The NoteLedge iPad app, free in the App Store with in-app purchases, is built around inspiring creativity, not staying organized. Of course, it's great for that too.
Unfortunately, NoteLedge gives a bad first impression. It immediately prompts you to sign up for the developer's Kdan cloud service so that you can sync your data across all of your devices. While this is not necessary to use the app, these kinds of pop-ups are extremely annoying and bad UX.
On the subject of cloud backup, you need to upgrade to the paid version to sync with Box, Dropbox, Google Docs or other cloud services.
The free app only comes with one basic notebook cover. You must purchase any additional covers from the NoteLedge store. This is a bit of a drawback, but not necessarily a deal breaker.
Enough about the negatives, let's talk about what works: I love the look of NoteLedge. It mimics the look of a leather bound notebook. If you are hesitant to move from a traditional notebook to a digital one, this might be the app that you've been waiting for.
There are 15 different types of paper to choose from. These give you everything from a variety of lined pages, to graph options, as well as templates for things like agendas.
It comes with six different writing tools, but more are available to buy. The default tools are sufficient for the average user. Only power users or artists will want to add more. If you would rather use your keyboard for traditional note-taking, you have 12 font options to work with.
Additionally, there are four e-card pages available. Most apps go too far into cutesy territory with things like this. NoteLedge keeps it simple. Plus, there are ten seasonal backgrounds for Halloween inspired notes.
All of these elements prove that your imagination is in the driver's seat here. You can add almost anything to your notes. Create tables, add photos, record or import videos and add audio files. As an added bonus, there's a photo editor so you can crop images and add filters. Not to mention that you can use the app solely for sketching or drawing.
My favorite part of NoteLedge is its navigator. From here, you can copy selections from your note and easily move them around. The best part is the in-app browser that makes copying text or adding screenshots to your notes incredibly easy. This feature is really great if you have notebooks for recipes or home decorating, but there are endless possibilities. It also has a magnifier for close-up writing or drawing.
For those of you who like to have a lot of notebooks, you'll like the calendar view which lets you find notes based on their date.
Despite some of my issues with it, NoteLedge does have some cool features. If you are new to note-taking apps, give it a try. If you already use an app like Evernote for organizing your life, the free version probably is not worth the switch.