The best note tablets with stylus you can find on the market

Written by B Johnson January 20, 2015
Note Stylus Dedicated Tablets: Quick Review RoundupHi guys, welcome back to this site!

Samsung has been really successful with its GALAXY Note line over the past few years.

In fact, this smartphone series has become the “real” flagship from this Korean-based manufacturer every year, which also has been the “role model” for this company to design Samsung’s future products (tablets and smartphones).

Samsung GALAXY Note series consists in varied different models – just like Samsung GALAXY Tab series -, ranging from the basic but “real” flagship Samsung GALAXY Note phablet, the larger 8-inch and last but not least, the other larger 10.1-inch models.

Actually, this tablet series also has a new kid on the block and it just launched this year, sporting the largest 12.2-inch display. And that is Samsung GALAXY Note Pro 12.2 tablet.

Besides Samsung GALAXY Note tablet, there's actually some other contenders around the tablet market in this category.

One of them is HP Slate 7 Extreme, a 7-inch Android tablet aimed at the 8-inch Samsung GALAXY Note tablet.

There are also the other similar note-taking tablets from other brands, like NVIDIA Shield Tablet from NVIDIA, Toshiba Excite Write and Microsoft Surface Pro.

However, i’m not gonna talk about this Microsoft’s Pro tablet in this quick roundup given that this tablet hasn’t been reviewed yet on this website.

But i’ll probably change my mind and finally include that tablet into this quick roundup in the near future, of course, once i’ve finished writing the review of that tablet.

Okay then, if you’re interested to learn more about all of these note-taking tablets that i have reviewed on this site, including my personal take on their gaming performance, then here you go, my quick roundup of note-taking tablets.

HP Slate 7 Extreme

Instead of Samsung GALAXY Note tablet, i’m more interested to begin this quick roundup with my favorite tablet – probably my favorite tablet all time -, HP Slate 7 Extreme.

Unlike other regular 7-inch Android tablets out there on the market right now, this HP’s tablet interestingly covers one important element that probably – or in my personal opinion – should be had on all 7-inch tablets out there.

And that is the stylus.

I know that not all people want to have the stylus on their tablet. However, i think the stylus can be really important especially for those people who love designing, painting or even just simply taking notes or maybe checking/correcting some text documents.

The thing that really makes me impressed with HP Slate 7 Extreme is that, despite being a low-cost affordable tablet – priced at just $199 -, the stylus of this HP’s tablet amazingly is capable to deliver the same great stylus experience just like the S-Pen of Samsung GALAXY Note tablets.

So if you love drawing pictures, comics, cartoon characters or even professional paintings, you’re definitely on the right track if you decide to buy this HP Slate 7 Extreme.

HP Slate 7 Extreme 2Its stylus is just really amazing. And that’s thanks to the great touch response technology of its stylus, which is developed, designed and engineered by a company named N-Trig.

And then, thanks to NVIDIA for its Tegra 4 processor – along with the 72-core GPU -, the stylus and its response can work seamlessly without any issue or lag whatsoever.

Besides amazing as a note-taking device, HP Slate 7 Extreme is also a great gaming tablet.

And that’s not shocking because this slate is powered by one of the most powerful mobile chipsets on the market even until today - Tegra 4 quad-core processor -, accompanied by 72-core GPU and 1GB of RAM.

HP Slate 7 ExtremeSo games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, GTA San Andreas and even the new-released Modern Combat 5 can certainly perform smoothly even in full highest graphics setting. No doubt about that.

In terms of overall specs, HP Slate 7 Extreme is actually not too shabby at all.

Besides its great stylus and powerful processor, this also comes with 1280x800 pixel resolution on its 7-inch display, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, 5MP rear-facing camera (which according to many reviews, is able to take decent quality shots), VGA front-camera, microSD card slot for up to 32GB, 16GB of internal storage and a non-removable 4100mAh power battery, promising for up to 10 hours and 30 minutes for talk time and multimedia.

