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Best note-taking setup with tablet and keyboard?

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I'm looking for a tablet + external keyboard + note-taking/writing app combination that would provide the best note-taking experience.

My requirements:

- I should be able to switch on the tablet + keyboard instantly (even in the middle of the night) to be able to take notes as quickly as possible. Hence netbooks, laptops etc. that require boot-up are not suitable.

- The keyboard should attach to the tablet and prop up the tablet firmly, so I can type in most situations, such as on a sofa, bed, my lap, moving vehicles etc. (i.e. not just on a perfectly flat and motionless surface). The keyboard should also serve as a folio case and provide protection to the screen and possibly the entire tablet.

- The keyboard should be as close as possible in size and function to a decent keyboard (like the Apple Wireless). Backlit keys or keyboard would be preferable, so it could be used in poor or low light conditions.

- The app should be minimalist, distraction-free, plain text, recognise Markdown, and sync with Dropbox but also have local copies for off-line use.

I have an iPad 1 and my favourite note-taking app (Nebulous Notes) stopped working satisfactorily on it, and many of the interesting apps now require iOS 6 or above, which is not available on iPad 1 (stuck with iOS 5). There are also performance issues with the iPad 1 now.

As I own some iOS apps already, my instinct is to go for an iPad Air with ZAGGkeys Folio with Backlit Keyboard, also because there seem to be many interesting note-taking and writing apps on there (Editorial, Byword etc.).

However, I'm completely ignorant about Android and Windows 8 tablets, keyboards, and apps, and this could be an opportunity to consider if better alternatives might exist before I lock myself in further with Apple. Would anyone have any Android/Windows suggestions for the above?

My budget is roughly what a 32GB wifi-only iPad Air costs now, plus the ZAGG keyboard. So unfortunately the Surface Pro is out of reach, as it's double of that.

Also, please don't suggest to me to use a pen and a paper notebook.  :) I have tried that already, and it's a nightmare to try to find a note within the ten notebooks I have with 200 pages each. Cheerio!

You might try a clamcase instead of the zagg.  I know you said not pen and paper... but you're angling towards keyboard which is only one way of electronic note taking.  Did you consider using a digitizer with a tablet solution?

i like the question asked -- seems like that would be a nice setup to have.

i might suggest adding to the list of requirements, that the setup also make it easy to sync such notes between machines, that would be a nice benefit.

first of all, I would only use apple here as a last resort simply because of the closed nature of the file system.  I'll qualify that with this: if apple ALREADY has an app that does exactly what you want, get it.  if not, go with android.

the most flexible android tablet is the nexus 7.  if you need bigger and can wait, wait a little longer to get the next large nexus that comes out, nexus 10 or whatever.

with android, you can root it and get full access to the file system.  this opens up a lot of possibilities on the syncing end.  so even if you don't have good syncing in the app you like, you can set that up yourself with other apps like BTsync (which is awesome) or other things like FolderShare, or even just plain ol wifi or cable transfers.  the point is, the file system is open.  that's huge for me.

evernote is the easiest solution here, but it probably doesn't satisfy your more particular requirements.

Check out Simplenote:

Seems pretty good.

keyboard shouldn't be an issue at all.  find the best bluetooth keyboard you like, and it should work fine.

Hence netbooks, laptops etc. that require boot-up are not suitable.
-dr_andus (January 02, 2014, 07:28 PM)
--- End quote ---

You must consider that nowadays most netbooks (like my little Samsung running Windows 7 Home) don't require boot-up at all. You just open the lid and start working. In fact I've chosen a netbook instead of a tablet because I use mine mostly for writing, and the sturdiness of the keyboard was priority one in my own list of requirements.

As for notetaking, I use Wiznote -- cloud-synced but with full local access.


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