GNotes Thumbnail View
GNotes Thumbnail View

I’ve never been settled with the stock note taking app that comes with any phone. My first thought is, what happens to all my notes when I change phones? I always want to have a note taking app that synchronises with the internet somewhere. In the past I’ve found apps like Catch which were brilliant however they were closed down so I wanted to find another note app with synchronisation, folders and tags. After the collapse of Catch I came across a little app called GNotes.

What does the App claim it can do?

GNotes List View
GNotes List View

The authors claim that it’s a simple note taking app that you can use to take notes, keep a diary, write ideas and create shopping lists. You are suppose to be able to record voice memos, write a handwritten note or paint a picture.

Other features include cloud synchronisation with the GNotes server or Gmail. You should be able to set a reminder, search, import and export your notes. GNotes also includes an additional security system where you can apply a security lock to prevent prying eyes.

Does the App REALLY do what it claims to do?

The interface is quite clean it seems very easy to use. You can indeed take notes including drawn, voice and text. You can set a reminder for you to do something on a particular day and time. There’s a search function for your notes and a security system which allows you to set a pin number or a pattern.

GNotes Insert Handwriting
GNotes Insert Handwriting

The more time I spend with this little app the more I like it. I first installed it when it was new and to be honest a bit raw. Today however I’d be tempted to use it instead of Evernote. It is quick, simple and yet has some features that surprise you. You can lock the app with a pin or pattern for security. You can sort your notes based on the first line of the note and you can group your notes into notebook folders.

You can display your notes as a list or thumbnails and hide or show the sidebar. You can quickly add the full date and time with press of an icon which is great for you diary notes. You can attach documents and files and add contact shortcuts into your notes so that you can simply click on them to send an sms, email or start a phone call.

The app even has 5 different widgets that you can put on the home screen to create, view edit different aspects of the notes that you create. This is not something that you’ll find listed as a feature on the Google Play store.

The only hiccup that I found was when I had tried to connect it to gmail when I first started it. The the 2-Step Verification process confused it and I couldn’t get it to connect. I must admit however that I didn’t try very hard. When looking at the reviews on the play store I have read that various people had difficulties with the sync to gmail. If you want to go down that path I’d suggest that you check on it at various times.

GNotes Settings
GNotes Settings

What do I like most about the App?

There’s a number of things that like about this little app. The best of the best is that it’s quick. I like that the authors have actually been a bit humble with the features on the Play Store. There’s enough information there to get to know it’s basic feature set however when you start up the app you get the feeling that they’ve spent their time on the app not it’s promotion.

I also like that when you back up the notes it saves them as html notes in the back up folder. You can open them up in a web browser if you like on you computer or even within an android browser

What’s not to like about it?

Well, There’s no tags and you can’t nest folders. Not that I like nesting folders but tags are important to me.

Apart from that there’s the difficulty I had connecting to Google. It probably can, I just didn’t try very hard.

What are the little niggles (What would make it perfect)?

If I had to niggle, it would be that notes don’t have titles. If you want a title you need to make it yourself on the first line. Additionally the back up files are not zipped up to preserve file space, it really should be.

If I had to be honest though I think this is a simple note app that has too many features. I was going to say that it was a no-frills app but I have never had to draw anything into a note, or use anything hand written or include photos. I think that I’ve really only used a note taking app for text based notes. You might use note apps differently but I just don’t do that.

Why did I decide to keep/remove it?

As I write this I start to wonder what’s keeping me loyal to Evernote. Evernote is slow, cumbersome and has way too many features for me to use properly. GNotes is almost the opposite however I haven’t checked it out with 200+ notes. I am not going to keep GNotes however, the lack of tags is really a deal breaker for me. If the authors add them I might just make the move.

Would my wife use it?

This is actually a very good question. I believe that she would. I probably wouldn’t suggest to her (or you) that it is used to store website passwords because I don’t know the security of the GNotes web server. The app is small enough and quick enough that she wouldn’t get frustrated and she would be fine without the tags and sub-folders.

Version Reviewed

Version: 1.0.20