Author Topic: Tablet for note taking  (Read 2155 times)

JonB

  • Granny Ring ... Yes Please!
Tablet for note taking
« on: October 11, 2019, 10:23:45 am »
I'm increasingly attracted to the idea of a tablet for notetaking at work with a long term view to replacing notebooks and random pieces of paper with important scribbles on. I've googled around a bit and remain uncertain.
  • I'd like to keep the budget under £300
  • I'm not interested in drawing capabilities
  • Will any tablet serve this purpose or do I need to look out for certain types/screens etc and pens/styluses
  • I will probably use one-note which is used at work for various things so it would have to be able to load this along with Word, Excel
  • It would also be nice to use for browsing and reading books/online newspapers
  • I'd like it to be quite large (the size of the original i-Pad would be okay)
  • Would need to be Android (or maybe Windows), not apple
Any suggestions? Some come bundled with pens but these seem to start at around £500.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2019, 10:41:02 am »
As a faffless alternative (I used to use an iPad, got bored with it), I have a Rocketbook thing. It sounds swankier than it is (which is an expensive notebook, but a lot cheaper than a tablet).

Basically, it is a notebook and you treat it like a notebook and scribble and sketch away. But you can wave your phone over it and the notes automatically transfer to wherever you have configured (includes OneNote, email, most note apps). You could do this with any paper notebook, of course, but the pages are wipe-clean, so you swish away your notes with a damp cloth once you've done with them and reuse. You need a particular type of pen (Pilot Frixion), but they're cheap, also write on normal paper, and are available everywhere.

Suits my needs as an inveterate scribbler.
!nataS pihsroW

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2019, 11:01:06 am »
If you're taking notes, it's going to be all about the keyboard.  You need a keyboard case that holds itself open rigidly rather than relying on being placed on a flat surface.  That's the major flaw in my Galaxy Tab S2 - the keyboard itself is pretty decent, but it's very awkward to type on when placed on my lap.

Chromebook?
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2019, 11:03:31 am »
You can use a cheap stylus with just about any tablet. Would work fine for most things.

Those fancy pens can do extra stuff, eg pressure sensitivity, which may be good for drawing, but won't make difference for scribbling notes. Or palm rejection, or extra buttons to erase etc.

Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2019, 11:09:01 am »
I’ve never encountered anyone using anything but an iPad or a Surface (or laptop) as a portable note taking device.

I think you want a proper stylus if you’re planning regular drawing, not one of those simulated finger things.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2019, 11:18:20 am »
One of the benefits I've found for an actual physical notepad (and one the frustrations of using an iPad and pencil) is that I can flip easily between pages, cross-reference previous notes, bend a page and see both things etc.

(Plus I can draw Angry Alice with her hammer, making merry havoc during dull meetings.)
!nataS pihsroW

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2019, 11:19:55 am »
As a faffless alternative (I used to use an iPad, got bored with it), I have a Rocketbook thing. It sounds swankier than it is (which is an expensive notebook, but a lot cheaper than a tablet).

Basically, it is a notebook and you treat it like a notebook and scribble and sketch away. But you can wave your phone over it and the notes automatically transfer to wherever you have configured (includes OneNote, email, most note apps). You could do this with any paper notebook, of course, but the pages are wipe-clean, so you swish away your notes with a damp cloth once you've done with them and reuse. You need a particular type of pen (Pilot Frixion), but they're cheap, also write on normal paper, and are available everywhere.

Suits my needs as an inveterate scribbler.

Moist. 👍
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2019, 11:20:42 am »
If you're taking notes, it's going to be all about the keyboard.  [...]

Ignore me.  I've just realised that everyone else (including presumably the OP) seems to live in a weird parallel universe where they willingly take notes with a pen.   ???
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

JonB

  • Granny Ring ... Yes Please!
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2019, 11:38:43 am »
If you're taking notes, it's going to be all about the keyboard.  [...]

Ignore me.  I've just realised that everyone else (including presumably the OP) seems to live in a weird parallel universe where they willingly take notes with a pen.   ???
Yeah, for meetings it's pen and notebook ... I can type quickly and most of the time by touch type but there's a disconnect between thinking and being able to filter what I need to note down when typing that just comes more instictively with hand written notes.

