Best Budget Drawing Tablets for Taking Notes

Are you considering a pen tablet for digital note taking? Anyone who has spent any extended time taking notes with a mouse and keyboard will find that often, it’s just not the best experience.

A graphics tablet (a.k.a pen tablet or drawing tablet), just like a mouse, is an input device that allows the user to interact with a computer using a stylus.

Basically, they simply behave like the classic “pen on paper” which allows for incredibly natural motions that are much more accurate and comfortable for a user than using a mouse, keyboard or trackpad.

The digital pen is highly pressure-sensitive, putting control right in the user’s hands. Anyone using the pen is afforded control and fluidity to work out their thoughts quickly and creatively.

Most pen tablets has programmable shortcut buttons which enable you to speed up your workflow in any software you choose to use with it.

There can also be ergonomic benefits, especially for individuals who already have carpal tunnel syndrome, for example.

That’s why so many users switch to a pen tablet for photo editing, drawing, sketching, handwriting, online teaching, playing OSU game, taking notes, annotating pdfs, and Signing Documents.

However, since there are so many different types, models, and brands out there, finding the right drawing tablet for you can be confusing and overwhelming.

No matter what level of experience and features you need, We have listed the best budget pen tablets of 2023 that let you write, draw, and take notes with ease.

What is the best note taking app using a graphics tablet?

There are several great apps on the market that are ideal for taking notes. Here are some of the best options:

OneNote, Notion, Evernote, Obsidian, Joplin, Google Keep, SimpleNote, Standard Notes, Zoho Notebook, Bear, Notability, GoodNotes, Roam Research, Squid, Logseq, Workflowy, Dynalist, Ulysses, Apple Notes, Dropbox Paper, and etc.

Not all note taking apps support pen input. If you want to take lots of handwritten notes with a stylus, OneNote, Evernote, Google Keep, Notability, Goodnotes, Xournal++, and Squid are best note-taking app for that.

What Types of Pen Tablet are Available for note taking?

1. Regular Drawing Tablet Without Screen

These are the simplest, lacking a screen, they connect with your computer (windows, mac, linux, and chrome OS) over USB or wireless (2.4GHz wifi or bluetooth), cheapest (most below $100), making them quite versatile.

To draw on them, you look at your monitor, then move your pen across the tablet’s surface.

At the beginning, you really need to prepare yourself for quite a few hours of “writing practice” before you can jot down readable notes with the precision you are accustomed to from pen and paper.

2. Drawing Tablet with Screen

Some pen tablets integrate a monitor into the tablet, showing you a full view of what you’re drawing on.

It’s definitely nice to be able to draw directly on the screen, but it requires the USB-C or HDMI cable to connect to your computer, which makes it less portable.

There’s a ton of variety, with models available in a range of screen sizes (from 10.1-inch to 32-inch) and price points (from $200 to $4000).

Smaller, budget-focused versions (around 13 inches diagonal) can serve as a great secondary display for note taking.

3. Standalone Drawing Tablet

The final category is a computer+pen tablet hybrid, which have a mobile operating system built-in: Windows, iOS or Android.

The Apple iPad, microsoft surface, and samsung galaxy tab are the most obvious instances. There are also some offerings from pen tablet manufacturers Wacom and Huion.

One advantage of the standalone drawing tablet is portability. By integrating the computer, you can bring these pen tablets along just like any laptop or consumer tablet.

Which pen tablet is best for note taking?

If you’re already using a good laptop or desktop, a pen tablet without computer may be the better choice.

If you’re not doing anything art-related and just taking notes, you don’t need some expensive and professional tablets. Something simple, compact, and affordable options like the “one by wacom” screenless tablet might fit your needs well.

Screen drawing tablets are not a preferred answer, it’s a bit cumbersome since you have to have a laptop and the tablet. And then there’s also the cabling to think of which doesn’t make it a very elegant.

If you have a budget and need the highest level of portability, Get a standalone pen tablet like ipad. more portable, more note taking functionality and more convenient in general than a wacom one would be for a on the go situation.

What size of drawing tablet should I buy for note taking?

