Comparison Review: GoodNotes vs Notability – Your Ultimate SaaS Battle Guide

In the world of digital note-taking, two apps have risen to the top, consistently competing for the title of best note-taking app: GoodNotes and Notability. Both highly-rated options have unique features that set them apart from other competitors, making it a challenge for users to choose the one that best suits their needs.

GoodNotes offers a more extensive range of features and customization options, often considered ideal for digital planners and artists. On the other hand, Notability is recognized for its outstanding audio recording capabilities and seamless integration with other major productivity tools. Each app has advantages and drawbacks, and selecting the right one often boils down to personal preferences and priorities.

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive comparison between GoodNotes and Notability, discussing their features, pricing, and user experiences to assist you in making an informed decision on the best note-taking app for your unique requirements. With this information at hand, you can confidently choose the app that will optimize your productivity and enhance your digital note-taking experience.

Make your choice

About GoodNotes

Screenshot of goodnotes website

GoodNotes is a note-taking app designed for iPad users, offering a variety of features to enhance the productivity of students, professionals, and anyone who needs an organized digital platform for their notes. The app specializes in providing a smooth writing experience with tools that closely mimic writing with a real pencil.

One of the key features of GoodNotes is its ability to import and work with PDFs. The user interface is clean, intuitive, and provides easy access to folders, notebooks, and settings. Pricing for the app is a one-time fee, making it more accessible than subscription-based apps like Notability.

GoodNotes offers a wide range of tools for note-taking, including multiple pens, pencil options, and a comprehensive eraser tool. Handwriting recognition and conversion to text are also available, along with lasso tools that allow for easy navigation and editing of handwritten notes, drawings, and shapes.

Syncing and backup capabilities are provided by GoodNotes through compatibility with various cloud services, such as Dropbox and iCloud. The app also supports multitasking on iPad, enabling users to work side-by-side with other apps. Furthermore, GoodNotes is available for use on iPhone and Mac, ensuring a seamless note-taking experience across multiple devices.

A variety of templates and layouts can be found in GoodNotes to suit various note-taking styles, including lined, grid, and blank pages. Users can also create custom covers and dividers for their notebooks, enhancing organization and personalization. The app supports a set of customizable shapes for drawing, with bookmarks that enable quick navigation through annotated PDFs.

Users also have the option to password protect their notebooks, adding a layer of security and privacy to their notes. While GoodNotes does not provide built-in audio recording or real-time collaboration features, the platform can still be utilized by students and professionals alike for its specialized writing experience and organizational tools.

Overall, GoodNotes offers a strong note-taking app for iPad users, with the main focus being on handwriting, PDF annotation, and organization. Although certain features like audio recording and collaboration are not present, the app excels in providing a smooth and efficient writing experience, catering to the needs of those who prefer a more traditional note-taking approach.

Make your choice

About Notability

Screenshot of notability website

Notability is a popular note-taking app for iPad, iPhone, and Mac users. It is designed with a user-friendly interface that allows for easy navigation and seamless organization of notes, folders, and notebooks. The app provides an impressive range of features that cater to both students and professionals alike, making it a top choice for digital note-taking.

One of the standout features of Notability is its ability to import and annotate PDFs, which can be invaluable for students and professionals who need to review and edit documents on the go. The app supports a variety of drawing and writing tools, including various pens and pencils with customizable settings for pressure sensitivity, thickness, and sharpness. The handwriting experience with an Apple Pencil is smooth and accurate, with palm rejection technology ensuring a comfortable writing experience.

In addition to its writing capabilities, Notability also offers audio recording and playback functionality. This feature allows users to capture lectures or meetings while taking notes, providing a valuable resource for reviewing the material later. Notes can then be synced across different devices using iCloud, making it easy to access your work anytime and anywhere.

One of the potential cons of Notability may be its pricing structure. Although the app itself is available at a one-time cost, certain features, such as handwriting recognition and collaboration tools, are only accessible through a yearly subscription. Nonetheless, users who find these features valuable will likely feel that the subscription offers good value for the services provided, whether it’s used by individuals or teams.

The app offers a myriad of customization options, including an extensive library of templates, themes, and covers, as well as the ability to add bookmarks, stickers, and text boxes. Users can adjust the settings, layout, and even password protection options to create a personalized note-taking experience. Additionally, cloud sync options like Dropbox can be incorporated for easy export, backups and file sharing.

Although there is no Android version available for Notability, the overall range of tools and features provided by the app ensure that it remains a top contender for those using iOS devices. The app continues to receive positive reviews for its extensive functionality, writing experience, and note-taking capabilities.

Make your choice

Round 1: Best UX

Round 1

GoodNotes and Notability are both well-regarded apps, and deciding between them can be tough. However, comparing their user interfaces (UI), navigation, layout, customization, and multitasking capabilities can help users find the app that best suits their needs.

When it comes to UI, GoodNotes boasts a clean design with a straightforward interface that makes it easy for users to find the tools they need. With well-spaced icons and a large toolbar at the top of the screen, GoodNotes provides an organized environment for note-taking.

Notability, on the other hand, has a more compact UI and a simpler appearance, making it feel more like a traditional notepad. The interface is streamlined and easy to navigate, allowing users to effortlessly switch between their notes.

In terms of navigation, both apps have strong features. GoodNotes offers horizontal scrolling for ease of movement within a notebook. It also allows users to bookmark pages and create an outline to navigate through documents quickly. Notability has a helpful vertical scrolling feature, enabling users to keep their notes and ideas flowing in a linear fashion.

The layouts of both apps are customizable to fit user preferences. GoodNotes provides a variety of templates for its notebooks, allowing users to choose the style that suits them best. It also enables users to switch between page orientations and sizes within a single document. Notability offers a more limited selection of templates, but its versatile paper styles and background colors cater to a wide range of users.

