Top 5 best note-taking tablet experience for university student

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by Zayce, Dec 9, 2017.

?

Which note taking app is better for handwritten notes?

  1. Onenote Windows

  2. Onenote iOS

  3. Onenote Android

  4. Notability

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  1. Zayce

    Zayce Pen Pal - Newbie

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    General Questions.

    1. What is your budget?
    Less than USD$650

    2. Would you consider purchasing used/refurbished?
    I don't have an option to do that

    3. Do you prefer a media/mobile tablet like the iPad, Windows tablet PC, or notebook convertible?
    I prefer iPad and Windows Tablet.

    4. What size Tablet PC would you prefer?
    • 7 to 10.5 inches

    5. Which country do you intent to purchase from [where do you live]?
    Singapore

    6. Do you have any preferences to brand loyalty or dislikes?
    None.

    7. How many hours battery life do you require?
    8+ hours at least for on either notability for iOS/onenote for windows.
    I need long battery life.

    8. What will be the primary usage scenario of this tablet? (Email/Web Surfing/Drawing/Word Processing/Entertainment/Notetaking etc)
    Note-taking

    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?
    Will be owning a mac, and have an iPhone

    10. What software and tasks do you intend to run? (Microsoft Office or other Word Processing Suite/Photoshop/3D Studio Max/Autocad etc)
    Can't decide between Onenote or Notability

    11. Do you intend on playing Games? If so please list.
    Not important at all.

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

    Screen Specifics

    1. Any preference on screen resolution?
    Good enough to see the notes, probably something like 720p would be good enough

    2. Will you be using the tablet outdoors? Do you need to be able to see it through glare from the sun?
    See the above linked FAQ for guidance
    Will rarely use it outdoors.

    3. Do you require a pen? With or without pressure sensitivity? Do you prefer Wacom EMR, AES or N-trig?
    Yes a pen is a must.
    With pressure sensitivity. Around 1024 or 512 would be ok.
    I've heard the active styluses are better for notetaking so either AES or N-trig.


    4. How fast do you want your pen input to be?
    Incredibly fast, around 50-60ms AT MOST. I want there to have as little latency as possible.

    4. How good of an experience do you want in writing hand-written notes?
    Top 5 note-taking experiences pls.



    Component Specifics

    1. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you require? Would you like expandable memory?
    64 GB+ , expendable memory is not required.

    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?
    Not important at all.

    Software

    1. How organized do you want your notes be?
    I want something that has notebooks like Onenote which I assume is more organized than Notability on iOS

    2. What features do you want in your note-taking app? Does your OS support it?
    • Audio recording while taking notes, and also be able to sync the audio with when I had written it down.
    • Good organization, similar to multiple folders nested in each other.

    Additional Information:

    So I've been researching what the best note taking experience and the iPad Pro 10.5 seems like the one.

    It has 120Hz refresh rate which lowers some of the latency, and it provided a fast note taking experience. But the Notability app is driving it back since I don't like the organization is limited.

    Even though Onenote is on iOS I feel like it has less features compared to the windows version. Onenote on iOS doesn't have audio recording while taking notes (which I heard notability has), and you can't search your handwritten notes and speeches in audio recording.

    But I would like to know if there are some cheaper options that can give me similar experiences.

    Currently I'm considering four options
    • Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S-pen
    • iPad Pro 10.5 with Apple Pencil
    • iPad Pro 9.7 with Apple Pencil
    • Asus Transformer (Mini/Book) HA103 with Asus Active Pen (?)


      I like how cheap both the Samsung Galaxy Tab A and Asus Transfomer is, but I'm worried if the latency would be noticeable. Also I don't know how cut back the Onenote experience is on Android compared to the Onenote for windows. Or whether the Samsung has a similar app with all the features.
     
  2. pigeontongue

    pigeontongue Pen Pal - Newbie

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    These are my choices for best tablets for note taking:

    Apple iPad Pro
    Microsoft Surface Pro
    Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen
    Apple MacBook Pro
     
  3. Zayce

    Zayce Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Would you say the pen experiences are similar?
    Also isn't the apple macbook pro a laptop not a tablet?
     
  4. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    You might be missing out on an option that better suits your usage scenario.

    A Chromebook with digitizer.
    They now run Android apps and are very cost efficient.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
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  5. Zayce

    Zayce Pen Pal - Newbie

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    How is the latency for a chromebook with digitizer? Is the Onenote Application for it have it's features cut back when compared to the Windows version?
     
  6. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    All OneNote Mobile versions, be it iOS, Android, Windows or Chrome are limited compared to the Windows desktop version (x86), but you need to remember that the mobile version of OneNote is a note taking application, whereas the desktop version is a note management package.

