SpeedText for iPhone full review

When we learned of SpeedText – an app that lets you take notes by writing on your iPhone’s screen – we immediately thought of the Newton. So we put a SpeedText-equipped iPhone in a showdown with a Newton.

When stacked against an iPhone, even the smaller Newton MP130 model is a brick. But there’s one area where the Newton is a clear winner – it’s handwriting recognition was quite good. Then again, SpeedText doesn’t do handwriting recognition at all. The ‘text’ you write is no more than a series of graphic images. And that’s the app’s biggest drawback – you can’t edit what you’ve written beyond deleting and rewriting entire words. SpeedText reproduces exactly what you trace on the screen, so if you don’t write straight, or if you have poor handwriting, that’s what’s recorded.

With some practice, entering text on the Newton is easy, since you can write anywhere on its large screen, and in any direction, and it appears positioned and aligned properly. In comparison, SpeedText confines your writing to a small area at the bottom of the iPhone’s screen. Even after adjusting for maximum spacing, and even with the screen rotated on its side, this feels cramped. Despite these limitations, taking short, simple notes seems fairly easy, and it worked well enough most of the time.

Overall, the Newton beat SpeedText, but we still concede the match to the iPhone. While the iPhone currently lacks handwriting recognition, we can always hope that it will appear someday.

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