Private tablet for note-taking (iPad vs Pixel Tablet)

Hi there PrivacyGuides community. I’m a university student looking for a secure and private way to take notes digitally. The best options I could find are either an iPad or a Pixel Tablet running GrapheneOS (supports third party USI 2.0 styluses). Which would be the best option here? The iPad has Apple Notes built in so I don’t have to trust any third parties for the note taking app. But, the GrapheneOS Pixel Tablet is the more private option, albeit with meager private note-taking app options. I’d love to hear your takes on it.

Android tablets aren’t even close to the experience that you will have on an iPad. This is especially the case if you are using it for note taking / drawing. The Apple Pencil is really fantastic for taking notes and you don’t have to worry about charging it as it connects and charges magnetically on your iPad.

I would strongly suggest getting a 2nd generation Apple Pencil as the USB-C/1st gen one doesn’t have wireless charging which is quite annoying.

I’d say if you are using it only for school work and taking notes on school related tasks, there isn’t really much difference in choosing an iPad over a Pixel Tablet.

The Pixel tablet also isn’t really a great tablet in my opinion, it doesn’t have great performance especially when you can get the iPad Air with Apple Silicon for a similar price.

Another thing is how smoothly things work, generally if you just need to take notes you want things to “just work” so you can get down what you need. Third party stylus can have problems with pairing and I feel like they are not really as intuitive as the Apple Pencil.

There’s always the option of using pen and paper that would probably be a good private option too.

Probably your best bet is:

  • iPad Air + Apple Pencil 2 (best all round)
  • iPad 10th gen + Apple Pencil USB-C (budget option)

Apple also has student discounts so you can get a price reduction if you decide to go with an iPad.

1 Like

Thanks for your input. This is what I was leaning more towards, just for the better experience. Part of me still wanted to get the Pixel Tablet because of the freedom that Android provides, in case I want to use it for other things as well. But, I think in this case, Apple’s restrictive nature might actually be a benefit. It means I can focus in on my schoolwork without getting easily distracted. The privacy aspect still bothers me, but I will have to bear with it. At least it’s better than a Samsung Tab I guess. I can still be swayed toward a Pixel Tablet, though. The privacy of GrapheneOS is still incredibly appealing.

1 Like

I’m not entirely sold on the idea for stylus when a folio keyboard can take down notes faster (I am almost certain all people at this point have a faster typing WPM vs a writing WPM). I suppose I could submit to the idea that you can have both folio keyboard and a stylus as well.

The problem with an Android tablet, I am not sure if the people making apps on F-Droid has a tablet layout in mind, meaning the UI and UX might be horrible if ever it is functioning.

The funny thing is, if you have a laptop and a voice transcription AI (assuming the lecture is in english), you can have a faster typing experience at the speed of the lecturer’s voice.

The best of all world it seems is a Linux laptop with a touchscreen and stylus? I once had a Lenovo with both features back then but I never actually had a note taking use case for it.


The main reason you’d take down handwritten notes instead of typed notes despite the speed advantage is that you have better recall of the content you’re noting down[1]

  1. here is a random recent study that shows this, though there are also older ones with the same conclusion ↩︎


There are also some things that arent easy to type (mathematical expressions, figures, etc)


Interested to know if AI can encode these properly? I mean surely it can, right?