Notepad+ Review

Notepad+ Review

Aug 14, 2014

For the mobile-centric person, it helps to have a quick method of entering notes. Notepad+ looks to be a intuitive solution.

The opening interface is fairly simple, and the developer does a good job of making the app feel intuitive off the bat. After installing, the huge plus (+) sign within a larger rectangle rests to the top left of the screen, and tapping it opens the main notebook/album page. Here, one can choose to enter a note by handwriting by finger or typing entries via device keyboard. The notebook title can also be selected, along with paper style from several offered types.

The handwriting feature is great for quick entries with a minimum of prior touches, and is quite easy to note1manipulate. It allows for several different colors and line thicknesses to be used, so one can “write” with different colored “ink” too. As most hand/finger-writing tools, block lettering is probably easier to decipher than cursive. Of course, one can draw objects with this entry method as well.

One unique feature is said method of entering typed text. When the text icon is selected, the user is prompted to tap on a free part of the screen, and, when performed, an adjustable text box appears in which the typed text can be placed. For customization feens, Notepad+ covers the bases: text font and colors can be adjusted via the adjustment tools that appear above the keyboard.

A notebook or album can have multiple pages within; to enter a second page, just swipe across the page to start a second note, and so on and so forth. This is useful for blocks of ideas, or categorized groups of entries. As an added bonus, notebooks can be assigned a four digit password for privacy.

The app provides share functionality, and incorporates the expected tools: email, bluetooth, messaging and more. It gave every share possible app on our test device as an option to send with.

The app is pretty good, but this leads to my biggest gripe: the lack of sync functionality. It begs to be used across devices, and I would have loved a common repository of notes. The share functionality somewhat alleviates this concern.

As a standalone app, I works well, and feels quite worth the $1.99 asking price.

StackNotes Review

StackNotes Review

Aug 27, 2013

A good, mobile note-taking app is essential these days, and that is what StackNotes is banking on. Its developers clearly want folks to depend on it, and the simple, clean design seems to attest to that.

In the free stack, there are a few customization options. Starting with themes, you can select from Jellybean, Classic, Safari or Princess, with a few more available to Pro users.

The truly refreshing thing about this application is the design. The filing structure stacks… virtually, that is. This “stacking” style was interestingly intuitive, and works quite well within the gestural precepts that govern the app. To create a basic note, you create a folder (or tap one that is already created) and go to town. From the main stack1interface, existing folders are presented, a swipe to the right reveals the menu, from which new folders can be created. The parent folders have a number count beside the text listing which indicates the number of notes stacked therein.

To create a note, simply tapping on the folder invokes a slide-to page from which a new note can be added. The new note can be titled, and there are buttons to toggle emoji and even simple alarms. From the in-note menu, it is possible to add in audio, handwritten (or stylus-written) text in five possible colors, or a picture from gallery. It’s nice that if one is feeling especially artistic, it is possible to invoke the device camera from within the app and work from there. Such seemingly little features add up to increase the overall functionality of the note taking app.

The elephants in the room occupied by any note-taking app residing in Android-land are probably Evernote and Google Keep; a big part of the effectiveness of those apps is arguably the cloud syncing they offer. StackNotes provides this as well; there is a web portal that provides access to notes synced to its servers. The application offers a Pro set of features, which allows for unlimited sync and an extra batch of themes, but does feel quite useful in the free iteration.

StackNotes is a fine option in a stacked field, and earns big ups from for minimalist effectiveness.

Google Keep Review

Google Keep Review

Mar 22, 2013

A lot of people — the whole wide world, seemingly — are not too happy with Google’s decision to discontinue its popular Reader application.

If Google Keep (it’s newly unveiled cloud-supported note taking app) is supposed to be a mea culpa, Google might already be back in our hearts.

Maybe.

The Android note-taking space is not sparse by any means. There are plenty of note apps, and the competition creates a very high bar. Google’s last offering, Notebook was okay, but lacked oomph. Thus, even Google needs a pretty good offering to stay abreast. Keep, I think, does that.

Simplicity, Google’s oft-repeated mantra, is clearly at work here. The interface is clean, with minimalist undertones that seemingly beg to be filled with information. The default light grays and whites combined well. Per user interface, the app allowed for dual panes or a single line of notes, and I was also able to personalize notes by switching background color.

The “simple” looks translated to the on-screen controls as well, with the developers opting for a regular entry button, a check box marker, a microphone for dictated text and a control to invoke the camera for imaged notes. In real-world tests, the entry sequences were smooth and intuitive. The audio functionality worked very well, which was key for me; many of my note entries are dictated, so accuracy is important. I liked that i could archive notes by swiping and toggle check boxes on the fly.

I think the true strength of Keep is it functionality. Google makes the app sync to Google Docs, which is a positive if you have already started using Google Docs. I love the ability to look up and access and/or edit files on the go. It worked well with my device’s share functionality; it pulled in actual text from the note into the my calendar app, instead of a link to the note url as one leading note app does. Now, I would loved to see it pull information from the app, liked entered dates, to create a true calendar entry. Street addresses entered into the app became clickable links that automatically invoked the map app; phone numbers pulled up the dialer. A resizeable widget adds to the overall appeal.

I would have loved for a filing convention of some sort, but barebones is barebones.

Time will tell if Keep will develop a following. It has plenty of upside, but the cool thing is that it seems to be so useful already.