Personally, my main subjects have been law, languages and literature. I rarely had to draw diagrams etc, it was all text. In this case a laptop (or a PDA with a good folding keyboard like my original Palm Portable Keyboard) is ideal. It's just so much faster to type and it requires much less effort. As an added bonus, you can actually read the notes afterwards.
I don't consider myself super fast but in most situations I can write down word for word what someone says. It doesn't require much concentration and I can sort of bypass the brain so I can reflect on the things said as well.