What we love/hate about Springpad

springpad

The Android and iOS versions of the note-taking app Springpad were both updated this summer. You can also use the website version of Springpad to create, edit, organize and share your notes. They serve as front-ends for a cloud-connected service that syncs your notes across your computers and mobile devices.

Springpad

Springpad features a colorful, whimsical look. The thumbnail of an individual note or “spring,’’ shows an image that is attached to it, and you can read several lines of text without needing to click to view the entire note. Notes are grouped into notebooks. Springpad’s mobile apps and website app depict a notebook as a large picture of a notebook. You can even choose the pattern of its cover and the color of its spine. Its cover will be adorned with thumbnails of images that you may have attached to the notes contained inside.

Springpad

The website version of Springpad has text formatting tools, but there aren’t many options: you can’t change the color of text, nor their font type or size. Things are worse with its mobile apps: you can’t format any text when you create or edit a note with it.

Springpad

With Springpad’s mobile apps, you can embed an image onto a note by capturing it with your device’s camera, or uploading an image file. The website version can let you upload an image file, which is handy if the images you need to attach to your notes are already stored on your computer. With the mobile app versions, you can record an audio clip. You can attach video, though in the form of an URL or embedded link, such as to one on YouTube.

springpad

Uploading an audio or video file to attach to a note won’t embed the media. (Either will just appear as an attached file.) You can’t capture video from your device’s camera either.

springpad

You select a “checklist” template to start a new note with a task list. It then lets you enter, line-by-line, text naming a task; a checkbox will be automatically set to the left of each entry. When you’ve achieved something on this list, you enter a check by the task, and its wording will be crossed out.

Springpad

Springpad restricts the size of each note to 25MB. This total includes any files you attach to it.

Springpad

But there’s no limit on the amount of data (the number of cards) you can upload to the Springpad servers.

Springpad

Springpad lets you download an HTML file that references all the data you have on the company’s site. Unfortunately, this HTML lacks practical use; it cannot be imported into the Springpad mobile apps, website or a third-party application or service to re-create your notes. For now, Springpad has no function to directly export your notes.

springpad

On the other hand, the Android and iOS apps allow you to access everything in your Springpad account offline, so you can still view and edit your notes in case you lose your mobile data connection. Changes will be uploaded to the Springpad servers the next time your device reconnects online.

Springpad

Springpad’s support for platforms is stark: only Android and iOS. This may not necessarily be a bad thing, though, if you prefer not having to install and maintain a native application on a desktop computer or notebook. You can still use the website version of Springpad to create, edit, organize and share your notes.

Springpad

Unlike some other note-taking services that sync to the cloud, Springpad doesn’t charge you to use its service as a collaboration tool. You can invite people -- fellow Springpad users or others by email -- to edit a notebook of yours that you want to share with them.

You can also make a notebook of yours available for public viewing on Springpad.com, which allows others to see (but not edit) your notebook. They can choose to “follow” your notebook to keep up with updates that you (and any collaborators) do to it.

Springpad

Since its editing features for notes are limited, Springpad may not be robust enough for formal business use. Yet if you’re needing a note-taking application to collaborate, this cloud-centric note-taking application looks like the best deal for its cost (which is none). Because its service has no restriction on the amount of data you can upload to your account, you can attach a lot of images, media or other files to your notes.