Thanks for all the input, it's good to know that I don't actually need anything too special for this purpose, Rocketbook looks interesting but at the moment am still inclined to give a tablet a go.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2019, 12:19:02 pm »
You can buy a Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite for £200, plus the M-Pen for £30. Probably the cheapest option for a decent tablet with proper pen support.

JonB

  • Granny Ring ... Yes Please!
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2019, 01:11:00 pm »
You can buy a Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite for £200, plus the M-Pen for £30. Probably the cheapest option for a decent tablet with proper pen support.
Interesting I'd been looking at these, I've been pleased with my Huawei phone over the last couple of years.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2019, 03:43:30 pm »
If you're taking notes, it's going to be all about the keyboard.  [...]

Ignore me.  I've just realised that everyone else (including presumably the OP) seems to live in a weird parallel universe where they willingly take notes with a pen.   ???

I like writing and find it coalesces ideas better, there's something about forming letters and the time it takes that ensures things entangle themselves in your neurones. Plus you can sketch and diagram and doodle, add structure etc. that you frankly can't if you're just typing. I confess I don't understand the people who sit there and type everything as said (or try to) – it's unclear to me what purpose that diligence serves, do they go home and read it? Do they get a prize? I find jotting down or diagramming the import things usually jams it in my brain enough to forget about the notes themselves.
!nataS pihsroW

caerau

  • SR x 3 - PBP fail but 1090 km - hey - not too bad
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2019, 04:31:33 pm »
Yes I've always been sceptical of the 'I can save my notes and come back to them later' line from tablet note-taker users.


Once you have a zillion hand-written comments in different files on different documents, I expect they get read about as often as my scribbles on papers (almost never).
Plus I strongly suspect the servers that store and distribute files into and out of the ether out very likely burn way more carbon alongside all the stuff that was used to make the fake paper thing than is wasted on my waste real paper and ink.

Apologies for my scepticism. Feel free to buy and ignore me while I grumble darkly in the corner :-)


Granted, might be a lower fire-risk than my paper-strewn desk and cork board ;)
It's a reverse Elvis thing.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2019, 05:52:53 pm »
I type things into a mind map on an iPad. It means I can sort the notes out as I go along, and they are searchable.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2019, 06:52:44 pm »
Outside your stated budget, but some people at my co have raved about the reMarkable
https://remarkable.com/store/reMarkable-and-marker
Quote from: tiermat
that's not science, it's semantics.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2019, 08:54:24 pm »
I've been using a RocketBook for about a year now and it really is a low-tech high-tech solution if you like to scribble. It's one of those things that just works. I scribble all week, scan the pages I want to keep, and then wipe it clean and start again. No worries about batteries etc. Probably won't work if you're a lefty though, the ink takes a few seconds to dry (no different to a fountain pen) so you'd probably smear it.
!nataS pihsroW

Mrs Pingu

  • Who ate all the pies? Me
    • Twitter
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2019, 08:57:17 pm »
I've been using a RocketBook for about a year now and it really is a low-tech high-tech solution if you like to scribble. It's one of those things that just works. I scribble all week, scan the pages I want to keep, and then wipe it clean and start again. No worries about batteries etc. Probably won't work if you're a lefty though, the ink takes a few seconds to dry (no different to a fountain pen) so you'd probably smear it.
Bugger. I was fancying that until you mentioned the leftie thing.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2019, 09:01:29 pm »
Soz. If you smear fountain pen ink when you write, you'll have the same problem because it takes several seconds for the ink to bind to the magic paper.
!nataS pihsroW

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2019, 10:58:53 pm »
Ah, that’s me out too.

No opportunity to try out the moist.  >:(
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

JonB

  • Granny Ring ... Yes Please!
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2019, 08:18:06 am »
Outside your stated budget, but some people at my co have raved about the reMarkable
https://remarkable.com/store/reMarkable-and-marker

Wow, that does look interesting ... think i've got some thinking to do on this

Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2019, 10:44:49 pm »
I have an Android tablet that I use all the time anyway. For notes at conferences and so on, I just take along a bluetooth keyboard as well.

