Sunday, August 22, 2010

Penultimate - v1.2

Penultimate is a simple iPad notebook app for hand-written notes and sketches, but, despite its popularity, it is not your best option. Its biggest limitations are: the inability to zoom (which causes me to fit only a few strokes in any given page) and lack of any real document management

Rating: Price: $2.99

What's Good
Penultimate is the most popular hand-written note iPad application. It is a very simple and well designed app. Penultimate does one thing: allows you to hand write your notes.
The main screen design is very similar to Pages and Keynote apps on the iPad. From this screen you can browse all your notebooks in a scrollable view. From here you can delete or share a selected notebook. Double click will open the selected notebook for editing.

This is the first program I tried that had a wrist protection. I love this feature and it makes hand writing with a iPad pen much easier.

There is an option controlling this feature, so make sure it is on!
From the same option popup you can control were to display tools on your page.

In the last update Penultima has introduce a new Pen tool, that finally allows to select thickness and color.
I prefer writing with the thin line, to fit more notes in one page.

Penultimate offers 3 different paper types. I personally prefer Paper Plain, but also the other 2 are not too bad.

The appearance of the ink is very pleasing, it has very smooth corners and a variable thickness that simulates very well traditional ink-writing.

What's Bad
Penultima displays a large right margin, only in landscape view, for scrolling the page. I found this feature very disappointing for two reasons.
First, I was extremely sad to loose such a large portion of the screen, which I would have preferred to use for writing or zooming.
Second, this feature doesn't work well with wrist protection. My wrist kept scrolling accidentally. It was completely impossible for me to work in this view.

Penultima doesn't allow zooming, which imposes to create large notes, filling up the page very quickly.
Export options are very limited. You can email the current page or an entire notebook.

There is no option to organize your notes in any way. I can't see myself using this app for lots of notes. I would end-up with hundreds of notebooks in a long scrolling list, or with few notebooks with hundred of pages.

Rating Breakdown

YouTube video review of Penultimate
Penultimate on the iTune App Store


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