Pen tablets can come in a wide range of sizes. Bigger isn’t always better, however. A larger tablet, while it offers more precise, can be much less portable.

If you’re looking for a screenless pen tablet to works with your laptop for note taking, Small A6 or medium A5 is a good size.

If the tablet is a secondary screen or standalone type, the 10-inch, 12-inch and 13-inch models can be a great choice.

10 Best Pen Tablets for note taking in 2023

After a deep analysis and research, we’ve gathered the best tablets for note taking; keep reading to find which is the best for you!

1. iPad (9th gen)

iPad (9th gen) tablet for note taking

iPad (9th gen) is a great device for taking notes, whether you’re taking lecture notes, writing down ideas for a term paper, or just making a list of things to do.

It allows you to carry around all your notes on one device, it’s very easy to share digital notes and you can easily re-arrange and edit your notes.

It’s a 10.2-inch IPS panel, with a sharp 2160 x 1620 resolution and brightness levels that can reach around 450 nits. It’s a convenient portable size, while still being comfortable to write on.

While it’s no M2, the iPad 9th Gen’s A13 Bionic chip is still powerful enough to support note taking or drawing apps, like Apple Notes, GoodNotes, Notability, Bear or Pocreate, without a problem.

The Apple Pencil (1st Gen) offers a comfortable and balanced feel, rapid response time, and pressure sensitivity for smooth drawing and notetaking.

Battery life is similar to other iPads, This tablet offer up to 10 hours of usage on a single charge.

iPad (9th gen) is inexpensive but versatile, The overall flexibility you get with it hugely benefits the note-taking experience.

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite for note taking

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is an affordable creative and note-taking tablet for users who prefer to stay on the Android ecosystem.

It features a 10.4-inch LCD display with 2,000 x 1,200 resolution, Texts and icons look sharp enough.

The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is armed with the Mid-range Exynos 9611 chipset and 4GB of RAM, enough for a slight amount of productivity tasks like note taking and painting.

It comes with an S Pen, giving you a great tool for sketching, note-taking, and efficient browsing without smudging up the display with fingerprints.

The S Pen has a rounded shape with 4,096 pressure levels and tilt detection. It worked very well with OneNote, Evernote, Squid, and the Samsung Notes app is also very nice to use.

The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite packs in a 7,040 mAh battery that should easily get you through a day of typical use.

3. Lenovo Tab P11 (2nd Gen)

Lenovo Tab P11 (2nd Gen) tablet for note taking

Lenovo’s Tab P11 Gen 2 is an affordable and reliable Android tablet that is ideal for intuitive note-taking and digital sketching.

It features a 11.5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 2000 x 1200 pixels and 120Hz refresh rate, which is excellent: clear, bright, smooth, and responsive.

With the 2.2 GHz MediaTek Helio G99 octa-core processor, 4GB RAM and 128GB of storage, the Lenovo Tab P11 G2 will run most apps that you throw at it.

This tablet supports an active pen – Lenovo Precision Pen 2, which along with keyboard has to be purchased separately. It’s a full-size stylus that feels well built, has two buttons, and charges via USB-C.

With 4,096 levels of pressure and tilt detection, This Bluetooth-enabled stylus is quite precise and can be used for taking notes, making diagrams and casual drawing.

This P11 Gen 2 tablet comes equipped with a 7700mAh cell that can quickly deliver an all-day battery life.

The keyboard and stylus transforms the Tab P11 Gen 2 into a decent note-taking device, It is a great tool and choice if you don’t want to keep carrying a laptop.

4. Microsoft Surface Go 3

Microsoft Surface Go 3 tablet for note taking

The Surface Go 3 makes for an excellent note taking device thanks to its small size and weight.

The 10.5-inch IPS screen with 1920×1280 resolution is bright, sharp and colorful, with great viewing angles.

This tablet uses an Intel Core i3-10100Y processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. The 10th Gen i3 CPU is not a particularly fast chip, but it does provide enough processing power for comfortable everyday use.

The surface pen features 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and Tilt recognition, you can get smooth strokes.

