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Tablet for note Taking


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#1 The_Neverending_Loop   Members   -  Reputation: 603

Posted 17 August 2012 - 11:26 AM

It takes me about 2.5 hours of commute time to get to work and back everyday, I usually read during the commute to be somewhat productive. I recently purchased a textbook that I'm really interested in reading and applying, and the best way to learn is to actually do so I want to do all the excersises and problems the book gives.

Basically I thought why not purchase a somewhat small to medium size tablet with a good battery life and using a note taking app to work out the problems. As working with paper can get very messy (especially on a train) and I feel it might be worth a shot to try out a tablet for note taking.

Currently Im considering the google Nexus, but I wanted to hear from the community about what tablet they would recommend with a good battery life and a good touch display (I want to use a style to do my writing), and also what note taking app they would recommend if any. Thank you for your time.

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#2 shurcool   Members   -  Reputation: 439

Posted 17 August 2012 - 11:18 PM

Personally, I would wait a bit for some good Windows 8/Windows RT tablet with pen support, if note taking is important to you. It might not be the best option.

#3 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3551

Posted 17 August 2012 - 11:23 PM

I love my tablet, but it's horrible for typing. You'd probably be better off with a bigger phone that had a pull down keyboard.

#4 LennyLen   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3730

Posted 18 August 2012 - 12:37 AM

I haven't tried using my Nexus 7 tablet for note taking, so don't have any suggestions there, but the battery life on it is great. I have mine over-clocked from 1.2Ghz to 1.6Ghz and I still don't need to charge every day, unless I play a lot of some of the more resource intensive games like Dead Trigger. So for general use, the battery should be more than sufficient.

#5 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3551

Posted 18 August 2012 - 01:18 AM

@Len,

There is no touch feedback when you hit anything, so you never feel like you are typing anything. Also the keyboard is just another app that is running, and is subject to all kinds of slowdowns and other nonsense. Also very easy to hit the wrong letter(s) if you hit on the border of 2 or more. So it takes forever to type anything. Moving the cursor, or copying and pasting is very slow to do.

----

My Asus transformer has an optional keyboard dock that turns it into a netbook and extends the battery. Or there are bluetooth rubber roll-up keyboards.
http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/edc1/

Netbook is cheaper and has a keyboard. Probably better off.

#6 irreversible   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1306

Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:37 AM

Google Nexus 7 is what I would go with. I haven't bought it myself yet, but the price vs battery time alone are enticing enough to compel serious consideration.

#7 FableFox   Members   -  Reputation: 499

Posted 18 August 2012 - 04:17 AM

I personally uses ipad. currently it depend on the software wheter its easy or not to do the note taking. however, there are two bluetooth pen coming out, but still not available here locally. So things might improve then.

but only for simple note taking (write ups). other than that i uses the screen keyboard.
Fable Fox is Stronger <--- Fable Fox is Stronger Project

#8 TMKCodes   Members   -  Reputation: 271

Posted 18 August 2012 - 05:03 AM

I love using my Samsung galaxy tab 2 7.0" with stylus. One of the coolest applications I have found for taking notes is FreeNote. Freenote lets you write with your finger or stylus, but also gives keyboard if you want. The notes can be easily shared to places like Facebook and Twitter as images.

The only reason I bought this tablet is for taking notes at my lessons, because my netbooks battery is not long enough and typing some notes or drawing with the touchpad can be annoying. Why I usually opted to use paper for noting, but now I can write on the tablet and later print my notes if I want to.

#9 Bregma   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5017

Posted 18 August 2012 - 05:32 AM

I would not recommend a tablet for what you're planning. Seriously, and I say this as someone who has spent years developing tablet software. A tablet is intended as and designed as a consumption-only device. The user journeys are all designed around consumption, especially commercial consumption. You will find the user experience trying to use them for anything alse (except maybe stopping a door open) will be frustratingly poor.

