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Organizing Your Thoughts with neu.Notes for the iPad

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From time to time, an app comes along that is somehow plain in some respects yet turns out to be very indispensable in terms of functionality. On the other hand, there are those few apps that seem unable to understand the simplest of commands, much less perform the requested task, leaving users wondering why they downloaded the app in the first place. Rarer still is one that combines both in the same package. Such is neu.Notes for iPad, the new app for handwriting notes, doodling and sketching.

Put simply, neu.Notes for iPad lets users make sketches and add handwritten notations to the sketch at the same time. It also allows importing of images and maps for editing using a color brush palette. Worth noting is the fact that neu.Notes employs vector graphics when rendering sketches, rather than the raster graphics found in Paint app clones. This provides the added advantage of clearer displays whenever zooming up any section of a given sketch or note. However, exporting documents from neu.Notes will require a third-party vector-based app, such as Illustrator, to do so successfully. An alternative is to export the sketch in a raster graphics format, to be reworked subsequently into a proper vector graphics document.

In terms of functionality, neu.Notes has some very commendable features worth looking into. As a productivity app, its organizing functions show evidences of painstaking development. Sketches and notes can be tagged by name, thereby making them easily located within a sketchbook, which is useful in large projects with multiple pages. This practically translates to indexing functions on a smaller scale, as long as the contents are properly tagged. Inefficient tags will result in documents that cannot be indexed through the most obvious search terms.

One of the more frustrating aspects of the app is the lack of depth in terms of available sketch options. With neu.Notes, what you draw is what you get. There is no feature to allow automatic refinements to be made to a rough sketch, or the handwriting recognition feature common in other apps. True, expecting crudely-drawn objects to be translated into their computer-enhanced counterparts may be a feature that is not yet available with current technology, but a nifty indexing function is not enough to place neu.Notes on a competitive footing with its rivals in the market. As a productivity app, neu.Notes delivers but, as a sketching utility, it decidedly falls short.

Still, the app is a great solution to the notes taking needs of certain individuals, especially if said individuals have iPads as their device of choice. Those looking forward to easily export their notes and rework them in other platforms would probably want to use the free version initially to see if neu.Notes is suitable for their needs. Alternatively, users may want to look at the iPhone version of this promising app.

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