The (Nearly) Perfect Self-Development Gear; Samsung's Tab A with S Pen, &Microsoft's OneNote (2016)

Admittedly, the iPad has been a workhorse for digital reading. However, it is less well equipped for toting along to your next live event due to its form and function. The iPad is amazing for a lot of things, but writing with a fine-tipped input device (i.e. a stylus) just isn't one of them. Sure there's the iPad Pro but we think the price tag of a little over $374 (Amazon, 02-19-17, 9.7 inch, 16 GB, WiFi)* plus the additional Apple Pencil for about $100 (Amazon on 02-19, White)* is a bit much when the Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S-Pen (Amazon, 02-19-17, 10.1 inch, 16 GB, WiFi) tablet runs $347. For the savings of about $150, you could also purchase a set of CDs or several books at that seminar you're attending.

You may be thinking that the Tab A is a sub-par performer and that the S-Pen will work like that old Palm Treo you once had (or knew someone who did). Well, it doesn't. In our use of the Tab A, it is smooth, fast, ultra-light, incredibly accurate in detecting pen strokes, and long-lasting battery performance.

We also like the footprint of the device. At just about ten inches, it fits just about anywhere and is big enough, that when writing, it's not necessary to scroll, zoom, or rotate the screen beyond the portrait orientation. It will easily fit into a backpack or shoulder bag and on your lap or table. This makes sometimes- limited live event space a breeze.

BLENDING THE TABLET WITH THE RIGHT SOFTWARE Combining the Tab A with Microsoft's OneNote makes taking, keeping, organizing, and searching through notes a dream. OneNote 2016, the version we use, is robust, accurate, flexible, and feature rich. The program allows you to take longhand notes right on the screen with a solid supply of writing options including color of digital ink for the stylus. OneNote uses a combination of notebooks and pages (which look like tabs) to keep organized. One nice feature is that OneNote doesn't require notes to be saved like traditional software which reduces the risk of losing information.

After taking longhand notes, they can be automatically synced with a desktop or laptop version of OneNote, or even a smartphone. The desktop version expands viewable space and the smartphone app makes referring to information on-the-go quick and easy. OneNote can even import images so keeping those important memories right in the notebook.

Remember one of the advantages of typed records over paper and pen? Keyword searching? Well, OneNote impressively conquers this as well because handwritten notes are searchable. That's right; longhand is searchable by OneNote which means there's no organization or retrieval performance degradation, making finding information as easy as it is to first write.

Although we have the WiFi version of the Tab A, it's not necessary to be connected to use OneNote. New notes can be taken and then later synced. Or not at all if you don't want. Getting OneNote set up through our Office 365 subscription, took about fifteen minutes to get everything working smoothly.

Samsung /Galaxy Tab A Tablet
Samsung /Galaxy Tab A Tablet

In conclusion, the advantages of taking longhand notes are significant and keeping notes offers the self-developer the ability to record important information and key concepts. The combination of Tab A with S-Pen and OneNote makes an ideal way to make notations with the ability to search for keywords even when notes have been written in longhand. This nearly perfect combination of form and function means not having to sacrifice the advantages of longhand note-taking for the ease of digital organization offered through a laptop. Lastly, the Tab A has a competitive price, and nothing needs to be added except OneNote to make the package complete. --- *We didn't include all of the technical aspects to each device because hey, everyone has Amazon and can look further into the specs. Trademarks belong to their respective owners, of course. We've mentioned them, so you'll know where to go if you're interested in additional research or to purchase, not because, of course, we claim any use.

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