SignMyPad Android / iPhone app enables digital signatures, form completion (app review)

If you've found yourself caught up in the rat race, you know all too well the process: receive PDF, print PDF, collect PDF, reprint PDF from a printer with ink in it, recollect PDF, fill out PDF, scan PDF, resize PDF, take a restroom break, and finally -- struggle with your company's lackluster internet connection in a bid to send the dreaded thing back. It's hard enough to do in ideal circumstances, but try filling out an emailed document and returning it whilst on the road or during vacation. We're told that some businesspeople rank the whole ordeal up there with root canals and meeting the in-laws, but thanks to the wonders of mobile telephony (and more specifically, mobile computing), the tried-and-failed process can be one of the past. Or, so says Autriv Software Development. The NYC-based app startup has just introduced the most notable rival yet to EasySign, and while SignMyPad is hardly the only one of its kind, it's one of the few that's compatible with both iOS and Android, and offers more than just a signature stamp. Care to hear more? Head on past the break.

The basic SignMyPad is $3.99, while the Pro edition rings up at $99.99; the latter adds GPS tagging to your PDFs, meaning that any time you sign a document, the GPS location where you signed it is saved to the metadata of the file. That feature alone is fairly unique, and while the usefulness may be limited, those who need it are bound to appreciate it. There's also an exceedingly small market for an app that pricey, but the company told us that they expect a single purchase to cover an entire employee base. Still, it's an alarming figure, and it makes us all the more thankful for a non-Pro version. The app itself couldn't be simpler to operate. We fired it up on our Galaxy S II, only to realize that we should've started within Gmail. It just so happened that we needed to fill our a reservation form for a future stay in American Samoa, so we surfed down to the message, clicked the attachment and chose to open it with our newly-installed app.

From there, SignMyPad pulled it into its list of PDFs, and a single tap opened it up for us to manipulate. Pinch-to-zoom works while inside the app, while an "Add" menu gives you the opportunity to add text, a signature, check box, 'radio button' (read: a black circle) or date, with each of those offering a fair amount of customization options. The signature box allowed us to sign our name onto the screen, and while we're sure having a top-tier display helped things, the process was shockingly easy. And precise. Scarily precise, even. Totally acceptable even for a form where you're signing away dollars.

From there, you're able to position the element anywhere on the document, and there's a slider at the top that enables you to increase or decrease the size of said element. Works like a charm, with one major problem: it doesn't allow your elements to get small enough. For example, the radio button and check mark -- both of which would've been acceptable to inform the B&B owner that we'd need a car rental -- wouldn't get small enough. Instead, the check mark took up an absurdly large chunk of paper space, making the whole thing look a bit wonky. We also found no way to actually save our John Henry; for an app that sells itself as one that hastens the digital signature, we'd love to see a way to save our most frequently pasted names, dates, figures, etc.

Overall, the app's well worth the $3.99 if you're only in need of a signature app, but we'd be able to remove the last bit of hesitation if the sliding size scale were a bit more flexible. We spoke with the company directly on this, and were told that "on the iPad and most other Android devices, the signatures, text, and checks scale down to a more appropriate size." In other words, there's just a few oddball devices (like our Galaxy S II) where it does slide just right, but the company's working to get that ironed out. If you've tried one too many free options and come away unimpressed, it might be time to lay off the Starbucks for a day and invest in this guy.