Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 for Note Taking


Tablets are a mobile alternative to desktop computers mainly because they are light to carry and have touch-based input hardware. Current tablet versions can transform into laptops with the aid of detachable keyboards.

Most tablets in the market feature stylus support. While styluses are an accessory for some tablet-users, there are an essential tool for people who take notes and do graphic design and illustrations. For business people, handwritten notes are risky because they can be lost or misplaced. Digital scripts can be backed up on clouds for easy access. Students can also make use of tablets to take class notes.

Getting the right pen depends on attributes like fluidity, pressure sensitivity, and smoothness. Buying a tablet to fit your needs will also be determined by the pen support of the device and its responsiveness to taking notes.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is among the market’s best android tablets for scribbling and drawing. Among many of its winning capabilities is that the stylus does not depend on a battery and it boasts 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. It is marketed to business users interested in increasing mobility and productivity. The device’s design is flexible enough to be used at a co-working space as well as at a coffee shop.

Taking Notes with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

This 10.5-inch Samsung flagship is packed with several essential features including Samsung DeX which gives it PC properties. To access this option, you can incorporate the optional keyboard or link the device to a monitor through an HDMI adapter. The tablet is designed to satisfy the needs of enterprise users with capabilities like a 2560 x 1600 super AMOLED screen. This panel is among the largest in the market, and Samsung displays colorful wallpapers to attest to the device’s 287 PPI density.

Its 7,300mAh battery guarantees a maximum of 16 hours of video playback which is a welcome upgrade from the 6,000mAh available on the Tab S3.

With this flagship, Samsung replaced the home buttons in favor of slimmer bezels and a larger screen. A face and iris scanner are the unlocking features fitted on the tablet. There are four Dolby Atmos-optimized and AKG-tuned speakers on the top and bottom which sound excellent.

The Tab S4 is supplemented by a Samsung pen with every purchase ( The stylus allows a user to not only write on the screen but to also navigate through quick menu options. A Screen-off Memo option will let you take notes on the fly while you can dispatch personalized messages using Samsung Live Message. Air Command will enable you to access shortcuts to such popular apps such as PENUP and Screen Write. To activate Air Command, tap the pen’s button while it is close to the tab and check the pen icon than materializes on the edge of the screen. Tap the plus icon to add shortcuts.

The Samsung Pen is compatible with numerous popular applications including:

  • Squid- Squid makes good use of the S pen with several features designed for power users. The app is completely vector-based such that you can resize your notes depending on your preferences without compromising on quality. It has quick selection options to export notes as PDF and copy/paste selections between pages. There is also a digital whiteboard feature perfect for conferences although you would require Chromecast or Miracast. There is minimal lag when using the S pen with Squid and palm rejection works very well.
  • Bamboo Paper- Bamboo Paper is a digital notebook by Wacom. Samsung has been packing their devices with digital notebooks that track the pen pressure applied on the panel as well as pen tilt. It offers more features than those of a basic note-taking applicationwith creative options that let you express concepts with paint and ink and annotate ideas with photos. Bamboo Paper captures a user’s handwriting quite well and it is incredibly responsive.
  • Nebo- Nebo is designed to improve productivity, and it works seamlessly with the S Pen. The app is available for purchase on the app store. You can structure your scribbles with bulleted lists, create titles, and paragraphs and convert them into HTML format, text, or Word. You can also add interactive diagrams, sketches, equations, and calculations.
  • INKredible- INKredible is another responsive and accurate app for taking notes. There are no controls on the screen formost of the writing time so you can write without distractions. Your scribbles will be converted to a vector graphic which when printed will be of top-notch quality.

Pros and Cons of using the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 for Note Taking

One of the Tab S4’s major selling point is the Samsung pen. It looks like a real pen and has a comfortable grip. It does not need to be charged which is a great move for Samsung in comparison to the competition. It has an action button on the side and a fine point for writing. The pen’s pressure-sensitiveness makes it accurate for note-taking, and it works well with apps designed to respond to high levels of pressure.

