The 7 Best Tablets for Note-Taking in 2021
Jot down notes with ease
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Home and office based professionals as well as workers on-the-go need devices that can handle almost all of their needs, and note-taking tablets are becoming more and more popular options. These devices are designed to replace traditional notebooks and sticky pads, allowing you to digitize your handwritten notes and organize them for safekeeping and easier searching.
Note-taking tablets also let you save notes across multiple apps and even multiple devices, keeping important info safe from being accidentally thrown away, lost, or even stolen. Many tablets also feature biometric login options via facial recognition software or fingerprint readers as well as drive encryption for added security.
Some tablets, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ come packaged with compatible styluses so you can get to work right away, while others like the Apple iPad Pro require additional purchases for peripherals; the benefit of buying your own stylus is being able to find a model that suits your work style and needs (i.e. multiple button inputs, pressure and tilt sensitivity, and wireless charging), but it's also an added expense that must be considered.
Many tablets offer configurable RAM and internal storage so you can choose a combination that will not only work for your current projects but also be able to handle increased workloads in the future. Some models even support microSD cards for expandable memory storage so you can quickly add more space when you need it.
If you travel a lot for work or your office is wherever you happen to be that day, you'll want to choose a tablet that can connect to the internet via both Wi-Fi and LTE cellular data networks; the latest models may also support 5G LTE, giving you even faster web browsing speeds without a Wi-Fi connection. We've rounded up our top picks for note-taking tablets from brands like Microsoft, Samsung, and Apple and broke down their features to help you decide which is right for you.
Best Overall: Microsoft Surface Go 2
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a versatile 2-in-1 tablet that will fit almost any home or office-based professional's needs. It weighs just 1.2 pounds and measures 6.9 x 9.6 inches, making it perfect for slipping into a backpack or tote for your commute or carry-on bag for business travel. With a battery life of up to 10 hours, you'll be able to work all day; and with USB-C charging, you'll get back up to full battery faster than previous models. The touchscreen allows for using your hands or a Surface Pen stylus for inputs, making it easy to jot down notes in meetings or while editing documents and photos. You can also use this model in tablet, laptop, or studio mode to suit your workstyle.
This tablet is powered by a Pentium Gold processor for plenty of juice to get through typical office tasks. And you can configure the tablet with either 4 or 8GB of RAM and a solid-state storage drive with either 64 or 128GB of space. If you need more storage, the microSD card reader lets you expand the internal memory for more flexibility as your needs change. You can stay connected with work email and collaborative projects with Wi-Fi connectivity and optional LTE data connectivity. To keep your tablet safe from unauthorized access, the front-facing camera uses facial recognition software for password-free logins; this is also helpful for keeping little ones from accidentally deleting important files and documents from your work device.
Best Budget: Amazon Fire HD 10
If you're looking for a note-taking tablet, but have to stick to a budget, the Amazon Fire HD 10 is an excellent option. This tablet may be entry-level, but it still has tons of great features for home and office-based professionals. The 10.1-inch display is great for reading and editing documents, browsing the web, and taking notes during meetings; it also has 1080p HD resolution, so your video calls and virtual meetings will be crisp and clear. The picture-in-picture function is perfect for when you have to take a video call, but still want to work on a project or refer back to specific documents without having to exit out of a program. This tablet also has Alexa built-in for hands-free voice controls, making it a perfect addition to offices that use the Alexa virtual assistant already.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity let you stay connected to work and your peripherals, and the available case keeps your new tablet safe from damage from occasional bumps and drops. The integrated battery gives you up to 12 hours of use on a full charge, and you can reach 100 percent power in as little as 4 hours via USB-C quick-charging. And while the internal memory is on the smaller side, you can expand it with microSD cards when you need a little extra space.
Related: The Best Business Tablets
Best for Travel: Apple iPad Mini 5
The iPad is no stranger to business professionals, and the iPad Mini 5 is the best choice for working on the road. The tablet measures just 8 x 5.3 x .24 inches and weighs just over half a pound, making it compact and lightweight enough to take with you almost anywhere. The 10 hour battery life is perfect for working on international flights or long days at the office.
