5 Of The Best Tablets For Note-Taking To Check Out In 2023

If you're currently in the market for a tablet with note-taking capabilities, chances are, you have already realized the difficulties of homing in on the best device suited for your use case. However, with several tablet models to choose from, things could get a bit daunting when you set out on your search. Also, given that not all tablets out there support note-taking features or a stylus, searching for that perfect note-taking tablet becomes even more confusing. Under these circumstances, it becomes imperative for you, the buyer, to do a bit of groundwork before making a final purchase decision. 

Factors you need to consider before buying a note-taking tablet include choosing the right screen size, figuring out the correct operating system/apps ecosystem, and picking a maximum budget. Armed with this preliminary information, you are ready to plunge into the note-taking tablet world. And while this article is not a comprehensive list of all note-taking tablets, we have attempted to list five of the best tablets across various price points, operating systems, and price points. 

Best Compact Tablet: Apple iPad Mini (6th Generation)

If you don't envision lugging around an enormous 10- or 11-inch tablet with you all day, Apple's compact offering in the space — the iPad Mini — is something you should consider. The iPad Mini is in its 6th generation and was released in September 2021. Apple's powerful A15 Bionic chip powers the device and comes in 64GB and 256GB storage options. The 8.3-inch IPS LCD panel used on the device supports Apple Pencil (2nd generation), cementing its place in this list.

Being an Apple product, don't expect this baby iPad to come cheap. Even the base 64GB Wi-Fi-only variant will cost you $499. For note-taking, you will also need to add the Apple Pencil, costing $129, thereby bringing your total expense on this product to $628. The price increases even further if you opt for additional extras like higher storage (256GB), cellular connectivity, and the smart folio case.

In its favor, the Apple iPad Mini offers a polished user experience and an excellent app ecosystem, none of which is available on a compact-sized Android tablet that may retail for a much lower price.

Best Android Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 series

If budget is not a concern, but you don't want to use iPadOS, Samsung's high-end tablets are your best bet. Samsung's existing lineup of premium, high-end tablets includes devices from the Galaxy Tab S8 lineup. This lineup has three tablets, starting with the $700 Galaxy Tab S8. If you wish to go up the price ladder, you also have the Galaxy Tab S8 Plus ($900) and the top-of-the-line Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra ($1099). We suggest the Galaxy Tab S8 for note-taking because of its compact size and much lower price tag. The Galaxy Tab S8 uses Qualcomm's powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. While this chipset is two generations old, it still packs a lot of power and lets the tablet handle anything you throw at it easily.

Samsung's vast experience with note-taking (remember the Samsung Galaxy Note?) means the Tab S8 series has features that make note-taking and related tasks a breeze. Unlike Apple, which makes users pay separately for the stylus, the Tab S8's stylus (called the S-Pen) is included in the box, sweetening the deal.

Best Windows tablet for students: Microsoft Surface Go 3

While it's been around for a while (released in September 2021), the Microsoft Surface Go 3 is a popular device among students. The main reason for its popularity is its sheer versatility. Aside from functioning as an independent tablet with a 10.5-inch display, the Surface Go 3 can become a fully-functional laptop once users attach the keyboard. In addition, the device also supports the Surface Pen, making it an excellent option for note-taking at school.

The Surface Go 3 is a Windows-based machine, and users can choose between multiple Intel processor options. The base variant of the device starts at just $399. While that is an attractive price, we highly recommend upgrading to a higher-tier model as the base variant only gets 4GB of RAM and just 64GB of eMMC storage. Upgrading to a higher tier variant assures you far better performance, with higher storage capacity (128GB). Even the storage medium (SSD) on the more expensive variants offers faster read/write speeds.

A major con with the Surface Go 3 is that it does not come bundled with any of its accessories; all are extra purchases. The type cover costs $74.99, while the Surface Pen (stylus) will set you back another $74.99. All these upgrades do make this machine a bit pricey.

Best iOS tablet for note taking: Apple iPad Air (5th Generation)

While the iPad Mini has already made it into this list, that was for users who did not want to carry a full-size device in their backpacks. If you do not mind taking a heavier, bigger device in your backpack, you cannot go wrong with the latest edition of the iPad Air.

At a little over a pound (462g), the iPad Air is lightweight by modern tablet standards. Powered by Apple's 8-core M1 chip, the iPad Air is a beast of a performer and can easily handle the most complex tasks you throw at it. The iPad Air supports the company's Apple Pencil stylus for note-taking capabilities. However, unlike Samsung — which bundles the stylus with its tablets — the Apple Pencil is an extra purchase for which you will need to fork out an additional $129.

Pricing for the 256GB variant (which we recommend) starts at $749 for the Wi-Fi-only variant. For the LTE version, you will need to pay $150 more. Note that these prices exclude the aforementioned $129 for the Apple Pencil.

Best Mid-range Android Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2022)

If you want a good quality Android tablet that isn't too short on features but do not want to spend a bomb on buying one, this mid-range Samsung tablet is for you. The device in question — the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite — was launched in 2022 and is a full-size, 10.4-inch tablet.

Given its mid-range positioning, it's not surprising to see the device using the Snapdragon 720G chipset from Qualcomm, a tried and tested chipset found doing duty on several entry-level smartphones. While it doesn't scream performance, this processor can handle light workloads that aren't too processor or graphics-intensive. Even though Samsung offers the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite in a 64GB configuration, we recommend the 128GB option, which is priced at $350.

As with its more expensive tablets, Samsung has included an S Pen with the Tab S6 Lite as part of the box. And unless you misplace or lose the bundled S-Pen, you need not worry about spending extra cash. The official price for the 128GB variant of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite hovers around the $350 mark. However, you could get hold of this tablet for a much lower price tag should you keep an eye out for deals.