Tech Luv Thursday: Noteworthy Note Apps /#evernote / #simplenote

Good morning! Welcome to another Tech Luv Thursday. You  may be starting to get the gist of this already, but I’m picky when it comes to my tech. I know what I want and if a product doesn’t provide that, I move on. Today, I’ll be sharing my quest for a perfect note taking solution. Here are a few of the things I look for when using a notes app.

  • Ease of use. How quickly can I get the app open to input what I need? Can I easily import content into it?
  • Cross-Communications. I live in a mixed platform household. I use a Mac, a Kindle Fire, a Samsung Note 2, and a Nexus 7, which means I want to be able to connect my notes with all of these devices.
  • Interface. This may not matter to too many people, but as a write I want the app to be visually stimulating. I also want the capability to separate my notes by topic. With that in mind. Here’s my breakdown on some of the top apps.

The Apps

Google Keep

When I first started using Keep I was pumped. It’s got a post-it note-like interface that’s highly intuitive. Let’s take a look at how keep stacks up against my ratings.

  • Google KeepEase of use: Very simple if you know where to go. If you are one of the users for whom this tool is available in app form, that’s awesome. However, if you aren’t, you’ll need to access it through a browser. So bookmark away. A big ding for me is that there is no Share option in individual notes. I was typing up something I wanted to send to my husband, but there was no way to share it.
  • Cross-Communication: Keep is not, as of today, available for Kindle or iOS. So I can access Keep through a browser or through an app on my android phone or tablet. For other devices, I need a browser.
  • Interface: The interface is great. Although Keep doesn’t have a notebook-like layout, it’s easy to assign colors to topics. Even the most technically challenged could get their notes into Keep. As long as they find it first.

Available For: Android, Chrome

Papyrus

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz on-line about Papyrus. Frankly, I don’t get it, but others might.

  • Ease of use: Most users won’t struggle with entering notes into Papyrus. You choose to add a New Notebook, Note, or PDF and you’re off. The catch? You have to use your finger to write. Now, if you dig the whole finger-wielding, stylus-whipping thing then this may work for you. For me? Yeah, not so much. I want to type and Papyrus does not make this easy.
  • Cross-Communication. This is a mobile app, so if you are hoping to use Papyrus on a PC or Mac, you’re out of luck.
  • Interface: When writing (with my finger) in one of the notes, I happened to see a T icon. Great, text! Exactly what I was looking for. So I click on the T and find out Text is included in a paid add-on, but I can demo it. I do. Text entry basically requires you to enter your text into a small pop-up where you can’t see all of the content. If you are doing mark-ups, or possibly even simpl mind maps, this tool may be your solution. For a writer? Not so much.

Available For: Android, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone

OneNote

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 7.41.42 AMI have to be honest with you. I LOVE Microsoft One Note. It’s biggest flaw? Microsoft just doesn’t seem to believe in giving love to people on non-Windows platforms. Let’s break it down.

  • Ease of Use: OneNote is much more complex than some of these other tools. So you’re going to have to work harder to get OneNote as tool. One you do get it? Sharing content to it is beautiful. You can pull in screenshots from web pages, images, all of your resources in one place. The only thing that can be annoying is that OneNote creates text box when your typing a note. That’s great, unless you’re just trying to enter aligned text. Then it gets annoying.
  • Cross-Communication: This tool is available for all devices. The only catch? There is a significant lag in loading time. It took over a minute on my Mac. So if you need to get some ideas down quickly, you’ll have to learn to be patient. One Note is also available for Kindle through the third-party app store. It doesn’t work, but it’s available. So although this tool is supposed to connect through all devices, you just need to decide if you’re a patient person and want to deal with only accessing it easily one most of your devices.
  • Interface: This is a great, if not more complex, interface. You create notebooks and then pull in individual notes. The toolbar is chock-full of choices. Everything is relative easy to find.

Available For: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Mac, iPad®, iPhone®, Android

Evernote

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 7.52.06 AMEvernote has been around for years. It’s insanely popular and stable which is refreshing after dealing with some of the OneNote challenges.

  • Ease of Use: Yeah, no problems here. Creating Notebooks, Notes, Tagging–you’ll be able to access it easily.
  • Cross-communication: Evernote is available on pretty much everything. Mac, Android, iPad..even Kindle.
  • Interface: Not bad to look at! There are choices for organizing your posts, as well as shortcuts. Evernote also offers a ton of plug-ins for other features, including web captures and more.

The only thing I don’t like about Evernote? You need web access to use it. There is no off-line notebook access without a Premium Account or WI-Fi. You know that 10-hour airplane ride you were gonna take? Yeah, you’re pretty much screwed unless you pony up money for a premium account. You’re also limited to how many uploads you do per month with the free account.

Available For: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android

Simplenote

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 8.05.48 AMThis app popped up on one of my many searches for great note apps. So far? I’m impressed.

  • Ease of Use: Navigating in Simplenote is exactly what its name implies. You click the plus sign to add notes and start typing.
  • Cross-communication: Finally, a tool that works with everything. The best part? No delay. I downloaded the Simplenote app for my Kindle and Note 2, and then my Mac. All of my notes were there immediately. I haven’t had a chance to test the tool out on a tablet with no Wi-Fi connection yet, since I just discovered this one. So expect an update to this post once I do.
  • Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 8.11.51 AMInterface: You don’t get notebooks with this tool. You get tags. That’s fine. Assign a tag to identify categories for your notes, then choose the tags to limit the notes displayed. You’ll see in this screenshot that I’ve added tags for Books and Training in my Simplenote as an example. Clicking on any tag displays the associated notes.

Available For: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android

So that’s my Note App breakdown. What are your favorite note taking apps?