Note-taking and Audio Transcription Apps

By Will Sullivan on November 18, 2010 0 Comments Ideas
Mobile Journalism Reporting Tools Guide
Note-taking Apps
  Dragon Dictation Catch Notes Evernote iTalk lite Pages iA Writer Textforce
Cost Free Free Free Free $9.99 $0.99 $3.99
Size 4.7 MB 2.2 MB 9.1 MB 3.6 MB 51.3 MB 1.0 MB 2.1 MB
Geo-tagging No Yes Yes No      
Export SMS, email, Facebook, Twitter Email Email Email Yes, file sharing    
Website Synchronization No Yes Yes No      
Platform Supported iOS, Android, and Symbian iOS, and Android iOS, Android, and Symbian iOS iPad, iOS 4.2 or later iPad, iOS 4.2 or later iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iOS 4.0 or later
Recommended? Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended No Yes Yes Yes
Where To Buy iTunes App StoreAndroid Market iTunes App Store iTunes App StoreAndroid Market iTunes App Store App store App store App store
Manufacturer Nuance Communications Snaptic, Inc. Evernote Griffin Technology Apple Inc. Information Architects Yutaka Yagiura

Dragon Dictation

Review by: Andrew Dumas [image|position::right|preset::content-large] Dragon Dictation is an extremely simple, fairly interesting little transcription application for the iPhone. Right here in the beginning, I should say that the best thing about it is that it's free. If it weren't free, I highly doubt it would be worth the cost to buy it, especially because it literally nothing more than a dictation device. That being said, there’s some cool things about this application. The first thing that you'll notice when you boot it up is that it updates itself with your contact names. This isn't to say that it will necessarily be able to recognize them when it hears them, but it certainly adds to the probability that it will. From there, the process is pretty straightforward. Tap the screen and start talking. I would suggest that you talk slowly and enunciate for the best accuracy. When you're finished, tap again. It will now show you its best guess at what you just said. You have the option here of opening up your keyboard and altering the text (sort of defeats the purpose of the application when it makes a lot of mistakes), tapping the red circle and re-recording, or sending the text. The sharing part is the most intriguing. It will allow you to text whatever you want to upload, email it, post it to facebook and/or twitter, or copy it all as a block of text for you to then paste somewhere else. In all, it's really not great at what it does. There's probably a better version of this type of application somewhere. But balance the faults against the fact that it's free, and I feel that you will find it's worth the download to have this in your toolbag. It can definitely be handy if you're driving back from somewhere to record a script on the way. Also, it's important to mention that attaching an external mic, such as the Blue Mikey (it's small and decent), it vastly improves the accuracy of Dragon Dictation. I can't recommend it as the best thing out there for dictation, but it's pretty good for being free.

Catch Notes

Review by: Amanda Heisey [image|position::right|preset::content-large] Catch Notes is a simple application that allows you to type out notes, add pictures and hashtags to keep yourself organized. The hashtags allow you to search for specific notes on a certain topic. Just like Twitter, similar ideas are bundled together. Pictures allow you to snap a shot of something you want to remember. An interviewee perhaps, or a detail of your surroundings. It's a simple format and helps when you're out in the field interviewing and trying to remember what actually happened at an event so you can review your notes later. There are other cool features that really come in handy. If you set up an account online at; it allows you to pull up those notes from the web on your mobile device. This way a links, facts or question you wrote can be easily accessed in the field. You can also backup your notes and save them on this account directly from your phone. This is a reassuring ability, because you never know when you might lose everything when you're working with technology. It's a good application, but there are other great note taking applications that pass this one up. It's free, so if you're looking for something that is simple for note taking and storing pictures to jog your memory, this works fine. It doesn't have audio or drawing capabilities like some other good note taking apps. It really depends on what you're looking for and what you'd use. The Internet account portion is definitely worth having.


Review by: Jennifer Elston [image|position::right|preset::content-large] Evernote's motto is "Remember Everything" and that is exactly what this application is designed to do. You can capture your notes and ideas in any form that you can imagine and then access it on many different types of computer, mobile phone or device. On the Evernote for Mac/PC laptop or desktop version, you can save notes, store PDFs and store links to important web pages. As the introduction video says, the best part about this product is that your information is available everywhere - on you computer, mobile device and online. The desktop version will add an icon on your computer allowing you easy access and easy uploads. To save text from the web, copy it and push the icon. You can paste it directly to Evernote. An interesting feature is that you can search title, tag or even handwritten/printed text in an image. This is not true with many different search engines. You can download Evernote on your Mac/PC or get the free application for iPhone/iPad and Android. If you buy the premium version ($5/month or $45/year), you can search PDFs, upload up to 500 MB per month (the free amount is 40 MB/month), receive an added layer of security (SSL encryption) and upload virtually any file type to the application (think Microsoft Office documents, videos, etc...). The mobile application is very similar to the desktop application, only much more streamlined. When you open the application, you can create a new note, view all notes, see your favorites or sync with other devices and the web. Notes can be in the form of text, picture/video or voice notes. Your notes are geotagged for even more help in remembering tasks. To save as a favorite, simply click the star next to the name of the note on each note. I have heard of people using this application for everything - for remembering where you parked your car with a photo note to keeping a grocery list. This application is a lot like Dropbox in that you can store/share/sync files with multiple devices, only this one is aimed more at little notes, reminders and photos than serious file sharing, but you can do that too. The only improvement I would make to this application would be to make text out of my voice memos, like Dragon Dictation.
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