• If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.


No announcement yet.

Digital Note-Taking Writing Tablet or Digital Pen?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Digital Note-Taking Writing Tablet or Digital Pen?

    Which would you guys prefer and why? A pen that can write on any paper and you can then have all that text into your computer (such as the logitech one) or a digital inkpad that comes with its own pen that transfers entire sheets of paper into documents on the computer?

    Any of you have any experience with either one of them? pros & cons?

    I appreciate all your input, thanks!

  • #2
    I've tried three ways of taking digital notes without using the keyboard and have always come back to the trusty keys and quick typing.

    Tablet PC - felt awkward to write on, certainly not like writing on paper and the tools to convert the written word into characters was more trouble than it was worth (things may have changed now though it was when tablets first came out that we had one to test at the office).

    Digital pen - the main issue is having to use special digital paper that costs $$$, no more using your favorite Moleskine or Black and Red to take your notes.

    Pen scanner - great for scanning a piece of text out a book at the library etc but overkill for day to day use, may as well write notes out as normal and then scan and OCR the notes via a flatbed or document scanner.
    Last edited by Zenistar; 01-21-2008, 02:38 AM. Reason: typo


    • #3
      Digital pen vs. tablet

      I don't know anybody who uses a tablet PC successfully for general notetaking and data capture.
      Digital pens like the io2 are great, but it's true that there are relatively few sources for the dot-patterned paper that the pen uses, and it's further true that the software that comes in the box with the io2 is lackluster. Check out for a very interesting new take on the digital pen. I think this will be HUGE for business users taking notes in meetings.

      For situations where you want to capture data from forms instead of "free-form" information, digital pens are great. BSP: check out to see a forms automation system applied to healthcare.


      • #4
        I just watched the videos for the smart pen and it looks to be fairly handy in the way it links written text to audio recorded at the time. The only thing that worries me is the need for dot paper, like the Logitec.


        • #5
          Yeah I had heard of livescribe too...pretty revolutionary technology, except it still needs its own paper. I am looking more into the EPOS type pen that doesn't require special paper (but has a device you have to attach or put in front of each sheet of paper that you want digitized) and its completely wireless, see here:

          And I know tablet pcs are terrible...not going to explain why I think so, but I was thinking instead about the digital notebook, where its like a regular notepad but has some gear attached to it that can transfer all the notes taken onto the PC, see here: You can use any paper, but you have to put the paper on that particular pad

          Comparing the two, I wonder which would be better....if any, than taking regular pen/paper notes.

          Don't you wish there was a device that was extremely thin and light that could be your digital pad like mentioned above, your kindle, and then you can attach it to your keyboard to make it a laptop? I have a very nice laptop and soon will be getting the kindle (and I have the HTC touch pda)...but i don't really want to carry all that around with me all the for improvement I guess.


          • #6
            Digital Notes

            I have toyed with the idea of written vs. digital notes for some time. I recently had the chance to acquire a new generation tablet PC (the Lenovo x61) and I'm liking it for daily use. The x61 is a convertible tablet, so I have the flexibility of a traditional notebook computer, or I can spin it around into slate mode for inking with the pen. The inking has improved greatly over the years (my first attempt was with the first generation hp tablet - tc1000 I believe) and feels just like pen on paper.

            I am experimenting with Microsoft One Note on the tablet - it seems helpful to be able to search my notes (no need to convert to typed text unless you really have a preference) and have my reference files with me at all times. The tablet is a thin form-factor and not a hassle to carry. The newer tablets have better battery life as well. Worth a try if you have the resources.


            • #7
              Well I had tried many tablets pcs and convertibles and I was so turned off by them that I thought to give it atleast two years for me to try it out again. I bought a lenovo T61 instead...which I am extremely happy with.

              I think tablets will be good when they can come as thin as the toshiba protege R-something, 0.7 inches thin....and when they are also very light (2lbs or less) while being quite powerful, have a nice bright 14.1" screen, etc with good battery life. i don't see all that happening for atleast two years that's why i don't want to waste time looking for one now. But when it does, you will have a tablet convertible laptop that will feel as light and thin as a regular legal pad (almost) when you are writing on it....and that's the main thing I think.

              I think i am leaning more towards the digital pad rather than the pen, simply because I would be carrying a portoflio just like I do now with any kind of paper I want in it and it will convert my digital notes for me without me having to lug around a special sensor/adapter and pen for the process (because that would be the only other way to not have to get specialized paper involved)


              • #8
                My ideal would be a thin tablet (basically just the top screen section of a current laptop) that is the size of an A4 pad. It could be carried in a regular portfolio just like a paper pad and dropped into a base station at my desk to charge and exchange data with my normal PC.

                No need for a keyboard to be standard, an optional keyboard / base station combo would be good enough for traveling.
                Last edited by Zenistar; 01-22-2008, 01:57 PM.


