Need a Tablet (+/- A5 format, NOT Apple) and an App for visually organized ("Bullet Journal like" somehow) handwritten study notes


I am experimenting with BuJo, I even bought some Stencils with different forms, and colored pencils etc, and it’s amazing the difference it makes when you have essential info organized in a beautiful and meaningful way. But it’s painfully slow to do in real-time while the teacher speaks.

And I thought that if there is a tablet which has particularly good note-taking qualities (responsivity of the digitizer, palm-rejection and whatever needed), and an App which is specifically made for BuJo or let’s say visual notes (with all possible templates and forms which I can super quickly click, position, re-dimension etc), and of course an excellent handwriting recognition function, this would be total jackpot.

Physical keyboard or not, I do not mind.
I have a Lenovo Active Pen Pro (USB-C, 2 Buttons plus a top one which afaik only works when connected via BT). If the tablet is compatible with it, it would be cool. But as long as it’s the best note-taking option I am ok if the Tablet needs another kind of pen, be it included or not.

My budget is +/- 300 Euro but please consider that I am willing to buy used, so you can consider models which when bought new are more expensive than that.

EDIT: I need to be able to take pics and add them to the notes, so it must be a device able to do that.


At that budget there’s pretty much only the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite and the MobiScribe Wave.

The MobiScribe is an eInk device, but there is a colour version.

There might be older or used iPads around, but I’ve not been keeping tabs on Apple products lately.


Hi Tams, thanks for the answer.
Are you considering the fact that I am more than willing to buy used?
I can easily find a Tab S7 (or S7 FE) under 300.
I’m still debating with myself if for handwritten notes it’s better the bigger screen of the FE, or the double refresh rate of the S7 (I read that it’s more responsive to the pen).
I am finding my A5 paper notebook a tad small sometimes.

Hi DesignHead9206

I’m currently owning a Tab S8 (11") and a Tab S8+ (12.4") and I appreciate the extra size of the later when sketching and taking notes. But I don’t feel confortable bringing the Tab S8+ when on the go; for me its size is too cumbersome.

Regarding the Tab S7, I have to say that I had problems with the pen functioning and had to sell it because, even after a screen replacement, the issues remained. It had a problem with the consistency of pen pressure. You can see it at the video I posted:

Pen pressure worked randomly. The problem was that the thickness and opacity of the strokes when varying the pressure from minimum to maximum, was not always the same. Sometimes I got thicker and more dense lines, and sometimes the strokes were thinner and more transparent.

It happened on all the apps I tried (Clip Studio Paint, Krita, Skechbook and Infinite Painter); with all the styluses I owned (SPen for GalaxyTab S7 and S6 Lite, for Wacom One and for HP ZBook x2); whatever size of the canvas and nibs I used (hard, soft, with rubber or felt feel).

I don’t now if it is a common issue on the Tab S7, because it was annoying when sketching but no when taking notes (in this second case IMHO pen pressure is not that important), and maybe a lot of owners don’t sketch too much.

After that device I had a Tab S6 Lite and now the Tab S8, and in both tablets the pen works flawlessly. I also appreciate the responsiveness of the Tab S8 compared to the Tab S6 Lite; the S6 Lite was OK, but found the S8 definitively better.

The curious thing is that the pen functioning on the Tab S8 is one of the best I’ve experienced (in my opinion close to the Cintiq’s and the Apple pen’s), but I find that the pen on the Tab S8+ is marginally more accurate and feel a little more comfortable when using it. May be it is because the screen technology is not the same?

I’ve not used either, so I can’t say.

I have tried the new S9, and I can’t say the increased refresh rate made the writing/drawing experience feel noticeably more responsive.

Thank you all.

I’ve been in a shop and tried the S7 FE and the S8, and I’ve noticed that both had an issue in the mid of the screen, but in that case I’m pretty sure it’s because of that (magnetic?) thing that is attached on the back of the tablet to prevent people from stealing it.
Other than that, I’m surprised at your report about the S7.
If this was a common issue of all S7, wouldn’t it be more widely reported online?
Could it be that it was two units from the same (problematic) production lot?

Most people recommend me the S6 LE, I guess because of my budget and because probably it’s more than enough for just taking notes.
But I’m reticent at buying such an old model.
And yet, the only place where I find the S8 used affordable is plagued by scammers.
So I’ll have to carefully ponder the situation.

Another challenge for me is that the app that is being recommended the most for handwritten notes with BuJo templates is GoodNotes, but I can’t try it because it’s only for tablets.
And before I do the step from analog to digital notes I need to be sure that there is at least one ap that can do what I want.
And I have to be sure before buying the tablet, because if I buy it used I have no return rights.

Maybe you have the possibility to try it and tell me what kind of forms and templates are there?
Or maybe you can suggest other apps?

When people tell me “yeah this app has bullet journal templates” I suspect they mean the to-do templates that most people associate with BuJo.
As my approach to BuJo is actually not orthodox, and because I mostly use it just as a way to take short/essential notes and organize them in a visually meaningful way, I do not need to-do template, I only need visual organization tools like forms that I can redimension and reposition and write inside, with arrows connecting them to the mother-topic, and eventually beautiful fonts and frames and things like that.

Any help there?

Two of my kids are using S6 lites and one uses S7FE. The S6 lite was updated in 2022, so it’s not that old, but it’s small. Goodnotes on Android isn’t anywhere near fully baked yet. It’s basically running as a web app, very slim on features. I’ve tried it a few times and wasn’t impressed. There are other notetaking apps for Android more geared to visual notes like that. If you search “aesthetic notes android” on youtube, you can maybe find some apps that will create notes that look like you’re for. I don’t do BuJo, so I can’t say if they’re that, but they do look nice and visually organized.


