All of us use our Windows Mobile devices (er, Windows phones) differently. And this is one of the strengths of the platform. Some of us use it solely as a messaging device. Phone, e-mail, text and chat are all things that Windows Mobile (with some help from third party applications) excel at. Multimedia is an area in which our Windows Phones don’t necessarily beat everyone else, but with a few additions in the software department it can compete with any other device on the market.
One of the things that I am always doing with my phone is taking notes. I tend to forget things like what my wife likes on a particular sandwich and simple things like that. Being able to jot down quick thoughts in a low drag environment is incredibly valuable to me. The Notes application that is built in to Windows Mobile has the ability to save notes in a variety of different formats. Sound, text and handwriting or drawing can all be used to create and save notes. My problem is that I’ve just never liked the feel of the Notes interface.
My search for the complete note taking application begins with VsNotepad 2 by Vetasoft. Check out the breakdown after the jump.
Comparing the Notes application to VsNotepad is like comparing pineapples to kiwi, it’s not a 1:1 comparison. Using VsNotepad feels more like Microsoft Paint than anything else. The idea behind the application is to enable you to quickly and easily create handwritten notes (resistive touch screens aren’t all bad). While this doesn’t present as flexible a solution as Notes, it is a significant improvement if this is something that you use.
Since VsNotepad is geared toward handwriting and drawing, most of the tools and features are fairly similar to what you would find in a drawing program. Tools to create different shapes are easily accessible. Common shapes like circles and squares are obviously available, as are other useful shapes like checkboxes and checkmarks. Various pen sizes can be chosen to better handle different scenarios. Achieving a highlight effect is even possible using tools that color behind things that you have previously written.
One useful feature that isn’t all that common among drawing tools is the ability to have multiple pages. This allows you to easily separate different thoughts while still keeping them in the same file. One thing that is actually an odd feature is the ability to schedule an alarm to bring up a page at a later date. I can certainly see some uses for this, but it’s still something of a random feature.
Also worth nothing is that at any time you can save a page or an entire book as a jpeg. This allows you to save your note as something that you can easily view later on a variety of platforms.
VsNotepad forgoes anything that looks remotely like a standard Windows Mobile interface. Toolbars across the top and bottom of the window provide you with most of your tools and options. The top toolbar is collapsible, giving you twice as many buttons without limiting your screen real estate.
I really would have liked to have some other way to create notes. Handwriting and drawing are both great, but sometimes I want to copy and paste parts of my notes into an email or something like that. With this solution, everything is saved as a graphic; meaning you can’t easily extract text.
For what it is, VsNotepad does an admirable job. The problem that I have is that it doesn’t fulfill all of my needs for a note taking application. The lack of pure text entry capabilities is a deal breaker, but that’s obviously not what the developer was shooting for with this piece of software.
If you need to be able to keep handwritten notes, give VsNotepad a once-over. A trial version is available while the full version will set you back $19.95.
Shameless plug: VSNotepad is on sale as the Deal of the Day today (Sunday)!
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Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!
Every once in while you come across with something that makes you say AHA!!! WOW!. What I haven't seen yet is the OLD 1999 Palm Pilot
layout. Where you have a square spot at the bottom of the screen and with the stylus you can write as fast as you talk without the need to look at the screen (because you type (write always in the same spot) Is there an app for that?
Is it like the "Block Recognizer" or "Letter Recognizer" input panel? They support writing individual letters in a single area.
I like the way that the default notes synchronize with Outlook. I hope that there will be some high-spec phones that still have resistive screens, or perhaps use the recently patented HTC technology for a styluse with a capacitive screen. I use hand written notes during meetings quite a bit, as well as sketching diagrams etc.
Hm. PhatNotes and PhatPad have been around like for ages. So what's special about this one?
How does this app compare to Evernote? I find the data entry methods in Evernote to be very flexible, and whatever notes you create are available on the Web and vice-versa. I think anywhere access almost should be prerequisite for this type of app.
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