Five Best Mobile Note Taking Tools

The explosion of mobile phones has made them a nearly constant companion for many people. It's only natural an ever-present device would become a favourite note taking and ubiquitous capture tool. Today we look at five popular note taking tools.

Photo by Alex Segre.  


3banana (Android/iOS, Free)

3banana is a capture tool from Snaptic with a strong emphasis on organisation and tagging. You can save text, images, links, lists and more, all while tagging them with hashtags for easy future searching. Accounts are free and offer unlimited storage for all the text and multimedia clippings you create. 3banana is available for both iOS mobile devices and for Android. The Android application has a few extra notable functions like attaching reminders to important notes and the ability to share your notes via Twitter, Facebook or email.

Simplenote (Android/iOS/Web, Free)

Unlike many of the other contenders in this week's Hive Five, Simplenote is not a Swiss Army knife of functionality. You won't find voice-to-text or any fancy bells and whistles. Simplenote is a powerful and efficient web-based note taking tool with an emphasis on mobile integration through Android and iOS applications. If you don't want or need multimedia capture but you do want a very powerful and efficient tool for capturing and organising notes Simplenote is a great choice. You can check out their web site for more information or for an in-house look at Simplenote's features check out The Holy Grail of Ubiquitous Plain Text Capture, our guide to Simplenote.

Evernote (Android/iOS/Desktop, Basic: Free/Premium: $US5 per month)

Evernote is one of the first tools people think of when they think about digital ubiquitous capture. With Evernote you can easily photograph text, enter text in your phone, speak into your phone, and all of that information is made search friendly. Whether it's notes you pecked out on your phone's keyboard or notes you photographed off the legal pad you just scribbled them on, Evernote sucks it all up and turns it into a an index you can easily search, sort and tag. A premium Evernote account increases the size of the multimedia files you upload, adds in collaboration tools, and increases the number of file types Evernote will accept and process.

Email/Text Messages (Variable Cost Based on Phone/Data Plan)

While fancy hashtags and indexed-text might attract some people to various capture tools others just want dead-simple and familiar note taking. Both email and text messaging garnered a fair number of votes in this week's Hive Five, showing that sometimes the simplest tool is the best. Whether using their phone's email client or sending text messages to themselves many Lifehacker readers use a simple "send a note to my future self" style of note taking to capture their ideas. As long as you have a decent data and/or text messaging plan it's a free or nearly free solution.

Built-In Notes Tool (Free)

Most phones have a built-in note taking tool. For many readers this was as complicated as things needed to be. Open the note taking tool on the phone, take some notes, read (and possibly sync/copy them) at home later. Among the built-in note taking applications that received a nod the iPhone's note taking tool was one of the most popular. When all you really want is to replace your paper notepad with a digital one, the built-in notes tool is more than powerful enough.

This week we have one honorable mention to share. Despite the power and flexibility of phone-based note taking tools, many people have never given up on pen and paper. While pen and paper might lack the fancy features of mobile tools, it never requires batteries and doesn't produce sync errors or input errors. Have a favourite note taking tool you want to highlight that didn't get a nod? Let's hear about it in the comments.


    At work I have 3 computers and my Nexus One at my disposal & I spent a few days setting up an issue/ticket tracker for jobs I need to get done. Yet I still find myself using post-it notes all over my screen. Hard to see pen & paper ever dying.

    is there a note taking tool for android that has a widget on the homescreen of things you need to do?

    Where is Symbian?

    +1 for

    If you add a second keyboard(like japanese), the font in Notes will change and be easier to read. Don't know the font. Just gets rid of the horrid Felt Pen font.

    Use Pastebot to get your notes in and out without using the cloud.

    I fully recommend Awesome Notes for the iPhone.

    Get the free and stay for the paid version. Well worth the price with regular updates that are not just bug fixes, but functional improvements.

    Obviously, a set of notes, in and of itself is a valuable thing. However, said set of notes becomes much, much more valuable if the notes themselves are related in an appropriate manner.

    Having context gives you a lot of benefits. For example, context enables both easy and quick discovery of information saving you time. Furthermore, context enables you to expand your knowledge without the risk of your knowledge becoming disjointed or fragmented.

    Hence, PolishedCode's NotesMappr’s distinguishing feature is the ability to both establish formal relationships (or associations) between notes and subsequently “navigate” said notes in a very straightforward manner.

    NotesMappr: semantic note taking app for Google’s Android platform. In other words, NotesMappr is note taking that fits your brain.

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