Free Android note-takers: A rundown

We give you the rundown on five of the most popular, free note-takers for your Android mobile device.

Jaymar Cabebe Former Associate Editor
Jaymar Cabebe covers mobile apps and Windows software for CNET. While he may be a former host of the Android Atlas Weekly podcast, he doesn't hate iOS or Mac. Jaymar has worked in online media since 2007.
Jaymar Cabebe
3 min read
AK Notepad

When choosing a notepad app for your Android, the first thing to think about is: what kinds of notes will you be taking? Are we talking grocery lists here? Are you looking for a full-on multimedia mood board? Do you need to be able to set reminder alarms? Voice notes? The choices can be overwhelming, we know. Luckily we've done some of the research for you. Here's an inside look at five of the most popular free note-takers for your Android mobile device.

AK Notepad is your basic, bare-bones notepad app. Open it up, click "Add note" and start tapping away. If you're looking to do more than that, you might want to look elsewhere, because AK Notepad is made for text notes, and not much else. It doesn't offer much in the way of formatting or multimedia, and it doesn't create checklists. However, it can set reminder alarms, and pin notes to your Home screen when you need frequent access. It also shares notes via Twitter, Facebook, SMS, Gmail, and so on. If you're just looking for a quick-draw note-taker for scrawling random ideas that don't require formatting, AK Notepad is exactly that.


Now, if you're itching for just a bit more under the hood, we highly recommend you check out ColorNote. It's perfect for all of your basic note-taking needs, and we really liked that it could format notes as checklists, which surprisingly few free note-takers can do. You can organize notes in a number of ways, including by color, which is nice. It lets you share notes, or add shortcuts to your Home screen for one-tap access. If you set reminder alarms regularly, you'll probably love ColorNotes' integrated calendar. When it comes to basic, free note-takers in the marketplace, we think ColorNote is on top.

Note Everything

Note Everything straddles a line somewhere between basic and advanced note-taker. It creates text and voice notes, no problem. It even takes Barcode notes (which we would probably seldom use) and Paint notes made up of touch-powered doodles. Strangely, however, it doesn't come standard with Photo notes or Checklists. Those, as well as some other premium features, are only available with the $4 upgrade to Note Everything Pro.

Catch Notes

And then there's Catch Notes, made by the developers of AK Notepad and positioned as the basic note-taker's bigger, more feature-rich brother. Catch Notes gives you the capability to create notes with text, voice, bar codes, and pictures from your gallery or camera. It can share, password-protect, and, for Catch.com account-holders, sync to the cloud. Overall, because of its multimedia versatility, we think it's a solid contender. However, as strong as it may be, we feel it still doesn't quite compare to the final app on our list.


The ever-popular Evernote is the most powerful of the free note-taking bunch. In fact, being an accessory to the incredibly rich Evernote Web service, it's a bit misleading to classify Evernote for Android as simply a notepad app. In every note, you can embed voice, pictures, video, or attach files of any kind. Tag notes with a location stamp to keep track of where you were when you jotted, and of course, automatically sync to your Evernote account in the cloud. The mobile app may not offer the same kind of formatting capabilities as the full Web version of Evernote, but we still feel it's the best there is at scrawling anything and everything that may be floating around in your head. If you need to capture your ideas with rich multimedia notes, Evernote really is the best.

So that's the rundown. In order to find the right note-taker, first figure out what you're going to use it for. From there, it's all about the nuances. For basic note-taking, we suggest trying ColorNote, because it does all the essentials very well, and it requires almost no learning curve. If you're looking for a lot more power, go ahead and sign up for an account with Evernote, the standard in rich multimedia note-taking.