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Some great Windows tablets for note-taking

We're here to help you to find some great Windows tablets with solid stylus support.

It's hard to ditch paper when it comes to the flexibility of freehand notetaking, but with the right Windows tablet and stylus, you can get pretty close. We're gathering up some of our favorite note-taking Windows tablets that are built with stylus input in mind. Whether it's for taking notes in meetings or drawing digital sketches while on the go, any of these could meet your needs.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

The grand-daddy of Windows tablets has been running the Windows 10 Technical Preview fine since the October release, and will no doubt be the first consideration for anyone in the market for a Windows 10-ready tablet. The Surface Pro 3 is just as much a laptop replacement as it is a tablet, thanks in no small part to its generous 12-inch 2160 x 1440 display, adjustable stand, smart keyboard cover, and full-sized USB 3.0 port. That said, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is priced in line with laptops rather than most tablets. The Surface Pro 3 stylus sports a top button, right-click button, and eraser button.

Lenovo ThinkPad 10

Lenovo Thinkpad 10

The Lenovo ThinkPad is a business-oriented Windows tablet with plenty of battery life and 10.1 -inch 1920 x 1200 display. A wealth of accessories include desktop dock, keyboard dock, and an included active stylus. Even the snappy cover offers an imaginative flip-down corner for rear camera access. Tucked away inside is a 2.4 GHz processor with 2 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. The starting price is a little high given the alternatives available with similar processing power, but the ThinkPad 10 offers great quality for those with a flexible budget.

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$439.99 (opens in new tab)

Toshiba Encore 2 Write

One of Toshiba's newer Windows tablets is built specifically for note-takers. Its included Wacom stylus stays accurate thanks to new Active Electrostatic technology. The Toshiba Encore 2 Write packs a 1.8 GHz Intel Atom processor with 2 GB RAM, 64 GB of flash memory, and a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 display. An 8-inch version is also available for $50 less. You'll find a 5 megapixel camera on the back and a 1.2 megapixel camera on the front. Battery life is listed at 11.1 hours.

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ASUS VivoTab Note 8

Asus VivoTab 8

The ASUS VivoTab Note 8 is an affordable Windows tablet with a dedicated port for a pressure-sensitive Wacom stylus. This port is perfect for anybody that takes digital notes, but worries about losing or forgetting their (often pricey) stylus somewhere. With the VivoTab Note 8, users get an 8.1-inch 1280 x 800 display, 1.3 GHz Atom processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of storage. There's no Windows button the face of the tablet itself, but you can still work your way around with the Charms menu just fine.

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$189.00 (opens in new tab)

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 AnyPen

The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 AnyPen is ready for stylus input, but don't worry about having to carry around a dedicated, expensive Wacom pen. Just about anything with a point to it can be used as a stylus on this Windows tablet. The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 AnyPen has an 8-inch 1920 x 1200 screen with an 8 megapixel camera on the back and a 1.6 megapixel camera on the front. Under the hood is 32 GB of storage, 2 GB of RAM and a 1.3 GHz Intel Atom processor powering Windows 8.1 with Bing. The two-cell 6400 mAH battery should last you about 15 hours.

Your favorite stylus-ready Windows tablets?

This is just a sampling of what's available. Let us know in the comments your favorite Windows tablets that use a stylus.

