Notability v. Notes Plus

Discussion in 'iWork Forum' started by eN0ch, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. eN0ch
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    eN0ch iPF Novice

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    I know there are other threads about the whole range of note taking apps. But I've narrowed my personal interest down to these two, and would appreciate comments from others (hopefully with experience of both?) specifically comparing just those two with eachother.

    I think I'd see myself doing a pretty even mix of handwriting, typing and drawing. And I suspect my favoured method of sharing files with my mac would be printing to PDF on my mac. (I have an app called Printopia on the mac, which provides for this sharing functionality with iOS devices over wifi, with a bit more flexibility than air print.) But I'd probably use other sharing methods sometimes too.

    I'd probably value the text plus audio functionality occasionally, but wouldn't see that as a deal breaker.

    Similarly the future addition of handwriting recognition functionality is of interest for sure, but again not a deal breaker I dont think.

    Can anyone suggest reasons I might favour one of these apps over the other. Thanks.
  2. mobi1
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    mobi1 iPad Fan

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    If you mostly take handwritten notes, then Notes Plus.

    If you mostly take typed notes, then Notability.

    Also check Upad for handwriting, it has a free lite version as well.
  3. jsh1120
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    jsh1120 iPad Addict

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    I have both apps and I'd agree. Each app supports typed and handwritten entry, as well as recordings. Notes Plus, however, assumes implicitly that you have a page of handwritten material into which you may want to add typed text. Notability is biased in the opposite direction.

    Further, Notes Plus provides an amazing range of capabilities for handwritten notes and diagrams. The price of that flexibility, however, is a much steeper learning curve. I've spent quite a few hours learning to use the app and I'm still not especially comfortable with it. (But I'm old and set in my ways.)

    My student days are long behind me, but if I were taking courses, e.g. science or engineering, that require notes that are difficult to express with a QWERTY keyboard, I'd go for Notes Plus. By the same token, text notes with occasional figures (history, literature) are easier to work with in Notability.

    By the way, I'll mention one other app I've found especially useful, Omnioutliner for iPad. It's absurdly expensive ($20) but it does a great job of managing indented lists of various kinds, taking advantage of the iPad's "drill down" capabilities. In addition, it can function as a sort of simple spreadsheet with arithmetic functionality in rows and columns.

    As a sort of combination list manager, notes editor, and simple spreadsheet, it's especially useful and I haven't found anything else that combines these capabilities in a single app.
  4. eN0ch
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    eN0ch iPF Novice

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    Thanks jsh. That's very very helpful! :) Triggers some thoughts ...
    I might lean toward Notability a little.
    Maybe getting both wouldn't be a bad idea.
    Might investigate MindNode app (to sync with MindNode Pro which I already use a lot on my mac .. got that in preference to Omnioutliner ages ago).
    I might just check out upad lite to experiment with writing.
    Also might start another thread with questions about using WritePad and/or PhatPad ..
  5. donka
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    donka iPad Junkie

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    I have both these apps and started off wanting to go down the handwriting route but through time I have settled with Notability. I think I now prefer typing out shorter notes knowing I have full search options and it works so well with the audio recording but it is great for training courses, lectures etc.
    I think the handwriting apps in general are pretty good but I still think the iPad as a whole is still not perfectly suited to this style of input due to the requirement of zooming to write fine text. For scribbling quick notes though it does work well.
  6. eN0ch
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    eN0ch iPF Novice

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    Thanks very much Donka. That helps me a lot. I was starting to wonder about PhatPad for instance. But I guess my question is whether I'd be any better off with a handwriting recognition app than with something like notability. I'm not a whiz typist, but manage adequately. But I definitely want searchable text documents. So I think notes+ won't do it for me. I'd live to have handwriting recognition working, but rather suspect it would be no more efficient for keeping up with, say, a lecture than typing with my meager speed. Does that sound right, from your experience?
  7. donka
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    donka iPad Junkie

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    I think the issue for me is the screen is good on the iPad and some apps cope really well with handwriting - nice smooth ink - but there is still a little lag when writing and the experience is still not up to the fluidity of ink on paper imho. Add to that the inability to write fine legible words without zooming in and it just doesn't work as well as I would like. Typing on the other hand is just like typing on any other device, no lag and even the built in soft keyboard works well after a little adaptation.
    I do like the ability to hand write notes on the iPad, it's just not the experience I was hoping for.
    Notes+ has plans to introduce handwriting recognition which would be a great addition as it is loaded with features and does work well with typed notes too. The only question is how well hand writing recognition works with your writing style - if the Phatpad based software allows 'training' like it did in the old Pocket PC days then it will probably fair quite well.
    I've tried a few notes apps and the majority of them stand up well but some are more suited to the style of note taking you will be using i.e. typed versus hand written versus audio annotation.
  8. eN0ch
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    eN0ch iPF Novice

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    Thanks again. Can anyone else comment on the usability of something like PhatPad for taking lecture notes? (Compared with the efforts of a not-especially-fast typist.)

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