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Quick review of six free iPad handwriting apps.

iPad BurgerI now have a stylus for my iPad so I thought I’d check out some handwriting apps. Now I’m not a power user but here are the six free ones I downloaded and tested.

GoodNotes is by far the most feature rich app I used. The handwriting is nice and smooth, interface is simplistic and easy to learn, and it does most everything. One of the biggest features is the ability to bring in PDF, or other documents, and take notes on top of them. This would be really handy in meetings. The free version has some limitations, but for $5 you get everything.

I want to love this app, but the writing is just not smooth. My handwriting looks a bit rough around the edges and that bothers me. There are a couple different pens, but nothing that matches the quality of other apps on this list. It comes with highlighters as well, but those seem like they are running out of ink. I think some will love it, other will hate it.

MyScript Memo
Nice little app with one great feature; handwriting to text! I can export what I write on the screen to text and it works fairly well. Not sure how often I’d need this, but love the feature. Overall, it’s a really good app.

Bamboo Paper
Even though Bamboo Paper says it prefers a Bamboo Stylus, it still works great without one.  Overall the app is good app with a simple interface and nice handwriting. One downside however is that when you turn the iPad to landscape mode, the navigation is a bit funky and the paper doesn’t rotate. Not sure what’s up there.

Full featured app, but once again didn’t like how the handwriting turned out. Seemed very pixellated and that makes it harder to read. App design was ok and it did have audio notes which is nice, but if I wanted that feature, I’d use Evernote.

Speaking of Evernote, last year they bought Penulimate and integrated it into their app. Because of this, all my notes are synced to Evernote and are searchable. Where as Evernote doesn’t covert the handwriting to text, they can still search the handwriting and display the results. This is really handy. Penulimate is a great app with basic features and unlimited notes and notebooks. It’s missing the bells and whistles, but I can live without that.

At the moment, I’m sticking with Penultimate. Basically because it syncs to Evernote and I get everything for free. However, GoodNotes is in a close second.

What do you use and like?

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