Simple Note is a free App that boasts that it’s best feature is the one that can be find in it’s name; that is to say that the App is “Simple”. While this is true, the App is dead simple to use, there isn’t much else about it that makes it really all that appealing with the exception of it’s price; Free. I’ll be touching base on it’s GUI, ease of use, and extra features. In the last of these categories I will also touch on the “premium features” option. Simple Note, for all in tense purposes, is the poor man’s EverNote. For this reason it may look very attractive for a lot of people out there. This App is an universal App as well, so for those of you who are cool enough/rich enough to own an iPad, you can get a nice looking version made for your iPad. It’s time for another short list to kick.
I normally give points for good looking GUI’s, “why”, I hear you asking; ’cause I like pretty things is all. What? Don’t be judging. In this case though, I’m not sure what to do. The GUI here is well put together, but VERY BLAH. I know the App is called “Simple Note”, but cheese and crackers, a little sprucing up wouldn’t kill ya. So, I guess I’ll do a little bit of schizophrenic reviewing for you. Reviewer 1: “Well, I like this App’s GUI because it keeps the promise it’s name puts forth. It’s simple and well constructed”. Reviewer 2: “I think this App is ugly like Reviewer one’s face. It’s TOO simple! No bells, no whistles, and no ‘night time editing’ mode. My eyes burn when I look at the glaring white screen while trying to write papers at three a.m. the night before my papers are due”. Reviewer 1: “While you make a good point that a ‘night-time’ mode would be easier on the eyes, it would clutter up the minimalistic design of the tool bars and therefore make it less SIMPLE”. Reviewer 2: “You’re Mum was simple too, but that doesn’t mean it was all that good either. Besides, you could just put the toggle for it in the settings tab”. As you can see the debate of fashion v.s. function goes very deep in my subconscious. Speaking of the settings tab, you can find here in this tab just about all the options you need to survive, but not too many frills. No size, font, or GUI modification settings. There is also a sad lack of any form of folders. I could understand this on the iPhone version, but on the iPad? There is not much excuse for not putting in some sort of folder system, or something that would accomplish the desired effect. There is also, to my knowledge, no way to properly title each note so that one would have a clear defined idea of what the note was about when reviewing the notes later. Sure, there is a tiny preview under the “title” that was made of up a portion of the first line of your document, and sure there is a nifty built in search function, but wouldn’t a proper title help more? I would think so anyway. On the iPhone you have the notes list, from which you can select an older note to edit, or tap the plus sign for a new note. On the iPad, while in landscape mode you have a side bar that allows for quick note switching, and in portrait mode you have a notes button that gives you a little pop up list to scroll through. Both iterations are simple enough to use, and are even a little pleasing to the eyes.
Second on my short list this time is the ease of use. I don’t have much to say here except to echo the earlier comment made by reviewer one in my head, “it keeps the promise it’s name puts forth”. The App is simple and a breeze to use. No confusing button combinations, no hidden functions, and the features and functions you have are not implemented in a counterintuitive manner. Everything about the App itself is pretty straight forward. Note taking is easy, setting up a free account for web syncing between devices is painless, and if you wanna pay for a year of service that’s easy too. This is where the App really shines, even if nothing about it is particularly shiny.
Extra features is the last of my three topics this time ’round. There are a few options that are under the hood things, that you’d not really notice if you didn’t take a tour of the settings tab and just started to write. Some of those include toggles for preview lines, lock orientation (very helpful), web syncing, show dates, and detect links. There is also a list of premium features that you have to pay $8.99 for a twelve month subscription. This is a large savings compared to EverNote, which would charge you $44.99 for twelve months or $4.99 for a month to month basis. If you think you’d only need the premium package of EverNote for six months, the month to month bit is nice, and would save you some dough, but Simple Note is priced nicely so you could get a whole year for less than two months of EverNote’s premium services. The list of premium features for Simple Note include; disable ads, automatic backups, create by email, RSS Feed, unlimited API usage, and insider access. They also have a premium support option there, but that’s something that I don’t think should really be able to part of a “premium package”. The options that are listed above here are all very nice, but most of them are just tweaks so that the App works a little more like how you think. Nothing really glamourous, notice a trend here?
My final thoughts on the matter are this, if you really want an App that doesn’t have much sex appeal, locks you into one font and font size, will backup to your computer (one way or another), and not do much else for you; you pretty much got one with your iDevice. It’s called “Notes”. It’s free, and already installed. It’s also pretty simple to use. Even though yellow isn’t my color, at least it looks a little bit more pretty than Simple Note does. Sure the web syncing, the premium features, and the fact that you’re not looking at a digital yellow legal pad, does make a good argument for downloading Simple Note – but do you really need to? Over all, I can’t complain about the App itself. It does what it promises. It is fairly priced compared to it’s competitor, EverNote. And in the end it’s a solid way to type out notes to yourself. It’s just not one I’d use personally to be honest. So, putting aside my own personal feelings about whether or not I’d use it, my rating for this App is a 7 out of 10. It’s boring, bland, and not too feature rich. It is, however, solid and easy to use. So, there you have it. Boring, but useful.
App rated on a ten point scale.