Best Note-Taking Tablet- Medical Student

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by medstudent123, Sep 7, 2013.

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  1. medstudent123

    medstudent123 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi there, I'm a medical student in the market for a really good tablet/slate for note-taking/annotations during lectures. I've been looking around and am having a tough time choosing between the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition (just released) and a high-range Windows tablet/slate. Can anyone provide me with information about the pros and cons of the best note taking tablets available, especially for a medical student? My requirements are outlines below.

    1. What is your budget?
    Price is irrelevant (Any price)

    2. Would you consider purchasing used/refurbished?

    3. Do you prefer a media/mobile tablet like the iPad, Windows tablet PC, or notebook convertible?
    Either, as long as has tablet functionality and keyboard facility (whether attachable or not)

    4. What size Tablet PC would you prefer?
    •7.1 to 10-inches
    •10 to 13-inches (Better)
    • Would prefer closer to 10" mark.

    5. Which country do you intent to purchase from [where do you live]?
    UK or South Africa - would consider shipping from US but not always worth import charges.

    6. Do you have any preferences to brand loyalty or dislikes?
    Not Apple (own an iPad and has no real use in the lecture hall)

    7. How many hours battery life do you require?
    Absolute Minimum of 8/9 hours. The more, the better!

    8. What will be the primary usage scenario of this tablet? (Email/Web Surfing/Drawing/Word Processing/Entertainment/Note taking etc)
    Almost exclusively annotating PDFs, and taking notes at High speed. Occasionally inserting photos from board, Drawing diagrams as part of notes. Some web-surfing & general word-processing.

    9. Do you have an OS preference? For example, do you own an iPhone and a Mac, or are you a Windows fan? Do you own an Android device and use Google services frequently?
    Android or Windows. I am invested in both platforms

    10. What software and tasks do you intend to run? (Microsoft Office or other Word Processing Suite/Photoshop/3D Studio Max/Autocad etc)
    It depends on the OS:
    For Microsoft: Office (OneNote mainly)
    For Android: LectureNotes and/or any alternative note-taking app

    11. Do you intend on playing Games? If so please list.

    12. Would you like to stream content through your home theatre system?

    Screen Specifics

    1. Any preference on screen resolution?
    Not particularly, A decent screen would be better of course.

    2. Will you be using the tablet outdoors? Do you need to be able to see it through glare from the sun?
    Unlikely, minimal if any

    3. Do you require a pen? With or without pressure sensitivity? Do you prefer Wacom or N-trig?
    Yes, pen absolutely required. Definitely WITH pressure sensitivity. No preference between Wacom or N-trig - don't really know the difference anyway

    Component Specifics

    1. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you require? Would you like expandable memory?
    32/64gb+ would be ideal. Will be using cloud storage (dropbox). Expandable memory: Yes - either micro sd or usb where needed.

    2. What sort of inputs do you require, if any? Would you like full-sized USB and SD card slots? Are microUSB and microSD ok? Do you require HDMI inputs?
    USB (either) and MicroSD would be a bonus to expand storage. Having the one or the other would be fine. Both would be better but not necessary. Do not need HDMI inputs.

    1. Other non specific items ~ please add other items you require not covered above?
    I will also be looking at purchasing a keyboard for the tablet (wireless or docked) for more efficient typing.

    2. Additional requests ~ anything other you wish to take into consideration?
    The tablet/slate in question should be fast and efficient at annotating PDFs/taking down notes during lectures. Notes will often require a composition of text and photos/pictures/drawings-by-hand. A decent built-in camera would help capturing pictures being presented in the lecture and quickly inserting them into my notes. Hand-drawings should be easily included too. Being able to perform basic multitasking is a Must. Examples include:
    a) Annotating a PDF while taking notes in another window
    b) Annotating a PDF/Taking Notes while browsing online
    c) Capturing photos on the board and quickly inserting them into notes being taken between text (at a specific position - not just shoved to the bottom and grouped with other pictures taken during the lecture)
    d) Drawing pictures in between typed text and quickly switching between the two
    An app store with some decent apps for efficiency would be beneficial.