So if you’re looking for a decent quality note-taking/gaming tablet at affordable cost, then HP Slate 7 Extreme can be your best shot here.

Its screen may not be as sharp as other 1080p or 2.5K tablets out there on the market (Samsung Tab Pro and Tab S by the way), however, even with that 720p resolution, this tablet is already an impressive offering from HP.

Besides, by using this medium-resolution display, this tablet is able to perform much faster and last much longer in battery life.

Nvidia Shield Tablet

Nvidia Shield Tablet
The other impressive note-taking tablet is coming from – interestingly but not surprisingly -, NVIDIA. The reason why this is not surprising because NVIDIA actually was the one that came up with the design concept of HP Slate 7 Extreme above.

Its reference device is called NVIDIA Tegra Note and it’s indeed used by many manufacturers across the world – including HP with its HP Slate 7 Extreme – in order to design and manufacturer that same device and then sell it to each different market with their own branding.

This Nvidia Shield Tablet is actually the second-gen model of NVIDIA Tegra Note tablet.

But Nvidia Shield is not a huge departure from the predecessor. It has the same exact design concept (with dual speaker grilles on the front, stylus and its dedicated “hole”, HTC-One-esque design, etc) and it’s also running on stock Android OS, without any unnecessary bloatwares and pre-loaded apps.

But one of many things that makes this tablet different and superior with the predecessor is definitely its stylus experience.

Compared to the previous-gen model, Nvidia Shield now has much improved stylus and writing/drawing experience, with more realistic results and faster response between the stylus and the screen.

Not to mention, the thickness of stylus can be easily controlled according to our pressure of the stylus to the screen.

So long story short, the stylus of this tablet is now more impressive and realistic just like literally writing on paper with pen or pencil.

Besides great as a note-taking tablet, Nvidia Shield is also a perfect device for playing games.

And that comes at no surprise given that this tablet is now powered by a way more powerful Tegra K1 quad-core processor, accompanied with the staggering 192-core Kepler GPU, plus much bigger 2GB of RAM.

So basically, any games that you throw on this tablet – from Asphalt 8: Airborne, GTA San Andreas, Modern Combat 5 or even PS3-ported Trine 2, Half Life 2 and Unreal Engine 4 demos – all will run in buttery smooth performance with no lag whatsoever and of course, in full highest graphics.

So if you’re still looking for a perfect gaming tablet, then Nvidia Shield is no doubt your destination.

In terms of overall specs, Nvidia Shield comes with a larger 8.0-inhh display sporting the 1920x1200 pixel resolution, dual bass reflex port audio enhancement, Tegra 4 quad-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz per core, 2GB of RAM, 192-core Kepler GPU, 5MP cameras back and front (with HDR mode available), Direct Stylus 2, microSD card slot for up to 128GB, 16GB of internal storage, Android 4.2.2 Kit Kat out of the box with stock Android UI and a 19.75WH Li-Ion battery.

As a second-gen model of NVIDIA Tegra Note released last year, i think it’s really obvious that Nvidia Shield is far more impressive and a huge upgrade from the predecessor.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Samsung Galaxy Note 8Who doesn’t know Samsung Galaxy Note series? Unless you've been living under the rock, everybody all across the world knows this popular phablet series really well.

In fact, it is the most popular note-taking phablet around the globe.

Last year, Samsung struck the tech world by releasing the 8-inch model of this phablet series, following the release of Samsung’s flagship - Samsung Galaxy Note 2, released 3 years ago.

So when it comes design and looks, this 8-inch tablet shares a lot of in common with the second-gen Samsung Galaxy Note 2 phablet.

It has the “chubby” rectangular looking design all over its body - which used to become the 'trademark' of old-gen GALAXY devices from Samsung.

As a note-taking tablet, it’s really obvious that Samsung Galaxy Note 8 excels really well for that matter.

Its S-Pen stylus, great realistic writing/drawing experience and its dedicated features are the ones that make people – especially artists – really love this device a LOT.

So i probably don’t need to talk a lot about its S-Pen because it has a really amazing stylus experience even compared to other note-taking tablets out there.

