Most best-of apps list count Evernote in the top tier, and as a long-time Evernote user, I can attest to its productivity prowess in the form of the Evernote iPad app (free). Evernote touts its service as an “extension of your brain,” but a more concrete description, albeit slightly technical, is to call it a note-taking and syncing service. You create “notes” (more on what constitutes notes further down) in the app, and then Evernote stores them in the cloud so you can access them from anywhere. Evernote supports a variety of note types—text, audio, and images—and includes some of the most powerful searching capabilities I’ve seen in a mobile app. All these features wrapped into one app makes Evernote a service I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone. The Evernote iPad app is an indispensable program if you own one of Apple’s tablets.
Evernote’s Value and Price
To use the Evernote iPad app, you need an Evernote account, which is free with an option to upgrade to a Premium account ($5 per month or $45 per year). Free users can upload 60MB of new note content every month, whereas Premium account holders get 1GB each month.
Other benefits of Premium membership include a larger maximum file upload size (100MB versus 25MB) and the ability to keep notebooks offline, which is a huge perk for iPad users. Because Evernote is a syncing service, it relies on Internet access to work smoothly. You don’t need to be connected all the time while working. For example, you can open a note while connected, and continue working on it if you lose the signal. But if you’re offline to start and want to open an existing note, Evernote won’t be able to retrieve it from the cloud … unless you have set up offline notebooks. Offline notebooks simply let you keep a copy of whichever notebooks you select locally on your iPad. The app will continue to sync their contents, but you’ll never have to worry about not having an Internet connection during times when you need to update a note.
Notes constitute a wide variety of content, and this flexibility adds to Evernote’s total value. For example, I keep notes from business meetings in Evernote, as well as drafts of articles that I’m writing. I’ve used Evernote to store Web clips containing apartment information while house-hunting, then used the Evernote mobile app to add detail about the place when I visited it. You can upload audio memos, pictures of whiteboards, photos of menus or foods you’ve eaten that you want to remember, and really any text, audio file, or image that falls within your account limitations.
Evernote’s search tool derives power from the fact that it can search not only typed text, but also text that appears in images. The search tool also looks across metadata that you add to notes and that Evernote adds by default (if you allow it). Metadata include tags, note titles, and geographic location. If you give the Evernote iPad app access to iOS’s location services, it will remember where you were when you created your notes. And in an outstanding reverse feat, Evernote for iPad contains an interactive map from which you can select a location and see which notes you made in that place, a supremely practical way for frequent travelers to stay on top of their notes.
While I remain not only impressed, but downright awestruck at the fact that Evernote gives OCR search capabilities to all its users—free account holders included—I will note that it’s not entirely foolproof. For example, I have a photo of a chocolate bar wrapper that says “VIETNAM” in a font that looks handwritten, and searching “Vietnam” and even “VIET” in Evernote has never helped me find this note (searching “chocolate,” which is written in a different font, works though). Turning handwritten text into searchable computer-recognized text is extremely tough, so I don’t really count it against Evernote that it doesn’t work 100 percent of the time. It’s more a warning to be careful how much you rely on OCR search.
Like any solid iPad app, Evernote contains built-in sharing features. You give a friend or colleague access to a note or notebook in a few quick taps of the screen. Emailing in particular is convenient, because the app sends messages (from an @evernote.com account, which every user receives when they sign up) without launching another email app.
Another feature that makes Evernote a useful program on the iPad (and elsewhere) is its interoperability with other apps. Third-party apps, therefore, can often fill in areas that Evernote doesn’t serve. For example, Evernote does not contain any native support for handwriting or sketching, but you can connect your Evernote account to Penultimate, which does.
Evernote is a PCMag Editors’ Choice iPad app. This productivity wizard can help anyone keep their thoughts, images, writing, and other “notes” well organized and totally searchable. Evernote’s Premium account adds a few notable benefits—particularly the offline notebooks feature for iPad users—although the free account offers plenty of value, too.
More iPad app Reviews:
|Type||Business, Personal, Enterprise, Professional|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc