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Samsung's revamped S Note app mostly gets it write (pictures)

Updated note-taking software for the Note smartphone and tablet give the stylus a gorgeously redesigned canvas.

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Jessica Dolcourt
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1 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The all-new S Note

Samsung's refined S Note app greets you with a brand-new splash screen.
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2 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Cover-ups

Colorful virtual covers help recognize notes from one another.
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3 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Templates

One new feature? You can now choose a blank page by default for every note you open. You'll also be able to swap out templates when you need 'em.
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4 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Sync notes online

Partnering with Evernote means that you can store freeform S notes online along with the service's other digital reminders. The same goes for using your Samsung account as an online locker.
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5 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Pick your instrument

When you start up S Note, you'll choose if you use the S Pen only to write, or let the screen sensitize to your finger or palm as well. You can toggle your choice in each note.
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6 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Overview

A new, stylized overview screen makes notes much easier to distinguish than ever before.
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7 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Preview mode

If you can't exactly remember the contents of your note, dragging down the preview pane gives you a peek inside.
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8 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Even more options

Helpfully, you'll be able to add a page and select settings right from the cover, without ever opening to note. Settings include renaming the note, sharing it, and editing the cover design.
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9 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Pen detail

The freeform drawing and writing tools also get a fresh lick o' paint; slider controls and a movable menu let you pick your colors.
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10 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

And then some

The cleaner design encourages extras like charts, maps, and clip art.
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11 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Not always perfect

I love the new check box list, but pairing it with text input didn't line up. Each new addition nudged each subsequent text field further to the right, and seemed to increase the font size after the first line item.
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12 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Even more to do

Text and script are both legible on this handwritten version of my grocery list. Additional settings help you manage pages.
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13 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Text transformer

Lasso text or shapes and tap the "transform" button to quickly, automatically, turn freeform writing into a shape, like a perfect square, a mathematical formula, or text. It worked with aplomb on simple, typical challenges I sent its way.
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14 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Fun with colors

Clip-art shapes you add also give you control over the color and width of outlines and fill colors. Unfortunately, you can't "paint" a note's background color all at once.
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15 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Charts and graphs

Quickly add and edit simple pie charts and graphs using some shortcuts and a bit of handwriting to rename data sets. Sometimes handwriting recognition stumbled here, but you have to start over fresh if you make a mistake, instead of editing one letter at a time.
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16 of 16 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Resizing charts

Drag and drop to resize charts, and edit the layout, frames, and arrangement of the chart vis a vis other elements on the page.

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