With Microsoft Surface Go 3, you’ll get the latest Windows 11 OS. Windows in general and Microsoft’s apps in particular support the pen very well.

You can use surface Pen to annotate PDFs in Microsoft Edge, for instance, or write down handwritten notes in full version of OneNote.

In Microsoft Word, you can use the pen for notes or add some sketches. Handwriting recognition is built into Windows as well.

With a 28Wh battery capacity, Surface Go 3 provides slightly less than 7 hours of battery life, meaning that you’ll need to tote along the charger to keep it running through a full day’s work.

5. One by Wacom

One by Wacom drawing pad with laptop for note taking

Wacom offers the best quality pen tablets on the market, however, their price is not affordable for many people.

One by Wacom is the most affordable and simple version among Wacom models and at the same time, it is very popular among users.

This tablet is available in two sizes, small (6.0 x 3.7 inches active area) and medium (8.3 x 5.7 inches). Its small size and weight definitely lend themselves to portability.

One by Wacom comes in two colors black and red. It has a great build quality and is thin, light, and handy. Its surface has anti-scratch properties.

The battery-free stylus offers a lower 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, but it still can accommodate most users’ everyday needs.

Thanks to its responsive nature, and smooth strokes, you can, if you wish, make notes and write with this wonderful tablet.

It compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and Chrome OS, So You can connect this tablet to whatever device/laptop you’re working with.

6. XP-Pen Deco Fun

XP-Pen Deco Fun drawing pad for note taking

XP-Pen Deco Fun is a good choice for those who are looking for an accurate device and at the same time reasonably priced for taking notes.

Deco Fun Series includes 3 tablet sizes: XS (4.8 × 3 inches active area), S (6.3 × 4 inches), L (10 × 6.27 inches ), 4 cute colors (Green, Red, Blue, and Black) to choose from.

The L version is more generous, so you have more space to create and get work done, but not easy to carry. Both XS and S version are compact, thin and light, perfect for quick note taking while traveling.

The pen is battery-free, with 220 RPS, 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt detection (XS version not support), lines are smooth, quick, and accurate.

It is compatible with Android, Apple Mac, Chromebook, Linux, and Windows devices, so it can be a good option for those who are looking for a compatible and versatile device.

7. Huion Inspiroy H640P

Huion Inspiroy H640P drawing pad for note taking

Huion is a good competitor for Wacom now. A lot of the performance for much less money

The Huion Inspiroy H640P is great for note taking. It doesn’t take a huge bite out of your wallet and most of all, it’s multi-functional.

6×4-inch drawing area is perfect for limited desktop and carry. This tablet also has 6 shortcut buttons that make your job easier when taking notes.

The design of the stylus is great and it has two buttons to let you switch between eraser mode and pen mode. It feels great to draw and write on tablet because of 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Also, you get a lot of extra accessories in the box that allows you to connect it to the Android phone and Windows, Mac, chrome OS computer easily.

8. Gaomon S620

Gaomon S620 drawing pad for note taking

Gaomon S620 pad is very affordable, making it a smart purchase for anyone trying to get a feel of digital note taking, writing and drawing.

With only 6.5 x 4 active working area, it is highly portable and doesn’t take much footprint on your desk.

The battery-free pen feels nice, It has a soft rubber grip that provides a better grip.

The 8192 level pen pressure allows you to create smoother, cleaner lines. It also provides a natural pen on paper experience as the tablet surface is textured.

S620 also has 4 programmable shortcut keys on the top of the tablet and 2 pen buttons that aim to make your note taking work easier.

9. Ugee S640W

Ugee S640W wireless drawing tablet for note taking

If you prefer not being tethered while taking notes, you may want to consider a wireless tablet such as the Ugee S640W.

You can use the tablet wired or wirelessly (via 2.4GHz wifi), This way, you can very easily connect your tablet to your laptop, without needing any extra cables.

With 6.3 x 4 inches working areaand 12mm thickness, Ugee S640W tablet features a sleek and lightweight design that ensures both a beautiful look and high portability.

It has 10 programmable buttons that help you do your work easily and you can use them to plan any kind of function.

