I use a laptop to type my thoughts in OneNote. I prefer it over a physical notebook because of:

  • The ability to quickly copy or transfer the notes via clipboard, where it is easy to look and think on related thoughts. This provides flexibility, which is essential.
  • The uniformity of typewritten text, which makes it clear and easy to read
  • The ability to search typed text

However, there are also several disadvantages, such as the following:

  • Laptops have limited battery life, unlike physical notebooks.
  • Laptops have a significant startup time, unlike a book, which can be instantaneously used.
  • All laptops are general purpose, and have functions other than inputting thoughts. This would seem to increase both upfront and ongoing (maintenance) costs.
  • Even if I am using laptop, for typing, other programs seem to be using its resources.

Are there devices similar to Microsoft Surface, with stylus, meant only for thinking and not for any other purpose, to reduce the device cost and increase durability, similar to the focus of e-readers on reading?

I don't have experience with Chromebooks, don't seem to have Microsoft Office available. If a device with offline versions of note-taking software, like OneNote, meant only for note taking is produced, it may become very popular.

Modern laptops might be powerful to eliminate problems, but if a device meant for only writing thoughts is produced, this might get even more powerful. Is there such a device now, or is it to be produced?

  • Google has its own Office-like products, which one would use with a Chromebook.
    – user1691
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 18:38
  • Google Keep is the Google app designed for taking notes, and is usable offline. Have you considered trying dictated notes, e.g. with Google Keep on a phone, or a dedicated dictaphone? Transcription quality is often quite good these days, and you can always correct it later.
    – timuzhti
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 4:03
  • Google Docs can also be used offline.
    – freginold
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 11:31
  • @Alpha3031: Thank you for the edit and reply. Sorry, I might have been not clear, I want to write my thoughts and arrange them in a way, to allow me attain certain desired utilities, i.e. I am using OneNote for thinking. But, I will be checking the transcription quality, later when I come in need of it. I will check Google Keep now.
    – Sensebe
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 12:28
  • Refurbished laptops seem to be cheap (as low as 10,000 INR), it seems optimal to buy cheap laptops for using only OneNote. If the laptop dies, we can buy another one. These laptops do also have EMI option at round 900 INR per month. This might eliminate high maintenance and cost. And Modern laptops seem to be fast in starting up. Battery life is the only problem.
    – Sensebe
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 8:23

2 Answers 2


I might get crucified for posting this but based on your requirements the device you are looking for is called a palm pilot. There are several other knock off versions of this device.

The original Palm Pilot was released in 1996/1997. They have a stylus. You have the ability to use handwriting, handwriting to typed text and peck at an onscreen keyboard. Additionally they also have Optional Keyboards if you are not a stylus type.

Since they have been out of production for about a decade the only place you can find one is Ebay.

I don't know if you can get software support for them but it seems there are still some die hards out there that still use this device.

  • Thank you for the answer. Are there such palms with large screen?
    – Sensebe
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 1:09
  • 1
    Not to my knowledge. The issue that you face is that what you are looking for is the epitome of a Palm Pilot.
    – Jeff
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 3:19

You might want to look at Wacom Bamboo Spark/Slate/Folio


or even simpler one of those pens that convert your handwriting into digital format like these (just google top result)


and then use iPad or computer to review, search edit etc.? This is rather cheap and easily available, if it suits your needs.

If you want something like the microsoft surface, there are ereaders that allow you to write on them, like sony DPT-RP1 for example or onyx has one as well. I don't know how they perform in terms of note taking because I have not researched them as they are very expensive. I strongly belive that they will become cheap and will be everywhere in the not too distant future.

Alternatively, you could simply use the cheapest tablet you can find that supports a digitizer pen (or maybe even just a simple stylus. I don't know how well that works) like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.

  • Thank you for the answer. I am waiting for such (Oynx, Remarkable, etc) e-readers with keyboard.
    – Sensebe
    Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 1:53
  • I don't want stylus till I want to draw anything for illustrating what I am thinking. I added it as the need, as it will eliminate me drawing in paper and then inserting picture. Is stylus optimal than keyboard for text inputting? I don't know why Bamboo Folio is useful.
    – Sensebe
    Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 1:56

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