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Sponsored App Review: Better Diary

December 4, 2014 - Written By Tom Dawson

 

Description: Better Diary is an Android app that, well, aims to be a better Diary. In fact, it aims to be not just a better Diary, but also a way of keeping track of your written entries using the calendar to look back, your to do lists, and it even features a full HTML text editor for writing in it. It syncs across your devices and the web as well, allowing you to access your notes wherever you like. It features over a hundred different fonts to choose from and you can customize how Better Diary looks to just how you like it. Designed as a potential replacement for all your note taking apps, perhaps even your word processor, your to do list app and more, is Better Diary really any ‘better’?

How it Works: To get started with Better Diary, all you need to do is to download the app from the Play Store, once you have done, you’ll be introduced to what Better Diary has to offer through a quick slideshow of sorts.

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Signing in, or creating a new account, are both nice and simple and only take a moment.

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Once you’ve got everything set up, you can quite easily go ahead and start writing your first entry or whatever. For me, Better Diary is going to be great for notes and brainstorming sort of stuff. I’m behind on my Christmas shopping, so I’ve put together a sort of brainstorming note for myself.

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Right away I can see that Better Diary has some pretty excellent formatting options, and when paired with my Bluetooth keyboard on my Nexus 9 it works really well. You can see in the above shot that I’m looking to share this somewhere or with someone and while that works great, the circle feature is a much better way to do things.

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You can add a number of people to a ‘circle’, and it’s these people that will be able to collaborate and make edits to your notes and such. Clearly, this would be family members and that sort of thing and you can easily manage their access whenever you like as well. Another nice aspect to Better Diary is not only its good use of Material Design, but also the ability to change aspects of the UI to your liking, be it the type face used or the UI color.

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With a quick touch-up, I can make Better Diary feel like it’s just designed for me, and as this is a full diary type app, I can bring up a calendar view whenever I like, allowing me to look back and bring up previous notes or entries, like notes from the meeting on the 26th, for instance.

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Overall, Better Diary is a nice way to keep everything together, and the formatting options are good enough to help you basically write rough drafts of articles, or journal entries with video, images and more without the need to be online like Google Docs.

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Opinion: For a long time, my notetaking was down all with pen and paper, and since then I’ve switched to Todoist for todo lists and then Keep for notes. However, Keep leaves me cold and I’m never that keen on using it all the time. This is a nice blend of note taking and writing that you can quite easily blurt things into Better Diary and then look back to whichever date to find something you wrote about that time. This is a good-looking app thanks to the excellent selection of fonts, with some of my favorites included and the Material Design looks great on my Nexus 9. I think Better Diary successful takes the place of both Keep and Google Docs for notetaking and idea storming. It’s got a lot of formatting options on offer and while I probably won’t this over Google Docs for big piece writing, it’s a much better experience than Docs and Keep for brainstorming and keeping notes.

Ratings

  • Speed (4/5) – No problems with performance here, Better Diary ran great on my Nexus 9 and Xperia Z2.
  • Features (4.5/5) – It might feel just a little light on features right now, but it has a nice blend of notetaking and writing put together, and the formatting options are great.
  • Theme (4/5) – A good use of Material Design coupled with lots of font choices and customization result in a good-looking app that could make better use of tablet displays.
  • Overall (4/5) – A solid application, Better Diary might not replace everything for a lot of users, but if you miss the days of a notepad and want a digital replacement with all the advantages, then this is it.

Pros

  • Better Diary is free, without the need for ads or IAPs, which is certainly refreshing.
  • Syncs with other Android devices as well as online with a decent Web App in beta.
  • Lots of font options and color options make this easily customizable to your taste.
  • Good example of what can be achieved with Material Design.

Cons

  • No checkbox option in the formatting.
  • Feels a little empty on tablets, but certainly better than competing apps I’ve used.

Conclusion: I was pleasantly surprised by Better Diary, and not because it does things others don’t, but in the way it does it. Better Diary gives you the tools you want and let’s you get to work. There’s a ton of formatting options on hand, as well as a ton of fonts and theme options. The Material Design UI looks great, and it even worked with keyboard shortcuts with a Bluetooth keyboard. An excellent all-rounder, I’m impressed by Better Diary and I can see travel writers, writers like myself and similar professions getting a lot of use out of this. It’s a great place to keep all of your thoughts, drafts and more all in one place.

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