As technology progresses, old standards become obsolete. New inventions take over to perform the same tasks more efficiently and in a better manner. In a similar fashion, over the past decade, writing on paper has become old fashioned. While it will take many more years for the world to transition, it is slowly happening. Although the use of fancy gadgets is prominent in STEM programs such as computer science, network engineering, and electrical engineering, schools and colleges are now encouraging the use of tablets and convertible 2 in 1 laptops in all programs across the world, regardless of the specialization.
If you’re the type of person who jots down a lot of notes, then you should seriously consider purchasing a convertible machine. One of the primary requirements that a good 2 in 1 laptop needs to have is a smooth feel. No one likes a slow interface, especially if you are concentrating on a lecture while taking notes. Optimization from the manufacturer’s end plays an important role in this. No one will be able to tell if a laptop performs well just by looking at its core specs, therefore user reviews are key when finding a good laptop for yourself.
Another thing you need to look for is good battery life. You will most likely be taking notes while you’re in school, college, at campus, or in a work environment. Therefore, having 24/7 access to a wall outlet is unlikely. A good battery life will ensure that you won’t run out of power mid-day and end up not getting anything accomplished. Some might even go and take a charger or power bank, but considering the limited storage capacity of your bagpack, it won’t necessarily be feasible for everyone.
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Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Review
The first laptop on our list is the Surface Pro 7 by Microsoft. Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the Surface lineup will know exactly why we have selected it. For those who don’t know, it’s a Windows tablet with a keyboard. Unlike regular tablets, it has a full-fledged processor and other components that you would find in an actual laptop. Many people like to think of it as a laptop in a tablet disguise, which would be an accurate description. If you’re looking for a product to provide you with the best experience of both a laptop and a tablet, then you should definitely consider the Surface Pro.
As previously mentioned, the internal components are that of an actual computer rather than a tablet, providing you the power you need for your daily work. There are two processor variants. The base version comes with a Quad-core 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-1035G4 and spending just a bit more will get you the Intel Core i7-1065G7 Processor (4 Core, 8 Thread, 1.30-3.90Ghz). Both of these are capable CPUs and your selection will depend on your workflow, how long you’re planning to keep your device for and how much you’re willing to spend. Rest assured, that these are both more than powerful enough to handle all types of tasks, and they trump any processor from the past. You even get Intel Iris Plus integrated graphics which can easily perform any graphical demanding task such as playing video games, graphic design, etc. Performance is one area where you will have no trouble.
Even in terms of RAM and storage, you are given multiple options. You get 8 GB of RAM with the lower i5 variant while the i7 gets 16 GB. The RAM type is LPDDR4x RAM, so even it is extremely fast and will make your computer feel snappy and responsive. As for storage, you get either 128 GB or 256 GB with the i5 or 256 GB and 512 GB with the i7. The storage form is SSD, so loading times will almost be non-existent. I would recommend getting at least 256 GB unless you’re absolutely certain that you won’t require more than 128 GB or if you have some form of external storage device.
The screen is a 12.3″ Touchscreen (10 Point Multi-Touch) 2736 x 1824 Resolution with Active Pen Support. 12.3 inches is the perfect size for note taking, as it is similar to the size of a regular A4 size paper thus giving a more familiar writing experience. It is bright, sharp and has vivid color and most people won’t find any problems with it. Since all the hardware is fits into a body that is also the same size as the screen, the portability is fantastic. The highlight of his device is definitely the pen support. You can buy the Surface pen separately, which in combination with the fluidity of the interface will provide you an experience you never imagined before. The stylus is definitely top of the line and is performs on par with other competitors. As a matter of fact, most people regard the Surface Pro 7 to have the best stylus among all!
The port selection is one of the only disappointing things with this laptop. It comes with 1 x USB-C®,1 x USB-A, 3.5 mm headphone jack, 1 x Surface Connect port connector for charging, and a MicroSD card reader. Compared to other laptops, it is certainly lacking, but considering the absolute portability and power it offers, this is something we can definitely live with, since most of the essential ports are already provided. The surface connector is a magnetic charging port used alongside its proprietary charger. However, since USB-C is becoming the norm now, you’re given an alternate charging option using that port. Some other feature includes a webcam for video calls, a front camera which is useful for scanning documents and facial recognition for easy login using Windows Hello.
The exact dimensions of this laptop are 12.80 x 2.68 x 9.21 inches and it weighs 1.70 pounds. You will also probably use an additional keyboard cover and stylus, which will add to the overall bulk, but despite all that, this is one of the most portable laptops you will ever own and will be perfect for carrying around everywhere. The battery life is advertised as lasting 10 hours, but users report close to 5 hours which is subpar. However, considering the portability of this laptop, bringing an additional battery bank or charger won’t be much of a problem.
|Extremely lightweight||Average battery life|
|Stunning design||Lack of ports|
|Multiple different options|
Lenovo Flex 5 Review
If you’re looking for something which looks more like a Laptop, then we recommend getting the Lenovo Flex 5. It is a traditional 2-in-1 laptop done right. It can be used in many different orientations, like in regular laptop mode, tablet mode, or you can even use the keyboard section as a stand. Most people will appreciate the laptop mode for productivity and tablet mode for note taking. Speaking of note taking, there is a stylus included with your perfect which works out perfectly. However, those used to writing on paper may take a few weeks to adjust, but once you get used to it then you will really appreciate the flexibility it provides.
