5 Best Laptops For Note Taking In 2020 (+Buying Guide)

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Taking notes is one of the basic things you do in school. Some people love taking notes and make them beautiful. They like to use colors, pictures, and a ton of other stuff to make them as visually pleasing as they can get.

Surface Pro 7 Table

In a hurry?
Here’s our Editor’s choice:
Surface Pro 7

All of this was possible with physical notes and pens. When laptops took over, it was just black and white. But things changed when convertible laptops came into the picture. You can now do handwritten notes on a laptop with an external stylus and make them beautiful.

Finding the best laptop for note taking can be a challenge as there are a ton of laptop models out there that pretty look the same. You need a solid touchscreen and a good stylus to take notes on your laptop and pimp them up.

We have done a ton of research to find the right laptop for your note taking needs so that you don’t have to go through all that hassle.

Without wasting any more time, let’s take a look at the top laptops for taking notes for students in 2020.

Our Top 3 Picks


Surface Pro 7
(Editor’s Choice)

Surface Pro 7 Table
12.3″ HD
Intel Core i5
8GB RAM
256GB SSD

HP Spectre x360
(Runner Up)

HP Pavilion x360 table
13.3″ FHD
Intel Core i7
8GB RAM
512GB SSD

Lenovo Flex 14
(Budget Choice)

Lenovo flex table
13.3″ HD
Intel Core i3
4GB RAM
128GB SSD

Best Laptop For Note Taking (Editor’s Choice) – Surface Pro 7

Surface Pro 7

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is our Editor’s Choice for the best laptop for taking notes. This is a convertible laptop and gives you the flexibility of turning this into a tablet whenever you want.

The Surface Pro 7 nails the needs of a student in every way possible. In fact, calling this a good choice for students would be an understatement. It is also not that expensive which is nice for a lot of students.

The first thing you notice about the Surface Pro 7 is its design. It is much smaller than your 13.3″ laptops. That’s because the Surface Pro 7 comes with a 12.3″ display. And thanks to that, the device weighs just around 1.7lbs which makes it super easy to carry the laptop around the campus. Do note that this weight is only for the tablet, and adding the keyboard is going to make it a tad heavier.

Let’s talk about the display. We usually recommend going with a full HD resolution. But the Surface Pro 7 comes with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels and we’re fine with that. Thanks to the smaller screen size, the pixel density is somehow kept the same. This means you’ll get the same quality as the full HD display which is cool.

The size of the display is perfect for taking notes. It is going to fit on your table like a glove and you’ll have a nice little gadget that can help you with your notes. The screen is also very responsive. The display works with all external styluses so you don’t have to get the Microsoft one. There is no lag between input and output on the screen. This makes this screen a good choice for drawing as well.

Processing Power

The Surface Pro 7 comes equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor. This is a quad-core processor from the 10th generation of Intel chips and does a pretty good job of bringing raw performance to the table. The processor also comes with a smart cache memory of 8MB that should come in handy for most students.

When it comes to handling your daily tasks, this processor does a solid job. It runs pretty much any application you want without breaking a sweat. It gets good support from the 8 gigs of RAM in the memory department. This RAM is fast and enables you to multitask without having to worry about the performance of the laptop.

The storage on the Surface Pro 7 is made up of a 256GB solid-state drive. This is one of the fastest SSDs you’ll find on the market, and that’s not an exaggeration. This SSD can move GBs of data within seconds. It boots up Windows in a few seconds and launches apps in a jiffy. If you’re coming from a hard drive, you’ll love this user experience.

You do not get a dedicated graphics card in the Surface Pro 7 and nor do you need one. The integrated Intel UHD graphics card is a pretty solid GPU when it comes to taking care of a student’s everyday graphics needs. You can even edit photos and videos (small ones) with this integrated graphics card without any issues. Playing most mid-range and certain upper mid-range games is also quite possible.

Another area where the Surface Pro 7 knocks it out of the park is the battery department. With simple use like taking notes, this laptop can last for about 11 hours which is simply amazing. Even with heavy use, expect the laptop to stay alive for about 5 to 6 hours.

The laptop also comes with a rapid charging feature. You can charge the laptop for one hour and get 80% of its battery capacity. This should come in very handy for those who don’t have a lot of time in their hands.

Overall, the Surface Pro 7 is an excellent convertible laptop. For taking notes, you’re not going to find a better Windows laptop than this one making it the best laptop for note taking in 2020.

Pros

Slim and lightweight
Good performance
Incredible battery life

Cons

Display is not high resolution

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Runner Up – HP Spectre x360

HP Spectre 360 13.3

The HP Spectre x360 is another excellent convertible laptop for students. This laptop is also perfect for taking notes during lectures and a great choice of students in several other ways.

