Tablet Note-Taking 2013

Hey guys,

As usual I've been hunting for the perfect all-in-one machine (spoiler: still doesn't exist) and thought I would share my findings with you. My goal was simple: a good up-to-date laptop with a built in Wacom digitizer. Nothing quite compares to taking notes on a Wacom tablet.

I will break up this post into two groups: Solo Tablets and PC Tablets. By Solo Tablets I refer to tablets that are either clearly just for writing OR are so outdated that they cannot be used as computers anymore, just writing tools. PC Tablets are decent computers as well. I will then list them in order of my personal preference.

Solo Tablets
#1) Motion LE1700 SXGA+ Hydis View Anywhere display Core 2 Duo 1.5Ghz
I have loved this tablet for years now and I am not alone. Nearly every digital artists refers to this as the holy grail of all tablets. If you are every lucky enough to draw/write on one you will never want to go back.

Pros: Excellent resolution, solid feel, awesome pen, beautiful screen, fantastic writing experience when upgraded to SSD and Win7/8.

Cons: Dreadfully expensive for a tablet this old. Still almost impossible to find and when shows up on eBay be expected to pay $450+ for this outdated machine. Not a good computer by today's standards. Battery life is bad. You will need to drag along the power cord.

#2) Motion LE1600 XGA View Anywhere
Similar pros as above and equally beautiful screen, but without the SXGA reslolution, core solo, slower in general and older. Still an incredible writing device. Can be had for ~$150.

#3) Samsung Note 10.1
Should have been my dream tablet. Super light weight. Powerful iPad-like Wacom based tablet? No way! Unfortunately, Android has few decent note-taking apps; certainly none that take full advantage of Wacom technology. Returned but saddened.

#4) Asus EA800
An ereader and Wacom tablet in one? Cool! Well, had this a slightly larger screen and an easier way to pass the files to a PC and ability to save in a more common format I might have stuck with this guy. I posted a video review on YouTube last year.

PC Tablets
#1) Fujitsu T902
Note: I just ordered this based on a few facts: Fujitsu has always made excellent quality tablets, the HD+ resolution is extremely rare in a tablet, it makes for a fine computer as well. I have also ordered the Samsung 840 Pro SSD drive and an additional 16GB of Crucial RAM. Should turn this baby into a powerhouse.

Pros as built: Awesome resolution, great solid feel, powerhouse computer

Cons: Heavy by current standards (4.5lbs), dreadfully expensive ($1,800 base, no upgrades)

So why did I buy it? I'm getting sick of having to choose between my laptop and tablet. It was very expensive but I got a refub model on eBay for only $1,400 after taxes.

#2) Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T (Similar review for Microsoft Surface Pro and ThinkPad Helix)
I was leaning towards buying this bad boy until I recalled why I sold my Samsung Series 7 slate: The 11.6" screen is just too narrow for full laptop use.

Pros: Relatively well priced, great battery life, outstanding 1080 resolution, better pressure sensitivity than any tablet pc every built, light, sexy, clicks into keyboard like regular laptop.

Cons: Too narrow! Why couldn't you make a 13" version :(?

#3) Asus EP121
I owned this and really enjoyed it. Bright screen, excellent writing experience.

Pros: Bright vivid screen, fast, free leather case + keyboard, price

Cons: 2 years old this piece is becoming slightly outdated to be purchased now as your primary laptop. Resolution. Also, I don't like having a separate screen/keyboard as a main laptop. Can't use it while traveling...

#4) HP2760p
God knows I hate HP; but they did this one right. Very solid Wacom convertible laptop.

Pros: Great all in one machine, price.

Cons: Last generation processors, resolution (deal breaker for me), HP, a bit heavy


I hope this helped you all. Again, this is not a laptop thread and if you are looking just for a laptop stay away from these. I have been following tablets for 6+ years now and have owned nearly every model that ever came out. There is so much more to write, but I am confident if you are serious about purchasing a penabled tablet; your answer is up there.

Good luck!
Yeah, just sold mine on eBay. Writing experience was close to the Motion LE1700 but I couldn't stand carrying that big ol' thing around. So I flipped it and bought an Asus UX32VD and upgraded it like mad. Still using my Motion LE1700. I love that thing.


Ting Ting
I gave up on taking notes on my laptop and went back to pen and paper.
Great post...I've been thinking of buying a tablet to do this kind of stuff. I guess the killer for me is that many technical books are not available in tablet format (aka Kindle)


Ting Ting
any particular reason ?

My Thinkpad x220t's resolution isn't that great, so I have to scroll every few lines. Although it is pretty small and light, I don't feel like carrying it around all day and night (I work full time and only take night classes). I just scan my notes at work to PDF, it is only an extra step.

As MRoss pointed out, there isn't an ideal single computer/tablet that can do it all. I don't want to buy a tablet/note taking gadget just for this purpose. Old fashion pen and paper is still king.