The iPad 2 may be great for many things, but when it comes to taking notes even the best note taking apps like Note Taker HD, can’t compare to the experience you get from a traditional tablet or from pen and paper. I haven’t found a way to hack a Wacom digitizer into the iPad 2, but I have found a new iPad 2 case that fits my note taking style perfectly, the BooqPad.
The BooqPad is a folio style case for the iPad 2 which includes a small note pad on the right, iPad 2 compartment on the left and places to keep your pen and papers in various areas. The BooqPad retails for $49.95 and is available in numerous colors. You can purchase paper refills in various designs and colors for $9.99 for a 3-pack of 150 sheets. The notepad area looks like a pretty standard size that could be filled with a standard notepad if you prefer.
BooqPad Video Review
Why Paper Is a Great Companion
I am a paper note taker. I used to take notes on the HP tx2000 tablet, which was great, but I can’t write fast enough on the iPad 2. The BooqPad makes sense for me, because I can take notes and instantly send them to Evernote with the iPad 2 camera, or as I prefer with my smartphone’s camera. This method allows me to take notes quickly and still have all of my notes with me wherever I am.
It may seem odd to use paper when the iPad 2 is right next to the pad, but another benefit is that you can reference handouts, spec sheets and previous notes on the iPad while you are taking notes on the paper pad. This is way more efficient than flipping back and forth between apps.
Additionally, if you want to you can use Evernote to record the meeting and then attach your inked meeting notes when you are done so that you have a full record of the meeting.
OCR Notes for Evernote
The BooqPad is an amazing case because of Evernote. When you upload your images to Evernote, the service will perform OCR, optical character recognition, on them. This means your notes are now searchable from Evernote on any of the numerous apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
In our tests the OCR was pretty good. Well very good given my horrific handwriting style which looks like doctor’s signature after one too many cocktails. In my tests, the ability to OCR improved as I took a bit more time to write nicer. Still, this is much nicer for me than taking notes on the iPad where I have to worry about palm rejection
Build and Feel
The BooqPad has an amazing look and feel. The fabric has a nice premium feel and it looks very good. The folio has a good amount of padding ont he front and back to protect your iPad 2. The sides of your device are left ope in some areas, but it isn’t an issue in our testing.
I really like that you still have a pretty thin package that can go wherever you want. Too many folio cases add enough bulk that I may as well carry around a full fledged tablet, but the BooqPad is thin enough to fit in a backpack (even if you already have two notebooks in it).
In addition to the good design, I like that you can easily remove the iPad 2 from this case when you get home for the evening. The fit is snug, but not so much that it i sa pain to take the iPad out and snap on the Smart Cover for watching a TV show. The closure is a nice solid button that has a solid click when closed. Overall, the BooqPad has a great look and feel.
The BooqPad is perhaps the best iPad folio case i have seen or used. The paper + digital setup perfectly fits my note taking style. This solution may not be the preferred method for everyone, and some have already given me a hard time for using paper when I have an iPad right next to it, but handwritten notes and Evernote are still the best way to take notes for what I do.
At $50 it is in line with other iPad 2 cases, and actually feels a bit underpriced for the quality of the case. It’s hard to convey how nice it looks and feels in person.