T42

  • Tea tank
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2019, 02:36:34 pm »
As a faffless alternative (I used to use an iPad, got bored with it), I have a Rocketbook thing. It sounds swankier than it is (which is an expensive notebook, but a lot cheaper than a tablet).

Had a gander at these on line. Looks just like what MrsT needs for her jottings. Main problem is that she's tech-oblivious so I'd better get one for myself first to be able to demonstrate...

Reckon you could cut pages out to clip into a Faber-Castell drawing board?
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Genosse Brymbo

  • Ostalgist
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2019, 03:14:41 pm »
What's the security story with Rocketbook?  Does the user have to trust the app and its host operating system in addition to the cloud storage provider and the means used to transfer data from the device to the cloud?
The present is a foreign country: they do things differently here.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2019, 04:31:27 pm »
What's the security story with Rocketbook?  Does the user have to trust the app and its host operating system in addition to the cloud storage provider and the means used to transfer data from the device to the cloud?

It's the standard SSL to AWS for upload and processing. After that, you are, of course in the realm of the receiving application. No different to anyone else who uses the standard AWS APIs these days (Dropbox etc.). Of course, someone could just steal the notebook so if you're a diabolical ubervillain with a penchant for neatly detailing your nefarious plans for global domination you may want to keep the notepad secure. After all, if you're about the laser the 'nads of a secret agent, and preparing to describe your heinous plan, you don't want him saying 'yeah, I know' as soon as you start.
!nataS pihsroW

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Tablet for note taking
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2019, 04:52:52 pm »
If you're taking notes, it's going to be all about the keyboard.  [...]

Ignore me.  I've just realised that everyone else (including presumably the OP) seems to live in a weird parallel universe where they willingly take notes with a pen.   ???

I like writing and find it coalesces ideas better, there's something about forming letters and the time it takes that ensures things entangle themselves in your neurones. Plus you can sketch and diagram and doodle, add structure etc. that you frankly can't if you're just typing. I confess I don't understand the people who sit there and type everything as said (or try to) – it's unclear to me what purpose that diligence serves, do they go home and read it? Do they get a prize? I find jotting down or diagramming the import things usually jams it in my brain enough to forget about the notes themselves.

Those are orthogonal issues.  Verbatim notes have their place (generally when they're for use by other people), but it's rarely a good strategy for personal reference, unless you've lost the plot and are desperately writing everything down in the hope of achieving enlightenment later.  That handwriting is too slow for verbatim notes isn't actually an advantage of handwriting.

I find drawing text by hand to be slow and concentration-intensive, so the idea of having enough brain-cycles left over to absorb the subject matter is completely alien to me.  My education benefited greatly when I realised that it was better to pay attention than to diligently write things down (a skill that is strongly encouraged in the later years of primary school[1]), though that strategy didn't hold up to crap university lecturers dispensing key factoids through the media of droning audio or overhead projector scribble.  For that (drifting vaguely on-topic) I discovered the Psion 5:  A keyboard I could touch type on at over three times my handwriting speed, with the option of switching to inline scribbling on the screen with the stylus for simple diagrams (though the low pixel count meant that for anything complex or longer equations with scary integrals and things, paper was my preferred option).  A modern tablet with non-shit backlight, decent keyboard, battery life, camera[2] *and* proper pen support would have been awesome.

If your brain can do the physical writing on autopilot (I assume it's like finding the keys on a keyboard or riding a bike or whatever) then great, I can see how that might help, just don't fall into the trap of assuming that's how it works for everyone.  Indeed, some people have to use their entire brain just to do the hearing part (which is why they benefit from having someone else doing the notes for them).


[1] There may well have been prizes, but my chances of winning would have been about as likely as winning at sportsball.
[2] For backing up blackboards full of semi-legible mathematics.  In my PSO days the Malaysian students with cheap (in relative terms) DSLRs had only just worked this out.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...