks. The Apple iPad Pro has more pixels than what can be seen by the human eye, which makes its display the keenest above all its closest competitors.
Other physical features are the overall size of the tablet, its durability, and battery life—the more portable and handier, the better. As mentioned earlier, portability matters an excellent deal for the market targeted by these tablets. If they plan to have these become a standby or even a replacement for their laptops, all the functionality must line up with the expectations from a note taking tablet and more.
Lastly, price matters even for a target market of high disposable income group. Despite the presence of tablet options that appeal to the masses, most people today are better decision-makers when it comes to the things they spend their money on, especially one as necessary and useful as these tablets. The ultimate goal is not really to search for the cheapest or most reasonably priced one but to find that tablet that will deliver the most value appropriate to its price offering.
How did we test for the best ones?
The testing done on these tablets are no different from the countless tests that we have done in the past. The note taking devices that we picked were subjected to tryouts by various users such as university students, business people, artists, journalists, and engineers.
We sampled people from every segment of the target market that we have identified for these tablets. We had them rate the different brands and models for the features that matter most to note takers. These are the screen active area and resolution (display), pen technology (sensitivity and battery life), integration between the pen and the tablet (responsiveness, lag), portability (size, weight), battery life, and price.
This way, we were able to gather relevant information from people who will benefit from these note taking tablets and received their quantitative and qualitative rankings. We then supplemented their output with ours.
So, apart from the report that we have gathered from these groups of people, we tested out the selected note taking tablets ourselves. We also made use of the devices and tried them out, taking all the features mentioned and gave rankings ourselves.
Coupled with research across the manufacturers' websites, their product specifications, the reviews of major retailers, and target consumers, both written and in video form, and surveys and interviews with hundreds of people, we have compiled all of the data we have collected. We did statistical processing on them until we have arrived at our conclusions.
The data shows that a majority of the respondents have pen sensitivity, and the tablet's portability as the most critical consideration when buying note taking tablets, followed closely by the physical features and the price.
Though they were all informed that the study is particular to tablets for handwritten notes, most still opted to rate higher the brands that offer more than the note taking capabilities. This fact shows that people will give importance to tablets with this particular feature for handwritten notes but will have trouble taking it apart from other functions that a tablet can fulfill for its users.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are the questions most often asked by people who are considering purchasing best tablets for taking handwritten notes.
1. Is note taking better on a tablet or the traditional pen and paper?
A Princeton study showed that the traditional pen and paper method of taking down notes is better than typing on a keyboard because laptops come with distractions. There is the attention burden created when you have a device in front of you that requires your attention while your professor is speaking in front of the class.
There’s usually verbatim transcription or mindless note taking with not much brainpower necessary to perform the task. On the other hand, when you write down notes by hand, you employ cognitive processing, which is a deliberate brain process that leads to better retention and learning.
However, studies are nuanced and inconclusive up to this day.
The tablets featured in this review address this concern. They highlight the fact that you are still handwriting your notes, but now with a digital pen and paper.
2. How can we best use tablets for handwritten notes to not impede learning and memory?
Despite the many studies that do not support the digitization of note taking, there are numerous ways that you can utilize your pen tablet without hindering the enhancement of your memory and your brain development. You just have to use your tablet like you would your typical paper and pen.
The dynamic learning tasks involved in taking down notes are:
- drawing up a summary of a lecture that you have listened to or book that you have read,
- writing questions as part of your note taking to stimulate your understanding of the key concepts taught,
- transcribing fundamental principles by memory,
- paraphrasing the learning heard or read to use your own words and impute your comprehension, and
- chunking ideas together for easy recall that also aids in a better grasp of the teachings.
If you actively engage in all of these as you write down your notes on a digital platform, you are still giving your brain its much-needed exercise even on a tablet.
3. Is it worth buying?
It depends on your priorities and how much money you can set aside for this purchase. Like any other acquisition, you have to check if the benefits outweigh the costs.
As mentioned above, the target market of these tablets is quite broad, and its features can address a lot of what most people will want to take advantage of in a gadget, apart from notetaking. The best way to answer this question is to know what you need exactly from a tablet and how much you are willing to pay for it and then work your way through recommendations from there.
There is a wide range of selection that you will be presented with in terms of all the specifications which may be relevant to you. You can also choose from among those that fall within your budget range.
The most important thing is to purchase a tablet that fits your particular requirements and bring the most value to you at the lowest price.
4. How can you make the purchase of a note taking tablet worth every penny?
Since people will most likely compare a note taking tablet with the cost of a notebook and pen, the ensuing decision regarding the purchase will surely be a big NO for these types of devices. However, you have to consider all the benefits that this tablet brings to the table. Other than digitizing all your notes, being a massive repository of all your books, and the fact that you can bring it anywhere you go with ease and comfort, there are many things you can do with a fully-functioning tablet.
The best thing to do is to educate yourself about all the specific features of the tablet that you are considering buying and how they can bring benefits into your life whatever your profession or vocation may be. This way, you get to maximize your use by taking advantage of everything that it offers. Be wary of buying into highly popular or trending devices even though you will not use the majority of its features. Now that is a total waste of money. Make a well-informed decision before you make your purchase.
5. Which tablets are best for students?
Most of the tablets in various compilations make it to the same list for college students. However, since a student's priority revolves around education, there is a need to limit the features of note taking tablets to those that will only fulfill tasks for those in school, such as reading and jotting down notes in class.
In this light, the recommendation leans towards products such as the reMarkable paper tablet and the Digital Paper by Sony. These are made exclusively for handwritten notes and reading electronic books. They do not have the usual functionality of tablets and thereby will not distract students while they listen in class or while they are trying to study for an exam by reading a book on their paper tablet. These devices will instantly digitize their handwritten notes, which can be synced to their computers for sharing with their classmates or submission to their professors.
Still, if there is a need for a recommendation for students beyond these products, the Lenovo Yoga Book tops the list as quite cheap for a tablet, and multi-functional as a 2-in-1 gadget (tablet and laptop) will be very helpful for students. A computer may have more functions, but portability is also important as students will walk around on campus or spend nights in different places conducting case studies, or maybe hang out in libraries or coffee shops in their group learning sessions.
6. Which of the note taking tablets are highly recommended for business people?
Out of all the tablets that we have reviewed, the ones that will best fit the requirements of busy professionals are those that will double as a tablet and laptop or the 2-in-1 type like the Apple iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro 7. Those involved in lengthy meetings with clients, top management, or business partners will need a multi-functional tablet that can deliver more than the note taking capabilities. At best, a tablet will have to act as their auxiliary device when they need to be on the move and will not choose to bring a less than handy laptop from work.
The tablet must fulfill all that the typical laptop does for them so they can keep their productivity wherever they go. Though 2-in-1 tablets are still limited as a laptop for now but surpass what an ordinary tablet can do by leaps and bounds, they are a good recommendation for business professionals as a replacement laptop.
7. Is the tablet for taking handwritten notes distinct from drawing tablets meant for artists?
Though the same considerations in terms of features are similar for both note takers and artists, there are other tablets in the market specially made for sketching, drawing, and painting, such as those made by Wacom or Huion. There are various lists of the best picks as well as reviews for these products as well that you can check out.
The tablets are the best option for taking notes. Tablets offer many advantages to the students. They do not have to carry a heavy load of bags with them. We also save paper by writing notes digitally on the tablets.
Students can easily search their desired topics with the help of digital bookmarks which will save their time. Best tablets for taking handwritten notes are a one-time investment and for the rest of the life, you can avail of its features. You can select the tablets according to your budgets. All types of tablets are available in the market, from basic to pro.