The advent of tablets brought the concept of personalized computing into personal computing, combining mobility with customization and computing power into a handheld device. At the forefront is the iPad, and of course the plethora of apps that make it all the more useful.
One of the most convenient and handy apps you can use with an iPad is a note-taking or handwriting app, but with the sheer number of options available, you might want to take a good look at each before choosing one to purchase. Here’s a list of 5 popular apps in the Apps Store, all of which are contenders for the title of best note taking app for iPad.
1. Notes Plus
Notes Plus mixes handwriting, typed text, and string and shape detection (for finer scribbles and smooth shape vectors) in one note-taking app. It also includes audio recording and close-up writing. Life Magazine calls it “the note-taking app you’ve been waiting for,” and Appolicious.com goes on to say that the app provides “an amazing experience.”
The newest version 3.0.5 of Notes Plus has received 72 ratings averaging an impressive 4.5 stars out of 5, adding to its aggregate 4-star rating out of 3,939 reviews. Its simple interface and intuitive approach (plus the line and scribble smoothing and the shape vectoring) makes Notes Plus a solid note-taking app, but its heavy price point set at $7.99 might feel a bit hefty. Notes Plus on itunes
Take notes with a stylus, smart pen, or even your finger if your tools are out of reach with Noteshelf, a note-taking app that merges beautiful, realistic graphics to handwriting in an effort to deliver as real an experience as writing on paper. Of course, what could result might be the opposite, but it’s still quite impressive and useful.
Version 6.0 leverages the new iPad’s retina display for more stunning images, while the crux of standard handwriting, note-taking, customization, and organization remain intact. The newest version gets a 4.5 out of 5 average rating out of 384 reviews, maintaining the aggregate rating for Noteshelf at 4.5 stars out of 2,720 reviews. Priced at $5.99, it might not be as competitive as lower tier price tags, but it ranks well with its own line of note-taking apps.
3. Note Taker HD
Note Taker HD‘s customer reviews highlight its focus on functionality, and PCMag.com praises its affordability and features as an editor’s choice app. The latest version 6.7 supports the new iPad’s retina display, image cropping, and a few other tricks for PDF files and pages. The interface could feel like a blog dashboard (minus the publishing option), but whether this is good or bad is up to the user.
And so far, 233 reviews for the newest version think Note Taker HD is sufficient for their needs, rating it a solid 4 stars out of 5, solidifying its 4-star aggregate rating out of 3,093 reviews on the App Store. The app is worth $4.99.
Penultimate, Evernote’s handwriting, note-taking app, lands a spot on our top 5 with its easy-to-use, tactile interface that allows scribbles, sketches, and more. Evernote itself is a larger suite also available in the App Store.
Penultimate’s main selling point is its simplicity — combined with Evernote, it can be a powerful tool. Alone, it still stands its ground and users are generally pleased by its very affordable $0.99 price tag. You might find the lack of zoom, figure drawing options, and pen and ink alternatives rather limiting, however. Penultimate version 3.3.1 (updated to support the new iPad’s retina display) has received an average 4.5 stars out of 5 from 1,103 reviews so far, and the app’s aggregate rating stands at a solid 4 stars out of 5.
Rounding off our brief list is Notability, a mesh of core functionality, extra features, and synchronization at an incredibly affordable price. Notability handles handwriting notes, typing, recording, PDF annotation, and organization, and includes Dropbox sync to boot.
But what users love the most about Notability is not just the combination of these, but the fact that they get all of it for a mere $0.99. As a package that includes all these features packed into a dollar’s worth of a very useful app, Notability gets 4.5 out of 5 stars in both its newest version reviews (652 ratings) and its aggregate rating (5,364 reviews).
It would do you well to delve into the details of each of these apps, as these reviews only take the price points, ratings, and popularity of each into account. You might find that something more expensive might suit your needs and tastes, or you might find something else outside of this list. It’s all about personalization and usefulness, and this list of probable candidates for the best note taking app for iPad is here to give you a head start.
Photo by Sean MacEntee, Creative Commons Attribution