You can stay connected via Wi-Fi or LTE cellular data, letting you work and share projects with or without an internet connection. You can choose between an internal storage capacity of 64 or 256GB to suit your needs, and the Touch ID fingerprint reader keeps your work and personal data safe from unauthorized access. Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity lets you use wireless mice, keyboards, and styluses for more efficient workflow or to transfer data from your tablet to your laptop or desktop. You can also use this tablet with Apple HomeKit for hands-free voice controls and integration into your smart office network.
Best Splurge: Apple iPad Pro 12.9-Inch
If you're looking to invest a bit more money in a note-taking tablet to get all of the features you want, the Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch is the best choice. This tablet uses the A12Z chip with a neural engine for tons of processing power, letting you do everything from browse the web and stream videos to digital painting and photo editing.
The available Apple Pencil attaches to the iPad via a magnet and charges wirelessly, so it's always ready to go for when you need to jot down notes or edit large documents and photos. The 12.9-inch Liquid Retina Display has up to 600 nits of brightness so you can easily see the screen in almost any lighting and a wide P3 color gamut for vivid pictures and rich colors.
You can stay connected via Wi-Fi or LTE cellular data, and the Face ID facial recognition software keeps your work and personal data safe from theft and unauthorized access. The battery gives you up to 10 hours of use on a single charge, and USB-C charging gets you to full battery faster. You can configure the iPad Pro with internal storage up to 1TB, giving you more than enough space for documents, photos, videos, and apps you'll need to tackle work projects.
Best for Creative Professionals: Wacom Cintiq Pro 24-Inch
Wacom Cintiq tablets have been a go-to for creative professionals for over 35 years, and the Cintiq Pro 24-inch tablet is no exception. This model features 4K resolution and can produce over 1 billion colors, giving you a wide range of options to work with and stunning clarity for details. The included pen has over 8,100 pressure levels and can recognize up to 60-degrees of tilt, letting you write, draw, zoom, and pan and more.
The pen and tablet have a 14ms response time, meaning that input lag is virtually nonexistent. This model also includes a remote with 17 programmable buttons that let you create custom inputs for your favorite programs; the on-screen keypad and radial menu also put dozens more one-touch inputs at your control.
The 24-inch screen is made with etched glass to reduce glare, saving you from eye strain; it also features legs that give you 20 degrees of tilt for more comfortable working positions. It's compatible with both Windows and macOS based computers, and you can connect the screen to your computer via USB-C, HDMI, or DisplayPort cables. You won't have to worry about dead batteries in the middle of an important project either: the tablet's battery gives you a full day of use on a single charge, and the pen's battery lasts up to 5 months on a full charge.
Best Memory Storage: Microsoft Surface Pro X
Internal memory storage is an important factor to consider when buying a note-taking tablet, and the Microsoft Surface Pro X has plenty of storage space to spare. You can configure your model with either 8 or 16 GB of RAM and it supports SSDs up to 512GB; you can either choose your storage or swap out the SSD later when you need more space, letting the Surface Pro X be more flexible for your needs.
Its 2-in-1 form factor lets you use it as both a tablet and laptop when you need to. You can connect the Surface Keyboard and Slim Pen for traditional typing or hand-writing notes. The 13-inch screen gives you an edge-to-edge work surface, meaning you'll have plenty of room to edit documents and photos, take video calls, or update web pages.
You'll stay connected to work via Wi-Fi and Gigabit LTE cellular data, letting you work with or without an internet connection. The Surface Pro X works with Windows Hello facial recognition software as well as BitLocker for biometric logins and data encryption to keep your personal and work information safe. The integrated battery gives you up to 15 hours of use on a full charge, letting you work almost two typical days in the office before you need to plug in.
Related: The Best Business Laptops
Best Expandable Memory: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+
When internal memory isn't enough, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ lets you add more. While it can be configured with an SSD up to 512GB, it supports up to 1TB of extra storage via microSD cards, giving you tons more space for documents, photos, and apps for work.
