What is the best device to take notes digitally?


May 17, 2011
What is the best device to take notes digitally?

I am a student and future teacher. All of my textbooks are electronic (formatted in .pdf files, microsoft word, and powerpoint). I am looking for a device which allows me to take notes digitally and read my textbooks as well as other e-books. I wish to do the following:

Open a program to a blank page and start taking notes digitally using a stylus in a process that mirrors using a pen and paper as much as possible.

If possible, I would like the device to have a "button" to "translate" my markings into digital typewritten fonts if I wish my notes to be typewritten.

Open a program that allows me to view my text books and highlight, underline, or write on those documents little notes as I see fit.

Use the device in such a way that most of the documents I use when I get my job as a teacher will be digital rather than not.

Of course any other functions that are available on the device would be great.

I have been looking into Android Tablets, netpads, etc. But I cannot get a clear answer as to if any of these devices will provide the functionality I wish it to have. I am looking to spend around $150. Can you make any recommendations?


May 15, 2011
I don't think your best option is an android tablet.
You need something that detects a stylus and disables touch input while the stylus is working. This is exactly what most windows tablets do now.
They are more expensive, weight a lot more, have less battery life but I think it's your only option.
Or... you can pick an used old windows tablet. It may be slow but for note taking you don't need much, and you can probably get it cheap.


May 4, 2011
ipad 2 is the better option
The stylus has a thick rubber tip, so what you write takes more space than pen or pencil.
The app store has several good note taking programs. Android tablets are not as easy or convenient.
Not really designed for stylus note taking.
Good luck, Dan


May 17, 2011
Are there any other options out there for university students? I am new to the world of tablet note taking. I went to university from 2002-2007 and we didn't even take notes on a laptop. I am now returning to do a second degree in September, and have been seeing a lot of posts on message boards about using a tablet to take notes and get textbooks. I was just wondering if anyone had more information on what other type of tablet to look for?


Jun 14, 2011
I've bought a motorola xoom for this use, combined with a wireless keyboard. Also, a hdmi cable, so i can use the TV as a screen whilst writing assignments. However, for a tablet with a stylus, its worth checking out the Htc flyer, but the stylus only has certain uses with the tablet

Sent from my MZ604 using Android Tablet Forum


Mar 19, 2012
Here's a method that's worked for me for two semester's now and I believe it's the best by far. It works best with a tablet or at least a smart phone with a large screen. Here's a video:

and here's a google doc's presentation that helps explain the benefits of this method and how it compares to competing products:

I should mention that I record all the lectures with a digital audio recorder. During my note taking, I glance at the recorder to see at what time I am writing each particular note. I then write the time next to the note so I can easily listen to what the professor was saying as I was writing. This saves me from having to write a lot. For example, when the professor starts naming off topics that will be on the test, I simple write down the time, then write "he discusses what will be on the test at this time".

Because all my notes are simply pictures and can be stored digitally, I can save the audio files and my notes in the same place. I made a formula sheet to end all formula sheets using this method for one of my nuclear tests I had a couple of weeks ago. I actually shared it with another student (via google docs) before the test. We both got good grades and he profusely complimented me on it soon after.
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Tom T

Senior Member
Feb 18, 2011
Interesting, this is basically what my Echo Smartpen does. It's actually a great option with the new ability to sync with Evernote.
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