It seems more and more that paper is on its last legs of usefulness. Most readings are posted online and books can be read on anything from your computer to your phone. One of the few things remaining is taking notes in class. Most touch screen devices don’t have the sensitivity or the speed to take down notes as fast as you can put ink to paper, at least until now. Touch screen devices now have the capability to nearly match paper, with the obvious benefits of having a digital copy of your notes and even helping the environment. Many professors post lecture slides online before class and having a touch device makes it easy to write on them without wasting tons of money on prints (and if you’re taking Organic Chemistry it is incredibly helpful). With that said, there are a couple options to choose from.
Windows 8 is an operating system designed to be used on a touch screen, as such you will be much happier on a touch enabled device if you are a Windows fan. You could get either a touchscreen laptop or tablet, although tablets are usually lighter while being just as fast as long as you don’t need the keyboard. Make sure to download an app like NoteAnytime to take notes on, but always keep looking through the Microsoft store as there are always improvements and new apps being released.
As is always the case with PCs, you have a wide variety of choices but the best of the low end and best of the high end are a good place to start.
Microsoft Surface 2:
The Microsoft Surface 2 comes in at $450, making it a great value. Its cheaper than most laptops but has almost all the same functions (USB ports, HDMI for video, SD card slot for storage). Microsoft Office (about 70$ value) comes installed free for life, adding even more to the value. The touch screen is responsive but not lightning fast, and be aware that it runs Windows 8 RT which gives you about as much freedom as the app store or Android so if you’re alright with those then you won’t feel restricted at all.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga Pro 2:
Entering into the ring at around 1000$ the Yoga might seem overpriced but in this case you certainly get what you pay for: lightweight ultrabook design that can folded however you want, strong processor, fully functional Windows 8, and a screen that is more high definition than most Macbooks. Taking notes and watching media will be a great experience on this ultrabook.
Android is a very lightweight system (as it is mostly used on phones), so the hardware running it doesn’t have to be expensive. This means cheaper small tablets that are sometimes even better at note taking than the larger Windows or Mac tablets. Although there is a lot of variety only two Android tablets really stand out.
Samsung Galaxy Note:
This tablet really set the precedent for all other small note taking tablets. With battery life at around 10 hours of active use, HD screen, and all the functionality of your everday smartphone you would not be disappointed to own one of these.
EVGA Tegra Note 7:
This tablet packs a lot of punch for the incredibly low 200$ price tag it sports. The processor is near top of the line for Android tablets and would be a lot of fun to play any Android game with. That same processor is put to use increasing the responsiveness of the stylus, making writing much easier. The screen is lower resolution, but still more than acceptable. Considering you’re probably only compromising on the screen, this tablet is more than worth its price.
There’s not much to show off here. Almost everyone either owns or has used an iPad at some point, so you roughly know what you’re getting. The full size iPad has a higher resolution screen and will perform faster than the mini, but the mini will get most jobs done just fine. The touch screen is less responsive than you would expect from such an expensive product, but this is because it wasn’t meant to be used with a stylus. If you have an iPad already downloading an app for note taking is pretty easy but I wouldn’t recommend buying one if your main goal is note taking. There are cheaper options that do more out there, but the iPad is still good.