    Sent from my GT-N8010 using Tapatalk
     
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  7. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Regarding inking and latency, I can tell you that with a Samsung Chromebook Pro (and very fast Internet service) I experience little or no latency using One Note via Android. Inking on the latest, higher end Chromebooks is their strong suit, and I find it to be smoother and more fluid than on most Windows-based convertibles using either the included S Pen or one of many Wacom EMR pens I own. That said, I've always found One Note to provide pretty marginal inking experience, pen/color choices, etc and those are even a bit more limited in Android/Chromebook incarnations though if you're happy with inking in One Note for Windows/Mac you're probably going to be fine with the newer Chromebooks. You're best off testing it in a store and judging for yourself ultimately.

    As for more global implications of One Note via Chromebook/Android vs. desktop OS, Kumabjorn said it perfectly :thumbsup:. I would just add that Microsoft is still limiting the functionality of One Note on Android devices larger than 10", including all Chromebooks, though until recently they excluded those devices from having any functionality. Sadly, there are two levels of limitations:

    1) For those with Office 365 accounts (that you sign into once on the device and thereafter you have access to enhanced features), you get a decent, but still rather limited set of features in One Note on Chromebook, similar to what is available on smaller Android devices. It is, as Kumabjorn well characterizes, a note-taking app, not a note-management app, but that means integration of numerous Office features, One Note specific features from the Windows (and, as I hear it, even iPad) versions and other Office product features (eg, Word, Excel, PP) is missing. It's kind of hit-or-miss as to what they choose to exclude so you really need to check it out to see if you can get what you need for note-taking even if occasional note management will need to be done on a Windows (or Mac) computer.

    2) Without an Office 365 subscription the ON functionality is so limited that you may as well use a better third party note taking/management app (Lecture Notes is superb, and is actually better and more powerful than ON in some respects, though if you are standardized on MS Office, it's hard to decide to switch platforms), saving to the cloud, and cross loading your notes into ON on a desktop machine. I'm not suggesting that you do this, only illustrating how ludicrously limited the functionality of ON via Chromebook is in lieu of an O365 subscription.

    It is important to be aware that this is a fast-moving target and there are no significant technological/architectural impediments to making One Note in Android/Chromebook the functional equivalent of it in, say, iPad and in some respects, desktop OS and there are reasons to expect them to go there sooner than later. Between Windows On ARM devices announced and coming in the Spring, and with the rapidly growing market share of Chromebooks in education, MS has too many market imperatives to make Office fully portable less Google may eat too much of their lunch and a generation of young people may graduate college never having used a Microsoft product.

    Sorry that my long word salad needs to end on this note: You'll need to try it to determine if it will work for you now. :vboops:
     
  8. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    In the tablet arena OneNote is Microsoft's Ace of spades, but they are late to the game and the buy in was expensive. At first they didn't realize what they had, then Nadella moved the company to a service model and it became clear to Redmond that OneNote Mobile (iOS, Android, Windows UWP) is the ultimate app to regain young users tempted by fruits and droids, every college student is in dire need of something like it and the cloud model with platform agnostics makes it the most versatile solution. Yes, LectureNotes in Android is superior on that platform but a PITA if you need your notes in Word for a report, or an Excel calculation to back up a formula.

    So right now Microsoft is on a quest to make Mobile OneNote every college student's wet dream. This is a give and take game. They want to give you enough for free to take your money for a subscription or a paid desktop version, and remember there is even a free desktop version (x86) that is darn close to the paid version. So while Microsoft might be the alpha dog in the note business, right now it has all its paws up in the air and begs to be belly scratched.
     
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  9. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Wow, @Kumabjorn, did you ever nail that topic! I've been waiting with trepidation for you or somebody like you - until I remembered that there is absolutely no one like you! - to expose my lack of understanding of this situation as betrayed by my previous, much longer, much less precise, much less informative post! Whew! I should have remembered that you don't have a boastful, nor a combative, bone in your body and that you would at most simply educate us in your plain-spoken yet elegant way. Indeed, we do see things the same way, only I don't have the knowledge base that you do.

    But tell me, oh enlightened one, why do you think Microsoft, who clearly does want to "make Mobile OneNote every college student's wet dream" (racier than I've heard you wax previously :rolleyes:) is holding back so on their Android version of MON, particularly at this time on Chromebook? Are there technology/architectural constraints I'm not apprised about? Is Google placing a block on them via Chrome/Android OS? I would not normally be so aware of the deficit in the Android/Chrome incarnations had I not stumbled into the [mostly] wonderful world of Chromebook only 3 weeks ago, but it is literally only the limitations of One Note on Chromebook (I already have a 365 subscription, so that's not hindering me as compared to phone and tablet users) that are presently keeping my Windows convertibles (all 3 of them, sigh!) from gathering dust. For that matter, I just can't look at this surprisingly wonderful piece of $450 technology (Chromebook Pro) in quite the adoring way that I initially had for the sole reason that I did not have a need to spend much time in OneNote for the first 2 weeks and actually thought I just needed to spend a little more time with the app to figure out the cryptic way they converted it to Android - as was the case with Word and Excel - but as hard as I try to find the hidden buttons and unusual disguises of certain key functions - as well as trying to get One Drive to play nicer with CB - (for Word and Excel I can do upload/download gymnastics with Drive/SD card and access, save, launch files, but no-go for OneNote) but after reading forums I'm convinced it's the way they made it, not my inability to crack the code.

