Best Tablets for Drawing & Note Taking of 2021

Last Updated: August 26th 2020

With pen and paper being a thing of the past for professional designers, the tablet is now the replacement. Being smaller and lighter than any laptop or PC, this type of device provides probability & convenience in one.

So let’s take a look at the best laptops on the market for drawing and taking notes with stylus pens.

Things To Consider When Choosing The Best Tablet

Here are 5 things you might want to look out for when choosing the best tablet for your needs. These are particularly catered towards tablets that are designed for drawing and note taking.

It’s paramount to consider these 5 factors, because get it wrong and you are left with a tablet the ends up annoying you more than assisting you and your business.

Screen Size, Shape & Active Area

In general tablets start at around 7 inches and get bigger from this point… anything smaller than 7 inches will essentially be useful for productive work.

Most display shapes follow the shape of wide-screen TVs that are more of a rectangular shape, where as devices such as Apple iPads, have a more square shape. This can be important to know as subconsciously this can make drawing and note taking more comfortable depending on which shape you prefer.

Display Resolution & Sharpness

For the professional drawer, screen resolution is of importance for cleared and sharper lines of your drawings. This also applies for avid readers and note takers as you want your machine to display clear, crisp text.

Resolution is not the only factor for providing superior display, for example, the most modern tablets (and now cheaper ones) have features such as anti-glare that enables users to work under bright light conditions such as outdoors in the sun light… you can have an amazing resolution, but that can easily be rendered useless the moment you want to do work outdoors.

Portability & Battery Life

Let’s face it, the invention of tablets was based around portability and three factors come into consideration when discussing the ease of carrying a device with you:

  1. Weight
  2. Battery life
  3. Size

Tablets in the 7 inch range weigh under one pound whereas those in the 15 inch range can weigh up to two pounds, so be sure not to get something too heavy if you find yourself out and about often.

The next important factor to consider if you find yourself out in areas that do not have mains outlets for charging your device is battery life.

Consider size, weight and battery life if your work takes you on the road often!

This is where the balance can be a little tricky. You want a fast performing machine, that is solid, but not too heavy and at the same time having a good battery life in order to get a decent amount of work done without having to constantly charge it up… Annoying!

Performance & Versatility

When talking about versatility I’m talking more than a tablet that allows for good drawings and note taking.

If a tablet is going to be bought anyway, you may want to get one with a little extra performance so that you can do more on it than its main intentions.

Maybe you are travelling and want to play some video games to pass the time. Maybe you want to watch a two hour long movie during your break and have enough battery power to get in a 6 hour work session.

In fact, maybe you want to have something that has the performance of a computer but the portability of a tablet like the Surface Pro by Microsoft (if you’re a Windows fan) or the iPad Pro by Apple (if an iOS fan).

Memory & Ports

Note taking may not require immense amount of memory, but drawing can and if you are using your device for things like gaming. or downloading videos for your travels, you may find yourself running out of space sooner that you think.

Sometimes it is inevitable that your device’s internal hard-drive memory may not suit your requirements. That’s not to say you should rule it out if it has features and a performance that suits you!

It’s all about balance and compromise when seeking the best tablets for drawing & note taking!

Many tablets can be expanded using a memory card and a few (not many) have read USB flash drives.

#1 Microsoft Surface Pro

A futuristic looking machine with a premium finish quality at a relatively affordable price. This is not the cheapest tablet on the market, but when looking for reliability, comfort and speed, this machine will undoubtedly be a great return on investment.

The magnetically detachable Type Cover allows you to transform it from a PC into a tablet and back… but don’t think Microsoft are pretending to make it “seem” like a PC just because of the keyboard, the Intel quad-core chip certainly contributes to giving you that “PC experience”.

Included is Surface Stylus that can be classified as one of the best styluses on the market as it has a fantastic grip, over 4000 levels of pressure sensitivity and is powered by standard batteries.

Surface Pro 7 Hardware Specifications

10th Gen Intel i5 / i7 Processor
8 GB / 16 GB RAM
128 GB / 256 GB
12.3" PixelSense Display (2736 x 1824 Resolution)
Intel Iris Plus Graphics
Operating System
Windows 10 Home
Battery Life
10.5 hrs
1.1 lbs


  • Solid keyboard & Stylus pen
  • USB-C & USB-A Port
  • Impressive processing power


  • Inadequate set of ports
  • Not as good battery life as Pro 6

#2 Apple iPad Pro 12.9″

Coming at a close second, the iPad Pro 12.9″ tablet houses the impressive A12Z Bionic chip and is accompanied with an 8-core graphics engine that rivals the processing power of a decent laptop (while being jam packed into a hand-held device).

Although screen resolution isn’t the most important factor when note taking, it is important when drawing is concerned. This is precisely why users will be stunned by Apple’s famous Retina display and the range of wide available colors.

Continuing on the subject of drawing, it has a large 12.9″ screen (bigger the the Surface Pro) leaving plenty of canvas space for doodling and professional drawing alike.

However, drawing isn’t just about space, but all about feeling which gives us the perfect opportunity to introduce the magnetically attached Apple Pencil. This pencil acts like a real life pencil and reacts to applied pressure along with tilt sensitivity allowing for accurate drawing capabilities.

iPad Pro Hardware Specifications

A12Z Bionic Chip
12.9" edge-to-edge Liquid Retina (2732 x 2048 Resolution)
Neural Engine
Operating System
iPad OS
Battery Life
10 hrs
1.41 lbs

#3 Microsoft Surface Book 3

#4 Wacom Cintiq 22