There are a lot of great posts on this subject! I am definitely going to steal some of them I went through the same debate with my boyfriend before purchasing a netbook ( Asus eeePC 1000HA) because I was not computer literate at all! Since buying my net book and using it for class, not only have my notetaking skills vastly improved, so have my typing, computer skills, and test grades. I wouldn't go to class without it. Netbooks are fantastic because they are small, convenient,cost effective ( mine was roughly 325.00), and have a reliable battery life. They do have their limitations ( no optical drive, limited memory, etc.) though and I would thoroughly research them to find the right one for you. I found the best information on amazon ( pay attention to the reviews, comments, and disscussion forums. They tell you all kinds of tricks to get the most use out of your particular model) and cnet.com
That being said, my professors never had a problem with laptops in class ( in fact a couple of them commented on hwo tiny my netbook was!) and most laptop's keyboards are especially quiet so the clicking isn't a problem either. Once I got familiar with the netbook, notetaking was a snap and I was able to listen to the professor more. Handwriting vs. typing your notes really is a matter of personal preference and learning style, but try it both ways to see what fits.
Also, I would never record a professor without asking permission first. Some of them are really opposed to it ( understandably) and all of them are grateful ( at least at my school ) for the courtesty you show when you ask.