PaperPort Notes is a brand new app for the iPad, brought to you from Nuance, the company responsible for the popular Dragon dictation software.
This new note taking app incorporates Nuance’s Dragon voice recognition, allowing you to take notes just by speaking into the app. In addition, it also provides traditional note taking tools that puts it on par with other note taking apps in the App Store.
I gave PaperPort a whirl, and I was more or less impressed with what it was able to do. My first couple of spoken sentences were dictated accurately, but when I read it the first two paragraphs of this post, it had some trouble, switching notes for nuts and par for pie, which made for a pretty funny paragraph.
Even when taking the time to correct the errors, I was still able to dictate more quickly than I can type on the iPad. This voice recognition wouldn’t replace a keyboard if I had one, but it is useful for typing up short notes or emails.
Unfortunately, this simply wouldn’t be useful in a classroom situation. You might get some strange looks if you try to talk to your iPad during class. It is, however, useful for typing notes while studying at home.
Even if the dictation can’t be used in some situations, you can still use PaperPort notes for all of your other note taking needs. It also allows you to type with the typical keyboard or switch to stylus mode to take notes with a finger (or stylus, of course). Like many note taking apps, there is a palm rest, which works about as well as other apps – aka, not that well.
There are tools for adding audio recordings, entering text boxes, highlighting, and erasing. There is a zoom function, but it’s not the same easy-to-use zoom box that other apps come equipped with. You can also use this app to create sticky notes and to-do lists, complete with images, and then export all of your work using Dropbox. It does not have support for languages other than English – the app didn’t understand Spanish or French.
I’d say this app is most similar to Penultimate, but with the addition of audio recording and voice recognition, and the loss of a bit of Penultimate’s smoothness and slick interface. It’s not as fully featured as apps like Notes Plus or Note Taker HD, or Notability, but as a free app, this is a more than passable note taking option.
Want to try it out? Nuance’s PaperPort Notes is currently available as a free download in the App Store.