Developer: Cocoa Box Design LLC
Price: $3.99
Version: 2.0

Design Rating: ★★★★☆
Features Rating: ★★★☆☆
Integration Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Will hand and paper ever equate to fingertip and iPad? A question to which there is no corresponding definitive answer. Developers Cocoa Box aim to bridge the gap with Penultimate for iPad, the touch-based notes application.

On first glance, Penultimate features the official aura assumed by the iWork suite, with its library presented cleanly at the front, along with options to e-mail notebooks, trash them and create new ones. It takes one tap to get started.

The notebooks themselves come in three different flavours – lined, graph or plain paper, each of which feature three tools to get you started noting. The pen feature, which needs no explanation, is both size and colour customizable: thin, medium or thick mixed with red/green/blue and three shades of grey. The other two tools available are a pen eraser and the ability to clear an entire page. Each notebook can have as many pages as you like – think of each one as a paper pad rather than a single sheet.

The application also features undo/redo buttons, as well as a handy wrist protection feature – to ensure that your wrists aren’t mistaken for fingertips. It is as simple as it sounds to use, focusing on drawing and design rather than customization and options. For those who want a quick way to get started, Penultimate satisfies entirely. The application has just been updated to version 2.0, providing VGA display connectivity, proper landscape support and library grid view, sortable by title or date.

There are some minor flaws that I discovered through my testing, however. Although there is an option to have the tools at the top or bottom of the page, the entire page doesn’t fit on the iPad’s screen – meaning you have to scroll every time you want to change tools or the options within the pen tool. In addition, notebooks can be exported via e-mail in PDF format, but cannot be imported.

In conclusion, Penultimate is great for those who are interested in getting things down quickly and plainly. For those who place precedence on more tools (like drawing straight lines or shapes), an alternative application like Sketchbook Pro might be more satisfactory. Nonetheless, Penultimate is easy to use and looks great. It’s fast and simple, and that’s most certainly a good thing.

[Ed Note: Penultimate has become my new go to app, made much more useable with the addition of a good stylus)

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

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