Penultimate – Best in Class iPad Handwriting App

Total Score:  29

I have been looking for an app that would allow me to take notes in meetings, annotate photos and generally help me stay organized.  I have tested a couple of apps that met that need, but until now, none that inspired me like Penultimate.   I started out my test enjoying the features offered – ink colors, moving between pages, cutting, erasing and importing photos.  From that point, I decided I needed to create a book of my own.  First I documented my New Year’s resolutions (if you write them down you are more likely to achieve them), then I decided I needed a fitness journal, and then I decided I wanted to create a life journal and I haven’t even gotten to the work uses yet!  I think this app will exceed your expectations and dare I say it, improve your life!

Price Rating = 5          Free.  You get a lot for free, but there are in-app purchases that can add to your paper types.

Ease of Use Rating = 5           The app comes with an instruction notebook that walks you through the basic functionality.  If you forget how to do anything, you can always come back to it.

 Readability Rating = 5      The instructions and all icons are an excellent size.  This is an iPad only app so there is plenty of real estate to display the notebooks.

 Will You Use It Rating = 5     It is so easy to use that I believe it will become an app that you open daily.

 Downsides Rating = 0     I don’t see any downsides.  I can see additional functionality that could be added, but as is it is very useful.

  Consumer Review Rating = 4     There are over 7,700 reviews right now and there are a number of positive comments to back up this rating.

 Why Do You Need This App Rating = 5      An iPad is an extremely useful device and there are apps that allow you to type your notes or thoughts.  I still like the ability to hand write notes.   If you are like me, you will welcome this new app.

How does it work? 

  1. To select a notebook you tap the screen.  To open it you tap it again.
  2. To turn the pages of your notebooks you click on the number at the bottom of the page. You can set the tool bar to appear at the top of the page if you wish.  I find it most useful at the top.
  3. There is a small icon representing a piece of paper that allows you to choose a type of paper.  Your options are graph, lined, plain or there are some in-app upgrades for specialty paper like, photo pages, time and tasks, music, games and others.  Most of these are 99 cents and offer between 4 to 13 pages for the price.  I expect these options to grow.  They could make a nice supplement to your notebooks.
  4. To write you simply click on the pencil icon.  Clicking on it brings up a color palette and a line thickness indicator.
  5. If you want to change what you wrote you can click either the undo button or the eraser icon.  The undo button is to erase something you just wrote. If you want to edit something that was created earlier, you can use the eraser icon.  It is easy to use – and fun too!
  6. You can select a section for cut and paste using the scissors tool.
  7. If you click on the X icon, you can clear an entire page.
  8. Perhaps my favorite feature is sending a page – or a whole notebook – as a PDF to your email.   You can also save a page to photos or print a page.

There you have it, Penultimate is easy to use, visually attractive and inspiring.  Maybe now is the time to start making notes, or begin work on that novel you always wanted to write.  I can also see this would be a great way to capture family vacation memories or create a journal/baby book for your new little one.  I am sure I could, and will, find lots of uses for this app.

Devices:  This app is designed for the iPad.  It requires iOS 3.2 or later.  This app is distributed by Evernote Corporation.

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