In terms of specs, this tablet can now be considered as unimpressive – especially compared to other 7 to 8-inch tablets on the market right now.

However, as a 2013-released tablet, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is still an amazing quality device with high-grade specs on it.

It comes with an 8-inch display sporting the 1280x800 pixel resolution, a quad-core Exynos 4412 processor clocked at 1.6GHz, Mali-400 GPU, 2GB of RAM, Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, 5MP rear-camera (which is no doubt capable to take decent quality shots), 1.3MP front-camera, microSD card slot for up to 64GB, 16/32GB of internal storage, 4600mAh power battery and of course, cellular connectivity.

As far as the gaming performance is concerned, i think Samsung Galaxy Note 8 can be considered as a pretty good gaming tablet.

Thanks to its quad-core processor, Mali 400 GPU and 2GB of RAM (plus huge support from game developers given Samsung’s popularity and sales), this tablet has no problem at all even when running games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Need for Speed Most Wanted, Modern Combat 4 (and even Modern Combat 5) and NOVA 3 – all in smooth performance and in full highest graphics.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1Released in the same year as the 8-inch Samsung Galaxy Note, the 10.1-inch model of this tablet series was actually intended by Samsung to be the 2014-gen model.

The great thing is, despite being released in late 2013, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 comes with some monster specs that even until now are still considered as high-grade specs of flagship tablets on the market.

This model interestingly consists in 2 different variant – the 3G and the LTE models -, both powered by 2 different processors – Samsung 5 Octa Exynos 5420 “octa-core” processor (3G model) and Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor (LTE model).

But when it comes to gaming performance and even overall performance when doing basic daily tasks, the LTE model of Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is far more superior than the 3G variant – as seen on many reviews on YouTube which show how the LTE model runs buttery smooth and much faster compared to the 3G model.

So if you’re looking for the model with the better gaming performance, i strongly recommend you to pick up the LTE model instead of the 3G.

On hardware standpoint, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (LTE) is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz per core, accompanied by Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM – which obviously are more than adequate to handle games like Asphalt 8, GTA San Andreas or Modern Combat 5.

On the other hand, the 3G model of Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 comes with Samsung 5 Octa Exynos 5420 octa-core processor with big.LITTLE architecture (where the heavy tasks are handled by a quad-core 1.9GHz Cortex-A15 CPU, while light-weight tasks are taken care by the quad-core 1.3GHz Cortex-A7 CPU), coupled with Mali T628 MP6 GPU and 3GB of RAM.

Apart from that different processors and GPUs on both models, the rest of their specs are quite identical one to another actually.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (both 3G and LTE) comes with a 10.1-inch Super Clear LCD display sporting the 2560x1600 pixel resolution, S Pen stylus, Android 4.3 Jell Bean with TouchWiz UI, microSD card for up to 64GB, 16/32/64GB of internal storage, 8MP rear-camera with LED flash, 2MP front-camera and a huge 8220mAh battery, promising for up to 2230 of stand-by, 10 hours for multimedia, 49 hours for talk time over 3G and up to 98 hours of music play.

So if you’re looking for a decent 10-inch note-taking tablet, then Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 can be your best shot here.

But i strongly recommend you to pick up the LTE model given that the 3G variant somehow performs a bit laggy especially when handling some heavy tasks at the same time – as seen on many reviews on YouTube, not just my personal opinion though.

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 LTE

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 LTE
If you feel that the 10.1-inch Samsung Galaxy Note is not big enough for you, why don’t you pick up this 12.2-inch model instead. Introducing to you – the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 LTE.

This tablet is actually released in the different series called Samsung Galaxy Note Pro series, unlike the 10.1-inch or 8-inch model that are released under the regular Samsung Galaxy Note series.

However, almost everything about this 12.2-inch tablet is actually quite similar with the 10.1-inch regular variant, especially in terms of specs.

