The best note-taking apps for Android

Taking notes is serious business, and having the right note-taking app for your Android device can make a world of difference in your ability to stay organized. That’s because a good note-taking app doesn’t just help you take notes; it also makes it easy to find what you’ve saved later, regardless of where you are or what type of device you’re using at that point.

But figuring out which note-taking app makes the most sense for you isn’t always easy. The Google Play Store has an endless array of similar-seeming options, and what’s ideal for one person may not be optimal for another.

I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the most prominent contenders for note-taking on Android, and I’ve identified the apps that rise to the top in three core categories: a “best for most people” tier, with a happy-medium balance of features and usability; a “best fully featured” division, with a focus on apps that provide a more robust set of functions for those who need it; and a “best no-frills” class that offers a recommendation for those seeking the utmost in simplicity. I’m also including a bonus category to highlight a relatively new up-and-coming app that isn’t quite fleshed out enough yet to earn a full recommendation but that’s worth checking out and keeping on your radar.

Here, section by section, are the best note-taking apps for Android.

The best Android note-taking app for most people

Google Keep (free)

Google’s note-taking app has come a long way since its awkward 2013 debut. These days, Keep is a well-rounded yet exceptionally intuitive offering with many compelling elements, particularly for anyone invested in the Google ecosystem (as many Android users tend to be).

Simplicity is a key part of Keep’s appeal — because the reality is that most folks don’t need a complex, multilayered note-taking tool with oodles of superfluous features. Most of us just want a simple and effective place to jot down thoughts, ideas, and lists in a way that’ll make them effortless to access at a moment’s notice.

And that’s precisely where Keep excels: Open the app and tap the circular plus icon in its lower-right corner — or set up Keep’s excellent Android widget on your home screen (by long-pressing any blank area of your home screen and selecting the “Widgets” option that appears) — and you’re off to the races. You can type using your onscreen keyboard, write using your finger or a stylus, speak (and then save both an audio file and a plain-text transcription of your ramblings), or snap a photo of a document or anything else and let Google pull the text out of the picture for you.

Keep’s main screen is a delightfully manageable collection of your most recent notes. Changing a note’s position is as easy as dragging and dropping it or tapping a pin icon to ensure it stays at the top. You can color-code notes, if you want, and give them labels for subject-specific browsing. And, of course, you can use the search box at the top to quickly find notes by keywords — both those included in your own text and those visible in any attached documents or images.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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