Taking Notes on the Go

So you’ll remember last year, I traded my little Galaxy Nexus 3 for a Galaxy Note II, with the intention of eliminating the need for a tablet. I’m happy to announce I can actually use said phone for the purpose of…well, said phone. The point of getting a Note II (and one day, mostly likely the Note 4) was to take notes without needing to constantly carry around a notebook or laptop.

With the new job – as senior copywriter, no less! –  I’m actually using my little phablet for the purposes of why I bought it in the first place. Now with that said, it did take some time before I was actually able to find apps that worked with what I needed to do, especially when I’m not at the office or on the way to said. So this post is for you folks with phablets or tabtops that are looking for note taking apps.

Please keep in mind that I only have an Android device, with a Windows 8.1 laptop; most of these are of course for all devices, but miles will vary, Apple minions.

Why would I take notes on a phablet?

imagesSo why on Earth would you take notes on a phone? Well, what happens if you forget your laptop or if your battery has died about five minutes before your meeting, in a room that has no outlets? One of the reasons I went with the Note 2 (and Note line of phones) was essentially because of the stylus pen. Now granted, I really did consider getting one of the Note tablets, but I really am a stickler for a keyboard.

However in the case of taking quick notes or joting down an idea, this could be a great way of taking notes while you’re in class or at a short meeting. Of course, keep in mind that though your phablet is 5 inches or larger, you’re still writing on a phone, so again, miles will vary.


With the about face coming from Micrsoft, you can now get many of the Office suite programs on your phone/tablet. For free. OneNote is Microsoft’s offering for note taking. It had been a hit when it first debuted with the Office Suite in 2003 (for me as well), but the major downside was that it was PC only.

A digital notebook, ON has the abilities to several notebooks, along with different colored tabs that you can keep your notes in. Load audio, links, images, and whatever else to keep track of the note of the day. With Windows 8/8.1, there’s even a dedicated app.

The Good: Handwriting. While I’m still fumbling around with using the S Pen, being able to write on notes or images from my phone is awesome. It’s a lot faster than trying to type in text and move it in to position on a phone. And it’s finally mobile, meaning what I have on my desktop translates to both my phone and laptop. And it’s free, regardless if you’re using Windows or not (though to sync up everything, you do need a Microsoft account)

The Bad: For the life of me, I can’t figure out how to add an image to an established note. Meaning, if I was in class or a meeting and someone drew an image on the screen, I could not take a picture of it and place it in the notes I was taking, at least not from my phone. That means, I’d have to use AirDroid or a USB or email myself said image and then place it from my PC. That’s a huge hassle, especially from something that states it’s a digital notebook. You can pull an image and then start a new note in a notebook, but again, hassle.


downloadAh Evernote. The note taking app I switched to when OneNote wouldn’t and couldn’t be mobile. I’ve been using it for years on my PCs and when I got better smartphones, started using them on mobile. Like ON, EN allows you to create notebooks and notes within them. You can create notes from your phone, your PC, or their website. All of it’s free, though there is both a premium and a business model for those that want it.

The Good: So far everything. Didn’t really have any complaints beforehand. The ability to make audio, notes, images, etc while on the go is a feature I didn’t know I needed until I actually needed it. Unlike ON, you can import an image into an existing note with no issues.

The Bad: Handwriting. While this is still a newer issue, handwriting on EN is not as smooth as ON and I can only write on images if I have Skitch installed. So basically I need an extra app for an app that should provide that ability. Also, handwriting is put into a separate page, so I can’t write a handwritten note somewhere to remind me of something.

Lecture Notes

An app I discovered while basically trying to tie the features of ON with EN. As the name implies, this is an app to take lectures with, but can obviously be used for other proposes. There’s a free trial and then you can buy it if you want recordings (with a separate app it looks like). Like the other two, there’s the ability to create notebooks with pages within.

The Good: The free trial has everything with exception to recordings. It did do a good job of combining what I liked about ON and EN – the ability to pull in an image to an existing note and using handwriting to mark notes.

The Bad: That I know of, it’s just a phone app. You can export to ON or EN, but it exports as a PDF and I can’t remember if I was able to edit that. There’s also a bit of a learning curve where it comes to creating notebooks and pages. In the trial, you only get one notebook.

Polaris Office

This was a familiar app, as I had seen it before and I believe it came as a part of one of my previous phone apps (that I removed as I didn’t know what it was and didn’t use it). As the name implies, it’s a mobile version of Office, which if I remember correctly, was the first version of an Office clone that business folks could use on their phones and tablets.

Like ON and EN, there is a mobile version, a web version, and a desktop version you can download. The desktop version is actually similar to that of Google Drive, where it creates a folder to store your stuff in. It also has the ability to pull documents from other cloud services, such as Drive and Dropbox and really is an Office clone, allowing you the ability to create Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents (Office Mobile doesn’t give you PP unless you have a tablet).

As with the above, there is a free version and a paid version.

The Good: Like LN, I can import an image onto an existing note and use the handwriting on it. The free version limits you to only on ink option and color, but there’s potential in me actually paying the $4 a month for it should it provide to be the better option. It also looks like you can start saving documents in your cloud services (Drive, Dropbox) when you move to the paid version.

The Bad: Maneuvering from edit to view is a little clumsy, though not sure if this works better when on a tablet. Still investigating, though so far, nothing bad.

And that’s it for that! Do you have an awesome app that I don’t know about? Anything to add or disagree? Comment below; you know what to do.



About Writer 66

Writing since the age of seven, managed to get a job as a copy writer, while enjoying the unsung awesomeness as a creative fan fic writer.

Posted on March 22, 2015, in gifts, Interludes, mobile, The Business Side and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I have a Note 4 and use it all the time for blogging or YouTube. I’ve even used it for a few podcasts haha. I can never go back to another android phone like a S5 or 6. It’s my computer away from my computer.

    • I think after I’ve had this for another year, I’ll probably get the Note 4 (unless the Note 5 or 6 comes out). I’m finally able to use it for the purpose I bought it for, which was for work. I can now take notes on projects I’m working on (usually in one note) and they instantly upload to my computer, which is great.

      Downside of course is I wish the screen was bigger, but really, getting this did stop me from having a phone AND a tablet (bad enough I have a laptop and a desktop). Haven’t attempted to post yet, though now that I’ve said it…

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