It has the same 2560x1600 pixel resolution on its 12.2-inch display, the same Super Clear LCD, the same Snapdragon 800/Samsung 5 Octa Exynos 5420 processor for LTE or 3G respectively (as well as the Adreno 330 GPU/Mali T628 MP6 GPU), the same microSD card for up to 64GB, the same 3GB of RAM, the same 8MP rear-facing camera, the same 2MP front-facing camera and the same S-Pen stylus.

But despite having some quite similar specs, there are some sectors on this 12.2-inch model that set it apart from the regular 10.1-inch model, like its Android build (KitKat), bigger 9500mAh power battery, longer battery life and the most prominently, the UI.

Yes, unlike the regular Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 with its TouchWiz UI, this 12.2-inch Note Pro comes pre-installed with Magazine UI, which has different design layout and Live Tile alike UI - similar like the Metro UI on Windows-powered devices.

So if you’re still confused to choose between the 2, you probably should consider which UI suits you the best – TouchWiz UI or Magazine UI. It’s your call.

Toshiba Excite Write

Toshiba Excite WriteThe last note-taking tablet that i want to show you in this quick roundup is coming from Toshiba Excite Write, a 10.1-inch tablet powered by NVIDIA’s powerful Tegra 4 processor.

And similar just like the other note tablets aforementioned above, this Toshiba tablet also comes packed with its own stylus.

However, in terms of its stylus touch response, according to what i’ve seen on some reviews on YouTube, the stylus of this tablet unfortunately doesn’t work as great and realistic as the stylus of other Tegra 4 note tablets – HP Slate 7 Extreme or NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

So the thickness of its stylus cannot be controlled on the fly with our pressure to the screen. And if you want to change the thickness of its stylus, you must set it on the setting first.

This really contradicts with other note tablets – Samsung GALAXY Note, HP Slate 7 Extreme or NVIDIA Shield – which all of these guys have an amazing and realistic stylus experience.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a much better 10.1-inch note tablet, i strongly recommend you to pick up the Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 instead (especially the LTE model with Snapdragon 800 processor).

In terms of hardware specs, Toshiba Excite Write is actually not too shabby at all.

In fact, this tablet deserves all the way to be positioned alongside other flagship tablets on the market right now – even iPad Air or Samsung GALAXY Note/Tab Pro/Tab S.

It has the super high resolution 2560x1600 pixels on its 10.1-inch IPS LCD display, a quad-core Tegra 4 processor, 72-core GeForce ULP GPU, 2GB of RAM, Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean, 8MP rear-facing camera with LED flash, 1.2MP front-facing camera, microSD card slot for up to 32GB, 32GB of internal storage and a huge 33Wh battery, promising for up to 11 hours for multimedia and talk time.

This tablet may not be impressive with its stylus and its note experience, however, thanks to its monster specs, Toshiba Excite Write is still a decent quality tablet for media-consumption purpose and even as a device for playing games.

However, there is still one downside found on this tablet. And that is its overheating issue, caused by the Tegra 4 processor.

As i’ve already said over and over again, Tegra 4 tablets are mostly plagued with overheating issue – especially when handling some heavy graphics intense tasks like gaming or watching HD videos.

And it also happens on this Toshiba Excite Write – as i’ve already heard on some reviews on YouTube. But if you don’t mind having this problem in the long term, then you should have no worry at all when getting this tablet.

Besides, you can still buy external case cover to protect your bare hands from touching the rear cover.

I'm not saying that it's overheating is dangerous, but it just ruins the experience of using this device, especially if you are a gamer.


Well, that’s all for now about these note-taking tablets.

I know that there are probably some other note-taking tablets out there that haven’t been covered on this site.

But probably in the near future, i’m gonna bring some updates in this quick roundup, of course after i’ve finished writing the reviews of those tablets on this site.

So if you want to get updates about what happens on this page in the near future, you probably should bookmark this page for further read.

Anyway, if you feel that this post is helpful and informative to you (hopefully entertaining as well), don’t forget to share it guys on Twitter or Facebook or probably both of them.

I would totally appreciate your contribution here. :)
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