Review: WritePad – Handwriting Recognition for iPad

Review: WritePad – Handwriting Recognition for iPad

We’re in an ever changing world, where writing with pen and paper is much less common that it was when our parents were younger. Technology has trained us to write with our thumbs on a touch screen, or with out fingers, clicking away on a keyboard. Now, those who prefer to take notes the “old-fashioned” way, but can’t give up their iPad or iPhone, WritePad is offering a possible solution making handwriting a digital experience.

Overview:

WritePad ($8.99 for iPad (english), $3.99 for iPhone) is an advanced note taking app for your iDevice that transposes your handwriting into digital text. No more fumbling with bluetooth keyboards, or typing notes with your thumbs – now you can simply pen your sentence onto the screen, and WritePad will analyze the the handwriting and convert it to text.

Using WritePad’s built-in spell checker, customizable dictionary, and auto-correct, taking notes becomes a smooth, simple process after a little use. In my experience, I found that when I attempt to take notes quickly, WritePad frequently misunderstood the letters “m” and “a,” and often replaced the letter “t” with a plus (+). I also encountered several errors in word spacing, typically after the letter “I.” While this was somewhat annoying, I can say with reasonable confidence that this is not strictly the fault of WritePad, but also my horrendous handwriting.

writepad-recognize

The real beauty of WritePad is the ability to use a small collection of “short cut” symbols to perform actions, such as adding a return, inserting a space, or deleting a word (or words). This means that you can write consistently without needing to set down your stylus and press any buttons on the screen.

WritePad also includes DropBox, iCloud, and EverNote syncing, meaning you can save your notes to view or edit later. Much like other note taking apps, you can also access your notes by connecting your device to iTunes, and also includes a beam-like feature to send your notes to other iPads or iPhones over a local Wi-Fi connection.

WritePad-getstarted WritePad-sometext

As is the case with many drawing and writing apps, WritePad does feature a “Palm Rest” feature, which helps prevent accidental strokes on the screen. While the idea is certainly appreciated, I found that it was flaky at best, often triggering stray marks, which turned into various characters.

Verdict: [rating: 3]

WritePad is a well thought out app, and certainly offers a feature not seen in other note taking apps. Unfortunately, the time spent correcting the errors or choosing the correct recognized result slows the process significantly. Unless you have excellent handwriting, and you struggle to type a quickly on an iPad, WritePad is more of a novelty app than a truly viable note taking option.

Pros:

  • Built-in dictionary and spell check
  • Customizable shorthand
  • Syncing with 3rd party services

Cons:

  • Palm Rest function was very hit-or-miss
  • No way to correct the recognized word list
  • Required In-App Purchase or alternate version purchase for other languages

If you feel like taking notes by hand is your best method, check out WritePad for iPad and WritePad for iPhone, available in the App Store

*The above review was commissioned by the developer in accordance with our app review policy, and has been written in an objective, unbiased fashion.

  1. jt6572 says:

    excellently surmised in the verdict. i have tried a few writing recognition apps and after a littler perseverance have pretty much given up on them as (as you correctly write) they tend to be too much of a hassle in the end. i also find my stylus is too “grippy” to write fluently and using my finger is also quite inaccurate.
    for now i will just put it aside and use the keyboard for notes if i cant simply use pen and paper.

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