This HP laptop weighs around 2.87lbs and is one of the latest ones is wrong. It is marginally heavier than the other two laptops have already discussed on the list but a little extra weight never bothers anyone. When looking from the sites, you can see that this laptop is also a slim one which means it won’t need a lot of space in your backpack.

The laptop can last for about 8 to 10 hours depending upon the user. If you are going to spend most of your time taking notes, then you can expect this laptop to stay on point for the entire day. The fact that you don’t have to recharge your laptop somewhere in the middle of the day makes this HP laptop a very attractive choice.

The processor that powers this HP Spectre laptop design Intel Core i7 1065G7 chip. This is the 10th generation chips from Intel and it comes with a base clocking frequency of 1.30GHz and a maximum clocking frequency of 3.90GHz. Even though the base frequency is a bit low, the truth is that most students will be fine with it when it comes to simply taking notes.

The fact that this processor comes with an Intel Smart memory cache of 8MB is super handy when it comes to dealing with everyday applications. This processor can open applications fast and the operation is smooth as well. You can also multitask your heart out, thanks to the 8GB of RAM in the memory department.

The storage on this laptop is made up of a 512GB solid-state drive. This accessory is very fast when it comes to handling data and moving them around. It absolutely kills it when it comes to the launching speeds of applications. You also get 32 gigs of Optane memory which is very useful for extremely fast launching speeds of frequently used applications.

Overall, the HP Spectre x360 is an excellent convertible laptop for students. It’s not taking is your only idea for a laptop, then this laptop fits the bill perfectly even though it can handle a lot more. Without a doubt, this is one of the best convertible laptops for taking notes.

Pros

Good design
Solid performance
Excellent battery life

Cons

None

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Honorable Mention – Lenovo Yoga 730

Lenovo Yoga 730

If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to the Surface Pro 7, then the Lenovo Yoga 730 is a pretty good choice. It brings the same Windows experience without causing as much. The one disadvantage here is that you cannot detach the keyboard completely from the laptop.

The Lenovo Yoga 730 is one of the most portable convertible laptops out there. It comes with a weight of 2.47lbs, and also has a slim profile. The build quality is also pretty robust and can handle a few drops to the ground. as a student, you will appreciate the lightness of this Lenovo laptop as you can easily slide it into your backpack and do your thing.

This Lenovo tablet laptop also shines in the battery department. With regular use, this Lenovo Yoga 730 laptop can easily give you 11.5 hours of battery life. Even with heavy use, you can easily get at least half of it without any issues.

The laptop also comes with support for rapid charging. This means you can get after two hours of use with just 15 minutes of charging. Did you forget to charge your laptop overnight? Just plug it in for 15 minutes and you’re good to go for now.

The display on this Lenovo laptop is an LED-backlit IPS display that comes with a full HD resolution. This 1080p resolution gives you very good quality when it comes to pictures as well as text. The colors on the screen are very impressive and come with an excellent contrast ratio.

The viewing angles from the screen and also excellent for students. You can give presentations or share a presentation with your fellow students without losing the accuracy of the on-screen contents.

The screen also doubles up as a touchscreen. In the tablet mode, you can use an external stylus to take notes on this laptop. There is a little bit of input lakh but chances are you won’t even notice it when taking notes. The responsiveness of the touchscreen is very impressive and it picks up almost all your pets.

The laptop comes with a fingerprint reader which is a nice addition in our opinion. What a single tap, this fingerprint reader utilizes Windows hello and logs you into your user profile. This way you can prevent mistyping of your passwords and log in with ease.

The Lenovo Yoga 730 is no slouch when it comes to processing power. It comes with an Intel Core i5 processor from the 8th generation of Intel chips. The i5 8250U Processor is a quad-core processor that comes with a base frequency of 1.60GHz and a maximum clock speed of 3.40GHz. For a student, most of our activities will not even warrant the maximum clock speed of the processor.

As far as taking notes is concerned, the processor plays a very minimal role in it. It runs pretty much all notetaking applications smoothly without any issues. The memory department does well when it comes to complementing the process. The 8 gigs of RAM in the memory department also gives you the freedom to run several things at the same time without any issues.

For storage, we have a 256GB solid-state drive. This solid-state drive is based on the PCIe standard And is one of the fastest ones around. You can move huge files on your laptop from one location to another in just a few seconds, thanks to this SSD. It also launches pretty much any application in just a few seconds saving a lot of waiting time.

Overall, the Lenovo Yoga 730 is an excellent convertible laptop that only falls a little short of the Surface Pro 7. If you’re looking for a solid laptop, then this Lenovo laptop is probably the right choice for you.