It is powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U mobile processor with integrated Radeon graphics. A few years back you wouldn’t have seen AMD compete with Intel, but in recent times, they have caught up with the competition and even surpassed it. The processor along with its graphics will be just as good as its i5 counterpart if not better. Not only is this device perfect for note taking, it is also excellent for many other intensive applications such as graphic designing and gaming. Most people will have no problems with the performance, so we highly recommend that you go for it.
Along with the powerful processor, you also get 16GB of DDR4 RAM, which will be more than enough for anything you throw at it and will definitely future proof your entire setup. The RAM is soldered on, that means it isn’t user upgradeable, but we doubt anyone would feel the need to increase it anyway. You only get 256 GB of storage, which might be a bit less for some people, but you can connect an external storage device that won’t cost you much. Luckily, you get an SSD so programs will feel much snappier than if you were to have a hard drive.
The display is a 14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS touchscreen with extremely narrow bezels, providing an excellent viewing experience, which is just as good as any other laptop on the market. The 14-inch size is also the perfect size which makes it small enough to be portable, yet large enough to feel like an actual laptop. It is 250 nits and bright enough to work on outdoors as well, which is also partly because the screen itself isn’t glossy.
Despite the laptop being thin and light it has a decent selection of ports. You get 2 USB-A, 1 USB-C, an HDMI port, an SD card reader, a headphone jack, and a separate charging port. It has a ton of other features, like a serviceable webcam, a pretty nice backlit keyboard with 2 brightness levels and a finger print scanner for secure access. Nowadays we are living in an era, where getting spied on is easy. Someone may be able to hack your laptop and use the webcam to spy on you. Luckily, Lenovo has thought of that and added a shutter to cover the camera when not in use. This is also especially useful during Video calls, in which you don’t want to show your own video. To save you from the embarrassment of accidentally turning on the camera, this feature can be really useful. It also eradicates the need for tapes over webcams, which leave a residue.
The Lenovo Flex 15 comes in at 12.66 x 8.56 x 0.82 inches and weighs 3.63 pounds, which is a bit heavier than normal 14-inch laptops, but not so heavy that carrying it becomes an issue. The battery life is rated at 10 hours, and in real-world usage, it provides about 8 hours which is excellent and won’t require you to bring the charger everywhere you go. Moreover, you get fast charging which can top up your laptop from 0 to 80 percent in only an hour. To conclude, we think that this machine is a great option with features that hold their ground even against devices twice its price.
|Great price||Low storage|
|Stunning design||Non-Upgradeable RAM and storage|
|Stylus included||Slightly large|
|Astounding battery life|
HP Pavilion x360 Review
The final laptop on our list is the HP Pavilion 14 Convertible. It is very similar to the Lenovo Flex 15, as it has the same form factor and can be used in the same orientations as well. One of the only differences is that the stylus isn’t included, but you can get it for fairly cheap. Considering you’re mainly buying the laptop for notetaking; we think it is a necessary feature. Other than that, everything else like the hinge and touch feel is just as perfect as one would expect it to be.
As for the technical bit, the Pavilion comes with a 10th Generation Intel(R) Core (TM) i5-1035G1, Quad-Core, 1.0 GHz base frequency, up to 3.6 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology. It is very similar to the i5 on the Surface and will definitely not provide any problems. Like the AMD, it also has Intel Integrated Iris Plus Graphics, which makes it a very capable machine.
Along with the powerful processor and graphics, you are provided with 8 GB of 3200 MHz DDR-4 RAM, which unfortunately isn’t upgradable. However, this isn’t much of a problem as 8 GB should be more than enough in handling multi-tasking and other intensive tasks for the next few years. What is upgradable is the storage, however, considering the large 512 GB PCIe(R) NVMe(TM) M.2 SSD, which is not only plentiful but is also really quick, the overall experience is much more responsive and smooth. It can easily handle real-world tasks, like having several browser tabs open, along with a few heavy applications. Rest assured, this laptop won’t provide any limitations in terms of performance.
The screen is a 14.0-inch diagonal HD, IPS, micro-edge, WLED-backlit, multitouch-enabled, edge-to-edge glass touch screen display; 80% screen to body ratio which is absolutely stunning to look at and is the perfect size. You even get the option to upgrade to a Full-HD (1920 x 1080), which we highly recommend as it would make the picture quality much sharper and will enhance the viewing experience.
