Developer: Ginger Labs
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 2.02
Device Reviewed On: iPad

iPad Integration Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★★½
Overall Rating: ★★★★½

I’m big enough to admit it. I once owned an Apple Newton. *Cringe* I know, I know. You don’t even have to tell me what you’re thinking. At the time, though, I was entranced by the idea of portable note taking and the way-ahead-of-its-time notion of handwriting recognition. Today, the iPad can do all of that, plus just about anything else a developer can imagine it doing. But, amazingly, note taking is still a priority. Th built-in notes app probably suffices for many people, but its bare-bones approach doesn’t allow for significant organization or even variety in note types. That’s where apps like Notability come in.

Notability is a big behemoth of a note taking app, able to do pretty much anything you want it to do (with one major exception – more on that in a minute). Want a place to type up your notes? Check. Want to organize those notes by topic? Want to add and edit web clips, photos and simple figures/drawings? Check, check and check. Want to record your voice notes and associate them with your written ones? Big check.

Generally speaking, Notability is easy to learn and use, and anything that seems confusing can be quickly cleared up by using the extensive help files. It’s use of a built-in web browser and photo/web clip editor is also impressive, as is its on-the-fly reformatting of text to flow around images and clips (a la Apple’s Pages app). Once you are finished with your notes, you can send them to yourself or others via email, of course, but you can also send them as PDF files to your Dropbox account or iTunes. Printing is enabled in Notability, and (using the Mac OSX application Printopia at least) it prints beautifully.

The only real downside I see in Notability is that you cannot hand write your notes like you can with other apps like Penultimate. Then again, outside of its handwriting capability, Penultimate is fairly limited. It all depends on what you are looking for in an app. If you want something akin to one or more Moleskine notebooks, I recommend Penultimate. If, however, you have the need to take many, many notes and annotate them with photos, voice and web clips, Notability is the exceptional choice.

And no, I don’t have my Newton anymore. Can you imagine trying to carry that thing around in your pocket?


Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Productivity, Reviews

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