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iOS Penultimate 3.3.1 Mobile
Good but Lacking Must-Have Features
Scroll down for my Pros and Cons list.
Penultimate is the first note taking software I purchased for my shiny new iPad. I love the idea of keeping my notes in notebooks (you`d think all note taking programs would do it this way, but very few do). The inks are vivid and look great. I even purchased most of the add-on page templates as I knew they would come in handy. I really wanted this to be my go-to app for all of my note taking needs. Sadly, it dropped the ball in ways that ultimately led me to another note-taking app.
Probably the biggest problem I have with Penultimate is the fact that it doesn`t have a "zoom" feature. In case you aren`t familiar with this extremely helpful feature, zoom (in similar apps) allows you to write in a field outside of the actual document (often below it). Instead of struggling to have legible handwriting that is small enough to reasonably work for most notes and forms, zoom allows you write large letters. It then shrinks whatever you write, giving you small AND legible handwriting.
Without zoom, I find it extremely difficult to take legible notes that aren`t ridiculously oversized. Once I found other apps that work well and DO offer a zoom feature (Notability is what I use), I found that I rarely used Penultimate for taking notes. I really feel like this is a game-breaking omission and am a bit confused as to why the developer hasn`t made it a priority.
The other main feature that Notability has that Penultimate doesn`t have is a devoted "figure" feature that makes it easy to create everything from mind maps to cute stick men. This feature has basic shapes as well as a straight line tool and a smoothing tool that makes most lines look better. I actually use the feature more than I ever thought I would, so I`m pretty sure it would be well-received in Penultimate as well.
Although I don`t use Penultimate nearly as often as I`d originally planned, I have found a great use for it... simple sketches and my photo editing journal. The notebook style works perfectly for this. I was even able to purchase paper that works well with photos (like a scrapbook).
Overall, I am disappointed that Penultimate falls so short of its competitors (Notability and Note Taker HD). I believe it has great potential, but that doesn`t add up to much in terms of meeting my actual day-to-day needs. If the developers ever DO add these or other major features, I will update my review.
Bottom line... For note taking, choose Notability or Note Taker HD instead. For basic sketch journalling or scrapbooking, this will work (though check out new kid on the block, Pencilicious ... I like it better).
- Organizing notes with notebooks
- Crisp, vivid ink... a handful of colors
- Optional add-on papers
- Ability to export as PDF
- Can easily add photos to notes
- Easy to use in general
- Cheaper initial cost than major competitors (add-on paper can be acquired through in-app purchase)
- No zoom feature
- No figure drawing tool
- Not as many pen and ink options as competitors
Not just the display
With the new retina display, the lines look considerable crisper (though still not perfect, but good enough). The main reason behind my 5 stars is the (seemingly) enhanced touch detection. I normally write very briskly and often, penultimate and my stylus get into disagreements. After the update, it seems the app is considerably more sensitive and accurate with regards to quick strokes. MUCH better for natural handwriting, and while this may just be a placebo, I still have to hand it to the developers for a great app.
Amazing Note Taking App
The app looks great with the retina display support and still is my favorite note writing app. Definitely recommended!
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