Looked at side-by-side it’s hard to believe that Evernote on the iPad is the same app that runs on your iPhone or iPod touch. Now a universal app, Evernote offers almost all the features on the iPad as it does on other iOS devices. But the tablet version lacks the elegance and simplicity of the iPhone version of Evernote we’ve come to know and love.
Which is not to say that Evernote isn’t useful on the iPad—it’s just not as polished, as nice to look at, or as easy to use. It’s a disappointing effort, particularly for iPhone users who’ve grown accustomed to the better implementation on Apple’s smaller device.
On the iPhone and iPod touch, Evernote remains virtually unchanged from what we’ve reviewed in the past, and it’s still an excellent choice for jotting down and storing bits of information on the go. The iPhone version of the app still opens to a New Note screen that, with a tap, lets you create a text, image, or voice note.
The iPad version opens to a loosely organized clutter of every Evernote you’ve ever created. The way your notes are organized can be sorted by date, title, the city or country they were created in, or the notebook they’re stored in. You can also use the five small tabs at the top of the screen to change what you’re viewing by Notebook, Tags, Places, and saved Searches.
To create a new note on the iPad, you tap a small New Note button that appears at the bottom left-hand side of the screen. When your new note opens, you can then add text, photos, and audio to that note. This differs from the iPhone app in that with the iPad, you can add text, audio, and images to the same note, while the iPhone and iPod touch—with the exception of appending text to a note—create separate notes from images, text, and audio.
Because of the size of the iPad’s screen, Evernote offers you plenty of room to enter and edit text on that device. But I’m still surprised to find that you cannot edit rich text on any Evernote app. You also can’t create pictures or video on the iPad app for obvious reasons, but I’m puzzled as to why the video restriction also applies to the camera-sporting iPhone (or the fourth-generation iPod touch, for that matter). The app can capture photos on the iPhone and iPod touch.
My biggest disappointment with Evernote on the iPad is that it feels more like a alpha-like proof of concept than it does an app ready for real use. With its extensive screen size, it seems that Evernote’s iPad app should be something much closer to the desktop version of the application, with rich text editing, easy organization and navigation of notes, and a better looking interface. While there is no doubt that Evernote is usable and certainly worthwhile to have on your iPad, it has yet to match the the usability and value of the of the smaller iOS version or the versatility of desktop application.
[Jeffery Battersby is an Apple Certified Trainer, (very) smalltime actor, and regular contributor to Macworld. He writes about Macs and more at his blog.]
This review has been reposted to correctly state that you can capture videos on the iPhone/iPod touch version of Evernote.