12 Best Budget Drawing Tablets for Taking Handwritten Notes 2023
August 20, 2023
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) 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.
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.
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.
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.