If you prefer taking notes with a pen but don't want to spend time typing them up on your computer, MyScript Smart Note is the app you've been waiting for.
An app for people who still enjoy writing with a pen
With MyScript Smart Note, you can either use a stylus or your finger to write notes, which are then automatically recognized and turned into interactive text. You can change the color, size, font and language of this text, as well as draw pictures, insert images and change the background.
When you start MyScript Smart Note, you go through a simple tutorial and then you can immediately start writing. All you have to do is press the plus button to open a new workbook; there is no complicated interface to navigate.
The different commands (write, draw, erase, lasso text selection, and settings) are clearly marked at the top of the screen and it's a simple long press to select the different options. There are only ten workbooks available with the free version and you don't get much text on each of these workbooks.
The gestures feature is a great addition - especially the scribbling over a word to delete it and drawing a vertical line to insert a space. They do need to be made more obvious and accessible though, as I kept forgetting what the gestures were but I didn't want to go through the whole tutorial again just to access them.
At the moment you can export to other note taking applications, to social media or via email, but a nice addition would be the ability to save as Google Doc or as a Microsoft Word document. There also doesn't seem to be an auto-save and recovery option; when the app crashed, I lost all the text I'd written in that session.
Easy to use, tough to fix the errors
The handwriting recognition is pretty good and accurate, even for fairly messy handwriting, although it sometimes throws up strange words. It recognizes and converts what you've written very quickly so when you pause for a moment, your handwritten notes will automatically be converted to text.
While it's very easy to get started and the commands are clear, it can be very difficult and frustrating to fix errors in the handwriting recognition, especially when you are trying to insert words in between other words or delete lines and spaces. Sometimes it's easier to delete the text and start again.
My advice would be to write only a sentence at a time and then go back and fix the errors. If you write long paragraphs then you end up with gibberish and can't understand what were are trying to write.
MyScript Smart Note is better for taking a few short notes rather than writing any kind of lengthy text.
Surprisingly accurate handwriting recognition
As someone who can write with a pen much quicker than typing on a keyboard (and prefers taking notes that way), I was really excited when I heard about MyScript Smart Note. I was dubious about how good the handwriting recognition would be and worried it would come with a cumbersome interface and useless options, like other handwritten note-taking applications (I'm specifically thinking of Samsung's aNote). But I was pleasantly surprised at the accuracy of MyScript Smart Note's handwriting recognition (and I tested it by writing very messily)
There is loads of potential here and, while at the moment it's still better for short notes and it certainly isn't perfect, with some improvements this could easily become one of the most useful apps on your device.