If you really insist on using a tablet for computer-style interaction, I would recommend something like the Asus Transformer. You can at least stick a keyboard on it, and you can root it and install an alternative OS that allows more than passive reaction. Commercial distribution of the more useful converged phones are still a year or two away.
Stephen M. Webb
Professional Free Software Developer

#10 TMKCodes   Members   -  Reputation: 271

Posted 18 August 2012 - 06:16 AM

I would not recommend a tablet for what you're planning. Seriously, and I say this as someone who has spent years developing tablet software. A tablet is intended as and designed as a consumption-only device. The user journeys are all designed around consumption, especially commercial consumption. You will find the user experience trying to use them for anything alse (except maybe stopping a door open) will be frustratingly poor.


I do not see how tablets are meant only for consumption, because I am writing this post with my tablet. FreeNote app for example is not meant for consumption, but for note production and it allows moving the notes to other places where you can consume them. Of course there exists ton of applications for tablets which are for consumption, but also tools like FTP, text editors. I love how I can use Google drive to write documents on my tablet and discuss with my friends on skype.

#11 The_Neverending_Loop   Members   -  Reputation: 603

Posted 18 August 2012 - 08:45 AM

I was looking into the Asus transformer, because they come with this exclusive app. Check it out it looks pretty cool, you can create you'r own notebooks for different topics, type and write equations on the screen as well as take pictures and add it to your notes.



Now if people are saying that the tablet surfaces aren't too responsive when used to write on with a stylus then that's what would give me second thoughts.

#12 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3551

Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:16 AM

The problem with that video is that it's a marketing video showing the ideal circumstances (I'm on a Transformer right now, been using it for a year). The problem comes when ANDROID enters the mix. They don't show the sluggishness, the 5-10 second delays, the order of your commands getting mixed up, or the fact that any program at any time can bomb to the desktop because the OS is flaky as hell. The Java Virtual Machine that runs all software goes batshit insane at random intervals and makes any app run afterwards do random things until you reboot.

They also don't show when you get a firmware upgrade overnight that breaks every single app, and you have to wait for each of them to update with a specific fix for your exact device model + firmware. Asus android forks are also prone to random reboots, it took them 4 firmware patches to somewhat fix it, at the cost of other issues being introduced. 1 firmware patch even broke the keyboard, and random characters would come out for each keypress.

An Android device cannot be trusted to do the simplest things. Everyone has flaky hardware, with flaky custom forks of a flakier OS. I say this as a guy who has 3 tablets, and wants to get a Nexus 7 soon. It's just not there yet as a serious OS. You'll find that out the hardway when your note software bombs to the desktop without warning and you lose everything, or another app like G+ (That never goes away) opens in the background and the JVM bombs and corrupts all the memory in every app. There goes your notes!

A netbook running windows at least has a stable OS and stable software.

#13 Heath   Members   -  Reputation: 344

Posted 19 August 2012 - 04:07 PM

I have a netbook (an Eee with a charging cord that my basset hound decided was fun to chew on), and I love it. However, it's not really fit for exactly what I want to do. I'm in a vehicle all day, and I need to track, map, and organize a lot of information without waiting for the OS to wake up every time I need it. Battery life is also very important. I was very curious about the Asus Transformer, but I just ordered a Nexus 7 instead.

I admit, I'm worried about what my experience with this device will be. It hasn't arrived yet at the time of this writing. I'm not looking for an entertainment device, I'm looking for organization, mapping, etc.



Also, why is it that dogs never seem to get shocked when they chew up your power cords?

#14 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 19 August 2012 - 04:26 PM

Personally, I would wait a bit for some good Windows 8/Windows RT tablet with pen support, if note taking is important to you. It might not be the best option.


I'd go with this mostly because they're coming out in 2 months, and if they hit the rumored $200 price point with the RT it will be a steal. Windows RT devices will also all come with One Note, which is a pretty awesome program for exactly what you want.

I want a tablet sometime soon as well, but I'm thinking I'll hold off till November/Christmas because there are so many great things that are just around the corner, and by that time there should be real world reviews of windows 8, which looks at least like it has the potential to be the best tablet OS. It may not be executed well, but just off what they've showed the potential is there.

edit: one thing I'd definitely be on the lookout for is something with a stylus. I'm always surprised by how few tablets have any sort of stylus support. It's a large reason I haven't bought one previously.

Edited by way2lazy2care, 19 August 2012 - 04:28 PM.