One would expect a touch screen on a laptop with all these features to be unresponsive and jittery however, that’s not the case here. You get a smooth feeling touch, which feels like an actual tablet or smartphone rather than a 2 in 1, making writing with the stylus an amazing experience. The one complaint that people had was that the visibility is a bit difficult in really bright conditions, such as being outdoors with direct sunlight. While it is brighter than the previous model, at 265 nits, the highly reflective coating makes the visibility fairly low. Considering the quality is absolutely stunning indoors, and most of your note taking is done inside, it shouldn’t be a real problem
Even the port selection is perfect and won’t provide any problems. You are provided with 2 USB-A (3.0) ports, one super-fast USB-C (3.1), 1 HDMI, SD card reader, headphone jack, and a power port for charging. As you may have noticed that this laptop even shares the port selection with our previous entry. There are many more features that make the x360 better than a lot of its competitors. A few of them include Wi-Fi 6 connection, fingerprint reader for secure access, backlit keyboard for typing in, an above-average webcam, and even Amazon Alexa built-in.
The HP Pavilion x360’s dimensions are 8.78 x 12.76 x 0.81 inches and weighs 3.5 pounds, which is the perfect balance between light, yet sturdy. The battery is claimed, by the manufacturer, to last for about 8 hours to 10 hours, depending on your usage. Unfortunately, users have reported a much lower battery life of approximately 4 hours. This might be a bit lacking for many people, but luckily the included charger can top the battery up from 0 to 50 percent in 30 minutes, hence it makes up for that.
Overall, this is an excellent device, which provides top of the line performance and many other unique features, not seen in other laptops, which make it an almost perfect device for anyone who is into digital note-taking.
|Amazing performance for the price||Average battery life|
|Beautiful design||Reflective display|
These three laptops are all great for what they do and almost everyone will be happy with either of these. However, sadly, there can only be one winner amongst them.
Digital note-taking has a lot of advantages over its physical counterpart. Firstly, less paper is used therefore it is better for the environment. Anyone who is in school has probably experienced having mountains of notebooks piling up. Not only do they require hundreds of trees to be cut down, but also take a lot of space, which can be avoided by simply having a 2 in 1 laptop. Moreover, all your notes for every subject will be in one place for convenient usage. Even if you don’t have your laptop with you, you can still view them by uploading them to the Cloud.
If you wish to write on a worksheet, you can just use the annotation feature. Even if you don’t have a PDF of it, you can use an app for scanning like Cam Scanner or Adobe scanner. It also makes submitting assignments that much easier. You can also use it to sign digital documents, without actually printing, signing and then scanning them again. One slight downside of writing on a screen is that it doesn’t have the same “feel” as writing on a paper. However, unless you’re a purist, you’ll eventually get used to it in a matter of days. Considering this is going to be the norm in the future, everyone should move onto digital note taking.
Below, we have summarized everything good and bad about every laptop, so you can get a good idea of what we are talking about. In the end, the winner is stated, along with why we put it there.
The first laptop we reviewed is the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. This is unarguably one of the most innovative laptops out there. Calling it a Windows tablet would be more appropriate. If you are aware of the tablet world, you would realize that anything other than the iPad is considered trash due to bad optimizations and internals. Luckily, this isn’t the case here. Since the device is made by Microsoft, who makes the Windows Operating system, there are no optimization issues. Somehow, they also managed to fit pretty exceptional internals within the small body. Moreover, the inclusion of an amazing keyboard makes it a complete package. Sadly, you don’t get the keyboard or stylus included, but considering everything else you get, it isn’t that bad of an offer.
The next laptop is the Lenovo Flex 15. While one might not find anything too spectacular in this laptop, as compared to other 2-in-1s, but it does plenty right. It nails all the basics and has very few flaws making it an excellent laptop. The inclusion of a pen also makes it perfect for making digital notes. Moreover, the low-price tag makes it an extremely tempting option for many people. One of the only downsides this has is the low, non-upgradeable storage. However, if you can live with that, this machine will definitely serve you well for the years to come.
Lastly, comes the HP Pavilion 14 Convertible. It is surely a noteworthy laptop, with a well-executed 2 1 form factor. Not only that, it managed to provide excellent performance and features. It has everything one would expect, plus an addition of a stylus would make it the perfect machine for writing notes and overall easier navigation, and will also serve you well in media consumption. If you can live with a subpar battery life, this machine will definitely be a good pick for you.
Despite the fierce competition, we believe one laptop managed to be a cut above the rest. The one we are talking about is the Microsoft Surface. A mixture of an innovative design and form factor, which you won’t find anywhere else, as well as being perfect in everything else, makes this laptop the winner. However, since it also costs a bit more than all the other, you can go with the Lenovo Flex 15 if you are on a budget, as it is filled with exciting and useful features that are hard to find in most modern laptops of our time!