Digital Notetaking: Smartpen vs Laptop/Tablet vs App Scanner
I have seen several options such as SmartPens, Stylus for laptops or tablets and Application scanners. Which is the most convenient and reliable based on: Cursive recognition (i write in cursive), Sync with OneNote,Conversion to text (Conversion and notes are kept separate), Audio recorder, Windows and Android compatibility, writing and plenty of room to write.
When looking for smartpens, Livescribe shows up a lot. There is something about paying more for the paper that I don't really like but not discarding it if it's the best option. Also, is the paper recycable?
Anyways, can anyone recommend any products?
You can also input to other applications with the built-in Windows handwriting recognition keyboard which is awesome at dealing with cursive.
It is underpowered with any significant multitasking, and I agree with the other poster that moving unconverted text around in one note is frustratingly slow.
That said, the digitizer/pen performs really well. My wife has a SP3. I'd say that writing on the surface is a bit smoother and has a better feel, but the low cost Lenovo is not a totally different experience and the end result is really the same (in terms of keeping notes in written format or converting to text).
If you already have a decent laptop, a lower cost tablet might make sense. I just got a MacAir for work, so did not need a full laptop replacement. Although, I do have some tablet envy with the Surface around.
I will add that the out of box performance with stock Win 8 was basically terrible and had me ready to return. Overall & OneNote performance is significantly improved with win 8.1 and all Lenovo updates installed (like the ability to save pen calibration settings).
I really wanted an 8” bay trail with digitizer, sd card and HDMI output. As this tablet does not exist (afaik), this hit my buy trigger.
Ironically, the best device for you might have been (we may never know) the Surface Mini that was to be released the same day that Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 3, before they cancelled its release.
Personally, I left the Windows realm several years ago and prefer Apple. In the mobile space, I think both Apple and Android are very good platforms. But it's impossible to ignore that OneNote is, by far, the best note-taking application (and has been for the last 10 years) and the best platform for OneNote is Windows.
Technically, there is a OneNote beta for Android that allows inking on the Samsung Galaxy Note line of phones and tablets. I've been using it for a week or so on both a Note 8 tablet and a Note 2 phone and it's pretty good. But it's nowhere near the comprehensive set of integrated features that exist on the Windows platform. For example, it can't simultaneously record audio while you're taking handwritten notes. It may get that feature and it may not. I don't know.
If the Microsoft Surface Mini ever sees the light of day, I'll buy it in a New York minute. But until then, your best bet remains the Surface Pro 3. Everything else will disappoint.
I have been testing products this summer, hoping to establish a digital notes repository for my students. Here are my conclusions:
If you want one piece of kit and one only — go with the Surface Pro 3. (Sadly, I just returned mine yesterday, but more on that later.)
The SP3 gives you everything in one package; however, get the 128GB or higher. I purchased the 64GB, and, out of the box, I only had about half of that left for installs. The SP3 has a nice form factor, especially in Portrait mode, something I would use a lot of when grading papers. It was lightning fast and the keyboard was as bad as I thought it would be.
This makes the unit $849 (after the $150 student discount), but before the keyboard. Both Microsoft and Best Buy honor this pricing, but if you purchase it from BB make sure you show them a picture of the keyboard from the MS store as they sell the keyboard at an educational price — $116.
Now, here is why I returned it, but these factors may be exclusive to my teaching situation.
- I discovered that any ink comments I made in Word would not appear on my students' papers who use Word for Mac 2011, the latest version of Office. Again, this may seem minor, but my University has about a 50/50 ratio of Macs to PCs. The only way around this was to have students convert papers to PDF or an older version of Word (not a hard task, mind you), but I was uncomfortable asking them to do.
- My University uses OneNote for Business. Again, there is an issue when syncing Mac-to-PC OneNote notebooks. This does not appear to be the case when using the standard OneDrive; however, this would add another step in the process for my students.
- Lastly, and most odd, the SP3 had problems communicating with our Blackboard LMS. Each page I visited would give me a "Session Error" message, regardless of whether I accessed BB through IE on the desktop or on Metro.
(By the way — the paper is recyclable and, if you wish, you can print your own paper if your printer is 600dpi or higher, I believe.)
In addition, if you are only capturing the notes (not audio) in class, you need not have the iPhone or iPad on. The pen captures your writing and later transfers the digital notes to your iOS device via Bluetooth. I do this at most of my meetings.
I ended up going with two smaller tablets — iPad mini Retina ($349 - on sale) and Asus VivoTab Note 8 ($199 - Amazon) and the Livescribe 3 ($149). This gives me a little more flexibility of using a certain device for certain purpose. (In full disclosure, I will use these devices with my old laptop.)
The takeaway from this Summer is — there is no perfect device. The SP3 is the closest I have found, but the limitations were too much for me on the other side of the lectern. However, as a student, you may find that the SP3 may fit 90-95% of your needs.
-The live scribe is NOT locked to iOS. the mobile versions have severe limitations
go for syncing on a computer. windows 7-8 xp.
-Also that you got a 64 gb computer says something of your expectations. the surface PRO 3. is a computer NOT a tablet. keep that in mind. It uses and ACTUAL CPU GPU and hardware not the calculator style specs used in tablets.
For the pro 3 get 264 absolute minimum. it requires space. it runs actual programs not striped down mobile apps.
I dont have any problems using BB. but you state that you use IE. let me put this as accurately as possible. NEVER use IE for anything. its bad software, and the biggest target for hacks, cracz and viruses on earth. not to mention buggy and slow as h...
With all due respect it sounds to me like you are getting you hardware categories mixed up.
A few points of clarification:
1) The Livescribe 3 only works with iOS. If you read my original post again, you will see how state the clarifications between the 3 and the Echo. Please do not misrepresent my words.
