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Last post Author Topic: Best note-taking setup with tablet and keyboard?  (Read 12692 times)

dr_andus

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Re: Best note-taking setup with tablet and keyboard?
« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2014, 06:02:08 AM »
Check the specs: The HP Chromebook 14 weighs over 4 lbs, nearly twice the weight of the Asus T100, which is a full Windows 8.1 device and includes a full version of MS Office 2013 in the $349 price of the 32GB version.  The HP has a bigger screen, but the same measly 1366x768 resolution, meaning that it is considerably less sharp visually. By comparison, the Nexus 7 has 1980x1200, the Nexus 10 has 2560x1600 resolution. The T100 also has better battery life (over 11 hours, supposedly).

I hear ya. What I'm realising though that these kind of decisions are becoming increasingly difficult because a) people have very different note-taking needs, b) are locked into different OS eco-systems, and c) have a range of legacy devices.

In my case I primarily want to be able to type my own notes as quickly and conveniently as possible and be able to sync them across my devices. So in theory, the most basic machine that can turn on instantly, has a great keyboard, and has a decent plain text editor that has good syncing with Dropbox would do.

As I already have a Win7, 64-bit desktop PC, a Win XP Asus eee netbook, and an iPad 1 and an iPod Touch, I just don't feel the need for another full-on system. All my devices work fine, but they are not the best for taking written notes (e.g. writing a journal entry at the end of the day in my bed or while lounging on the sofa) because they're too small, or too big, or too slow or not instantly on.

This is why I'm feeling that it's crazy to spend GBP400+ for me on another device just so I can take plain text notes more conveniently. And this is why the HP Chromebook 14 feels right: it's the cheapest solution so far (by GBP100 from Asus T100), and covers the basics, plus the free internet access is a nice touch for syncing those text files when away from wifi.

Here's an interesting argument for the Chromebook:

Quote
The true value in ChromeOS is what it DOESN'T have. Critics say "a Macbook or Windows laptop will give you the same Chrome browser, plus a lot more as well!", but that misses the point entirely. Those laptops don't come with the killer feature of ChromeOS: the LACK of a traditional OS.

The lack of a traditional OS means you do not have to deal with the myriad frustrations of Windows, Mac or even Linux. You get instant on, constant updates, no registry corruption, no accumulated accretions and eventual slowdowns, no viruses and conflicts.  In theory, as long as the hardware holds up, a ChromeOS device will be as slick and responsive in five years as it is out of the box.

But actually it's possible to install Linux on the Chromebook, so that opens up a few more possibilities.

P.S. But the main thing that launched me on this quest was how quickly my iPad 1 became obsolete, and how much money it would cost to replace it, when I mostly just use it for basic tasks. I want out of the tablet obsolescence game, and Chromebooks are so cheap relatively speaking, that I won't feel bad replacing them in a couple of years time when a more powerful version comes out.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 06:09:28 AM by dr_andus »

wraith808

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Re: Best note-taking setup with tablet and keyboard?
« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2014, 08:19:10 AM »
I don't know if you've looked into rolling your investment into your new platform, but that's what I've done and its kept the cost of the iPad manageable.  My first one, I purchased new- a 16GB for $500.  My second one, I skipped the iPad 2 and have the 3 right now, I purchased at best buy (64GB) as a return.  That one was a little over $400, but I sold my iPad at the same time to someone at work for $150.

I'm thinking about shortening the time-table of the buy sell, because they maintain their value pretty well as long as you don't sell to a store.

dr_andus

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Re: Best note-taking setup with tablet and keyboard?
« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2014, 09:36:35 AM »
I don't know if you've looked into rolling your investment into your new platform, but that's what I've done and its kept the cost of the iPad manageable.

Thanks. That's a good point and an interesting strategy. It looks like on eBay UK my version goes for about GBP100, which could knock off a quarter of the cost of buying a new one with double the memory. Though I' still need to spend on the keyboard.

Or, I could keep my iPad 1 for the things it can still do, and for fast note-taking go for the Chromebook, which would still be cheaper than the above option, and with some added benefits.

