UpWord Notes review: Gestures make note taking fast and fun

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The Good UpWord Notes has an easy to understand interface and it's customizable with themes. Gestures let you cross off items from your todo lists and add special formatting you can't find in Apple's Notes app.

The Bad You can't add images to notes. You can't keep your formatting when sharing with other services or apps.

The Bottom Line With gestures, theme customization, and plenty of other useful features, UpWord Notes is better than most competing title and a great replacement for Apple's Notes app.


7.7 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 7
  • Interface 7
  • Performance 9

UpWord Notes helps you turn notes into actionable lists and reminders, but with quite a few more features than Apple's Notes app.

Indeed, though Apple's solution saw a big design overhaul in iOS 7, its features have barely changed since it debuted on the iPhone in 2007. That's why after a couple of days with UpWord Notes, I found it to be not only a great alternative to Notes, but even a solid replacement.

Getting started

After installing the app you get a brief tutorial to show you the ropes. Here you'll learn how the app handles notes, along with how to navigate, use the gesture controls, and put the app to work for you. At the end of the tutorial, you can connect to your Dropbox account to sync your lists across any Dropbox-connected device you own.

It's important to note right away that while you can edit lists you've made on UpWord Notes in any text editor, you lose the gestures and formatting features you added in UpWord Notes because your saved lists are simple text files. UpWord Notes is iPhone-only, but it seems like it would be better if there were versions of the app for desktops, letting you keep the added functionality and formatting you used in the app on other platforms.

Creating notes and lists

You create a new note by tapping the plus icon on the bottom of the app's home screen. Alternatively, you can tap and hold the plus icon, giving you the option to create either a Note or a Category. In UpWord Notes, Categories is just a fancy word for folders. One thing I have always wanted to see come to Apple's Notes app is a way to better manage and store notes. Currently, Notes is just a jumbled list of every note I have entered into the app. That's why I'm glad UpWord Notes has Categories to make it more organized.

Starting a new note opens a blank screen, with icons across the top for setting reminders, sharing your notes, and a drop down menu to access search features, word count, and a Favorite button to keep notes handy.

Once you begin to enter text you can use the gestures outlined in the tutorial to manage your lists. By swiping to the right on a line of text, you can cross items off a list (great for grocery lists or to-dos). Using the familiar pull-down-to-refresh gesture on any note will clear the screen of any items you have crossed off.

Other gestures are straightforward once you get the hang of them. A swipe to the left lets you change the line into a bullet point, bold the text for creating headings in your list, or change the text color to red with exclamation points at the end (for those important notes that you want to make sure you remember).

Apple's Notes app lacks the ability to mark items as done, or prioritize items in the list. You have to manually add bullet points, arrange items, and delete entire lines of text (as opposed to crossing items off). With UpWord Notes, all of these areas are covered, making it worthwhile just to save you some time.