If you've ever been without a scrap of paper or a sticky note when you needed to jot something down, you know how frustrating it can be. But here's the good news: The
best digital notepads out there are sleek, easy to carry, and can even eliminate the need for paper altogether.
Most digital notepads can be placed in one of two categories: paper or all-digital. The more
analog notepads use actual paper on a special clipboard or pad which "reads" what you're writing or drawing based on the amount of pressure you put on the page. The all-digital options, however, are just that: You use a special stylus to draw or write directly on the pad. One option isn't necessarily better than the other; it just depends on your personal preference.
You'll also want to consider the size of your notepad before you buy. There are nearly as many size options for digital notepads as there are for traditional ones, so think about which notepads you tend to use the most. And if you're an artist, you may even want to consider a
wide-surface notepad so you can expand your drawings.
There are so many options out there that it can be tough to choose the
best digital notepad for you. Here's a round-up of some excellent picks to help you narrow down the decision.
The Best Paper Option: Wacom Bamboo Slate Smart Digital Notepad
analog-digital combo notepad gives you the sense of putting pen to paper with a tech-savvy twist. Like a traditional notebook, you do all of your writing on paper on a slim, paper notepad. The sensor beneath the pad registers the amount of pressure and letter formation on the page, and the pad allows you to save all your writing at the push of a button before turning the page. Within the app, you can choose different writing styles, instruments, stroke thicknesses, or colors to further customize your work. There's even an option to digitally edit the text you wrote on paper. Even better, you can get it in one of three colors, and two different sizes. According to one reviewer: "After getting to know the system a bit, I am very happy with this product. It was easy to set up, I love the app and I am able to take notes on real paper but not have to lug a notebook or tablet around with me to access them. So far I have no problems with syncing or staying connected."
The Best Digital Tablet: Boogie Board Blackboard Writing Tablet
If you're ready to ditch paper completely, this
all-digital notepad can pretty much do it all. This LCD tablet features a pressure-sensitive surface and digital stylus. The surface is ultra smooth and comes with dot, grid, and lined templates to create the illusion of multiple types of paper, and the stylus feels and operates like a writing utensil. You can even calibrate the stylus so it erases just like a pencil! It's slim, lightweight, and you can capture an image of your notes in the Boogie Board app to save on your devices for later. Fans love using this notepad for everything for story planning to calculations. According to one reviewer: "I simply LOVE the boogie board! As a preschool teacher, I find it a great tool to get the children to practice their writing without the anxiety of seeing their mistakes 'forever' on paper - just a click of a button, and it's a fresh start! It has a very natural feel, so it's great to prepare them for actual pen and paper, and it encourages a good pincer grip to hold the pencil."
The Best For Drawing: HUION New 1060 Plus Tablet
wide-surface notepad is perfect for turning your doodles digital. The working area is 10 inches by 6 inches, giving you ample space to draw without feeling crowded. It also features 12 express keys to make it even easier to sketch, and the software supports both left- and right-handed artists. There's even a built-in memory card port so you can save all your art and import it to your computer in a snap. Plus, this tablet's software is compatible with all major graphics applications including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and more. Artists of all levels absolutely love this tablet. According to one reviewer: "This is just a fabulous tablet. I can say that this tablet is worth every penny. The construction is very solid, and the active area has a pleasant texture to write on. The included accessories, especially the extra nibs, are a nice touch. Overall, I highly recommend this tablet. For $80, I don't think a better product exists. For most graphic design and digital drawing work, this tablet is more than capable of meeting your needs."
The Most Compact: NEWYES Pocket Pad LCD Writing Tablet
mini digital tablet is a perfect fit for your pocket or purse. With about 8.5 inches of writing area, it's just the right size to jot down a quick note when you're on the go. It also comes with a stylus you can use to draw or write. And when you're finished, you can clear the screen with a tap of a button to start all over again. The only bummer is there's no storage space on this device, so you'll need to snap a picture of your notes before you erase. According to one reviewer: "This is a slim little tablet that is easy to carry around and perfect for our kitchen countertop. It makes it very easy to exchange messages and take notes without wasting paper. It comes with a battery installed and an extra battery for replacement. It works well and is totally silent."