Product Review – Notes Plus App for iOS

 It’s a product review, it’s us being bored at our paying job and needing something to do.  Today we look at a quintessential iOS application for avid note takers, NotesPlus.

Synopsis

Have you ever thought to yourself, “why the hell am I carrying this moleskin notebook around with me?” or for that matter “Why am I still using a pen (assuming you don’t have a livescribe smartpen, which is pure awesomeness)?”  If either of those questions have been asked by your fertile imagination, and you own an ipad, you might just want to take a look at NotesPlus. (http://notesplusapp.com/)

This handy dandy notebook will replace that burdensome moleskin that you chuck into your briefcase, it will also do a ton of other things.

Features

NotesPlus allows you to have multiple notebooks, in various styles, with various paper types including lined, unlined, graph, musical tab, calendar, and that annoying ledger style that only bookkeepers can use.

Notes plus allows you to carry a bevy of virtual pens, in multiple colors with you, highlight, erase and draw shapes and take pictures to be added to your notes. It will also allow you to convert your handwriting into a close approximation of what it interpreted your cat scratch as text, which can then be edited with the onscreen keyboard.

You can import PDFs and mark them up as well, which is a nice little feature.

In order to be useful you can export your notes to evernote, dropbox or send them through email to unsuspecting minions who then have to try to interpret your handwriting as well.  Rumor has it that despite the insistence of the Surface commercials you can even print to an airprint capable printer, but that would be counter intuitive to the purpose of digital notes.

What to Like

  1. This is actually a really neat note taking application.  The zoom feature allows you to get a writing window that works much better for onscreen writing then other notebooks and makes it so that you can actually have a full sheet of notes without having it look like your 5 year old wrote it.
  2. The export features are well thought out and you can easily use Evernote to keep better track of your notes and index them to make them searchable.
  3. It is beautifully designed, although the UI can be overwhelming.  Draw a box around handwriting and it automatically thinks you want to convert it to text, instead of possibly just separate it from the rest of the notes.
  4. The ability to graph out the dungeon without fear of loosing the paperwork at a later date is good, it might even be possible to import character sheets for your next dungeon diving adventure.
  5. When paired with the Jot Stylus it makes for one of the most accurate note taking experience we have seen on the iPad.  Even without the stylus the zoom in feature makes for an enjoyable and non-clunky finger note taking experience.

What not to like

  1. There are a ton of features that will leave you scratching your head at “who thought of this?”  We can’t figure out what the glasses icon does, and we pride ourselves on being pretty tech savvy.
  2. We have not figured out how to lock notebooks, requiring a passcode or phrase to open.  This would be a great security feature for those people using NotesPlus for work.  Nevermind, we sorted it out and got that feature to work…it just wasn’t very intuitive.
  3. The text recognition is pretty much useless, and it is an add on fee.  Nothing says wasting money like not being able to test the text recognition on your handwriting before dropping the extra money.
  4. We haven’t been able to convince it to store our default pen size and color, it just keeps going back to the default.  By gum by golly if we want a .5 thickness in Lavender as our pen, we should be able to set it as our default.

Overall Rating

NotesPlus is not perfect, but it is as close as what you can find in the appstore.  The list of features and the raw capabilities give it 4 out of 5.  The things that really bring this application down is the confusing UI and the add on fees.

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