Best stylus iPad app for note taking?

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by Aluminum213, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040

    Aluminum213

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    Mar 16, 2012
    #1
    What's the best note taking app with stylus use?
     
  2. Dave Meadows macrumors 68020

    Dave Meadows

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    Nov 10, 2010
    #2

    I like Goodnotes. Tried Penultimate and others but Goodnotes works best for me.
     
  3. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #4
    I think Goodnotes is the best although Notes Plus is pretty decent.
     
  4. Dave Meadows macrumors 68020

    Dave Meadows

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    #5
    And to expand on the subject, what stylus you guys using?
     
  5. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #6
    I like the Adonit Jot Script the best, but using any kind of active stylus means finding an integration between the app and the stylus, and in some cases, even the device. The new Jot Touch stylus, for example, doesn't really work with the new iPad Air 2.

    For a more basic stylus I like the Adonit ones with the round disc. No battery, no pairing, very precise and reliable. They don't, however, feel much like writing with a regular pen or pencil.
     
  6. Aluminum213 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Aluminum213

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    Mar 16, 2012
  7. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #8
    Probably the best one for drawing and sketching, might not be the best for note taking, especially if you do a lot of handwriting.
     
  8. Aluminum213 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Aluminum213

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    Mar 16, 2012
    #9
    What's the best stylus for note taking?
     
  9. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #10
    As above, I like the Jot Script for handwriting, but it does take some getting used to. For a simple, decent one, either get one with the disc tip or something like the Wacom Bamboo.
     
  10. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #11
    I think this is going to be more on how you feel about what is "best". Others will probably be able to tell you what they like and why, but I would go out and try them. Hold them in your hand and then demo them if possible.

    The one from 53 I did not like way to big. But again, it is mainly used for drawing. But some people like the size and shape for taking notes.

    I do like the Adonit Jot Script. I haven't purchased one, but I have tried it out and played with it several times. The price tag is what is keeping my from purchasing it right now. But then again, I am a heavy evernote user and it works really nice with evernote.
     
  11. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
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    Portland / Seattle
    #12
    The best stylus for note taking IMO is the Applydea Maglus.

    I own a Bamboo, it's decent for the price. And, I use the Pencil with the Paper app - it's OK for note taking, but it's really meant to work with the Paper app. The Paper app is nice for its metaphor of "books", but I miss that it doesn't have layers, which is what I'm used to.

    I'm a longtime user of Wacom tablets, and really find the styli lacking in performance. C'est la vie.
     
  12. Aluminum213 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Aluminum213

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    Mar 16, 2012
    #13
    It's kind of pricey and the battery being required is a turn off. Also the Amazon reviews are all over the place, have you had issues with it?

    The 53 pencil seems to have really good reviews but looks huge

    Actually a nice price for the maglus, is it usb powered like the 53 pencil?
     
  13. Trahearne macrumors 6502

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    Oct 6, 2014
    #14
    GoodNotes. I use Jot Touch with Pixelpoint. That's said if you have an iPad Air 2, you might want to wait for a while. All the smart stylus launched before Air 2 are not (yet) supported well on iPad Air 2, while some have been declared incompatibility with Air 2. Jot Touch PP is sort of usable on Air 2 *after* the new SDK was patched to GoodNotes 4, but there are still some minor issues as compared to its performance on iPad 4.

    Anyway, if you don't use Bluetooth smart stylus, you can get whatever you like.
     
  14. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #15
    I would not say it has been perfect, but no active stylus is. I've tried a lot of them and they all have issues. The reality is that you need to try them and decide what works for you. All active styli will require a battery. And an active stylus is the only way you are going to get a fine tip. Again, for good precision without a battery, get a stylus with the clear disc. They are very good, but have their own usability trade offs.

    Agreed that if you have an Air 2 you might want to hold off or pass on the Active styli. My Jot Script is working very well, but the new Jot Touch and the Wacom Creative 2 are unusable.
     
  15. Aluminum213 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Aluminum213

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    Mar 16, 2012
    #16
    I read the clear disc leaves micro scratches on the iPad screen
     
  16. GerritV macrumors 65816

    GerritV

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    May 11, 2012
    #17
    Allow me to bump my Stylus review. Since then I added a GoSmart 300 to my collection - and I'll be honest: in the end, the Bamboo is probably my favorite.
    It's a simple straight-forward stylus that you grab to write notes during meetings.
    For tedious drawing, I love the GoSmart more.

    As for apps, I switch between Noteshelf and GoodNotes.

    Here's a few of my ideas (YMMV)

    Noteshelf
    - impressive tool set and colour palettes
    - writing and drawing all in one app
    - pens and pencils give the best realistic experience of all apps I ever tried
    - not vectorized so a bit fuzzy when zoomed in
    - bitmapped with anti-aliasing makes your writing look smooth and textured (again the realism)
    - import Word and Excel files and they'll be automatically converted into pdf
    - you're working in either a notebook or a pdf - they don't mix and match into one notebook
    - no automatic backup or syncing, but a bit clunky "AirTransfer"
    - traces of good 'ole skeuomorphism, albeit clean and light
    - one of the first to support 53 Pencil
    - developer has always been very helpful and nice to me

    GoodNotes
    - limited tools, but enough for writing - no drawing tools at all
    - shape recognition while drawing
    - writing is vectorized, so it becomes a bit sterile and not organic
    - but you can zoom unlimited, writing remains crisp and sharp
    - looks and feels like you're writing on glass instead of paper (no texture)
    - very productive, you throw pdf's into a notebook and start annotating
    - clean and minimalistic GUI
    - autosync to p.e. Dropbox
    - quite exclusive palm rejection
    - developer has always been very helpful and nice to me

    I'm afraid I can go on like this for a while longer. I'm sorry if my list is somewhat chaotic, although I tried to keep a comparison in mind. But I've not that much time right now to write a good chunck of text. If I wasn't clear enough in the above, don't hesitate to ask - I'll do my best to add more comments.
    I consider myself an average notetaker, think 5-6 pages a day. I assume students do more though (I passed that stage many many moons ago hehe).

