Which is better for note-taking, an iPad Pro or a Laptop?

iPad Pro vs Laptop for Note-Taking

Looking for your next note-taking device? Picking up the wrong choice can bring more issues rather than solutions. Hence, today we’ll be looking at which is better for note-taking, an iPad Pro or a Laptop?

iPads are generally known and used as a back-to-school device that provides a lot of features for note-taking. It has Apple Pencil support, an easy-to-use keyboard attachment, and is lightweight enough to carry everywhere. There is a trend and students are choosing iPads as their primary note-taking device. 

In comparison, laptops struggle in the note-taking department as they are comparatively bulkier, heavier, and generally don’t come with stylus support. However, they have longer battery lives, can do a lot more productivity tasks, and have a better keyboard. So, which one should you pick? Well, follow on and take a look at the comparison to help you make your decision.

iPad Pro vs. Laptop for note-taking: Which one should I pick?

While both devices have their pros and cons for taking notes, we think the iPad Pro has a slight edge in the battle for the best note-taking device. Laptops are good, but the overall flexibility you get with the iPad hugely benefits the note-taking experience. 

Laptops do have their place as the primary typing machine for a lot of writers. In fact, I too, use a laptop to write everything, including this blog. However, iPads just make more sense for taking quick notes from classes or office meetings. And in fact, when it comes to ideas, notes, daily to-do lists, meeting notes, etc. I choose my iPad. In my opinion, the iPad is just more convenient that way. Here are a few more points to help you make your decision.

Get the iPad Pro if:

Quick Note-Taking – If you take quick notes and need a smooth notebook-like experience. Hence, it is perfect for classes and official meetings.

Apple Pencil Support – iPads support the Apple Pencil. This means that you can quickly write on the screen with the stylus as you would write on paper naturally. 

Flexibility and Portability – iPads are portable and lightweight, which allows you to take them anywhere without worrying about a backpack and use them without taking up a lot of space. It also supports the new Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil, making it best for quick tours to the coffee shop or the library.

All-day Battery Life – iPads also come with great battery life and can run all day without worries. However, just make sure to have a balanced workload to conserve the battery life to the max.

Affordable Cost – Finally, an iPad Pro starts at $799, which is a whole lot cheaper than getting a decently specced laptop.

Handwritten notes – If you take notes with hand and you want a more efficient way, the iPad can help you organize your notes, there are some great apps like notability, goodnotes and others

Get a Laptop if:

Precision Typing Experience – Laptops are great at typing. If you need a full-sized keyboard with excellent physical keys, then laptops are the way to go.If you’re writing a book, long documents, essays, novels, etc. The laptop would be probably more convenient. 

Productivity Centric – iPads are not as powerful as laptops, making laptops the productivity kings. If you need portability with power for all your pro apps, then get a laptop.

Larger Screen Size – Finally, extra screen real estate is something that should never go unnoticed. Puns aside,a larger screen will help you stay productive all day long, making it perfect for engineering students.

Can iPad notes convert handwriting to text?

Yes, the iPad can convert your handwriting to text. This feature came with the iPadOS 14 updates and has been a staple for many users. You can use the Apple Pencil to jot down notes quickly and then convert them to a digital version for further use.

All you need to do is write something on display, select it, and hit on the “Copy as Text” button to instantly convert what you write into digital text. Hence, making this feature a banger for everyone in school or college.

What’s the best note-taking app for iPad?

While there are many great note-taking apps for the iPad, there aren’t any that we can say is the best. It depends on user preference, and hence, choosing the best app is always on you.

1. Apple Notes – An excellent app built-in on all Apple devices. Apple Notes helps you quickly jot down notes, make to-do lists, or incorporate events. With features such as instant handwriting to digital text conversions, image inclusion, and many more, you are guaranteed to have a great time taking notes.

2. GoodNotes – Great for folder organization and list or grid layouts. GoodNotes make it easy for you to manage and organize all your notes in a quick and easy-to-read format. It comes with a lot of awesome tools and also supports PDF markups. The in-built templates and layouts also make it great for users thatneed anorganized standard formatfor their notes.

3. Notability – With endless page scrolling, OCR support, handwriting recognition, automatic sync to iCloud, and a whole lot more, Notability has become one of the best note-taking apps for the iPad. If you value a simple and easy-to-use UI and great features, then Notability is the app for you. 

4. Notion – A little challenging to learn, but once you’re familiar with the block system, Notion becomes a unique note-taking experience unmatched by others. It will help you streamline your notes, and it works hand in hand with the desktop version. Hence, making note-taking easy and seamless whether you’re on your iPad or your laptop. We would recommend it if you’re planning to type on your keyboard, if you are planning to do handwritten notes, then we would not recommend notability.

5. Evernote – Evernote is another app for note-taking that impressed us. The ability to have multiple inputs, inserting images, texts or recorded messages, and screenshots of websites – all within a single screen is very impressive. The positives just don’t stop there. Evernote is also compatible with Android devices, and if you want to work on team edits, you can quickly do so by sharing your note with someone else and not worry if they’ll be able to access it.