You can also pair it with your Samsung smartphone to instantly transfer files, giving you a dual-monitor experience without a bulky desktop and screens. It comes packaged with an S Pen, which is a welcome step-up from other tablets on the market; you won't have to spend extra to get a decent stylus.
The 12.4-inch screen uses sAMOLED technology to give you crisp, clean 4K resolution so you can easily read text, edit photos, and have clearer video calls and virtual meetings. It also supports up to 8K resolution playback, though unless you're a creative professional, you won't be able to take advantage of that much.
It features the Bixby virtual assistant built-in for hands-free voice controls and a fingerprint reader for added security. Bluetooth connectivity lets you use wireless keyboards and mice to turn your tablet into a powerful laptop when you need more traditional input options. The battery gives you up to 14 hours of use on a full charge, and with a 45W fast charger, you'll get to full power in as little as two hours; this is perfect for when you need to top up your battery while on lunch or before you start work.
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 (view at Amazon) is a versatile, 2-in-1 tablet that is perfect for home or office based professionals as well as anyone who travels often for work. It connects to the internet via Wi-Fi or LTE cellular data networks so you can stay on top of tasks no matter where you are, and the 10 hour battery life lets you work all day. If you're in the market for a budget-friendly model, the Amazon Fire HD 10 is a great choice (view at Amazon). Not only can you tackle almost any project with the powerful Fire operating system and processor, the 12 hour battery gives you all-day performance with fast USB-C charging.
What to Look For When Buying a Note-Taking Tablet
Different sized screens on tablets are suited to different things. If you're a creative professional, you'll want to choose a tablet with a larger screen, around 12 inches or so, to be able to draw, edit photos, or screen videos. If you're a traditional professional, a smaller screen (around 10 inches) will be just fine for reading email and documents, hand writing notes, and browsing the web.
Internal memory refers to how much storage capacity a tablet has. Many have integrated hard drives, meaning that the storage capacity is a set amount; Apple's iPad is a good example of this, but they have high-capacity options for those who need it. Others, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 and Microsoft Surface Pro 7 allow you to expand the internal memory with microSD cards, letting the tablet be more flexible for your changing needs.
Connectivity not only refers to how you can connect peripherals like headsets and keyboards, but how a tablet can connect to the internet. If you travel a lot for work, you'll want to choose a tablet that can access LTE cellular data networks as well as Wi-Fi. If you have a lot of wireless peripherals, look for a tablet that has Bluetooth capabilities; this is also great for wirelessly transferring data from the tablet to your laptop or desktop.
Is digital note-taking worth it?
One of the advantages digital note-taking has over traditional pen-and-paper methods is that you can save your notes to multiple devices and even multiple programs. This means that if you take notes on your iPad, you can send the document to iCloud or via email for more permanent storage. Digital notes are also easier to search, making studying or projects easier. It also helps save paper by eliminating the need for multiple notebooks or sticky pads.
Are note-taking tablets only for students?
Not at all! Home and office based professionals can benefit from using a note-taking tablet when in meetings or jotting down ideas for projects and questions for your boss or colleagues. Note-taking tablets allow you to jot down ideas and questions quickly and, most importantly, quietly, meaning you can organize your thoughts without distracting others with noisy keyboards. They also help keep everything in one place so you don't lose important information when a traditional paper notebook or sticky note accidentally ends up in the trash or goes missing.
How do I choose a tablet?
The best place to start is by identifying what you'll be using the tablet for. Then you'll want to look at screen size (bigger screens are better for writing notes or creative professionals), internal memory storage, and connectivity. Some tablets allow for both Wi-Fi and LTE connections so you can choose between internet and cellular data networks to access web-based files and programs; this is a good option for mobile professionals and business travel.
Meet the Expert
Taylor Clemons is a tech writer who has written for IndieHangover, GameSkinny, TechRadar, The Inventory, and The Balance: Small Business. Taylor specializes in PC components, operating systems, and gaming console hardware.