Pros

Good build quality
Excellent battery life
Good performance

Cons

No detachable keyboard

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Best Budget Laptop For Note Taking – Lenovo Flex 14

Lenovo flex

The Lenovo Flex 14 is our choice when it comes to picking the best budget laptop for taking notes. When compared with the 3 models above, this laptop comes with hardware that is not as good but still delivers the same performance when it comes to taking notes.

The Lenovo Flex 14 comes with a 14″ display that comes with HD resolution. Since this is a budget laptop, we can give the resolution a pass. Also, the smaller display improves the pixel density of the screen and delivers better quality. The color quality is not amazing and doesn’t match up with a full HD display, but if you’re on a budget, there’s nothing to complain about.

As far as processing power is concerned, the Lenovo Flex 14 comes with an Intel Core i3 processor. This is an ultra low voltage processor from the 8th generation of Intel chips and comes with 2 physical cores and 4 threads. For a student who doesn’t have anything heavy on the cards, this processor is more than enough.

The memory department is kinda short-handed with just 4 gigs of RAM. But this memory is fine for some serious note taking. You can also do some multitasking but with limitations. Having said that, this RAM complements the processor beautifully and offers a well-rounded performance.

Battery life is one area where the Lenovo Flex 14 excels without any issues. With light use, you will be able to get around 8 hours of battery life which is great for a budget laptop. When you push the laptop harder, you will see this number decrease but that’s much of a dealbreaker.

Overall, the Lenovo Flex 14 is an excellent budget device. If you’re short on money and want a convertible laptop for taking notes, then look no further. This Lenovo Flex 14 offers excellent performance, good battery life, and impressive connectivity making it probably the best budget laptop for taking notes.

Pros

Very affordable
Good battery life
Overall decent performance

Cons

Hardware limitations

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Best Tablet For Note Taking – Apple iPad Pro

iPad Pro 12.9

The Apple iPad Pro is the best tablet for taking notes for students. Apple has been dominating the tablet market, and this Apple iPad Pro is a good example of how Apple has been able to do that.

This is not a budget tablet by any means. What we have here is a premium device that comes with the best hardware you can find on a tablet. But that also increases the price of the device, that too in true Apple fashion. Having said that, if you find this too expensive for your taste, you can always go with an iPad Air that is a lot cheaper.

The first thing that blows your mind is the display. We have a 12.9″ display that simply blows the competition away. This display comes with Retina resolution and is the sharpest tablet display on the market. True Tone technology does a fantastic job and keeps the color very real.

The display also has excellent responsiveness. You have to use the Apple Pencil to take notes on this tablet, and when doing so, you can see that there is almost no input lag. It is just as good as writing on a piece of paper which is a great note-taking experience. Apart from taking notes, this display is perfect for streaming your favorite content on NetFlix and Prime Video.

The battery life of the Apple iPad Pro is excellent. With light use, you could probably get around 15 hours of battery life from this device. Sometimes, if taking notes is the only thing you do, you might even go for two days without having to recharge your laptop.

Overall, if you want to skip the laptop talk and go for a tablet, then the Apple iPad Pro is the best one out there. You get an excellent display, amazing performance, and incredible battery life. If you can afford it, then this one is a pretty good choice. If you’re on a budget, then we would recommend its younger brother, the Apple iPad Air.

Pros

Awesome display
Incredible battery life
Super responsive

Cons

Apple Pencil not included and expensive

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What To Look For In The Best Laptop For Note Taking?

If you’re not satisfied with any of the models listed above, then please feel free to find a laptop by yourself.

The following are some criteria you should overlook when you’re looking for a laptop for taking notes.

Portability

The most important thing when selecting a laptop for taking notes is portability.

As a student, you don’t want to take a huge laptop to your class just for taking notes. The most comfortable form factor could be a 13-inch laptop that doesn’t weigh more than 3 pounds. This device would be easy to carry around and it will give you the perfect size that mimics a physical paper.

You could also go with a small screen like an 11-inch laptop. But do note that you will be restricted in terms of the real estate you get and the experience won’t be as good as using a 13-inch laptop.

For taking notes, we strictly don’t recommend going for a 15.6 inch or a 17.3-inch laptop as they are literally too big.

Display

I think we’ve talked enough about the size of the display. When in doubt, go for a 13.3-inch display and call you today.

Now let’s talk about the resolution.

Always go for a minimum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This is called full HD resolution and is slowly becoming the minimum resolution you will find on the laptop.

You might be tempted to go for an HD display as it could cost you a lot less, but be aware of the fact that HD displays will be out of date in a year or so. There won’t be any laptop that comes with such a resolution, and applications will also stop compatibility with HD displays very soon. Also, why do you want to work with such a low-resolution display?

