They say that the best camera is the one you always carry, and the same applies to notebooks. It is useless to have a fabulous agenda if you do not carry it when ideas come to mind. One way to have the notes always at hand is on your mobile, with applications to take notes.
Notepad applications for Android are many, but not all are the same. There are very simple, more apt for fast notes, and complex, for when you need to write something with greater precision or detail. As we did with the task managers, today we test apps to take notes so you can decide which one best suits your needs.
What do we ask for a notes app?
The needs of what is required in an application to take notes vary from one person to another, but in our comparison we will value the more functions, the better, as well as the ease of use in general. Below you will find a comparison chart that includes the following sections to compare in applications to take notes.
- Text format:That is, the possibility of adding some format to the text as bold, italic or underlined. It is not essential for a note application, although it can be useful when the notes are very long and it is difficult to highlight the most important parts.
- Images:If the application allows you to add photos to the notes, either photos taken in advance, from the gallery, or directly with the camera of the mobile.
- Voice clips:Sometimes there is no time to write and the best thing you can do is record a voice clip and attach it to a note.
- Handwritten text / drawings: We will take into account if the application has “pencil” tool, to do scribbles, texts or indications that are included in the notes.
- Checkboxes:The possibility that the note includes boxes to indicate whether an item has been completed or not. While this borders the land of task managers, the creation of shopping lists and other simple lists are still common in apps for taking notes.
- Reminders:Writing the note is the first step. The second is to remember what you have written when you need it. Some applications include reminders to a specific date and time or when arriving at a certain place.
- Categories:Over time, the notebooks begin to fill with small fragments of disconnected text. In this section we value the possibilities of organizing the notes by categories, labels or any other possible way.
- Colors:Also a category, but simpler: the possibility of choosing the background color of a note to organize them or highlight some of them.
- You need a user account:If it is necessary to login and / or create a user account before starting to use the application or not.
- Synchronization in the cloud:We will see here if the application saves your notes in the cloud so that you can recover them in another device, either in another Android phone with the app installed or in the web version or for other platforms.
- Collaborative synchronization:If it is possible to share a note with other people and they can also edit it. Despite being a bit advanced, it is a highly coveted feature to make something as simple as a shopping list.
In our comparison we have selected seven most popular candidates in terms of take notes on Android. We have the town’s favorite, Google Keep, as well as its more direct competitors such as OneNote, EverNote and DropBox Paper and other note applications that over time have gained public recognition on Google Play, such as ColorNote or Adler Notes.
We start with what is, for many, the champion to beat: Google Keep. He has been with us for about six years now, and although he initially sinned as simple, over time he has been adding functions without haste but without pausing until reaching a point where it is difficult to find fault.
Best of all, it has managed to stay light and easy to use, adding only what is strictly necessary and without scaring the user with a multitude of buttons or screens on screens. It is not the best application to write documents on Android, but for simple notes, which is what we value like this, it is undoubtedly the best.
EverNote is a bit the opposite of Google Keep. It is rather an application to write documents, so it gives you more control over the style and final format of the text. Of course, nothing prevents you from using it for more mundane things like the shopping list or your favorite movies.
However, it is by making these annotations simpler where the extra “power” of EverNote is not only not necessary, but it gets in the way. Honestly, it is not fast and intuitive enough for the constant and impromptu use that is expected from a notes app. It is rather an application to write more complete documents than simple notes.
OneNote is halfway between the two previous ones. Although in the past it was closer to the EverNote model, with the recent integration of Windows Sticky Notes in the application, it has greatly enhanced its use as an application for taking notes.
There can also be some confusion here, since today you can create two types of notes in OneNote: same as always and Quick Notes. Traditional notes can be quite complex and include images and drawings, while quick notes only include text (formatted, yes).
Dropbox Paper is a bit of an application of notes, documents and tasks, all in one. It has the advantage that you can assign tasks to specific people, which is useful in some types of notes. However, it lacks other details of greater interest in the field of taking notes, such as the possibility of adding voice clips or making handwritten drawings.
Technically you can use it without problems to make notes, and you will enjoy a great collaborative editing with other people, but you miss some more mundane and basic features, such as choosing a color for the note or classifying them with categories or labels.