    What I like about the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition (Android):
    -Multitasks as needed
    -Decent camera
    -Appstore with some decent apps
    -MicroSD slot for storage if needed
    -S Pen (Wacom Digitizer) works great apparently (and docks in tablet nicely)
    -Android/Samsung features

    What I don't like about the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition (Android)::
    -Possible conflicts with some keyboards (As of Android 4.3). Can be resolved by testing keyboards first though
    -No full USB support (but def not a deal-breaker)
    -Limitations on extensive multitasking??
    -Limitations in note-taking apps when compared to MS (Is this true?)

    What I like about Windows Tablets:
    -Most have full USB support (great for flash drives/external harddrives)
    -Apparently better at multitasking apps in general (native app support)
    -Huge hardware support allowances
    -Apparently better note-taking apps (How are they better, if that IS true?)
    -Could possibly sync better with Desktop

    What I don't like about Windows Tablets
    -Often lack MicroSD support
    -Far smaller appstore / limited number of apps
    -Generally heavier
    -Camera often inferior
    -I doubt snapshot multitasking would be comfortable to use when in a hurry (Judging by Windows 8 on my laptop)
    -Pen often needed to be purchased and stored separately.

    So that's pretty much it! Basically, which system would be better (Android or Windows) and which Windows tablet could compete with the Android Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition that was just released.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
  2. duncanish

    duncanish Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Resident here.
    I had a fujitsu t901 that did an awesome job but was heavy by modern standards (as young as such standards are anyway, right? still lighter than Harrison's or other medical texts. so I'm not complaining) I like downloading pdf articles off pubmed to my tablet and inking them up for my personal library. Also I have tried spreading my work across multiple os ecosystems and it's a pain( osx, android and win7). Consequently I'm going to get either a thinkpad yoga or a sony flip to keep everything in one place. I think both of those machines will be substantially more powerful than a galaxy note from a document or project completion standpoint as well. Also they work exceptionally well for laptop use with a better anticipated lifetime??? 3-5 years vs. 2-3 for android slate?

    Don't get me wrong the tablet experience is probably better on the android but I think it's compromises as a laptop would be significant. Plus when you are a resident you might be able to do work from home with citrix requiring a more full fledged OS. It's nice to go home and do discharge summaries.
    Good look in med school. As taxing as it seemed at the time, i have nothing but fond memories of it now. Make sure to enjoy your time as well.

    If you are not editing over pdf's I would highly recommend onenote and evernote as a distant second.

    *edited for fujitsu - thanks
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
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  3. Zero

    Zero Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Don't you mean Fujitsu Lifebook T901?
  4. Zero

    Zero Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Edit : Did you want a convertible , a slate , a slider or some odd hybrid? A convertible has an actual keyboard.

    BTW , are you sure you want an Android device? I find it too limiting for work/school stuff.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
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  5. medstudent123

    medstudent123 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Firstly, congrats on the Residency! Obviously the hard work and long hours are paying off :p Looking forward to being in your position in 3 years :)

    Thanks a lot for your advice - I'll definitely look into both the thinkpad yoga and the sony flip. I currently own a Lenovo Thinkpad Laptop (3 years old), and while it's been great in terms of typing quick notes (MS OneNote),basic annotation (FoxitReader) and project completion (MS Word), it does leave much to be desired in terms of a fully fledged note-taking system. Inserting diagrams, drawings-by-hand, inserting hand-written annotations etc have obviously proven difficult without a decent touchscreen & digitizer pen. Using a tablet that would support the above in conjunction with my Windows-running Lenovo laptop is ultimately what I was looking for...

    With that in mind, would you still recommend the yoga or flip as opposed to the new Note 10.1?

    Thank you once again for your suggestions/advice- it is much appreciated!

    As for medschool- it Is taxing at times, but I really am loving every second of it!

    Best wishes duncanish!

    A slate/tablet with an attachable or bluetooth keyboard would be ideal in terms of weight. However, it depends entirely on the device. If it's comfortable to use with nothing getting in the way and it doesn't weigh as much as the aforementioned Harrison's, I'll be happy :)
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