Occasionally, I get the urge to sketch out a particular design. Not that I’m especially creative nor does my writing gig require it, but sometimes, regular notes just don’t cut it. I’ve been fiddling with Paper for the past week or so and it’s mostly suited that need, albeit with some hang-ups along the way.
The core function of Paper is to provide an alternative means of taking notes, complete with full sketch capabilities and the power to draw on top of photos. It’s convenient, especially since iOS only just recently allowed for crude doodles in its native app.
With Paper, you can organize all your ideas in one place, and share them via social media channels. I tried out Paper on both an iPhone 6 and iPad Mini 2, and found the latter to be the most desirable experience due to the increased screen real estate. It also helps that viewing your library of sketches is inherently larger, making it easier to see what’s available at a glance.
But with their recent update, Paper got a lot more convoluted. Now you are required to sign in to use it, and the simplistic UI of old is gone, in favor of more clicks (taps) to get to the same old functions. There’s also no Mac app to turn to, so the ecosystem is rather limited compared to their competition.
FiftyThree is also heavily pushing “”Pencil, which is essentially a supercharged $50 stylus. It’s a pretty inexpensive and cool looking gadget, but it’s unnecessary in my opinion, especially since multi-touch devices have overtaken the need for pinpoint precision—but if your career requires it (like say, an architect or illustrator), it might be a tad more appealing.
We haven’t gotten to test it out yet, but it should be noted that the market is going to get a tad more crowded with Apple’s $99 stylus, also named “Pencil,” as well as with what Microsoft is doing with the Surface and what Samsung is doing with the Note 5.
Right now, Paper isn’t head and shoulders above the competition, but it gets the job done just as well any of the other apps out there in this category. It may have lost some of its homey charm with this new enterprise-centric update, but the functionality is still there. For those looking for a simpler and more design-focused alternative to something like Evernote, Paper is worth a look.
Paper by FiftyThree is an iOS that can be downloaded for free in the iTunes App Store.