Customization is another element worth comparing. GoodNotes lets users personalize their toolbar, making it simple to access frequently used tools. The app also supports custom colors for its pen and highlighter tools. Notability, on the other hand, has a fixed toolbar but offers a broader range of colors, as well as various pen tip sizes and shapes.

Multitasking is an essential aspect of any note-taking app, and both GoodNotes and Notability deliver. GoodNotes now has a split-screen mode, allowing users to work on two notes simultaneously. Additionally, users can open and annotate PDFs alongside their documents. Notability’s multitasking feature consists of vertical scrolling and synchronized audio recording, useful for those who need to review recorded lectures while taking notes.

While GoodNotes and Notability both have strong UX features, it all comes down to individual preferences. Some may prefer GoodNotes’ clean design and extensive customization options, while others might choose Notability for its simple interface and effective multitasking capabilities.

Make your choice

Round 2: Features Comparison

Round 2

In this round, we look at the key features and functionality offered by both note-taking apps, GoodNotes and Notability.

When it comes to writing experience, both apps accommodate handwritten notes and drawing. GoodNotes offers smooth writing with the Apple Pencil, while Notability provides a more natural handwriting feel. The apps have pen tools with adjustable thickness, brush pens, highlighters, and erasers. GoodNotes takes the lead with its shape tool, enabling users to draw perfect shapes effortlessly. When it comes to palm rejection, both apps perform well, ensuring seamless writing.

Organization is key for any note-taking app, and both GoodNotes and Notability have their strengths. GoodNotes excels with its infinite nesting folders, while Notability shines with its easy-to-use sidebar for navigation.

The apps provide templates for various uses, such as lined, grid, and planners. GoodNotes takes it a step further, offering a wide range of page templates in different formats. Additionally, both apps offer bookmarking features to mark and access important sections of notes.

Both GoodNotes and Notability support PDF annotation, allowing users to import and annotate PDFs. Notability offers the ability to record audio alongside note-taking, which is beneficial for capturing lectures or meetings.

Cloud sync is supported in both apps, with GoodNotes syncing with iCloud and Notability with Google Drive. This feature ensures that your notes are always accessible and up-to-date across all devices.

When it comes to exporting, the apps allow users to export their notes in multiple formats, such as PDF and image files. GoodNotes has a more flexible export system, giving users the option to export a selection or an entire notebook.

One unique feature that sets Notability apart is its handwriting recognition capability. This feature enables users to search for, copy, and even convert their handwritten notes into text. Although GoodNotes also offers handwriting recognition, it does not support text conversion.

In terms of customization, both apps offer tools and settings for different writing styles and preferences. Users can choose from various fonts, colors, and stickers. Notability has the edge with its math conversion feature, which automatically converts handwritten equations to typed text.

Finally, GoodNotes has a presentation mode that allows users to present their notes on external screens, which is especially useful for teachers or during business meetings.

Considering the wide range of features offered by both GoodNotes and Notability, it’s clear that each app has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each app to find the ideal solution for your specific note-taking needs.

Make your choice

Round 3: Price

Round 3

When comparing the pricing models of GoodNotes and Notability, there are distinct differences to consider. GoodNotes offers a one-time, low-cost payment, while Notability follows a yearly subscription model for unlocking most of its features.

In detail, GoodNotes comes with an affordable flat rate of $7.99 for a complete app experience. This means users can access all the app’s features without worrying about recurring payments or losing functionality in the future. The one-time fee appeals to those who prefer to pay upfront and enjoy a comprehensive note-taking application for an indefinite period.

On the other hand, Notability’s subscription pricing caters to individuals who need constant updates and support. This model may be more suitable for those who utilize all the advanced features and integrations, as they benefit from ongoing improvements and feature additions. The annual subscription cost starts from $10.82, subject to the vendor’s pricing model.

To sum up, the pricing difference between GoodNotes and Notability plays a significant role in the decision-making process for potential users. GoodNotes’ one-time fee attracts users seeking a budget-friendly option, while Notability’s subscription-based model appeals to those who require regular updates and added functionalities. Both apps serve their target audiences well by catering to diverse preferences and needs.

Make your choice

Battle Decision: Notability Winner

Battle Decision

Notability emerges as the winner in this note-taking app showdown. Its impressive features and capabilities make it the go-to choice for many users. As a mature product with a strong track-record, Notability offers a range of essential note-taking functionalities, which appeal to professionals, students, and creatives alike.

One of the reasons for Notability’s triumph is its seamless audio recording functionality. Users can record lectures or meetings while taking notes, and then play them back to clarify any missed information. This feature is especially beneficial for students and professionals who value capturing comprehensive audio as part of their notetaking process.

Another advantage of Notability is its efficient navigation system. The app offers a well-organized sidebar that makes finding and accessing notes a breeze. Compared to GoodNotes, Notability provides an improved user experience, enabling users to manage large volumes of notes with minimal effort.

Notability is also known for its versatile note-taking options. It supports a variety of format types, including text, handwriting, and sketching. This allows users to tailor their notes to their individual preferences and requirements. Moreover, the app’s robust PDF annotation capabilities are another plus, allowing for seamless document editing and collaboration.

One final point to consider is the availability of Notability across multiple platforms. With its iOS, macOS, and Android support, it enables users to sync their notes seamlessly and access them anytime, anywhere. This wide-ranging compatibility ensures that Notability’s winning position is maintained in the SaaS Battle.

In conclusion, Notability’s advanced features, user-friendly interface, and cross-platform availability make it the winning choice in this comparison. While GoodNotes is a strong contender with its own set of excellent tools, Notability takes the crown with its remarkable overall capabilities and performance.

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