Notebook for iPad Update Review

The Notebook for iPad app has a new update (1.1.243.0).

  • SMART Lesson Activity Builder support – View, interact with and reset activities that were created in the full version of SMART Notebook software on a computer.
  • New Lines tool – Insert a line and change its color and thickness.
  • New object properties – Double-tap or tap and hold to lock and unlock an object or to change the order of an object.
  • More pen properties – Change the color and thickness of the pen.
  • More system compatibility – Supports iOS 6 in addition to iOS 5.

Likes:

I like the ability to change pen thickness and the new line tool is a welcome and necessary addition.

I was successfully able to change the order of objects and I could easily lock and unlock objects. This was a critical update that I’m very happy to see implemented.

Dislikes:

I have to say that I’m very disappointed with this update. Perhaps SMART needs some outside eyes to test the application before releasing it. The most exciting new feature is the support for the Activity Builder Add-On. Unfortunately, this new feature did not work on my iPad running OS 6 or on my iPad running OS 5.

The biggest concerns I have deal mainly with the text tool. The problems I encountered also varied depending on which version of the iPad operating system I used.

When adding text in the lower half of the page, the page did not move up so I could see the text object when I was typing (OS 5 only)

When adding text and touching inside the text object to begin typing, the keyboard appeared but I had to touch inside the text object again to add text (OS 6 only)

The performance issues when editing text are extreme and make editing text a nightmare.

Summary:

The addition of the line tool, the pen thickness feature, and the ability to control locking and ordering are a welcome and necessary addition.

The problems with the Activity Builder support and the added problems with the text tool reasons enough not to update the app at this time.

The app still does not allow saving to online storage sites like Dropbox and Box.net.

Page display and sizing is problematic and moving from one page to another is much too slow.

The app does a very poor job of handling larger files. The poor performance when working with larger files makes the app unusable.

Final Note:

I’m still confident that this app will become a useful tool but SMART needs to focus on current performance problems if they want to make this a useful app for the classroom. The app is a little too pricey to purchase at this time and I would wait for the next update before updating to the current version.

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2 Comments

  1. Heather Lamb /

    James, I just downloaded an update and the activity builder worked on my IPad. I am on iOS 5 but looking at release notes – should work on 6 also.

    • James Hollis /

      Hi Heather!

      Yes, the update released yesterday fixed the issue.

      Cheers!

      Jim

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