Mobile Device Writing Options – Evernote First Impressions

So, for someone who writes, or wants to write, wherever they are at the time, there are many options. Some may use technologies like laptops, tablet/iPads (with or without external Bluetooth or USB keyboards), paper note pads or journals. Some people even have note taking focused phones like the Samsung Note series, now up to the Note 10 models.

Then there are those of us who generally use our regular smartphones to do the job. That happens for better or worse on a small screen. Speaking for my plump thumbs and curved Samsung S9 screen, it is a chore, especially when I need to move the cursor focus to copy and paste or fix spelling or other grammar errors.

I was using, mostly experimenting, with using Gmail drafts of email. The benefit is autosave as soon as you stop typing, can make subject line titles, and eventually can be emailed when done writing. Autocorrect can be hit or miss depending upon the keyboard app used. In my case I use the Grammarly app one. That app I’ll discuss in another post. Suffice it to say, it has its own quirks.

After working with Gmail a for a while, I tried Google Docs as I have it on my phone when I was updating my Google app collection to mirror the desktop choices. That part worked a bit better as I could have a full screen that was in a large enough don’t size to read easily. It also autosaves, can be shared and coedited, and has spell check ability as part of the keyboard use. What it didn’t have for me was a way to categorize the notes or make it easy to organize story parts with character profiles, story arc ideas, and so forth.

Now, if I use Google Docs on my Windows 10 laptop or desktop, I have the Grammarly Chrome plugin to help with basic grammar, spelling, syntax, word choice. On my phone, I lack that.

The same happens if I use Office 365 OneNote or Word, I lack the extra help of grammar checking to help when I do rough drafts and notes on the go. As well, with mobile Word and One Note, as I use OneDrive, sometimes when I open, download, and resave to the cloud my storage location becomes broken. That requires me to get on my PC to delete and reinstall and remap the OneDrive folder. I imagine that happens due to a setting issue somewhere that I’ve yet to find. On a PC I never have the issue, so go figure that out.

Where this has led me is to purchase a Grammarly subscription for the full capability (some can be had for free), Scrivener, and Hemingway software to help with PC based writing matters for checking the mechanics.

But what about mobile devices that aren’t a Windows or Apple computer platform? So far, my experiment with Evernote has been somewhat hope inspiring. It has a mobile app component and a computer platform matching web and program based option to sync the files between the devices.

For free, it appears, from my experience, you can have two devices to use before you need to pay for more services and options. I have my desktop Windows PC and Samsung S9 synced together and it seems to work fine so far.

More in detail, a first impression of the Evernote software is that a lack of manual save feels, well, wrong. I may be overlooking an autosave confirmation indicator, but presuming what you wrote is saved without it makes me feel like I might lose the work. That hasn’t been the case so far. It’s a concern that I have regardless.

The switch between writing and locking the note is just a matter of tapping the green circle with a pen tip icon on it to start your work. If you’ve not started anything, say from just freshly installing the app, you’ll need to create a notebook in which to put your notes. On the app it feels cramped to set it up if you use a smartphone, but not if you do so on a full computer. You can name the notebook, another name for what serves as a digital file folder for your notes, then start a new note. The note can easily be named as well and is saved in your notebook when you’re done typing.

What feels tight is if you want to move the note from one notebook to another if you’re on a smartphone. Plump thumbs and small screens don’t play well with the app. On a computer it’s a drag and drop matter with the use of a mouse. These things being said, the software on both platforms makes writing quick notes easy, simple to sync, and mostly painless while allowing basic font choices, font size, paragraph layout, and formatting, such as bold, italics, underline, and more.

As I’ve only used the app for a few days, I’m still on the learning curve for all of the settings and options. Even so, the defaults seem to be good for me and allow you to begin using the software without much difficulty. If you can type an email on a mobile device, you can use Evernote. And use it many will as I have a few graduate student friends who use the app for their academic note taking and paper writing purposes. I trust their judgement as they don’t like losing what they write any better than part and full time authors.

Back to the matter of what you get for free. As I’m writing this post in the WordPress mobile app, I’m not using Evernote, but the basics of the difference between the free and premium flavors of it come down to more data upload capability (free has 60.0 MB per 30 days), unlimited devices connected to your account, and you can take your notebooks offline.

What this means is other terms, more detailed ones, is that free gives you 60 MB data upload, only two devices, and a 25 MB per note size limit as you can include photos, graphics, and PDFs in your note.

Premium gives you unlimited devices, 10 GB of uploads, 200 MB per note maximum size. You so get the ability to search Office documents and PDFs, you can annotate PDFs, and have live chat support for the program and apps. It will cost you, per what shows in my app upgrade tab, US$7.99/month or US$5.83/month for US$69.88 for a single payment annually as of the time of this post.

I know you get what you pay for when it comes to free. However, in this case free when it comes to the Evernote app, it means you get enough to play with while costing you nothing but time to become accustomed to it and working at writing your lovely words within it.

It doesn’t come with fancy grammar and spelling tools but it does give enough capability to write your notes and even stories with enough control that you can have some of your formatting taken care of before you even arrive at your full power writing software.

I’ll continue to post my impressions of the software as I experiment with other writing software tools to compare and contrast with it. Right now Evernote has me wanting to move away from Gmail drafts, Google Docs and Office 365 Mobile. I hope that sentiment stays the same.

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