The battery-free pen offers the high 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity with a 60-degree tilt response for a realistic pen-on-paper feel when in use.

ugee S640W is compatible with Windows,Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, Android devices and multiple note taking apps, allowing you to start taking notes anytime and anywhere.

10. XP-Pen Artist 12 (2nd Gen)

XP-Pen Artist 12 (2nd Gen) screen graphics tablet for note taking

The XP-Pen Artist 12 (2nd Gen) is a great example of a nice, affordable display tablet while keeping the quality of a more advanced drawing tablet.

It has a 11.9-inch IPS display with 1920 x 1080 resolution and 127% sRGB color gamut, The color and saturation are good, can produces bright, sharp, vibrant images.

Another great thing about it is that the screen is fully laminated, giving it a nice matte finish that reduces glare from any surrounding light sources.

It comes with an impressively responsive and accurate X3-smart-chip pen that features 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity with 60 degrees of tilt response and 3g low initial activation force.

Artist 12 (2nd Gen) tablet allows for 8 Express Keys to which you can assign multiple functions, along with 2 pen buttons.

Due to Artist 12 (2nd Gen)’s slim design and compact size, it’s both very light and easy to bring with you, if you need to! It will easily fit a laptop case but it won’t weigh much on you.

The Artist 12 (2nd gen) can connect with laptop via a single USB-C cable so that might be a quality of life thing you need.

Other than Chromebook, Linux, Windows and Mac, the XP-Pen Artist 12(2nd Gen) also works with Android smartphones and tablets.

Aside from drawing, this tablet is also good for taking notes! You’d have a very portable multi-tasking tool to help out with any work on your laptop.

11. Huion Kamvas 13

Huion Kamvas 13 display drawing tablet for note taking

The HUION Kamvas 13 is very similar to the previous tablet in both size and features. However, it holds a bigger screen.

It’s still a very reasonable size, and it’s not too heavy. This means that where your laptop goes, your tablet can go do!

Kamvas 13 has a 13.3 inch IPS screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution and 120% sRGB color gamut, making the image on the screen look very natural and clear.

The laminated screen allows the pen tip to touch exactly where you want on the screen without parallax. It also comes with an anti-glare screen protector with slightly rough textured surface.

The 8 User-Defined tablet shortcuts can be programmed for common computer functions like undo, copy and paste.

The PW100 battery-free stylus has 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt response. There’s virtually no lag, and it’s lightweight and ergonomic for long note taking sessions.

Kamvas 13 is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux and Android devices, you could draw or write with Kamvas 13 in any creative and note taking software.

Although the Huion Kamvas 13 is not a high-end display tablet like many of its competitors, it can be a good case for note taking and drawing, given its reasonable price and features.

12. Wacom One

Wacom One display with laptop for note taking

The Wacom One is the cheapest pen display from Wacom with its affordability making it a worthy rival to other brands.

It has a 13.3-inch LCD Screen with 1080p resolution and 99% sRGB color gamut, which is pretty good for the price. The screen is a matte finish so you do not get to much reflection from it.

It can slip into most laptop bags with ease and be readily available whenever the creative urge strikes.

The battery-free EMR stylus features 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity along with tilt recognition, the responsiveness is fantastic, Lines are smooth and taper well.

The Wacom One has a built-in legs, which can fold away to make for a flat tablet or open up for when you’re drawing directly on it.

It works well with Mac and Windows and is also compatible with some Android and chromebook devices.

The ease of use of Wacom One and its high efficiency make this device a good case for taking notes, sketching and drawing.


Now that we have reviewed the best digital pen tablets for note taking in 2023, it is easy for you to choose the best one.

As all users are unique, the needs of each person will vary. You should make a list of your needs so you can check that each tablet covers your needs.

A graphics tablet may not be necessary for every note taker, writer, teacher or student, but it does offer many benefits when used correctly.

Whether writing, sharing graphics or working out complex equations, A pen tablet can handle it all.

Take your time to decide and be sure to look at multiple reviews of the products you are considering.

About the author : Clinton Kane

A technical content writer, passionate about sharing high-quality knowledge of pc technology, software, and creative workflows.