Best hardware for OneNote & Windows Ink

Copper Contributor

Can anyone recommend a laptop or 2 in 1 that you feel has the best experience using a Windows pen/Windows Ink perspective? I am primarily using productivity apps like Office. I want to spend $1200 or less.

2 Replies

I gotta recommend the Surface Pro (not the laptop). Here's why:

  1. Pen/Ink - the Surface Pen attaches securely to the side of the monitor and is always handy. The writing experience is really smooth and with very low latency. You also get the touchscreen and both these input methods are easier to use when the keyboard can get out of the way.

  2. Touch Cover Keyboard - I've seen several reviewers/bloggers complain about the touch cover being flimsy, but the only thing I can think is that they didn't stabilize it by lifting the keyboard up and securing it to the bottom edge of the display (magnetic). They also gripe about the fact that it's a separate purchase. The SP is my 3rd laptop. The first thing that goes on any laptop is the keyboard (my problem is wearing off the letters on the keys) and it's the most vulnerable part of the machine when it comes to spills. I'd be pissed at myself if I spilt coffee on my keyboard. Then I'd disconnect it, run to the Microsoft store and get a replacement. Less agony than if the system were beneath the permanently attached keyboard.

    I type 60+ words per minute and love doing it on the Surface Pro. BTW, I don't usually like/use trackpads, but even after a year of use, the trackpad on the SP is still glass smooth and easy to use.

    Being able to lift the Surface with one hand and flip the touch cover under and out of the way is perfect when I'm drawing, commenting, or proofreading using the pen.
  3. Dock it! I picked up a 23" monitor on a Black Friday sale and when I need a lot of real estate, I dock the SP for dual monitors and full-size keyboard. My work frequently involves data entry as well as building PowerPoint slide decks while reviewing content in Word or Excel. No laptop by itself has enough screen space.
  4. Microsoft support - These guys are fantabulous! My SP 4 was almost 2 years old, but still under extended warranty. When I had hardware trouble recently, I built a quick system image and took the SP to the Microsoft store. I was back home in less than an hour with a refurb machine (an upgrade, actually - they didn't have one on hand matching my original specs), restoring from the external backup. That wouldn't have happened if I'd bought something else from a box store.

I know the SP can quickly exceed your $1200 budget, but you'll get both a tablet and a laptop and you won't regret it. BTW, I run Microsoft Office + Project and Visio, Adobe Create Cloud apps, Visual Studio a local SQL server, and Camtasia on my SP. It never even stutters.

Colleen, thank you for your detailed and insightful response. I have always considered the SP but was concerned the current configuration would be somewhat limiting in the future (less ports, slower dual core processor). I really appreciate your real world opinion and use case and it's definitely the kind of feedback I have been looking for. I'm amazed as I have found little advice online for my specific use case and then realized that this is a little ahead of it's time. I feel confident I can move ahead with a purchase with your kind advice. - Thanks!! Michael