All iPads Today: Notability versus Notes Plus

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Bromio, May 9, 2015.

  1. Bromio macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2014
    Hi everyone,

    As now Notes Plus has an interesting discount, and I'm looking for a app to take handwritten notes using my non-active cheap stylus, I'm thinking of buying it. However, due to its price, it seems that Notability is another candidate.

    I'm only considering Notes Plus and Notability because I need the function of record audio notes. Although I've been playing with them in the demo versions installed in the iPads of a nearby Apple Store, I can't came to a concrete conclusion. Which of these apps do you recommend?

    Annotating PDFs is also welcomed. So far I've used Goodreader, but it is a bit uncomfortable for taking handwritten notes. I plan keep using it for highlight and read PDFs, but not for writing on them with my stylus.

    So, what do you suggest?


    PS: There are a lot of threads about this topic in these forums, but most of them are out-of-date.
  2. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    Why not try both? I don't know about Notes+, but I personally use Notability and it's like what - 2 or 3 dollars in the app store?

    I find that notability is not as fully-featured as other apps like Goodreader and PDF expert (I own all 3), and that's precisely why I stuck with Notability. I find that with Goodreader and PDF expert, there were too many features and functions and they were all hidden in sub-menu after sub-menu, to the point where it was getting very confusing and cumbersome just to remember what went where.

    Notability is a no-frills pdf-annotation app, and that's the way I like mine. It has features for inserting typed text, writing, highlighting and inserting images and recording audio, and lets me zoom in to write with greater precision without that annoying palm-rejection screen turning up.

    The downside is that it doesn't let you select text like Goodreader (so highlighting is quite messy).

    It also syncs to my iPhone wonderfully via icloud, which is something that PDF expert doesn't do as well (I emailed them and their response was to use Dropbox, which they seemed to prefer supporting).

    I can't tell you how well Notes+ works, but I can vouch that Notability works pretty well for me at least. I am a teacher who uses an iPad mini in my classroom. I don't use a stylus though; I have gotten pretty comfortable with writing with my finger and typing, but your mileage may vary. :)
  3. Bromio thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2014
    Thank you.

    I'll wait for other replies. Although they're reasonably cheap, I don't like to waste my money.
  4. omni macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2008
    Spending $5 on something to figure out what you want is not a waste of $.

    Note taking apps are a dime a dozen on the iPad and most of them aren't great. I think we have all been lured by the siren of taking handwritten notes on an iPad and the experience is still terrible.

    I'd personally recommend One Note. Its free
  5. Ledgem macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    I use Notability for taking notes. I don't use it for highlighting PDFs, although I do have a number of forms that I'll occasionally pull in and then fill out digitally in the course of the workday. The speed is decent. While they recently updated to include palm rejection and it seems to work quite well, I always use the magnified box method of writing, so I've never needed palm rejection.

    While Notability could also be used for annotating and highlighting PDFs, I prefer to use Documents for that. Documents (by the company Readdle, if you're having trouble finding it in the app store) is free, and while I mostly use it for storing and viewing PDFs, it can accept any file and interfaces very nicely with computers by mounting itself as a virtual drive. If I remember correctly, on its own Documents only allows you to add highlighting to PDFs. I own PDF Expert as well, which unlocks more features within Documents. You can add typed notes, and you can write directly onto the PDF (also with a magnified box, although the way it advances is slightly different than in Notability). Of course, if you don't like dragging the cursor to do highlighting, you can also highlight with your stylus (which I greatly prefer... it just feels less fidgety).

    My preference for using Documents for annotating over Notability has more to do with the way that both programs sort their files. Documents makes it so easy to load files into it and even to sort those files into folders from your computer (sorting is pretty easy even within the app itself). Notability is good, but it's nowhere near as nice as Documents in that regard.

    I'm using a regular fat-tipped rubber stylus, currently from eBay. I'm still in search of the "perfect" stylus... and am really hoping that Apple just gives us an active digitizer on an iPad at some point, so that we can use a proper stylus and just be done with it.

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