The new tablets, like the iPad or the Galaxy Tab, are powerful beasts that can nearly do everything you can imagine. You can browse the web, play games, watch movies, read books, check emails and, yes, you can also draw and capture handwritten notes on these devices.

These tablets have a gorgeous screen, the feature set is impressive but some people may have a very different requirement. All they need is a simple low-cost slate that can replace their paper notebook. They want to write down notes, brainstorm ideas (instead of using a paper napkin), sketch and do everything else that’s possible with a pen and a paper.

If you are also on a look-out for similar tablets, here are some options to consider:

noteslate

1. NoteSlate

The most impressive option of them all, at least on paper, is NoteSlate. This is a $99 basic e-ink tablet that is almost the size of an A4 sheet and looks perfect for writing and sketching. There’s a Save button to preserve your notes and the device has built-in WiFi / USB to help you transfer notes to your computer.

The problem – NoteSlate developers promised 29th June as the shipping date but the promising drawing tablet is still nowhere in sight. Their Facebook page has 16k fans but some are disappointed enough to call this device “Notes Late”  instead of “NoteSlate.”

2. Boogie Board

The next tablet to consider, which is real and also readily available, is Boogie Board – this works exactly like a physical slate, is 1/4” thin and costs a mere $30.

Think of Boogie Board as a black LCD screen and you can use anything – a pen, your finger nail or even a metal spoon – to write on that screen. The writing surface is pressure sensitive so the line thickness varies depending on the amount of pressure you apply.

The downside – Boogie Board is a slate with no memory so it can’t save your notes (unless you use your camera phone). More like an Etch A Sketch for adults.

3. Asus Eee Note

The Asus Eee Note is more like the Kindle ebook reader with a pressure-sensitive touch-screen where you can write notes and draw sketches. The Eee Note also has an integrated 2-megapixel camera and a voice recorder to help you capture audio and pictures into your handwritten notes.

Great features but with a $250 price tag (see eBay), the Eee Note tablet may not offer enough value for money.

The NoteSlate is obviously the most interesting tablet in this particular category but unless we get an  update on the development status, NoteSlate could be just another vaporware.