Can record audio notes; Read-only capability; Left-handed mode; Password function; Automatic syncing with Dropbox and Google Drive
Expensive; iOS only; Handwriting recognition costs extra $1.99
Notes Plus isn't cheap, but comes full of features for those who want more than just a basic note-taking app.
With a bevy of free note-taking apps available for your iPad, why pay $7.99 for Notes Plus? While it has a premium price, Notes Plus also comes with premium features such as a built-in browser and handwriting recognition that set it apart from less expensive offerings. Does it go far enough to justify the price? Read on.
Notes Plus is only available for iOS; after downloading the app, it opens into a tutorial on how to use it. There's no need to create an account or enter any personal information. Tips in the four-page tutorial are written as handwriting, which gives it a less formal feel, but looks a little jumbled and makes it harder to follow.
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In portrait mode, a menu bar which is all but hidden on the left gives options to display your notebooks, record audio notes and trash unwanted notes. A button in the bottom left lets you adjust dozens of settings such as the frequency of auto saves, syncing with Dropbox and Google Drive and gestures. It even offers a left-handed mode (which we southpaws particularly appreciate).
You can also type notes using the iOS keyboard, and can choose your font, text color and font size. Use the eraser tool to get rid of what you don't like, or tap the Undo button to erase the last stroke you made.
Another nice feature is a built-in Web browser, accessed by pulling the left-hand menu farther to the right. While the browser itself is fairly basic -- there are no tabs or bookmarks -- you can take a screen capture of as much or as little of a page as you want and copy it into a note. However, it saves the screen cap as an image, so hyperlinks won't work. You can also import photos from either the camera or their Camera Roll, and resize them in a note.
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Want to make Notes Plus a little smarter? You can purchase Handwriting Recognition, which converts handwriting to text, for an additional $1.99. Although Notes Plus is already the priciest of the bunch, it's the only note-taking app with this feature, which we could definitely see coming in handy when you don't feel like typing up the messy notes you scribbled down during class.
Notes Plus lacks palm rejection, but users can pull up a palm pad from the bottom of the interface to keep the screen from shifting around as you jot notes. You can resize the palm pad to take up as much or as little of the display, but you must be deliberate when using the resizing tab; on more than one occasion, we accidentally drew a line on our page.
Importing a photo from our iPad's Camera Roll was quick, and we liked that we could adjust a photo's size and move it to anywhere on the note. A recorded audio note was pretty clear, and we liked that we could record while taking notes; that way if you miss something you can always reference your recording. As with Evernote, this feature merely inserts an audio recording into a note, but you can use the microphone button on the keyboard for dictation.
Overall, we prefer Notability, which gives you many of these same note-taking tools for $1.99 and syncs with the cloud. But if Notes Plus' features are ones you can't live without, it's well worth the money.