    Wrapping up...

    If you're looking for a real moleskine replacement (it's what I consider my iPad to be for me), and you like to sketch, doodle, paint, write and type all together, Noteshelf is a superb tool - if not the best. Maybe because of the bitmapping, the app is blazingly fast and fluent. Most of my notebooks are way over 30-40 pages, without a problem.

    If you're just looking for a cool and iOS8 worthy minimalistic handwriting notetaking app, GoodNotes would be my advice to you. It allows for very productive and focused working. Because of the vectorizing though (and the highlight marker drawing itself underneath your writing), notebooks become slower as they grow over 10 pages or so. Screen redraw can then start to cause a drop in productivity and speed.

    Both apps are almost constantly in the top 10 over at AppShopper. I'd say you can't go wrong with either of these (I believe they even cost the same).

    GoodNotes Review by Aurélien Chevaleyrias
    Noteshelf workflow, older version, by gribbly

    ----------

    If anyone ever claims to me that the iPad famous gorilla glass doesn't scratch, I'll ask him to test an Adonit Jot on HIS iPad. Then, and only then, I'll know for myself :cool:

    BTW the GoSmart is perfectly safe and scratch-free.
     
  17. Dave Meadows macrumors 68020

    Dave Meadows

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    Nov 10, 2010
    #18

    Thanks for this. Very informative. I've just dug out my Bamboo and it's so much better on my iPad Air 2 than my Adonit Jot Script I'm going to use it from now on. The Adonit was very good on my air 1 but something is not right with iOS 8? It's dreadful and just not useable due to it being unresponsive. Plus the Bamboo doesn't need a battery, something that the Adonit used to devour! I myself use Goodnotes.
     
  18. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #19
    I use the Adonit Jot on my iPad 4. No scratches (micro or otherwise). Can it scratch the screen? Highly doubtful. Can a piece of grit trapped under the disc cause a scratch? Perhaps. Any reputable reports that I've read about the Adonit Jot and scratches had to do with it scratching screen protectors, not the screen itself.


    The choice comes down to:
    A capacitive stylus that is universal to all iOS apps or an active stylus that is only support by certain applications. With the current state of stylus support on iPads, they're all merely "acceptable" and adequate... nothing really stands out based on my experience.
     
  19. TJ61 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2011
    #20
    My one gripe about NoteShelf is that I can't figure out how to zoom in on a page. What am I missing? In GoodNotes, you just do the two finger pinch, but not so in NoteShelf. Anyone know?
     
  20. Aluminum213, Dec 10, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014

    Aluminum213 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Aluminum213

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    Mar 16, 2012
    #21
    Exactly which bamboo stylus do you use? As you say that's the best stylus for note taking which is what I want to do. I'm definitely getting noteshelf based on your recommendation


    Also, fantastic response
     
  21. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #22
    I have written probably 1000 pages of journal writing on my iPad with the old Jot Touch 4 with disc and the Jot Script. No scratching.
     
  22. GerritV macrumors 65816

    GerritV

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    May 11, 2012
    #23
    That sounds positive! The problem is I've read too many comments claiming exactly the opposite, hence my former comment. Unlike you, I have no experience with the plastic disc type styli - so you may well be right about it not scratching.

    ----------

    I'm afraid you don't miss anything - NoteShelf doesn't have the pinch-to-zoom AFAIK. It would come in handy on those rare occasions I'd like to correct a small detail on a drawing or something. Then I activate the zoombox and deactivate the wrist protection. It's a workaround but like I said, I rarely need it.
     
  23. GerritV macrumors 65816

    GerritV

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    May 11, 2012
    #24
    You're more than welcome Aluminum213.

    As you may notice in my forementioned stylus review, I'm using the first (original) Bamboo stylus.
    At the time it had great reviews, which is why I decided on it.
    I think this particular model is no longer for sale, and once I run out of tip replacements I too will need to switch to the actual model(s) that Wacom offers. One can only assume they've improved their products.

    The Maglus has a better (firmer and more responsive) tip, and by now they also offer mesh tips and a smaller body stylus. My original sized one is simply too big and heavy on long sessions of writing.
    On the other hand, it's a perfect finger replacement for other tasks like browsing the web, handling email. In short, using your device for other things than writing or drawing.

    My Trueglide has worn out rather quickly - in a sense that the mesh tip itself is still smooth and responsive, but it's core has somehow softened. It was already a ball shaped tip (rather than a pointy one), and now writing with it feels like you're moving a wad of cotton wool over the screen. I find this lack of firmness a problem, because there's too little feedback (or even too little resistance) while writing.
     
  24. Mike1212 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2013
    #25
    $74 on Amazon?! I can buy a lot of pencils an paper with that.
     

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