    Oh well, I have faith in your prognostication about the importance of the app to MS' future and will be patient waiting for the reveal to occur. It's still a blast to tell the world that "lovelaptops" spends 90% of his time online with a Chromebook!
     
  10. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    Lovely praise, always make me look like a hooker wearing too much rouge, but still appreciated. First, I have no insight into Microsoft’s inner workings. @jnjroach might be able to shed some light on that, but he is hampered by some severe NDAs, so don’t hold up too much hope. My own musings are basically based on my knowledge of the inner workings at large companies, that resemble large bureaucracies way more than is good for them.

    So the first we need to remember when trying to understand the standing of OneNote is that it was from its very start an outsider. A company that Microsoft purchased to integrate with Office. Likely making a lot of promises about remaining independent within the Office family, yet being integrated. The result was less than stellar. OneNote developers insisted on a lot of its original quirks, integration into Office was forced under a durm-und-strang period when Microsoft was going through some management confusion. Was Ballmer de facto CEO or could you appeal to the chairman (Gates)?

    This put OneNote on the back burner and allowed its developers to play around with code more than is healthy for an integrated app. We see it even today with the new column approach, if you have more pages than fill the page column on the screen you have to scroll up the column to tap the next page. This is a D- in a UI 101 class, but one of the quirks that still survives from the desktop version (it acts the same). The end result was that OneNote was a poorly understood application among Office users. And clearly not helped by Ballmers, shall we say confrontational, management practices. The “insiders” in the established Office group could run all over the ON “outsiders” and OneNote remained a fringe application loved by a small group of fanbois (and a few fangurls) but essentially ignored by the unwashed masses.

    Suddenly we have two simultaneous paradigm shifts, a new CEO who is taking the helm of a, perhaps not shinking, but definitely with some holes in the hull kind of ship. The other is the introduction of pen computing to the masses by Samsung and its Galaxy Note series of phones and tablets. Suddenly the unwashed clean up and want to look sophisticated while taking notes in college classes or lawyer conferences (yes, you know who you are :) ) but there are no good note taking nor note management apps. But they show up, LectureNotes on Android being a prime example.This catches the eyes of the more observant inhabitants of Redmond. OneNote rises to the surface and gets a revival. Insiders and outsiders in the Office group are told to play nice, those that refuse are moved to shipping receivables, the message is clear, get your sorry aßes into gear. And they do. They start working on a mobile version of OneNote, one that will work nicely with the new form factors and input devices. Plumbago sees the dawn of daylight, and the progress they make in moving pen movements to stroke lines on the screen gets analysed and will at some point show up inside OneNote, probably also the mobile versions.

    OneNote has one gigantic advantage over something like LectureNotes and other apps developed by individual developers. The integration with Office and the collaboration built into that package. Organisations can’t afford to use something like LN, especially when ON is available on every platform and the horse they rode in on (hey there, Roy Moore, how did the election go? Sorry couldn’t stop my fingers). So Microsoft’s overriding goal in this situation is to get all the youngsters back into the Office/OneNote fold ASAP. The way to achieve that is through mobile. If they take an aggresive approach my guess would be that they would go for some sort of integration with music apps. However, they seem to have lost interest in Groove, a bit surprising, because if you integrate those two then you could for example get lyrics to show up in OneNote when playing a song and give the user an opportunity to annotate or enhance lyrics while listening. Granted, not a feature appealing to middle aged lawyers suddenly having their favorite MC Hammer routines appearing while questioning a witness.

    So instead we’ll probably see some less exhilirating, but more practical feature enhancements (and hopefully some UI upgrades, at least to a C+) such as faster and much more reliable syncing. Things you won’t see on the screen but will be real grateful for while working with the app. Also, I think we will see better release co-ordination between the mobile versions. Now there is an irritating gap between iOS/Android and Windows UWP versions. Never a smart move to treat different users differently, everybody wants equal treatment.

    Not sure this will be the actual scenario in the near future but a thumbs up or thumbs down from @jnjroach could be a good indicator whether these musing are on track or completely off.
     
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