Software

Five lesser-known Android apps for taking notes

If you're not a fan of Google Keep, you might be on the lookout for an alternative note-taking app. Here are five good choices to consider.

When you're on the go, you need to be able to quickly jot down notes before they slip away into the ether. Otherwise, you'll most likely forget every brilliant idea you've ever had. Thankfully, there are more note-taking apps than you could possibly imagine using. But which ones should you be using? How about the ones you've never heard of?

That's right; there are so many note-taking apps available in the Google Play Store, you've probably heard of only a small portion of them. Some of those unheard-of apps are actually quite good. And so here we are, ready to unveil a few note-taking apps ready to serve you... whether you know of them or not.

Note: This article is also available as an image gallery and a video hosted by TechRepublic columnist Tom Merritt.

1: Note Everything

Note Everything (Figure A) is a simple application that lets you create text, voice, and drawing notes. It features Pebble and Google Now integration, and it can import your old-school Palm, your Microsoft Outlook memos, notes from Google Drive (this requires installation of NE Google Drive, which I highly recommend), and even notes from barcodes.

Figure A

Figure A

Note Everything allows you to quickly send memos, create folders, search—all in the free version. There is also a pro version that adds photo notes, checklist notes, gallery notes, reminders, encryption. It lets you add notes to the status bar and do a full backup to an SD card. The Note Everything Pro add-on will set you back $3.99 USD. It's worth every penny.

2: Squid (formerly Papyrus)

If you prefer the feel of a pen in your hand, you'll be glad to know there are plenty of third-party handwriting apps available. One of my favorites is Squid (Figure B). With this app you can create quick handwritten notes (or drawings) and even import and annotate PDF documents (with an optional in-app purchase premium add-on: $4.99 USD).

Figure B

Figure B

Other premium add-ons include Tool Pack ($2.99), which adds tools like highlighters, a "true" eraser, a sharp tool (to draw lines, rectangles, etc.), and a text tool and Cloud Backup ($2.99), which allows you to back up your notes and export them to the cloud as PDFs. Note: Cloud Backup supports only Dropbox and Box at the moment.

3: SealNote Secure Encrypted Note

If you're looking for a simple note-taking app, one that will also tuck your notes away with password protection, SealNote Secure Encrypted Note (Figure C) might be what you need. Although individual notes aren't secured via password, the app itself is. (You are prompted to create the secret password upon first launch.)

Figure C

Figure C

SealNote offers features such as Autosave, secure window content (to prevent screenshots from being taken when notes are open), password timeout, and backup/restore. You can also add your credit cards (and other cards) into the app and secure them away—although if you're as paranoid as I am, you probably won't opt to use this feature. If you long press a note (from within the main window), you can archive notes, as well. To get to your archive notes, swipe right from the left edge and tap Archive.

4: My Notes - Notepad

One of the better note-taking apps to employ Material Design is My Notes - Notepad (Figure D). If you prefer a bit of consistency throughout your platform landscape, My Notes will give you that. It also happens to be easy to use. There's a free version (which contains ads) and a premium version (in-app purchase of $3.99), which removes the ads and includes auto sync and backup.

Figure D

Figure D

My Notes allows you to add an app lock (to secure your notes away). If you happen to be a power user, you'll enjoy the built-in grouping and sort-by feature that makes finding your notes even easier—or you can use the included search feature. My Notes allows you to create folders and tag important notes with stars for quick access from the sidebar.

5: SomNote

SomNote (Figure E) has a well-designed interface that allows you to easily create folders, edit notes, search, sync, secure the app with a password, and more. As you create new notes and folders, it automatically syncs to your Somcloud account. (You have to sign up with Google, Facebook, or an existing Somcloud account.)

Figure E

Figure E

Figure E

You can use the free version or purchase the in-app SomNote Premium ($3.99/month USD), which gives you 30 GB of extra storage (you get 1 GB with the free account). You'll also get premium themes, attached file size up to 100 MB, attached file restoration, and the removal of ads.

Which note-taking app is right for you?

If you're searching for the perfect note-taking app, you can either look to the built-in Google Keep (which everyone knows) or turn to one of the lesser-known note taking apps on the Google Play Store.

Do you have a preference in the crowded field of note-taking apps? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.

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    Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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