#15 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3551

Posted 19 August 2012 - 04:58 PM

Heath, Asus makes the Nexus 7. It's a smaller transformer product without the dock or branding.

#16 Heath   Members   -  Reputation: 344

Posted 19 August 2012 - 06:52 PM

@Daaark, that they do, and there's a bluetooth keyboard available even if the screen is pretty small.

#17 LennyLen   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3730

Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:08 AM

An Android device cannot be trusted to do the simplest things. Everyone has flaky hardware, with flaky custom forks of a flakier OS. I say this as a guy who has 3 tablets, and wants to get a Nexus 7 soon. It's just not there yet as a serious OS. You'll find that out the hardway when your note software bombs to the desktop without warning and you lose everything, or another app like G+ (That never goes away) opens in the background and the JVM bombs and corrupts all the memory in every app. There goes your notes!


Were you running Google's factory images, or images that had been modified by the manufacturer of the device? I ask because my first Android phone was made by Huawei, and had a custom image that they had modified, and it was flaky as you described. Since then I have only used Nexus devices with images provided by Google and have not had any instability at all.

Though, even on my Nexus 7 Tablet which is running a WIP ROM with a custom kernel, I still haven't had any issues.

#18 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 855

Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:25 AM

How well do most capacitive styluses work?

An obvious one to look at would be Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 that was recently released, that supports a pressure sensitive stylus (or if you want something smaller, there's the Galaxy Note smartphone). The Galaxy Note seems to have been designed around the idea of taking notes, so hopefully also has better software support as standard, and wasn't simply designed for consumption, as Bregma says is a problem with many tablets (well, I haven't used a Galaxy Note, but it seems worth taking a look to see what if offers). The Microsoft Surface will also do so. (The problem with most capacitive screens has been that they aren't pressure sensitive and don't work with most styluses, unlike the older resistive touchscreens - the "capacitive styluses" tend to have a rounded end rather than a pointed end. But Samsung and MS appear to have now solved the problem of making touchscreens with the best of both worlds.)

If you're looking at the larger side of tablets, and are willing to wait, I think it's worth waiting until Windows 8, as I suspect we'll see plenty of interesting new devices to choose from, which will have all the functionality of full blown PCs. (This is my plan - currently I have a Samsung netbook, but I'm looking forward to the idea of something even more lightweight, with touchscreen, but still with a real keyboard and a full computer non-phone-derived OS. And hopefully with a resolution higher than 1024x600 too!)

OTOH if you just want a device for one thing, and are okay with a capacitive styluses, the Nexus 7 looks to be a great tablet at a decent price. (I have the Galaxy Nexus, basically a smaller phone version of the same thing.) But you'd need to get your own note-taking/doodling software, as vanilla Android doesn't come with any. Do you currently have an Android smartphone? (As in, an obvious thing would be to try out software in advance, then it's just a question of if you want a larger screen - otherwise, it's a case of asking for recommendations.)

Edited by mdwh, 20 August 2012 - 07:39 AM.

http://erebusrpg.sourceforge.net/ - Erebus, Open Source RPG for Windows/Linux/Android
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mark.harman/conquests.html - Conquests, Open Source Civ-like Game for Windows/Linux

#19 Bregma   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5017

Posted 20 August 2012 - 08:33 AM

Were you running Google's factory images, or images that had been modified by the manufacturer of the device? I ask because my first Android phone was made by Huawei, and had a custom image that they had modified, and it was flaky as you described. Since then I have only used Nexus devices with images provided by Google and have not had any instability at all.

There is really no such thing as a "Google factory image." Every single Android image installed is a custom fork. Android is not Android (heh, I call dibs on the initialism for "Andoid is Not a Universal Standard). Not only that, but the OEMs generally have no clue, or even desire, to support their images in the long run. If you're working with a typical OEM and need the source for their image, you get a zipfile of the developer's personal source tree. Not even a git repo you can run diffs on. It's a <offensive adjective> nightmare.
Stephen M. Webb
Professional Free Software Developer

#20 LennyLen   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3730

Posted 20 August 2012 - 10:09 AM

There is really no such thing as a "Google factory image."


Google would beg to differ ;)




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