PhatPad is a note-taking app from PhatWare with a long history that extends back to the early days of Windows Pocket PC. It transitioned to the iOS platform with an iPad app that debuted a few years back. The company is known for its digital inking solutions, which let you write on a tablet device with a stylus and then convert the handwritten notes to plain text. This handwriting recognition is the selling feature of PhatPad and it really shines. The latest iterations of the app build upon this solid handwriting foundation and add niceties like cloud syncing, voice recording and presentation mode.
PhatPad opens with a plain white slate that you can use for taking notes with a stylus. The app is geared towards inking and includes palm rest rejection technology, which tells the app to record your writing and ignore the marks from your palm resting on the screen while you write. There’s also a setting that’ll ignore single point strokes, which are usually made by your fingers briefly touching the screen as you write. The stylus is your main tool for input, though you can turn on a keyboard option if you need to type.
The pencil is your main writing tool in PhatPad, and you can change its color and thickness. There are five thicknesses ranging from fine point to marker size and five colors including red, green, blue, yellow and traditional black. There’s also an eraser and a lasso tool to select blocks of writing. When you select an area, you can chose to copy, cut or delete the item. You can also convert the handwriting to plain text or change the ink options.
Handwriting recognition is good, but not perfect. I write in chicken scratch, and the app was able to detect about 75 percent of my scribbles. When there was a mistake, it was very easy to tap on the text and let auto-correct fix the mistakes. You can also use the keyboard to type in the corrections. PhatPad is not all about writing, though, and lets you insert images or record voice notes that you can use in presentations. The app supports multiple pages within each document so you can get as wordy as you would like and not skip a beat.
When you are done writing, you have several options for sharing your document. If you are preparing a presentation, you can use the presentation mode to export the contents to a VGA monitor. The app will send over the text, images and audio recordings.
You can also save the document as a PDF, export it as an image, print it via AirPrint, share it directly via WiFi or send it as an email attachment. And that’s not all — PhatPad supports several cloud syncing services like Box, Dropbox, Google Docs and Evernote.
PhatPad is for anyone who prefers to write instead of type on their iPad. The app has a robust multilingual handwriting recognition algorithm that’s been under development for many years and it shows.
There are numerous cloud storage options, so digital inkers can write to their heart’s content and always have a copy of their documents backed up somewhere in the cloud. You can download PhatPad from the iOS App Store. It costs US$4.99 and is compatible with any iPad running iOS 6 or later.