In the meantime I looked into writing apps, Markdown apps, and text editors on Chrome, and there are actually several interesting ones (some of them with Dropbox sync and offline versions as well):

WordFlow by GRAVVITY - a kind of a WriteMonkey for Chrome

StackEdit - for Markdown

Caret -text editor

Dormouse

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Re: Best note-taking setup with tablet and keyboard?
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2014, 07:07:44 PM »
For this purpose, I'd discount Windows unless you specifically require access to Windows programs. Too expensive, too heavy, unnecessary.

If you want an attached keyboard, I'd go with Chrome - though it seems that there will be a lot more options and possibly lower prices later this year.

Otherwise (and especially if you might use stylus inpurt for drawing or writing), I'd go with a tablet & keyboard. Lighter & can be cheaper, & the keyboard could also be used with your phone. I don't see any real advantage with an iPad, so would go Android because you would have more options and, as Superboyac pointed out, you have far more control; and cheaper. And, personally, I'd go 7" rather than 10". I find the advantages of lightness and portability outweigh the advantage of screensize in nearly all circumstances - though my eyesight is good; in the UK I'd probably choose between Nexus and Hudl, but there are lots of low cost options. Keyboard, I'd go for quality and choose the size that suited you best; one advantage of this approach is that you don't have to be stuck with a keyboard the size of the screen.

wraith808

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Re: Best note-taking setup with tablet and keyboard?
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2014, 08:20:08 PM »
For this purpose, I'd discount Windows unless you specifically require access to Windows programs. Too expensive, too heavy, unnecessary.

Actually, the tablets are not the same as what you might be accustomed to.

I purchased a Dell Venue Pro 8, and it was $329 for a 64GB tablet with full windows 8.1 and office, is comparable in weight to the iPad Mini, and if I wasn't already tied into the iOS infrastructure, I'd be really happy with it.

So, that's going to be more of a judgement call rather than the absolute that it may have been even a year ago.

IainB

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Re: Best note-taking setup with tablet and keyboard?
« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2014, 10:45:11 PM »
I'd echo comments at Re: Evernote, the bug-ridden elephant.

It all depends on requirements.

From my perspective, I was aiming for a Cloud+Client PIM that included keyboard note-taking (mandatory) and could be extended to tablet use (highly desirable) and multiple device iOS use (nice-to-have), for myself and my 12 y/o daughter. We are mulling over which tablet to try at the moment.
The basic mandatory requirements are listed at the above link, so I shall not repeat them here except for this, which is critical (to our requirements):
Quote
2. Data Types: The system must be able to store and make use of my Information in all its various modes/forms - including files (object linking and embedding), plain text, rich text, html (e.g., web pages), image, automatic OCR of imaged text in any image captured, audio (recording and playback), audio transcripts and searching of phrases in audio (and now video).

Cost was the major constraint.

So I settled for max $10.00 (ten dollars) - refer MS Office 2013 US$9.95 Corporate/Enterprise Home Use Program - Mini-Review

That included the whole suite of programs in MS Office Plus 2013 (some of which I do not need/use - e.g., Lync, InfoPath) and OneNote.

I refer to OneNote as a "PIM", though it has multifold uses, including note-taking. The integration of OneNote with other MS Office apps (e.g. including Word, Excel, Outlook) seems nothing short of superb - seamless and intuitive. That extends to max/full functionality integration with SkyDrive, Internet Explorer, and Win8 (so I am planning the migration to Win8/8.1 now).
The OneNote integration with the Windows OS is like an iceberg.
For example:
  • (i) Press the Windows Start button, type in a term to search for, and you will get a display of everything that has been indexed by Windows, including any references in unencrypted OneNote notebooks. (You can of course search for the term from within OneNote, to find the same term across all OneNote notebooks.)

  • (ii) Use the OneNote clipping tool to capture the image of the portion of a web page, and it will be immediately saved to OneNote and OCRed, so that you can read the "alt text" of any text in that image - MDI has apparently been integrated into OneNote. This also applies to PDF and fax document images in the notes. The alt text in any image gets indexed too.