The fact that the stylus is not charged and comes with the tab is also a win among users. The tab does not have a place for the pen to be fitted, however, and you should be careful so that you do not lose it. It has a slot on the optional keyboard.

One con of the Galaxy Tab S4 is the DeX mode. It is a UI with a windowed-interface where you can have several apps open simultaneously. The mode has bugs, however, as there is lag when a lot of apps are opened at once. The performance when writing is similar to that of theSamsung Galaxy Tab S3 which is much cheaper than the Tab S4.

Other Good Tablets for Taking Notes

Here are some great alternatives to Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 for taking notes:

1. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

This device sports a 9.7-inch beautiful AMOLED display which enables HDR content. The S pen is coupled with the tab, a characteristic which edges out the competitive 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It also weighs lighter than the iPad alternative. The device’s body is made of glass with 4mm thickness, and you can opt for a case to bulk it up a bit. Its home button is fingerprint-sensitive.

The S pen on the tab is larger than those in Note phones and Chromebooks, and it has a flat design with a clip. Its 0.7mm tip is made of rubber while its side button is used to bring up the Air Command tools. Other tools that can be accessed using the pen include Notes, Screen Write, Translate, Magnify, and Smart Select.

The thick S pen enables easy drawing, and the handwriting is naturally good. It captures all angles which is especially ideal for shading. The pen does not depend on charging, and you can purchase the keyboard for the loop to store the pen. The device’s four speakers are AKG-tuned rated at 0.64W.

2. Google Pixel Slate 12.3ʺ

This device is a product of Google, and it runs on the Chrome OS operating system. It is fairly light and thin at 1.6 pounds and packs 128GB and 8GB of RAM. The screen is undoubtedly the show-stealing part of the tab with a display of 3,000 ×2,000 which is extremely colorful thanks to a high pixel density. It is covered by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 with a 3:2 aspect ratio. This device has two unique offerings. A fingerprint scanner is integrated into the power button while the keyboard has round keys. It also has front-firing speakers commonly included in laptops and not tablets.

Google offers an optional keyboard with the Slate. The Chrome OS has been reconfigured to work seamlessly with the touchscreen, but it still works best with traditional input equipment. The keyboard employs powerful magnets to make the device static and make it easy for use. To draw or write, you can purchase the Pixelbook Pen. The pen performs well with minimal lag in apps like Nebo, Squid, and Autodesk SketchBook. Others apps, like Keep by Google, respond slowly. Google promises 12 video playback hours, and it generally offers good battery performance.

3. Apple iPad 2018

The Apple iPad 2018 is an upgrade of the 2017 model and is among the most affordable iPads. It packs a 2.3GHz A10 processor. The 9.7-inch falls short of the display on the iPad pro, but it offers decent output with accurate colors. It would not be ideal, however, for extremely-detailed video editing or design work. The stereo speakers function fine although you should not expect the same sound as those of the iPad pro. An 8 MP camera has been fitted on the device’s rear, and it takes good images in decent light. It shoots Live Photos and Full HD videos. It offers about 11 hours of screen time at half of the brightness level which is adequate.

The device’s screen supports the Apple Pencil which packs the necessary amounts of sensitivity you would need to draw, take notes, sketch, and markup photos or documents. The pencil is smooth and fast although it will cost extra to purchase. You can use the Notepad or the iWork Suite to scribble notes. The stylus requires concentrated levels of penmanship to write on the Notepad app. It is however perfect for artistic users.


The market is saturated with Android tablets and Samsung aimed at standing out with the Galaxy Tab S4. Business users will find a lot of uses for the device, especially with presentation and training videos. These power users will also appreciate the battery life and the 256 GB storage. The note-taking experience, however, compares similarly to that of the Tab S3 which is more affordable.

Featured Image: Flickr

Lin - TabletAdvice

Lin Yang

Lin is a senior editor of TabletAdvice. She creates helpful guides and helps people in finding the best tablet that fits their needs and budget.

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