4 Replies Latest reply: Jan 14, 2011 7:15 AM by Julian Knight
beachball Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I purchased the iPad mostly to replace my hundred paper pads, i.e. to take notes in seminars and later be able to find and improve them. After my initial disappointment, I decided that in 2011 I'll make an attempt on realizing that dream. So I got a Pogo stylus and 3 note taking apps, Penultimate, Notes Plus and Note Taker HD that had been reviewed most positively in 2010.
Let me start with where these apps agree: They all allow notes to be e-mailed as pdf and transferred back and forth through iTunes, so are very basic in terms of organizational tools. One can't improve the notes on the computer, no dropbox compatibility or a computer app that goes along, I hope this will change in the future.

If the name of Penultimate was Penbasic, I'd give it 5 stars, because what the app does well is to allow occasional handwritten notes, with a fairly smooth feel to the pen strokes, six colors, 3 thicknesses and an eraser tool. Nothing else.

Notes Plus and Note Taker HD have a tool that make note taking in seminars realistic: Close-up write (called edit2 mode in Note Taker HD) lets you write in a large rectangle with the text appearing in a much smaller rectangle. As you keep writing the smaller rectangle automatically advances from left to right (and down in Notes Plus) and a note arises that is both readable and close to the size of a letter, hurra! This mode has also built-in wrist protection that works well.

Notes Plus and Note Taker HD both have strengths and weaknesses and my verdict is still not out, you should try them yourself. Let me just list those aspects that are unique to them:
Notes Plus let's you select/drag parts of the note and type in it. It has only an awkward eraser tool where you strike-out or encircle what you want erased but it doesn't always work and you keep having to deal with useless lines and circles. You can also record while taking notes and it recognizes basic geometric shapes that can be filled with color.

Note Taker HD lets you resize the small rectangle in which the text appears, so in fact you have precise control over the letter size. It has a straightforward eraser and many preferences that can be set. You can import pdf-files and annotate them by hand which is useful for forms but otherwise iAnnotate is preferable for this purpose.

It would be great to have ONE app that can do all those things, together with organizational tools, any ideas? Finally, we're all waiting for a pressure sensitive pen, when will it arrive?

G5 and Powerbook17, Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • Michael Morgan1 Level 7 Level 7 (23,825 points)
    beachball wrote:
    I . . . . . Finally, we're all waiting for a pressure sensitive pen, when will it arrive?


    I hadn't been waiting for that. Seems to me a normal stylus would work if the iPad had a pressure-sensitive screen. Do you mean a Bluetooth stylus that issues fineness controls depending on how much pressure it senses .....?
  • pa-bucktail Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    I have PaperDesk, Penulimate, PlainText.
    I use PaperDesk all the time.

    You can type,handwrite, and voice record on that app.

    I bought the pogo sketch too, it's worthless.
    Get the better Box Wave pen....it's like night and day.
    The sensitivity is excellent. Works like a charm
    I threw my pogo sketch in the garbage
  • SirBlue Level 2 Level 2 (155 points)
    I have tried a couple apps as well. I was using smartNote Free and that worked pretty well. When Notes Plus went on sale for $0.99, I decided to try it. I had my eye on it for a while.

    I also used the Pogo stylus. I didn't like the spongy tip, but there wasn't really any other option. I came across the Targus stylus and that works much better. The movement and control are much better. I liked it so much I gave my to some colleagues that have iPads.
  • Julian Knight Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    The Boxwave stylus is excellent! A really nice tip that works well.

    I have:
    NoteShelf
    I think this is the most usable of the handwriting apps overall. It looks good and the app doesn't get in the way. It has a "close-up" mode a little like Note Taker HD but without the auto-move feature. The pen strokes look good and the pen selection is done beautifully. You get some sensible "paper" backgrounds, the biggest problem is lack of control over the page size. Text isn't searchable of course.

    *_Note Taker HD_*
    This is far and away the fastest way to do handwriting on the iPad. But do you really want a load of handwritten notes on a computer? You don't get any indexing or searching on any handwriting of course.

    WritePad
    This is the best if you want your writing recognised to text. Write on screen, write in input area or use a keyboard. Recognition is excellent and improves with training (which happens automatically). PhatWare are one of the leaders in handwriting recognition.

    PhatPad
    From the same source as WritePad. This is more full-featured with text as well as handwriting with optional recognition. It is early days for this app yet and the workflow/UI isn't great just yet.

    Noterize
    This is good when you want to mix text, drawing, audio. You can import PDF's and PowerPoint as background pages to annotate them but it isn't ideal.

    And a number of others!

    What is really needed is something akin to Microsoft OneNote, this is the best note-taker on any platform and is perfect for pen use as well as keyboard. There is an app that will open OneNote files but it is horribly limited just like the iPad version of Evernote. PhatWare have proved that you CAN to handwriting recognition on a capacitive input screen, we just need someone to bring it all together nicely.