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Note taking with my tablet

Last year baby Jesus gave me a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (model 2012). This tablet is designed for taking notes, as it brings an S-Pen (made by Wacom, which I think makes the technology for most commercial tablets) and various applications designed for it. Such as: S Note, PhotoShop Touch, Crayon Physics (you have to play it is very fun).

So I decided to make an experiment taking notes in class with my tablet completely in the two subjects I studied in the spring 2014 term. In Optimization I used the pencil that came with the tablet and for Molecular Physics I used a Bamboo Stylus which is supposed to be designed specifically for this tablet. I took notes with the default software (S Note) and converted to PDF (the notes were made entirely with the software):

Although the touch sensation of the Bamboo Stylus is much more pleasant, the performance of the S Pen is much better. In both cases, the feeling is very different from using paper and pencil (pen/fountain pen), largely because friction is very little in comparison (something that is better with conductive pencils). The user experience of the pencil varies greatly from one application to another, resulting in good expectations. As for taking notes: it is highly recommended to take short notes (like meetings); not so much for taking long notes (like class notes), unless you want to have a digital copy easily.


The technology behind the tablet is the most important part. Simply pu, the pen has an antenna and the tablet a grid of antennas that are tuned to the same frequency (531 kHz, in this link they explain how it works a little better). However, it is also important to consider the software that is used to take notes:

S Note

  • It is the native app for taking notes.

  • It has shape and equations recognition. Equations should be simple, don't expect to take notes of Quantum Mechanics or Continuum Mechanics using this tool.

  • It allow to insert images and record sound within the app.

  • It has "palm rejection".

  • The size of the page is not configurable.


  • It has "palm rejection" and allow to setup your finger as eraser (this can be very useful).

  • It allows different page sizes and backgrounds.

  • It allows to draw rectangles and ellipses.

  • Brushes are very basic.

Note Anytime

  • It allows to have different page sizes.

  • It stores paths as vector graphics and you cand edit them (change color size or style) later.

  • It has several brushes and they are even customizable.

  • It can't convert notes to PDF.

  • It does not have "palm rejection".


  • It is open source, although if you get it through "Google Store" it has a cost.

  • The algorithm for path recognition is better than the others (and it is adjustable).

  • It is still in a preliminary stage.

Sadly, there isn't a version of Paper (by FiftyThree) on Android, and, although there is a version of Bamboo Paper (by Wacom) for Android it is not compatible with the tablet.

In conclusion

Replacing "traditional" note taking with "digital" notes It may be a bit rushed, but it is doable. The application that comes by default (S Note) allows to do the job "out of the box", but it could be better. The applications that I find the most Promising are: Note Anytime and Quill.


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