...because another iPad blog won't hurt anyone

on april 3rd 2010 a friend of mine travelled all the way to beautiful New York city to pick up a brand new iPad just for me ! I decided that i'd write down my thoughts and experiences and maybe some reviews of apps or accessories. I am also an amateur astronomer and am running an astronomy blog

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Notebooks for iPad

Ever since I got my iPad i've been trying to get through a workday by just using the iPad instead of my company laptop. With Appigo Todo i've already found a great Todo App that syncs with toodledo so that i can manage my todos both on the iPad and on my company laptop. What was missing though, was a professional app to edit and manage meeting minutes as well as documents that relate to those minutes.

That's where notebooks for iPad comes in. At  8.99USD it's not one of the cheapest apps out there, but as i'll try to describe in this review - it's worth every penny. So what makes notebooks for iPad so great ? Here are some of the things that make it stand out of the crowd:

  • Syncs with mobileme (and hopefully soon with other free services like dropbox). This means that all my content that already sits on mobileme can very easily be synced to my ipad and from then on is available offline directly on the device. This means that i can easily mix notes that have been created on the iPad with complex documents
  • Great file format support. The app can import text, HTML, RTF, PDF, MS Office, Apple iWork documents, photos, as well as web archives.
  • "Open in" functionality lets me open documents in other iPad apps like Keynote, Goodreader, iBooks, or other
  • "Send to" function lets me send any text snippet to Appigo Todo in order to quickly create a task. I'm using this feature regularly and it is very handy
  • Create unlimited nested "books". Books and their contents can later very easily be moved if you decide to make structural changes later. This really helped me alot since i created an elaborate file structure which later had to be chagend. The "move" feature made this process very easy which otherwise would have been a major pain in the a... 
  • Intuitive and easy to user interface

Here are some screenshots of the user interface:

Notes and documents can be kept in the same Notebook:

A "jump" function (the little bookmark icon) simplifies moving between nested books. At first i thought the little bookmark icon was a bookmark function - so i spent a day or so tediously navigating between nested notebooks until i found the function by accident. Yep - RTFM does apply here : )

New notes can be created using the "+" icon. The "new from pasteboard" feature did not work well for me though. I tried to copy content from other applications into Notebooks for ipad but the content did not appear. I guess this only works inside the app itself. Maybe i should read the manual again...

The timestamp feature is a very handy way to quickly insert a date or time. I use this feature to define the filename for every note i create. Maybe this feature could be used to insert user generated text modules or special formats in the future ?

Every note, document or notebook can be protected with a passcode. Once an item has been protected, it is only visible once the master passwort has been entered. I find this feature to be very handy in a business environment where you are bound to end up with "eyes only" material on your ipad.

The app can "send" your content to a bunch of other apps on the iPad. It can also create tasks in Appigo Todo using the "send to Appigo Todo" button:

Notebooks for iPad works very well without or with a keyboard. It would be great if certain buttons could be assigned to specific functions, but i guess apple does not seem to allow this since i've not seen any other application that map specific functions to keyboard keys.

So far i have imported more than 300 notes from MS OneNote. This took a couple of hours since i had to manually convert all my OneNote notes to the .txt format so that i could import the data ensuring a minimal filesize.

So far the developer has answered all my questions very quickly and i feel that there's someone behind this app who really wants to deliver a great product. I hope that he keeps adding alot more helpful functionality in the future. 

Even with the current functionality, i feel that I really got alot of bang for the buck. That's something i can't say for all the apps I've bought...

After using the app for almost a week nonstop i've also found some things that are missing:

  • basic formatting like bold type, bullets, or even simple tables. this really is the feature that i miss the most. The developer informed me that this is a feature he has been wanting to add for quite some time, but Apple won't let him ad it to the app. So i guess i'll have to wait a while for these feature to be added
  • the ability to insert any type of document (not just a picture) into a note itself
  • syncing with a free service like dropbox

I'll add more info about this app once updates are released.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)