Notespark is a note-taking application that appears to have two primary goals. The first is to allow you to categorize your notes, and the second is for syncing them. Notespark requires an online account for use, because on-line syncing is built in to the application. In the interest of full disclosure, I received a promo code to review this app.
The iPhone notes app is nice, but it doesn't have any real features to make it stand out. In addition, since you can't sync it (at least with a PC) it has a real limited functionality.
Enter Notespark. Notespark is an app that works in conjunction with an online account to actively sync your notes between the online server and the iPhone. You can sync notes manually, or you can have them sync automatically when using the app.
But let's start with the app and creating notes. When you are in the app, you can create a note any time by tapping the "new note" icon in the lower right of the screen. This was somewhat confusing at first, simply because I thought the "new" button depended on what screen you were in, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. You don't need to go to a specific screen to create a new note, you can just tap the button to do so.
When creating the note, you have a yellow sticky note background, and can type as much as you want. Notes can be as detailed or as simple as you desire. Once a note is created, you can "star" it (indicating some importance, which will appear as a notification number on the app icon in the home screen). You can also tag a note with any tag that you like - work, home, to do, shopping, presents, whatever kind of tag you can think of. One nice feature is that you can use mutliple tags for any note, so you are not limited. You can create tags for level of importance, for due dates - whatever you can think of. You can trash a note, or you can edit a note. Any of these options are available when you are viewing a note as well, so you can modify them at any point.
On to one of the first features that I really liked - the ability to share notes with other notespark users. You can enter another user account, and even give that user permission to edit the note. (I do not know any other users on the system, so I don't know if when they edit a note you can approve/reject the editing, or if you can identify who has edited what aspects of the note). You can also email the note to someone. I really like the joint viewing/editing aspect of the notes - this would be a great way to collaborate with other people! Once thing I would love to see if to be able to grant a user permission to access/edit notes with any given tag, rather than have to do it on a note by note basis.
Once you start to create notes, the main screen of the app helps you locate and sort them. You can view all notes, the stared notes, or notes with specific tags. You can search your notes for keywords or phrases, and you can even look through notes that were deleted (of course, this means you then have to periodically empty your trash). At the bottom of the main screen is a sync button, in case you want to sync you notes manually.
Within the settings, you can determine where you want your shared notes, how notes are sorted, text size (no font changes yet), and what kind of notification you have. You can also set whether you want to sync automatically or manually.
The online version of the program is similar, with the same types of features and options. I tested the sync options (with sync set to automatic) and it works pretty well. I create a note in both the app and online, and then checked to see if it appeared in the other version. In both cases it was there by the time I went to check it.
I really like the syncing and sharing features of notespark. It means that you don't have to worry about losing notes because they are also online. It also means that there is potentially a GREAT way to work with other people and collaborate, because you can share notes between each other and even edit each others notes. As I said, I would hope to see some feature (like the editing colors in Microsoft Word) that would enable you to see edited changes in the notes, but I don't know if that is present.
I also really like the tag feature - especially since you can use multiple tags. Being able to classify notes in mutliple categories seems particularly obvious to me, often I have things that are cross-related. Lastly, being able to "star" notes that are important seems a little redundant (since you could just create a tag that says "important") but I suppose it is nice to be able to do that relatively easily.
Pros: Great sharing and syncing, nice use of tags to categorize notes
Cons: Not sure how detailed the shared editing is, no font or background customization options
All in all, I think this is a great app. It is easy to use, but offers many features I haven't seen in other apps - features that seem to be really useful, not just added so they can say it has a lot of features (interesting - I just looked online and that is basically what they say!). The syncing and sharing options really put this app into the top tier of note taking apps, in my opinion. Hopefully future updates with expand upon the shared editing features, and possibly add some more customization options. The app is not that cheap ($4.99) but for the features, I think it is worth the price. Four and a half out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.