With the prevalence of smartphones and tablets in our current day and age, people have slowly started shifting many of their productivity tasks onto their smart devices. From scheduling to correspondence to research, smartphones and tablets have become the primary platform for many of our daily tasks. Even most forms of media consumption have been consolidated onto our smartphones and tablets. But one task wherein there’s still quite a bit of division when it comes to the platform used is writing. Many individuals are still on the fence about choosing to still do their writing with a pen and paper or switching to the more modern and technologically-advanced tablet and stylus.

Choosing between either platform is based on quite a number of reasons. And depending on the person’s priorities and needs. But even in an age where smartphones and tablets have taken priority in many of our daily activities and some have made the switch and started writing notes and documents on their tablets using a stylus, a lot of people still tend to go back and use the traditional and conventional platform of pen and paper for their writing.


One of the reasons for doing so is that writing with a pen and paper just feels more natural to the hand. Plus, it feels more accurate. This is mainly because the tip of a pen or pencil, when used on paper, is able to give us some form of feedback as we drag the pen or pencil’s tip on the sheet of paper. This in turn increases both our accuracy and comfort when writing as opposed to the almost feedback-less experience of writing with a stylus on a tablet. Writing with a pen on paper is also a lag-free experience unlike the delay or lag as well as the inaccuracy seen when using a stylus on a touchscreen.

Another significant reason why pen and paper is still better than a stylus and tablet is that the former is both faster and more versatile than the latter. Switching from a paragraph writing style to a bullet-point style to drawing simple diagrams as well as adding more random notes is way faster on a pen and paper than it is on a tablet and stylus. With tablets, switching between writing styles as well as moving from one page to another is a lot more tedious than it is using pen and paper. This makes productivity with a tablet and stylus slower than it is on pen and paper.


Additionally, using pen and paper, as opposed to tablet and stylus, doesn’t directly require batteries or external power. Tablets, and sometimes even styli, have batteries that need to be charged to operate. This limits the times and places that they can be used. Unlike pen and paper that can be used anytime and anywhere for practically an unlimited amount of time. This significantly adds to the platform’s versatility. It also makes it more preferable in a lot more situations compared to tablet and stylus.

Lastly, using pen and paper is a lot more accessible than a stylus and tablet. It has a vastly cheaper price tag compared to the more high-tech option. You will be able to purchase paper and pens at a fraction of the cost of a tablet and a stylus (some high-end styli are surprisingly expensive as well). This helps make it still more prevalent in spite of the popularity of smartphones and tablets. This is also one of the more significant reasons why pen and paper is still preferable over stylus and tablet.

Still, the advantages of using a stylus and tablet can’t be ignored. These do significantly ease some of the issues met by those who use pen and paper. These include the ability to save the document indefinitely. You’re also able to duplicate and distribute the document much easier and much faster than with pen and paper. Tablets also have the ability to hold a humongous amount of data within it, making it significantly more compact and portable than bringing along a briefcase of folders and envelopes filled with documents or a large number of notebooks or writing pads. Tablets also have the advantage of mixing multiple forms of data recording into one. This in turn can supplement the writing experience, such as combining writing with voice or video recording.


It must also be taken into account that while older generations will undoubtedly tend to prefer writing using pen and paper, the youth, who have grown up in front of computer screens and with smartphones or tablets in their hands. The young ones may tend to veer towards using a tablet and stylus. Nowadays, bigger and wealthier educational institutions have started to switch from using notebooks to giving their student tablets. This may, in the future, slowly shift the standard platform of writing and reading to digital devices. But that may still be quite far off. The number of educational institutions that still rely on pen and paper far outnumber the ones that have switched to tablet and stylus.

In spite of the advantages of tablets and styli, the benefits of using pen and paper still outweigh them significantly. The benefits of using a tablet and stylus are mostly in the realm of convenience rather than performance. This makes it easier to see past the advantages of a tablet and stylus over pen and paper. At the end of the day, until technology advances to a point where a tablet and a stylus becomes as affordable as pen and paper, the latter still has an advantage. Until they become more accessible to more people and writing on a tablet with a stylus can completely and legitimately emulate the feel of writing with a pen on paper, then the latter will still be the more preferred platform for writing. As the popular saying goes, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

About The Author

Martin Patiño
Executive Editor/Editor-in-Chief, Will Work For Games

Martin is a freelance writer and website developer. A former editor for publications like PC World and Computerworld, he now spends his time writing for his own blog, producing and hosting a YouTube show, playing video games, or watching anime.