Jun 1, 2010

FastFinga - $1.99

FastFinga is a very well designed application for creating hand written notes. I use this app with a pogo pen, and, so far, this is the more usable and effective app I tried for writing notes. I love the integration with Evernote, which give me the ability to tag and search my handwritten notes! This app is perfect for taking online notes with small graphics, but if you need to write full page notes and sketches you may be better off with a different app.

What's Good:

FastFinga's most remarkable feature is its zoom inline editing mode which enables writing pretty decent inline notes with your finger.
An ink palette of 4 colors and 3 pen widths enables to quickly change pens.

You can add interactive checkboxes (handy for tracking action items) and symbols from a library.

You can insert pictures in 3 different sizes. Pictures can be temporarily viewed full size upon double click.
All your elements (hand-sketch, check-boxes, symbols and thumbnail images) are placed in the current line, one after the other (at a pre-defined distance). You can navigate within the elements using arrows. You can also edit existing chunk on hand written notes, insert and remove elements. Your code remains always nice and compact since empty spaces between elements get removed. This provides a nice feeling when you are typing, where you can always go back and easily make edits. The image below illustrates a sequence of edits.

It supports both landscape and portrait documents.
It supports few paper types. My favorite is Pure White, where the paper looks nice and crisp.
This app has a number of settings to enhance your productivity. You can choose to use your left hand to commit the text input and to go to the new line. You can also customize the apps behavior when creating new documents.
One feature I really like is the easy export to Evernote! That way my notes can become searchable, and can be accessed everywhere from a web browser.

What's Bad:
FastFinga allows full page sketch by pressing and holding the pen icon. This functionality is necessary if you have to sketch something taller than one line. Unfortunately this working mode has a lot of problems ... looks like the developers didn't invest very much into it. In this view the ink is too big and it doesn't look right when compared to the inline notes. The full page notes live on a independent layer that doesn't zoom with the rest of your notes. As a result you loose it's positioning with respect to the inline notes (see image). This is a pretty unfortunate bug.

I wish I had more options for sizing and positioning when inserting images not inline. Also it is not immediately obvious how to delete them.
It has also a keyboard, but I couldn't make it work.

Rating Breakdown:
5 - design
5 - features
3 - reliability

This is the only video I could find on YouTube. It doesn't illustrate all the features, but it is still very helpful to have a better sense on how this app works.
[iPad] FastFinga
FastFinga on the iTune Apple Store


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