Awesome Note for the iPhone is awesome!

I’m a bit of an information pack rat. When I have an idea or something I need to keep track of, I have an immediate need to write it down or record it. In the past this has resulted in an assortment of post-it notes, notebooks or even loose papers lying around my desk, all used to document my thoughts. Eventually, I tried to move my note-taking over to the PC in an attempt to make it easier to manage, but over time the notes became spread over a variety of formats and storage mediums, from text files on my local PC to online services such as Google Calendar and Dropbox.

This sort of digital storage Balkanization was becoming a nightmare to manage and effectively neutralizing any benefit from taking notes, since finding and keeping track of what I’d written down was becoming a chore by itself. Clearly, a unified solution was needed. Ever since I got my iPhone last year, I’d been looking for an app or service that would allow me to easily keep track of todo and shopping lists (what most of my notes amounted to), while storing the the data online so that it could be synced or updated from my PC as well.

I think I’ve finally found that with Awesome Note.

What I was looking for

As mentioned, I love keeping lists. So what I needed was an app that could allow me to easily keep track of lists as well as allow me to backup or sync the underlying data in such a way that I could also work with the lists on my PC or online. The built-in Notes app didn’t meet my needs because you could only sync it with certain supported software, such as Outlook, which I didn’t use or care to use at home.

Browsing through the App Store was almost an exercise in futility. Trying to find a decent note-taking app (or any app, for that matter) is a time-consuming activity; I didn’t want to shell out any money without being able to first try the app out, so many apps were immediately ruled out.

The first one I tried was one aptly named Lists. While it was functional and had support for lists and lists-within-lists, it was buggy and the UI left a lot to be desired. The next one I tried was Evernote’s app; while Evernote is a nice service, the iPhone app left a lot to be desired. While the web application or the PC software allowed you to take all sorts of notes, only basic editing functionality was available on the app, and it was suited for a more general note-taking approach rather than one for lists and the like.

I stumbled upon the free version of Awesome Note soon after, which thankfully was fully-featured but limited you to only a few notes. Nonetheless, I was immediately impressed.

Just felt right

Right off the bat, I was impressed by how easy it was to create a list and add items. When creating an item, you can use the “quick-add” functionality that allows you to nicely add a new item while staying on the same screen; if necessary you can later add a longer description on a separate screen. Furthermore, it’s easy to sort items by date, name or priority; more importantly, there’s a robust search function as well. Swipe-to-delete functionality is also nicely handled.

You can create multiple folders, each to store separate items, for example, a shopping list and a todo list. Each folder has its own view options, either thumbnail, lists or todo view, store separately so you can sort through different lists in different ways, each remembered by the app. Furthermore, it’s easy to convert an item to a todo item; you simply tap a box next to an item to change its state from done/not done and there’s no need to navigate complicated setup screens to change this.

There’s also a “Quick Memo” feature, which gives you a notepad to quickly jot down ideas that you can later convert into a fully-fledged note or item. It basically replicates the functionality of the built-in Notes app, all while providing some other nice features such as adjustable fonts, just like the rest of the app.

Furthermore, the UI was very polished; each folder can be identified by colour and an icon of your choosing. A nice assortment of these icons/backgrounds is provided, all of them looking great. In short, everything looks very well refined and well thought out, making list and note management very easy.

But most importantly, the sync worked great out of the box. I tied it to my Evernote account, and as a result I now have the unified access to my notes that I so badly wanted. I’d previously used Dropbox or even my own SVN server to get some semblance of cloud-based storage and access to my notes, but but neither was sufficient to properly work with my iPhone. Awesome Note now provides that functionality, with a great UI/front-end making list/note management a breeze.

I strongly recommend giving it a try if you find yourself using your iPhone/iPod Touch to take notes.

One Comment »

  1. This is a useful app. Yesterday, I want to record some telephone numbers of many landlords and references of the apartments, but it’s boring that did it with my iphone 4 without app like “Awesome Note”, while what I need is a pen and pad. I’ve got so many free stuffs and paid apps in ifunia iphone column for my iphone 4, upset, excepting this.

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