6. Microsoft OneNote – Finally, if you already have a Windows desktop or laptop and wonder which is the best note-taking app for your iPad Pro, we recommend looking at Microsoft OneNote. OneNote comes with various features such as stylus support, instant sync, and standard templates, making the experience much better. However, the best part of OneNote is the instant sync which helps you work on multiple devices such as laptops, desktops, Android smartphones, iPads, and anything with OneNote without the need to transfer the note first.

I tried all of them and I stuck with Notability. It’s a preference, most of the apps have the same functionality, but the UI felt the most practical and comfortable one.

Why do students choose the iPad over Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 for note-taking?

Both of these tablets are great for students. The primary reason students choose an iPad over the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is the integration with the Apple Ecosystem. Apple makes it excellent to quickly transfer files over your Apple devices, and the Apple Pencil makes taking handwritten notes a lot better. 

However, other key factors may help you choose the iPad over the Tab S7:

This Samsung tablet is very capable. just as capable as iPad Pro I would say. It’s just more convenient to stay in the Apple ecosystem if you’re already there. If you own a Macbook, iPhone, and an Apple watch…it would make sense to buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, it won’t bring anything additional to the table, just a struggle I would say. On the other hand, switching from Android to the Apple ecosystem, there might be some small upsides such as lower latency when writing and drawing on your tablet and an overall more pleasant experience.

Just to summarize: If you’re in the market for a tablet and the main aspect of why are you buying a tablet is handwritten notes and drawing and you are going after the best device in the market – yes, it’s worth the while and money to buy iPad Pro even if you’re in Android Ecosystem.

If not the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is a great choice and overall speaking we would say it’s a better pick for a student. It’s more affordable which is a huge aspect for students. It’s a fantastic piece of hardware and it can replace an iPad or a laptop, but with small drawbacks.

What does an iPad do that a laptop doesn’t?

Getting an iPad does take a lot of thinking. The experience with using a tablet is far different from a laptop. However, if you’re struggling to make a choice and need to see what an iPad can provide for you, then here are some benefits that an iPad has over a standard laptop:

Better App support – Apple has always been great with optimization and app support for their devices. However, you don’t get the same support on laptops. There are many note-taking apps on the iPad that works wonderfully, but finding one for a laptop might be challenging.

Apple Pencil and touchscreen – iPads also support the Apple Pencil, an excellent stylus for drawing and note-taking. You can get a laptop with a touchscreen, but writing on it will be awkward. In contrast, writing on the iPad feels natural and smooth, just as you would writing on paper.

Ease of Use – iPads are also easy to use and more portable than laptops. You can take it anywhere without worrying about the large power bricks or bringing a bag. iPads are generally built tough and can take a lot more wear than laptops.

Versatility – iPads are also very versatile. You can watch movies, enjoy reading an ebook, type out emails, play games and do a whole lot more. This is not true for laptops as it also depends on what laptop you get. Hence, getting an iPad makes much more sense if you’re a casual user with versatility in mind.

Better Price to Performance – Finally, iPads are also considerably cheaper and provide a better value than their laptop counterparts. In fact, the push towards more powerful hardware such as the M1 chip on the new iPad Pro is a clear indication that Apple would be bringing more laptop-like features to the iPad, making it a much better alternative to laptops or at least worthy alternative to a MacBook.


Is it better to take notes on an iPad or paper?

This totally depends on your personal preference. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and using an iPad for taking notes can help you retain a lot more data. If you don’t like working on a smooth screen, you can get a paper-like screen protector for your iPad to have a natural writing experience.

Is the Apple pencil worth it for note-taking?

Yes, the Apple Pencil is an excellent accessory for your iPad, and if you primarily use your iPad to take notes from lectures, then the Apple Pencil makes a lot of sense. It will help you achieve better handwriting and make the experience natural and smooth. As well as it will help you organize your notes much better than in real life with pen and paper.

What is the best device for taking notes in college?

iPad Pro and Air are the best devices that you can get for college if you’re going purely after device that’s the best for handwritten notes. While the Pro has a larger, smoother screen, the Air comes at a more affordable price tag, making it an invaluable asset to all your college classes.

So, should you be buying an iPad for note-taking?

iPads are paving the way to improve the note-taking experience better, and we definitely think that buying an iPad for college is a sensible choice. With impressive features, excellent apps, reliable hardware, and fantastic accessories, iPads can become a great portable alternative to laptops.

Final Verdict

So, if you’re someone that does not need the amount of power that a laptop provides and generally use casual apps, do some note-taking, stream some movies and play some games. Then get the iPad but if that’s not you and you do a lot of coding or require pro hardware and software, get a laptop. With that said, we have reached our conclusion and hope that you too have made your decision for your note-taking device of choice.

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