                • #9
                  yeah that sounds good...if the portfolio had some sort of a rigid structure you can use to make the screen standup...then a small foldable bluetooth keyboard and it could double as a laptop

                  and that same portfolio could be your kindle if it could simple change its screen to be the easy-on-your-eyes kindle screen with a press of a button or something

                  but, if you think about it a lot of times technology is out there but people won't spend the money to buy something like that. For example, Kindle costs $400, a digital tablet (paper one) will cost about $200, a convertible laptop (good one) will be about $1500...put all that together that's $2100, so something that we are imagining (all that plus ultra-thin, fast, small, long battery life) will probably be about $4000

                  I don't think many people would really pay for a device like that even though it would be incredible...oh well. (you could even add a phone radio in it w/ a caller-id bluetooth and it could be your phone and PDA too!)

                  but for now, we can dream, and through reading and writing on this post I think I have convinced myself to go with the digital pad, like a digimemo

         only if somebody could help be decide between ToodleDo, Pocket Informant, RTM, & MLO for my GTD software implementation on my other post....

                  thanks guys!


                  • #10
                    Another option for a wireless digital pen is the Logipen Notes. You don't need any special paper. All you do need to do is add it's base to the top of any notebook and start writing.

                    The software that comes with the pen is pretty good too. It makes it easy to change your handwriting to computer text, and it evens exports it to MS Word too!

                    You should check it out


                    • #11
                      I just watched the videos for the smart pen and it looks to be fairly handy in the way it links written text to audio recorded at the time.The only thing that worries me is the need for dot paper, like the Logitec


                      • #12
                        Digital Note Taking Pens


                        I'm new to this forum. I'm from Mumbai, India and have been looking and reading reviews about digital pens since quite many days but couldn't come to a decision which one is the best for me. I'm a blogger and also attend some classes where I have to take notes on paper.

                        Previously, I thought of getting a netbook or a tablet computer for taking notes but then, read about digital pen tablets like the Wacom Bamboo pen. But, it won't fulfil my purpose. I was also looking for something that I can replace my mouse with, since using the mouse for long periods of time aches my hand and wrist. Wacom tablets fulfil one purpose but not the other one - for note-taking.

                        I also viewed some videos about the digital pen for note-taking, as discussed in this post already. And now, I just read the reviews on the toptenreviews about digital pens here:

                        I wanted to buy the logipen but was surprised to see it come last in the review above. The only one thing I would like in livescribe is to use it on normal paper and not have to buy special paper or print one.

                        Can someone suggest which one should I buy? I also need it to work with Microsoft office Onenote.



                        • #13
                          Today's tablets are the best way to do digital data capture

                          I've been seeing more and more iPads and tablets in use for this type of thing. There's a company based in Montreal, Canada called Made Media Inc. that I've worked with for promotional data capture. They have a really great platform.


                          I think they're big in fundraising, financial and telecommunications industries. Lots of companies in those fields switching to mobile data capture and digital data capture.


                          • #14
                            External Keyboard

                            I have a 1st Gen iPad and an HTC Evo 4G (Android) smart phone. I have used Swype on the Android phone, and although it speeds up text input, it is still not fast enough for note taking. I hooked up an Apple Wireless Keyboard to my iPad and this allows me to take notes faster than I can write. *If I had the 2nd Gen iPad, I might also think about writing my notes on paper and then taking a picture of them. I have tried a digital stylus with the iPad, but wouldn't think seriously about using it for note taking. I saw the online presentation for the Wacom Inkling. Until they provide Bluetooth connectivity, or real-time input into the PC, having to copy stored drawings (or images of text) is prohibitive. *Being able to type quickly from a smart device, I can use email to take notes and then publish them to my WordPress site(s). You can even use "categories" to organize the notes and that way use one site but have an RSS feed for each category. **If Android had a standard for connecting Bluetooth keyboards, then my Evo would be great for taking notes.


                            • #15
                              Bluetooth keyboard works with my Android phone

                              Freedom make bluetooth keyboards that work with at least some Android phones.

                              I use the i-Connex mini

                              with my Motorola Defy+ (Android 2.3 but also worked with the older Defy on Android 2.2). It also works fine with my wife's iPhone 4.

                              I think the key is to see if your phone supports HID (Human Interface Device), or if not, to install a driver that supports it like

                              Sometimes a keyboard is just faster than onscreen input on a phone. I can't speak for iPad since I don't have one.

                              At work I use a Windows tablet PC (Lenovo X201 Tablet) with Microsoft OneNote to capture handwritten notes and later convert some/all to text. Would love to see something as competent on Android or iPad, but since it needs an 'active' digitizer to get sufficient resolution for accurate recognition, it may need to wait until the next generation of tablets.