ScatterBrain Review
iPhone App
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ScatterBrain Review

Our Review by Gianna LaPin on July 28th, 2011
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: HAS POTENTIAL
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ScatterBrain captures every fleeting thought simply and easily, from grocery lists to random to-dos, and looks good doing it.

Developer: Stefano Tomasello
Price: FREE
Version: 1.2.2
App Reviewed on: iPod Touch 4g
iPhone Integration Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

I was really curious to see if ScatterBrain truly lived up to the hype, and initially I was impressed: the UI really is gorgeous. Like other chronic listmakers I am always on the lookout for a better system, but unfortunately this app will not become my new favorite due to a few usability flaws that stand in the way of it being truly polished.

It opens up with a snazzy little walkthrough when launched for the first time, but quickly gets down to business. The first thing users will want to do is clear out the four preloaded thoughts already included and add their own. Swipe across the row containing the thought and hit “Forget”. But be careful; once forgotten, a thought cannot be retrieved, there is no “undelete” option in ScatterBrain.

Entering in new thoughts is fairly straightforward. The large plus-sign “Add” button is prominently placed, which is nice. ScatterBrain expects all thoughts to have a title, which it camel-cases automatically (this may or may not be desired). In the body text field, users can easily create bulleted lists with one button click. Hidden behind the keyboard is more information; the thought’s created and modified dates are shown (I’m not sure why, as they can’t be changed) as well as the option to set reminders (new in version 1.2). Thoughts can also be copied and pasted. I’m sure that feature is useful in some situations, but I never ran into any of them. Assign one of seven colors to the thought before hitting the Save button, which unfortunately is placed a bit too close to the “delete” button for the title.

Once a few thoughts are in the system, ScatterBrain will give the option to sort by color (which functions essentially like categories or folders), created/modified dates, titles, or reminders. Users can also search through any text in the app quickly and easily. Individual thoughts can also be copied into email or sent via SMS, which is a handy feature.

The default view on the main screen is by date, but a much more helpful option is to sort by color, which rolls all the thoughts in a color category up with a tap. ScatterBrain claims that it now supports landscape view, but this only works on the screen displayed when an individual thought is tapped. This lead to a lot of device fumbling on my part.

The settings tab has a few additional items of note. ScatterBrain syncs with ScatterSync, a cloud service run by Stefano Tomasello which is currently free and not required to use ScatterBrain. The TOS on the app says that syncing is currently a manual process, and that Dropbox integration is planned. The settings tab also gives users the option of reordering the colors (nice but useless) and the obligatory social media connections.

ScatterBrain’s developer has been releasing updates and bug fixes steadily for about three months, and seems to be pretty responsive to the app's fanbase, so we can likely look forward to continued enhancements in the future.

iPhone Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

ScatterBrain screenshot 1 ScatterBrain screenshot 2
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