What's the perfect device for reading and marking things up on the go?
July 11, 2018 7:23 AM   Subscribe

I'm often in long commutes and have a lot of PDFs and other files that I need read. What's the best device for reading, highlighting and taking down notes in the margins? A few more requirements inside.

Ultimately, I'm tired of carrying around tons of print outs that get damaged or lost, and I'd like to have all my files easily accessible. Ideally, the device would be light, durable and sport a stylus.

I use a mac, but wouldn't mind if the device isn't an iOS device.

Thanks for any suggestions!
posted by wallawallasweet to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I like my iPad, pencil, and the Notability app. Goodnotes is another good app for that. But essential for me was an app that allowed markup of a pdf, and converted handwritten notes to exportable and searchable text. Everything is backed up to the cloud and I don't have to worry about losing anything. Plus, I can export out my annotations and use them in my research.
posted by teleri025 at 7:57 AM on July 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: iPad + Apple Pencil is excellent for marking up PDFs. I also like notability a lot—it’s my go to app these days. GoodNotes is decent also; I think pdfExpert is also pretty good. I used to use iAnnotate pre-pencil but i haven’t used it recently.
posted by leahwrenn at 8:35 AM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: iPad Pro+Apple Pencil+Dropbox+PDFExpert
posted by grouse at 8:49 AM on July 11, 2018

Best answer: There is a new Surface coming out on 8/2 that is $400 for 32 GB and it includes the stylus.
posted by soelo at 9:36 AM on July 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you want to compare documents at all, or multi-task, I recommend the smaller Surface. I have an older model that's about the same size, and the desktop OS makes a big difference for getting stuff done when/where I want. For me it was much more natural to go from working with hardcopy to virtual in a fully featured OS.
posted by Verba Volant at 12:14 AM on July 12, 2018

Best answer: Nthing the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil combo. I have The Big One (12.9) and it can show a whole letter size PDF on the screen at a little under 300 dpi. The pencil performance is unparalleled. It’s big and slightly cumbersome sometimes; you might prefer the 10.5 inch model, but I couldn’t imagine anything smaller after having the big one.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 5:43 AM on July 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh, and I have a Surface for work, not the new one, but the Surface 4. The handwriting recognition in the native Microsoft apps is not awesome. Nebo is the only one that is worth using for handwriting recognition and it doesn't do pdf markup. I actually bring my iPad to work to read relevant documents, mark them up in notability and then save them to the cloud. I can get at the marked up versions at work fairly easy but the Surface is not as strong as the iPad. Also, the battery life blows.
posted by teleri025 at 3:14 PM on July 12, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks for the valuable insights, including the info on apps that I had not considered~ I will go with the iPad+pencil.
posted by wallawallasweet at 8:26 PM on July 12, 2018

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