If you are one of those who think that any past time was better, there are few applications of such classic notes as ColorNote. It has more than a hundred million downloads on Google Play and an average score of 4.6, despite being quite basic and having an interface that could well be the era of Android Kit Kat.
Its secret is that it simply works. Sometimes you do not want to format the notes, edit them with other people or add drawings, but a place to add text fragments and it’s over. It’s something like Windows Notepad, but on Android.
Adler Notes is a notes app that matches most Google Keep features (except handwritten drawings). The interface, showing the notes in a classic grid, helps to have them always at hand and well visible.
Its use is quite intuitive, although from the point of view of performance something slower than the application of notes is noted. It is well loaded with functions, although you need to polish the edges a little, for example when you switch between the mode with check boxes or not, all the previously written text is erased.
The application of notes of Zoho has more or less everything that is asked to an application of the style. Maybe you have a few buttons left over to the application, but in exchange for this visual pollution you have a faster way to quickly create the type of notes that interest you.
The notes themselves have a visual style very similar to that of Google Keep, although with the advantage that here you can format the text with bold, italics and so on. Technically it is very complete, and the only downside that can be put is that it does not have collaborative editing or that it does not work in landscape mode, which can be frustrating in some circumstances.
Applications of notes: What do they offer us and what to choose?
We could tell you which of these applications seems best to us, but in the end this would not be more than my personal opinion based on my requirements and preferences. Not everyone needs the same application to take notes, and that’s why we present this table by comparing them, so you can choose which one is closest to what you’re looking for.
|GOOGLE KEEP||EVERNOTE||ONENOTE||DROPBOX PAPER||COLORNOTE||ADLER NOTE||NOTEBOOK|
|TEXT FORMAT||No, just lists||Yes, bold, italic, underline, lists, indented, strikethrough, subscript, superscript, highlights and links||Yes, bold, italic, underlined, strikethrough, highlights and links||Headlines, bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, indentation and lists||Do not||Do not||Yes, bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, highlighting, alignment, indentation, lists and links|
|ATTACH IMAGES||Yes, from the gallery and from the camera||Yes, from the gallery and from the camera, with automatic border adjustment in documents||Yes, from the gallery and with the camera, with automatic border adjustment for documents||Yes, from the gallery and the camera||Do not||Yes, from the camera||Yes, from the gallery and the camera, with border adjustment in documents|
|VOICE CLIPS||Yes||Yes||Yes||Do not||Do not||Yes||Yes|
|DRAWINGS||Yes||Yes||Yes||Do not||Do not||Do not||Yes|
|REMINDERS||Yes, by date and by place||Yes, by date||Do not||Yes, for specific tasks, by date||Yes, by date||Yes, by date||Yes, by date|
|CATEGORIES||Yes, categories and labels||Yes, with different notebooks||Yes, with different notebooks||Yes, with folders||Do not||Yes||Yes, with different notebooks|
|COLORS||Yes||Do not||Yes||Do not||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|YOU NEED A USER ACCOUNT||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Do not||Do not||Do not|
|SYNCHRONIZATION||Yes, with Google. The notes are available in the web version and Google Keep.||With Evernote. Available on official websites and apps.||Yes, with the Microsoft account. Available on the web and official apps.||Yes, with Dropbox||Yes, with own account||Yes, in Dropbox or Google Drive||Yes, with Zoho or Google Drive|
|COLLABORATIVE EDITION||Yes||Not in the free version||Do not||Yes||Do not||Do not||Do not|
|THE BEST||Many functions keeping a simple use, reminders by place.||Very complete text format||Adjust photos to “scan” documents||Tasks can be assigned to specific people, good collaborative editing||There is no place for distraction, because it has few functions.||Easy to use, intuitive interface||It looks like a classic notes app, but allows you to add more format to the text, you can create several notebooks|
|WORST||Without text format||A bit complicated to use if you just want to take quick notes||Without reminders or collaborative editing||It lacks basic functions for taking notes, such as handwritten drawings||Too simple: the notes are text-only||Cannot add handwritten notes||No collaborative editing|
For those looking for something simple and fast, there is nothing like Google Keep, closely followed by Notebook, while the battle for those who need more complex notes is fought between EverNote and OneNote, or Dropbox Paper if your notes involve assigning tasks to other people frequently. Finally, let’s not forget those who want notes and nothing more: for them, ColorNote will always be there.