Stylus iPad Apps: Bamboo and Penultimate (review)

On Monday as I was taking notes at the Social Media Week blogging summit, I thought that taking extensive notes from the keyboard was a bit uncomfortable. So after the session I set out to get myself an iPad stylus to use one of those handwriting note apps.

My first download was Bamboo, a free virtual paper app that comes with one notebook. Here’s a page of the notes I took during Wednesday’s SMW talk:

Some notes!

I like Bamboo first because it’s free, and second because the writing is smooth and works well. But because it’s free it lacks a bit of functionality: you only get one notebook (so no classifying your notes in different books) and you can’t move pages around (you always have to take new notes on following pages, so scrolling through your notes might take you a long time).

You can always bookmark important pages, but there’s no way to easily classify your notes. If you want extra notebooks, you have to buy them by sets of 20.

When I got home I then downloaded Penultimate, which was on special for 1$. The writing experience and wrist protection are about the same as with Bamboo, but I like the possibility of separating my notes in different books. You can also change the paper background (grid, lined or clear) and even upload personal paper backgrounds or buy them from the store.

Notes with a doodle!

Both apps give the possibility of saving the whole notebook or individual pages as images or PDFs. The new Penultimate version can also import pictures from your iPad; you can take notes on and around them.

Even though they’re pretty much the same, I think I like Penultimate better because the notebooks come with the app for 1$ and you don’t have to make an in-app purchase. The photo import is also a great feature that Bamboo doesn’t have. But if you just need to take random notes and then delete them, you should go with Bamboo.

I’ve rediscovered the joy of hand note-taking with my iPad stylus… Do you use one? What do you use it for?

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1 Comment

Filed under Gadgets and apps, Reviews

One response to “Stylus iPad Apps: Bamboo and Penultimate (review)

  1. Joel Keats

    Hi, I use both Bamboo and Penultimate.. the latest update for Bamboo introduced more colour ink as well as a highlighter (which is awesome). But the best thing about Bamboo that I like is the smoothness of the writing – which I think is unrivaled, even by Penultimate. But I also like Penultimate because of its functions (all the above that you have mentioned). Let us know if you come across any other better apps for handwriting.

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