Review: Take notes the old-fashioned way with Penultimate for iPad
By Cassandra Khaw
At a glance
While I can’t remember the last time I did any amount of pen-to-paper long-form writing (do signatures count?), it’s hard to refute that Evernote’s free Penultimate for the iPad is a rather attractive concoction.
This handwriting app doesn’t try to be anything more than that: It’s a solid digital alternative to your old notebook and pen. But despite its simple functionality, Penultimate is incredibly elegant. Each virtual notebook is trussed up in digital leather and lined with your choice of paper: plain, lined, graph or whatever else you purchased from their store. To navigate between pages, swipe along the bottom right corner in whichever direction you so desire.
With Penultimate, you won’t get fancy features like decorative brushes or paint buckets; the tool set here is rather sparse. There is a pen (you can control the color and thickness of it), an eraser (you’re stuck with the app’s default size), and a way to cut and paste elements from a page. You can also drag a photo from your Camera Roll onto your page. Penultimate is supposed to allow you to search for words you may have scribbled down, but so far, I haven’t been able to convince search to work. (It could just be that I have terrible handwriting, of course.)
While there is plenty to like about the bare bones—yet elegant—Penultimate, it isn’t perfect. You can’t adjust the eraser diameter, use a zoom function, or rest your palm comfortably on the screen without causing unnecessary squiggles to happen. Still, for its unbeatable price, there’s not much more you ask of this little note-taking app.
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