Some of that integration in OneNote has to be seen to be appreciated. A longish trial is the only way to absorb it all - but at only $10, it can't hurt.
It is mindblowingly good and I can find no real faults with it, only disappointments to my expectations, arising from prior experience.
For example:
  • Whilst OneNote+SkyDrive would seem to far exceed the design/performance objectives of the farsighted DEC/digital "groupworks" (or whatever it was called) project for the "Holy Grail" of campus/group collaboration in the '90s, I would like to see OneNote display the same level of documentation integration between Word and Excel And Access as was achieved in Ashton-Tate's Framework IV between document text and spreadsheet and database. (InfoSelect 8 came a little way towards this.)

  • OneNote offers a useful form of tree navigation, based on an intuitive notebook, page and tab paradigm. I would like to see an optional tree navigation structure (optional for them as wants one), similar to that in (say) InfoSelect 8 - which has one of the best I have ever used. InfoSelect 8's navigation also has an innovative bulk tab/categorisation and filtered display function that I have never quite seen the like of anywhere else. (@mouser's CHS incorporates something very similar in its SQL capability.)

  • OneNote offers a quite sophisticated manual tagging function that integrates with Outlook Tasks and which is the primary reason I am now trialling the use of Outlook - having previously always avoided Outlook like the plague. However, what I would have loved to see would be the ability to automatically tag notes depending on the content, and for tags to be able to be placed in flexible tree(s) (parents/children) able to be switched as inclusive or mutually exclusive sub-groups of children, and to have conditions and actions (the actions triggered by "if this, then that") a la Lotus Agenda. (@mouser's CHS incorporates something slightly similar in its SQL capability.)

Also:
(a) Under Win7, OneNote seems to have been (re)designed for tablet integration and seems very good indeed, but is apparently still better integrated with the OS under Win8.

(b) Refer: Microsoft OneNote 2007 - some experiential Tips & Tricks. (It seems that anything OneNote 2007 does can be done by OneNote 2013, and then some.)
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 10:53:49 PM by IainB »

Dormouse

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Re: Best note-taking setup with tablet and keyboard?
« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2014, 04:54:03 AM »
For this purpose, I'd discount Windows unless you specifically require access to Windows programs. Too expensive, too heavy, unnecessary.

Actually, the tablets are not the same as what you might be accustomed to.

I purchased a Dell Venue Pro 8, and it was $329 for a 64GB tablet with full windows 8.1 and office, is comparable in weight to the iPad Mini, and if I wasn't already tied into the iOS infrastructure, I'd be really happy with it.

I do have a W8 combo laptop/tablet (few months old) and find the tablet usage far less intuitive than Android or iOS. And for the main use of the Windows progs, I go to my (thankfully still W7) desktop. I think the comments on cost stand (maybe not always in relation to iOS, I accept) - that Dell with 32gb is £249 in the UK. I agree that weight depends on the options you compare, so my comment might be misplaced there.

However, I do think that for a single note use, and with minimising the extra cost being important, the choice really comes down to Android or Chromebook.

dr_andus

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Re: Best note-taking setup with tablet and keyboard?
« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2014, 05:13:47 AM »
However, I do think that for a single note use, and with minimising the extra cost being important, the choice really comes down to Android or Chromebook.

Thanks for your suggestions. In the end I have decided to go with the HP Chromebook 14. I was able to get it for GBP250.10 at the HP Student Store.

Key selling points vis-à-vis other (incl. forthcoming) Chromebooks: largest screen on the market (14in); largest keyboard, white, so it's illuminated by screen when dark; most RAM (4GB); best battery life (9.5 hrs); free 3G+ connectivity for 2yrs, free 100 GB Google Drive storage for 2 yrs; boots in few seconds and afterwards it's instantly on, when woken from sleep. Most software in Chrome App store are free (though I'm sure it won't be like that forever). Edit: forgot to add that I can also install Linux on it.
 
It will be mostly for use at home and in the office. Otherwise I still have my iPod Touch for taking notes when I'm out and about.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 07:30:51 AM by dr_andus »