I was born right on the cusp of the internet boom. I’m still a digital native (I was a preteen when we got our first modem and I started surfing the web,) but I also have an affinity for the analog way of doing things. I’m old enough to remember what a library card catalogue is, after all.
So I suppose it’s only natural that I still gravitate towards notetaking with pen and paper. I do type faster than I can write by hand, but for some things (like brainstorming), the tactile sensation of having a pen in hand just feels more right.
Now, I found an app that lets me split the difference. It’s called Inkflow: Think Visually!, and it’s an iPhone app developed by Qrayon, LLC. It offers the ability to take notes as you would with pen and paper, but also makes it easy for users to delete or reorganize elements on the page.
What is it and what does it do
Inkflow lets you write, sketch, or doodle. What sets Inkflow apart from similar apps is the ability to “select” an area of text or a diagram, and then move that element to a different location on the page. This makes it perfect for gathering scattered thoughts on a project and reorganizing them into a more cohesive document.
- Universal, full-featured app
- Responsive to even light touches, thanks to a smooth, fountain pen-inspired design
- Users can easily delete or magnify any element on the page
- Great for both writing notes and drawing diagrams
- Easy to share Inkflow creations on Facebook or Twitter
- Works with or without a stylus
- Full resolution zoom with no lag time
- Each notebook can only have 20 pages, max (but you can create as many of them as you wish)
- Creations can only be made with black ink on a white surface (upgrade to Inkflow Plus is required for color drawing tools, this costs $7.99)
- Sometimes feels a bit cramped on the iPhone
- Inkflow lacks other writing tools, such as pencil, paintbrush, or eraser (this are only in the Plus edition)
- Inkflow lets you move and resize items, but does not let you not rotate them
Inkflow gets a lot of things right: the virtual pen tool is responsive to even light touches. While the shading abilities of the pen tool aren’t quite varied enough to do detailed sketches, the tool is more than adequate for doodles, diagrams, and the written word.
The selection tool is great: just draw an arc with your finger near the area you want to delete or move, and you’re good to go. It’s great to have the look of a pen and paper set up, but with the ability to insert bits of text from elsewhere in the document into a different location.
The app is easy enough to navigate, and has a clean, simple design. However, if you see yourself needing the ability to use color, different drawing tools, larger notebooks, or copy/paste and rotate functions, you’ll need to pay 8 bucks to upgrade to Inkflow Plus. Okay, okay, it’s $7.99 and not a full 8 bucks, but it does seem a bit steep, even for an app that’s as solid as this one.
Conclusion and download link
If you want to have the sensation of filling paper notebook pages, but also want the ability to move text and images around with ease, you can’t go wrong with Inkflow. While a gander at the Inkflow Plus page may make you want to upgrade, the free version of Inkflow is perfectly serviceable, even with its limitations.
Price: Free (Inkflow Plus can be purchased via in-app upgrade for $7.99, if desired)
Version reviewed: 1.4
Requires iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, iOS version 5.1 or later
Download size: 5.5 MB