Thanks, it’s a super useful tip, with that keyword.
I already found a suggestion for an app called Noteshelf.
It doesn’t seem to be exactly what I aim for, but it comes close.

Does the S7FE of your kid have the problem of the S7 of Bierot here above?

It doesn’t have preassure issues that I’ve noticed, but his writing is more limited as he’s 9. I haven’t tried to write on it much myself. It feels natural enough, like any other spen tablet when I do. The flexing of the non-laminated screen is a bit annoying to me.

Amazon is matching a price on the Samsung S6 lite at $215. Daily Deals (9-19-2023) - Liliputing

More limited than the Tab S9 you mean?
Limited how?
And do you happen to know if this flexible screen is only on the S7FE or also on the S7 and S7+?

Btw I realized that the pen of the S7FE does not have BT function, that for me is important at least for presentations (I find it embarrassing and unprofessional when people have to click something on the tablet/laptop to change slide).
I have a Lenovo Active Pen Pro, with 2 buttons plus one top button (this one only works in BT).
It’s afaik for Wacom digitizers.
Do you think it would be compatible with the S7FE?

My son is 9 so his writing needs are limited. He loves to draw, but doesn’t care about pressure or tilt. The flex in the screen is unique to the FE because the display is not laminated.

Ah, I didn’t find this info in any review.
Thanks. This changes things.
Also because I’ve found out that apparently my Lenovo Active Pen Pro would not work with the S7FE (I thought the S7FE uses Wacom tech like Lenovo) nor would the pen of S7 or S7+, and I find it practical to have a pen with air gestures and with BT function to change slides in presentations.
So, S7FE is no more in the radar for me.
Now I have to decide if 11" is enough to take handwritten notes with my tendency to write big.
Then I’ll know if I go for S7 or S7+.

Lenovo switched from Wacom EMR to Wacom AES several years ago (one of their 10 inch ThinkPad tablets was the last one).

AES and EMR are not compatible at all. They’re completely different technology. See our EMR thread here for the styluses that will work - it’s pretty comprehensive and goes back much further than you need.

There’s also a MPP thread, if you go with a device with that. For instance the 10" Nokia tablet has MPP support, though the SoC is underpowered (not surprising given the low price).

There’s no AES thread as, well only Lenovo and occasionally Fujitsu (who have almost left the market) seem to use it. So there are very few styluses around that support it. It’s the same technology as MPP and just a difference in protocols as far as we can tell, but if a manufacturer doesn’t explicitly say their stylus supports both, then it doesn’t.

As for your presentation remote: there are plenty of options out there. Logitech’s Spotlight is favourite, but only has limited Android support, but there are others. Swiftpoint have some good options if you also want a mouse.

Luckily enough the Lenovo Active Pen Pro seems to work on my LG V60.
I guess I will use it there.

Could anybody give me a feedback about S7 vs S7+ for handwriting?
I suppose that the quality is the same, so I’m wondering more about the dimensions.
When I write fast I write big.
I was somehow ok with an A5 paper notebook but I’ve noticed that when I do the visual notes (writing essential stuff in rectangles and circles etc) it’s a bit , well, not enough.

They are perfectly fine for handwriting.

It’s only if you’re going to be doing some serious are or calligraphy that tilt being off on a few parts of the display may be an issue.

I meant for the dimension.
I’ve cut two pieces of cardboard with the respective dimensions of the S7 and S7+ to get a feeling, and I think I feel comfortable with the S7+.
Sure the S7 is easier to hold, but I would write while having it on my legs. On the other hand when I simulate writing on the S7 it’s also ok but it feels possibly a bit small in portrait mode, at least when I do things like writing something in a rectangle and having a few circles with text inside that are connected to the rectangle (a typical thing I do when I take notes). I am pretty confident that putting the S7 in landscape mode would do the trick though.

So, I’d like to hear the experience of you people.

I don’t have either, but I do have the IPP 12.9" and IPP 11". I got the 11" because I wanted something more portable and easier to carry around and draw with. So far though, it’s not that much different from the 12.9 in terms of bulkiness. It’s just easier to store places. I do have a pretty hefty case on the 11" since it’s more for taking outside the house. That being said, the 11" is plenty big for me to draw on for most things. I think the aspect ratio makes it a little wider than the F7, so maybe that’s enough.

Basically, I’m saying, I think you’ll be fine with either, but if you really want screen real estate, I’d go for the larger one.

Ok dear ones, I managed to find a couple questions more:

  1. does the S-Pen (S7 or S7+) have tilt function?
  2. a guy in a shop recommended me the Surface because I use Windows at home.
    I was wondering first of all if there are apps/programs in Windows that have the “aesthetic notes” functions that I am wishing.
    And of course I was wondering how would a Surface compare to the S7(+) for handwriting, and if I will have to buy their pen or I could use the Lenovo Active Pen Pro.
    I know that “Surface” means nothing because there is the Go and the Pro and many versions, but I figured that once comparing to the S7(+) you would automatically recommend the right Surface.


Yes, the S7, S7+ has tilt.

As far as Surface vs Samsung, it really depends on your needs. You should get much better battery life out of the Samsung, with a lighter package. The s pen is also a superior device for writing overall. However, if you’re taking notes, the Surface is still a good device and doesn’t necessarily require the amount of precision for something like art. Are you planning on syncing your notes with your Windows devices at home? If so, you’ll want to make sure whatever Android app you are looking at can transfer data easily. Most apps do these days, but some are not so great at it. But if they’re going to just stay on the device, then the S7 probably has the better experience all things considered.