Wed, 07 Mar 2012 PhatPad for iOS review
A note-taking app that combines text and graphics with mixed results
- Manufacturer: Phatware
- Pros: Transforms hand-drawn writing or shapes; imports images; sharing options
- Cons: Need to use large writing; hard to switch between modes; letters and shapes get confused
- Price: £2.99
- Star rating:
PhatPad is a note-taking app for the iPad that can combine text and graphics within the same document. You can either type text or use your finger to write. Choose whether to leave your handwritten text as digital ink or have PhatPad convert it to text. Converted text can be assigned any of several predefined styles; you can also create your own style.
You can draw shapes on the page and, if you enable the detect shapes feature, the shapes you sketch change into perfect geometric versions. Images can be imported, either from PhatPad’s clipart library or from your photo library. You can even record voice notes and store them within your PhatPad document.
Your documents can be synced to Dropbox, shared via email, exported to PDF, uploaded to Google Docs, or copied to Evernote. There’s also an option to share your projects with other PhatPad users over WiFi.
We encountered several problems with the app. Writing has to be very large in order for the digital ink to be legible or for the handwriting recognition to work reliably. Switching between modes is cumbersome and is made worse by the remote placement of the buttons. The shape detection sometimes fights with the digital ink, often confusing letters with shapes. Occasionally, no matter where we grab an object, PhatPad wants to resize it rather than move it.
A shape- detection feature can transform what you draw into perfect geometric versions