There are countless note-taking apps available for iOS, and many of them come with unique features that set them apart from the rest of the bunch. But even with all those unique features, not many are bold enough to claim that they are worthy alternatives to Evernote. Zoho Notebook is one of the few that does. It’s a beautiful free app (also available for Android). If you are currently looking for a nice notebook app or an alternative to Evernote, you should at least give this one a try.
The First Look
Even at first glance, you can already tell that the developer of this app put as much attention into design as the other aspects. The first time you open the app, you are greeted by an invitation to choose one of the handcrafted artistic covers for your new notebook. Instead of using the digital files and folders approach like Evernote, Zoho Notebook tries the less techie physical notebook representation and stacks of colorful notes to manage your scribbles. It’s similar to Paper by 53.
Similar to many other note-taking apps, Zoho Notebook also uses a cloud server to sync the content between devices. You need to register for a Zoho account to be able to benefit from the feature. With an account in your hand, all that you need to do is log in with the same account on all of your devices.
The welcome screen will give you enough information to understand the basic workflow of the app. After choosing the cover for your first notebook and registering for the account, you are ready to start.
Before jumping into note-taking, let’s have a quick look at the notebook. You can edit the title of the notebook, change the cover, or delete it by swiping the cover to the left. Tap the “i” icon to edit or the “Trash” icon to delete.
After you open the Notebook, you can create four types of notes (or “cards” as the creator prefers to call them): the Text Card, Audio Card, Checklist Card and Photo Card. All are accessible via the bottom menu, but you can include all these types of note-taking in the Text Card.
The first time you use it, the app will ask your permission to enable location tracking. If you give permission, the app will be able to organize your notes by the location where you take them.
The note itself is simple and straightforward. You create one, write on it and close it by tapping the checkmark at the top right of the screen. The editing tools and the other options are available at the menubar above the keyboard area.
Tap the “A” icon to access the Bold, Italic, Underline, and Aligning tools. The tools to create lists and to-do checkboxes are available next to the editing tool.
You’ll get a different randomly-chosen bright color note every time you create a new one. But you can change the color to your liking by tapping the Color tool to the right of the editing tool.
The other two tools on the menubar are the Camera tool that you can use to add images to your note by accessing your phone’s camera or the photo library and the Sound Recorder to create audio notes.
Is the Simpler Alternative for You?
Even the developer admitted that Zoho Notebook for iOS is not as feature-rich as Evernote. But that might be a good thing, as users wouldn’t have to go through too many hoops just to use the app. Its simplicity means easy-to-use and fast.
Everything goes back to your personal preferences. Those who can’t live without the vast range of note-taking features can continue using Evernote, and those who prefer a simpler approach might find their solution in Zoho Notebook.