For my professional activities, I have to take a lot of hand notes during meeetings with customers. I have to reprocess the notes afterward into protocol or minutes and most of the time my notes not only contain text but also sketches or diagrams.

I tried to use mind map tool or word processing software to take my notes, but I don't like to have my laptop open between me and my customer. I would like to use an iPad with a dedicated pen and software (with hand writting recognition). My colleague use a Lenovo tablet, which I find is way too thick to confortably write on a table.

My questions are not related to the software / pen, but on the handling and usability of the iPad solution:

  1. Who is using an iPad daily for taking hand notes and sketches? If yes, what are the inconvenience?
  2. Is it possible to work paper free?
  3. What are the reasons why this tool cannot be used for taking notes?
  4. What about the comfort compared to a sheet of paper and a real pen when taking notes during a 2 hours meeting?
  • This might make a good discussion for Ask Different Chat but its hard to isolate one good question here. Meetings have existed for centuries before iPad, so clearly no one needs an iPad to work. Perhaps if you started with a free tool like penultimate and explained in detail how it doesn't work for you, an experienced expert could weigh in with options. – bmike Jul 17 '13 at 14:40
  • An iPad is a lot of money. I do not own one yet. I would like to have feedback on experiences on the questions I defined above before I make an investment. – Giomsen Jul 17 '13 at 16:21
  • I'll give a general answer, but the site is designed more for actual users with practical problems as opposed to potential users with potential problems. Should there be a retail store with iPads, they might be a better pre-sales resource than this forum. – bmike Jul 17 '13 at 16:23

The digitizer and hardware for iPads is generally reviewed as superior to any competing technology in terms of being able to run a native app for 10+ hours and capture the fine details of drawing and handwriting.

Where people tend to disagree is on what workflow you implement in terms of writing recognition and integration with existing tools. Even if you could earn money as a professional painting multiple magazine covers for the New Yorker using an iPad (or even iPhone), some people might not find the iPad the best tool for their work notes. You can't argue with the cost and efficiency of paper and pencil for note taking and you would want to be sure your time saved would be worth the amortized cost of the iPad and the training and software selection time you need to invest to become proficient with a new tool.

There's not likely going to be an answer that fits all potential iPad buyers.

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