2) My expectations were equally clear — to provide a repository for notes for my students. Nowhere do I state that the limitations were due to the SP3 specs. I merely advised joberti to get as much storage space as he could afford. For my needs, 64GB would have been sufficient. The CPU, GPU, and other specs were acceptable to me, so I fail to see your point here.
3) I will grant your point on BB. However, what our University IT team discovered was it may be fine for student use, but I am on the other side and actually administering the course. This is where trouble might exist. For joberti, this may not be an issue.
4) Your condemnation of IE makes my point even more. MS promotes the SP3 as both tablet and notebook, regardless of your proclamation that it is notebook only. IE is the only browser that works sufficiently on the tablet side. I was merely pointing this out to joberti. (I know you can download Chrome and use it in Metro, but I believe everyone knows its limitations by now.) In addition, Chrome and Firefox have beed documented to take their toll on the battery life on the SP3.
5) Lastly, I was merely trying to assist joberti in his decision. You are free to disagree with my assertions. However, many of your points were incorrect.
1) The students write the papers on their Macs using Office 2011 and submit the work.
2) The professor uses Office365 or any other current version of Office on the SP3 and makes track changes, edits, inking, etc.
3) Before returning the paper to the students, the professor simply chooses "Save As" and changes the formatting to MS-Word 97-2003. (The Professor may also choose to return the file as a PDF, but that will make the file uneditable for most students.) Why the inking shows up in an older format of Word, I have no idea. I guess it has something to do with the .doc vs. .docx format and how they are displayed on a Mac. (Sadly, even on MS official forums, they state that inking will not show up on a Mac and do not offer this workaround as a solution.)
4) Students can now open the paper in their version of Office (Mac/PC, does not matter) and all the various forms of comments will appear. As a bonus — the inking even appears on the iPad version of Office.
In the Fall, I am teaching mainly Freshman, which some will be unfamiliar with file formats, so I decided to delay my query into using the SP3. However, in the Spring, I will teach mainly upperclassmen in smaller classes, so I think that will be a perfect time to "beta test" my ideas. In addition, there may be an update to the Mac version of Office by then, so this subject may be moot.
I had heard about the beta of Chrome, but had not tested it on the SP3. That is good news.
Good luck with your findings. If you discover something contrary to what I have posted, please return and share your findings. I would love to be corrected!
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BTW, did you notice that OneNote has a beta that allows handwriting without using the keyboard stylus area? Your comment kinda/sorta makes reference to it, but I wanted to make sure. It's pretty good. I would not have thought that Microsoft would even attempt to put that feature into their Android version though I am very glad they did. People could even purchase the older Note 10.1 and have a very inexpensive platform for OneNote handwriting if they wanted more screen real estate.
Anyway, just thought you might find it interesting. Also, you need to join the OneNote community in Google+ to get access to the beta.
One advantage to using onenote directly with a tablet is you can use onenote to both record the lecture and your writing whilst your handwritten notes actually sync in time to the recording , so you can playback the part of the lecture that related to specific written notes. This is very powerful and useful. As well as that you can take photos of bits of the lecture to save having to write notes.
Personally , I wish I'd had onenote when I was at college. Having said that do not underestimate the challenge in having a setup that is a good and reliable as paper based notebooks. For instance, you'll hit battery life problems and you mention your handwriting... handwriting on tablets is definately harder than on paper, don't expect the device to recognise your worst handwriting (or even much of it at all!) or for it to be as fast as manual writing.
Portable window convertible tablets still haven't really come of age IMO -eg the keyboard for the Surface Pro 3 is very compromised and not suitable for extensive use that you'd need in this scenario. Lenovo keyboards are by far the best, but the only tablet they have now that is portable enough is the new, slightl underpowered, atom based Thinkpad 10. They have lots of other convertible tablets but they are either overpriced or have some sort of design compromise. Intel's latest chips should finally enable portable tablets that is light and powerful enough , but not until the end of this year, and maybe it won't be until 9 months that Lenovo launch a replacement for their Helix laptop convertible
Again , turning to Onenote, I think it's designed with education in mind - you can have multiple notebooks and the ability to search old notes. You'll also be able to add in your own offline research to "wrap around the notes" more easily, based off internet research.
This is worth reading if you're in education
Onenote is multiplatform, if you have a windows desktop/latop , android phone (Samsung Note), and Android tablet (again I'd recommend the samsung note) you can sync between all three. So you may want to consider a multiplaform solution. With the new beta you can also write / ink to all three.
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When I do this sort of thing, I don't like how the mark ups are uncoupled from the underlying content. By that I mean if the underlying content gets moved on the note page, the markups don't move with it.
Is there a way round this, or does it not bother you?
While doing this, all I could think about was how great this would be for a student. Have the textbook open on one side and OneNote on the other.
(You're slowly convincing me I may have made an incorrect decision.)
But if you want more insights about the digital note-takign issue you can read this: www.beesapps.com/market-usage/handwritten-or-digit...
I have purchased a Vivotab note 8 and a SP3. The Vivotab is a great little tablet - I took excellent notes on the thing, and even used it as my daily driver for a laptop for a while. It's hard to argue with a form factor that is smaller than my old Franklin Covey day planner.
The SP3 was really good too, but the thing is so darn expensive that I would never have bought it if work didn't pay for it. I won't compare the virtues of the two devices, the SP3 is vastly superior, but I got through a whole semester on the Vivotab just fine and totally happy. It's really an issue of budget. If you want a better device, get the vastly more expensive and better device. If you are on a budget, get the cheaper device. They will both take excellent digital notes and allow checking email\FB etc.
Here are notes taken on the Vivotab
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