If you can afford it, you can go with a higher resolution laptop like a one with a QHD or even a 4K display. In most cases, this is going to cost you more and it will be overkill for just notetaking. Make sure that you have some other purpose lined up for your laptop other than notetaking to bump up the screen resolution like this.

Since we are talking about taking notes and goes without saying that you need a touchscreen on your laptop. To be honest, instead of going for a touchscreen laptop you can always go for a convertible laptop the touchscreen so that you can take handwritten notes naturally.

The touchscreen should be responsive to your input and should detect styluses without any issues. The Microsoft Surface Pro laptop is an exit and example of having a very responsive touchscreen. There is literally very little lag which is great when you’re taking notes and drawing. Also, check if the laptop you get gives you a stylus or if you have to buy it separately.

Make sure that the laptop comes with decent maximum brightness. As a student, you might wanna without your laptop anyway and start working. If you’re working in a park or in a place where there is a lot of light, you are going to crank up the brightness to get something on the screen. So make sure that the laptop comes with a maximum brightness of at least 400 nits.

Then there is the option of choosing between a glossy and a matte display. Both of them have their advantages, and it should be a personal preference as you’re not going to do anything professional with it. For taking notes, we do think that you will be fine with either of them.

Processing power

If you are looking for a laptop just to take notes, then you will be fine with an entry-level laptop. You can get a convertible laptop with a simple Intel core i3 processor and you will be perfectly fine.

However, if you have any other plans for your laptop other than just taking notes, Then you should probably go for at least an Intel Core i5 processor. If you have some heavy work in the planning, then go for an Intel Core i7 processor. Clock speed is not a big deal when it comes to taking notes as we could work with pretty much anything.

How much RAM do you need? For just taking notes, you will be okay with just 4GB of RAM. However, with 4GB of RAM, multitasking might take a hit. This is why we recommend going for at least 8GB of RAM so that you have some buffer when it comes to multitasking.

Ideally, you should go with 16GB of RAM so that this laptop will stay relevant for the next few years to come and will give you a solid device for your profession after a few years.

If you don’t want to go for a higher amount of RAM at this point, make sure that the laptop comes with upgradability. This way, you can add more memory to your laptop in the future when you need it.

It is important to have fast storage on your laptop so always go with a solid-state drive when it comes to storage. As a student, you will be fine with just 128GB of SSD. If you already have a huge library of files, or if you’re department warrants it, then go for a 256GB or 512GB SSD as you see fit.

Do not pick a mechanical hard drive over an SSD as it is very slow and will make your life difficult. SSDs are at least 15 times faster than your average mechanical drive, and the speed you get with this is something that you’ll get used to and will never want to go back.

For a student, it is very important to have a backup storage solution. This could be a cheap external hard drive or a cloud solution. Either way, you need to have a solution that has your back when things go south. Even though having an external hard drive is a nice choice, we recommend going for a solid cloud provider so that your data is always safe in the cloud and is there when you need it.

Battery life

Battery life is another very important aspect of a student’s laptop.

Always go for a laptop that gives you excellent battery life. As a student, you want a laptop that you don’t have to charge during the middle of the day. Finding a free charging output for your laptop apple battle and it is always going to be busy no matter what.

That’s why we always recommend students to find a laptop that has all-day battery life. The Surface Pro and the iPad Pro or excellent examples of devices that come with all-day battery life. You can charge them in the morning and forget about charging it again for the rest of the day giving you more time for what you do.

If you are on a budget, then find a laptop that gives you at least 5 to 6 hours of battery life. This will give you enough time to find an outlet and that is free and you can charge it before you take notes again.

Graphics card and Connectivity

For taking notes, there is no need for a dedicated graphics card.

A dedicated graphics card is only for those who want to play some heavy games and work on some serious stuff like video editing, rendering, and other high-end tasks.

Even for playing games, most modern integrated graphics cards too well. For example, the Intel UHD graphics cards that you get on most laptops these days do a fantastic job and it comes to running mid-range games and even some high-end games. You may have to meddle with the settings a bit, but it saves you a lot of costs and gives you a decent gaming performance.

In terms of connectivity, you need to have a pretty good selection of ports. let’s be honest, the connectivity on your laptop is not going to affect the way you take your notes. But having all the essential ports on your device will help you work better. Also, make sure that your laptop comes with a very good Wi-Fi adapter and Bluetooth built-in.


That’s all we have for this post.

Finding a laptop for taking notes in school is not that big of a deal. You can work with pretty much anything that gives you the ability to take notes. But getting a proper student experience is what you should be shooting for and that is quite a bit of a challenge.

We hope that this guide helps you in finding your best laptop for taking notes. If you still aren’t sure about which laptop you should go with, he does an email and we will get back to you and try to find the best laptop for you.

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