  • Surface Pro 3 and ASUS Vivotab Note 8. I have them both and I can never decide whether I wanna let Surface Pro 3 be my everything or just be a desktop+laptop+tablet guy. I love the power of my SP3, but I like the size (and lack of a battery in the stylus) of the Note 8
  • What does the lack of a battery ib the stylus change? it's not like you'd have to change it every month
  • One problem probably would be windows 10 because Windows 10 ditched the charms.
  • Notification center is there to replace it boy....don't you feel its a better option than just having a bunch of app shortcuts....
  • He's saying that because the start button is in the charms menu but that has been ditched in windows 10 for the notifications bar. That means that it may be difficult to access the start button without a hardware one (like on the viviotab).
  • Except the Asus VivoTab Note 8 DOES have a start button (required on ALL W8 tablets) on the side opposite the power and sound buttons... Plus could you fix the text for the Asus tablet. Terrible grammar.
  • Actually it is an issue I was also thinking of. Charms was recognized by many as a very bad solution but honestly for tablet use it is very handy. Quite some tablet manufacturers even decided to move Windows button to the side of the tablet e.g. Toshiba or remove it completely (why to keep it when there is one on Charms Bar). Does anyone have an idea how to bring start menu without Windows key on a tablet and with missing charms?
  • I own both a Surface Pro 3 and an Asus Vivotab Note 8 also. Writing on the Surface Pro 3 is smoother and more fluid, but both are excellent for note taking. I love the SP3, but Vivotab Note 8 really is a nice little device.
  • Dell venue pro 8
  • Rock all the way!
  • As long as you have the latest stylus(silver, not black).
  • Agreed!!!! I just got the Venue 8 Pro and ot is quite good!!!!
  • There is a silver stylus..... They sent me like 3 different ones, and they all suck
  • Anyone knows how writing on the Venue 8 Pro compares to the other tablets?
  • Pretty horrible. I have a venue 8 pro, a venue 11 pro and a surface pro 3. The venues are garbage for writing. They are awesome tablets tho.
  • Love my Venue 8 Pro! Got the stylus and the Bluetooth keyboard to go with it.
  • I am eyeballing that stylus for my note 8 surprised the tablet did not make the list it is rockstar
  • I carry a DV8P and DV11P. The 8 goes to meetings and the 11 with the clamshell keyboard is my laptop replacement.
  • Couldn't agree more. If you have the latest stylus (the silver one), the writing is amazing. It makes OneNote a powerful note taking tool.
  • Can you post a link please? I'm not sure my pen is the latest.
  • After a lil research, I think that this might be the stylus they are speaking of...
  • Horrible tablet.
  • No, I have a DVP8 (with newest stylus) and Asus VTN8 and there is no comparison. The Asus is so much better with the wacom pen (plus you can use an older tablet PC stylus if you want) than the synaptics pen. The performance of the DVP8 is horribly inconsistent and jittery.
  • If Jesus had a tablet, it'd be a Surface Pro 3.
  • Any other options other than the surface that come with a 64bit Windows install?
  • No because the other don't have more than 2gb ram so why would they need 64 bit windows?
  • Thinkpad Tablet 10 4GB version. Other than that I've no idea.
  • Sony vaio tap 11. Had it even before it was selling and its amazing. The sony wacom pen is amazing for notes. Even the pentium configuration that i have can run league of legends smoothely and been writing notes with it 3 semesters and its the best
  • I use fountain pens for note taking. Tablets can't compensate joy of writting.
  • I use fountain pens too, but the benefit of having completely searchable, erasable ink that can be interacted with far outweighs writing in a book. I'm a student by the way (and yes, I still believe that nothing will completely replace pen and paper)
  • Both have it's pros and cons.
  • Not if you're accumulating tons of handwritten notes, diagrams, ideas etc for multi-year research projects! Nothing beats one-note and a solid stylus, SP3 all the way! Your notes are safely backed up in the cloud and across several devices and available on demand. I've finally cut back on paper, phew!!
  • Quill and ink well ftw!
  • They aren't safe more than in my home, on the paper.
  • I'm using DELL Venue 11 Pro with active stylus. It's taken over my book to jolt down my note.
  • I also have a venue 11 pro, and the stylus. The tablet is awesome... Bit the stylus is awful.
  • my original Surface Pro. I used to have a DellVenue 8 Pro but the pen didn'+ work as well
  • I think that SP3 seems to scream note taker more than the others, but I prefer no moving parts in my Tablets.
  • Moving parts?
  • The fans on the SP3.
  • Sony VAIO Duo 13, yes it's big and thick for a tablet, but the sliding keyboard is surprisingly nice and absolutely wonderful to have. Only downside is Sony no longer does computers.
  • HP Pavilion X2
  • ThinkPad yoga
  • SP3 but I am thinking about getting that mini too toshiba
  • I'm rocking my Surface Pro (first-gen) from two years ago. It has and continues to serve me well, but I do need a lighter (and possibly smaller) note-taking tablet to supplement it. The Surface Pro I own is my work tablet-PC, I still need something to take around with me to use on the subway and on the go in general. I would have loved the ThinkPad 10 with LTE, but it's too expensive, might consider the Toshiba Encore 2 Write.
  • Love my surface pro 3.
  • Waiting for a surface pro mini 8 with HDMI port and pen
  • A Lumia mini 9" tablet with LTE. Also will not be buying Lenovo.
  • I have a Samsung ativ pc500t 11.6" tablet
  • If weight is considered, the comparison would make so much more sense. SP3 is too heavy for handy note-taking.
  • The weight of the Surface Pro 3 is great for note taking as long as you are doing so on a desk or a lap.  Most people except reporters probably dont need to take notes for long periods of time while standing.
  • I don't find it to be that bad, honestly. But if I were a reporter I'd probably wasn't a 7-8" notepad size.
  • SP2! It is as good as the SP3 with minor differences.
  • Fujitsu Stylistic Q704, Fujitsu Stylistic Q775, Wacom Cintiq Companion 2, Toshiba Portège Z20t, and the newly announced VAIO Z Canvas, among others. Hope there'll be more soon, especially in the 13"+ department. Go Surface Pro 4! :)
  • For anyone interested, here's an (almost) complete list of Windows devices featuring an active digitizer:
  • Love my Surface Pro 3 for hand writing and anything else. The real trick is to use hand writing for the on-screen keyboard.
  • I'm still missing the addition of the previous generations of notetaking devices from the surface and Lenovo tablets supporting stylus'. I curently own a first generation surface pro, and it too easily still fits the bill in this category of great notetaking devices. And they're a lot cheaper now than almost any of the tablets mentioned in this article. I think that's worth mentioning.
  • Asus Vivotab stylus is garbage.  That thing stopped working on me the first day.  Tried customer support and it was horrible.
  • I've had one for over six months, rock solid and no issues.
  • Microsoft surface pro 3
  •   Its a pretty good list of all of the active digitizer tablets and 2 in 1s.
  • Which ones have palm rejection, that's critical for me? Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • I think all active digitizer tablets and 2 in 1s have some kind of palm rejection.
  • So, this is the second article listing the asus vivotab note 8 as an option. the link that is posted is broken, and goes nowhere. as far as i can tell, the asus vivotab note 8 tablet is no longer available. that said, i like both my asus note 8 and sp2. I go back and forth between it and a SP2 for note taking. What i like about the asus is the size for field visits and other "notes on the go", camera, and battery life. What I like about the SP2 is the size for sit down note taking at meetings, processing and ram power, and the size of the stylus. I don't think i would want to choose between each of them, because i honestly feel both sizes are needed. I've had more issues with my asus then my sp2, and all the issues seem like they are hardware driver related. i've had issues with the camera, and volume, and it required a reset to get it going again. i had a DV8p prior to the asus, and it was the same thing(except the stylus on the dv8p was horrible compared with the asus). all the current gen tablets are annoying that they don't have built in cellular connections(until recently), and depend on my cell for a portable connection, but windows has made this really easy to use by simply tapping on the phone for sharing from the tablet.