Review: Simplenote 3

Last night Simplenote released the version 3 update, a massive update that brings a slew of new features to the very simple note taking app for the iPhone. I like so many others took to using the app at the urging of Daring Fireball’s John Gruber when he mentioned it quite some time ago. Since then the much ridiculed app icon has changed a few times and again in version 3 it gains a new icon, more than that the interface has been overhauled and refined.

The Best New Feature

With version 3 on both the iPad and iPhone Simplenote has introduced ‘full screen’ editing, where by you get a white canvas, your text and the keyboard and nothing else. No clock, or battery status indicator to distract the eye, a pure typing environment. This is awesome. Anybody who writes a lot will tell you just how great this feature is, and with most things iOS related this feature really shines on the iPad.

The one complaint I always had about Simplenote on the iPad is that I didn’t like to have to type offset, where the text was pushed to the left. Now though with fullscreen the problem has gone away, a truly great writing app has emerged from what was once just a simple note taking app.

Other Mentionable New Features

Tags: a great way to help you stay organized, I however have never been a big user of tags and so I doubt that this will be very used by me.

Pin to Top: This allows you to select a particular note that stays at the top of the list no matter how you are sorting. This was a much needed feature, I can’t tell you how long I have spent scrolling for a note (I often forget or neglect to search, mainly because I try to use it with just one hand a lot).

Orientation Lock on iPhone: I know with iOS 4 you can double tap and get the orientation lock system wide, but let’s face it most people will not use that (except on the iPad the hardware switch is far more convenient) so being able to turn off landscape mode in Simplenote is great – who uses the landscape iPhone keyboard anyways?

Little Annoyances

On the iPad the UI simulates a stack of papers, but it would appear that the top sheet of the paper is the same height, just more narrow than the sheet behind it. This is unlike other UI tricks where the stack just appears to be eschew below the top sheet. Whatever is going on I hate it.

The placement of the ‘sign out’ button in both the iPhone and iPad are in a terrible spot, I have hit them several times thinking it was the close or done button. Please move this in line with the other options for sanities sake.

On the iPhone the button to go full screen is with all the other tools on the toolbar, on the iPad it is a very low contrast icon in the bottom right corner, by itself. This is really annoying, put it up top with all the other tools and buttons, don’t make me search for it every time.

Buy It

Buy this not because I say so, but because Evernote sucks and this is what a real notes app should be like. What an great update and I am sure more great ones to come. (I should clarify that Simplenote is free thought you can purchase upgrades in the app)

Originally posted for members on: August 24, 2010
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