Samsung’s phones and tablets with S Pen continue to be very popular and Samsung is releasing new devices every year. But which apps can you use with the S Pen? Here are the best Android apps for the S Pen. Usually, they work with tablets and pens from other brands too.
The Samsung Notes app is the most popular app for the S Pen, of course, because it’s included with every Samsung tablet and phone. It’s a great app for handwritten notes, but you can also add drawings and normal, typed text.
If you’re using Samsung devices only, this is probably the only notes app you’ll need because it’s well made and works great. But you can’t use it on devices that are not made by Samsung. So, if your phone and tablet are made by different manufactures or if you think you might want to switch in the future, you should use a different one.
A free note taking app that works well with the S Pen and can synch across pretty much all platforms is Microsoft OneNote. Unlike with Microsoft’s other Office apps, you don’t have to be a 365 subscriber here. You can have lots of different notebooks and notes and you can write computer text and handwritten text with the S Pen. You can also use both at the same time, add images or drawings, as well as audio notes.
OneNote can be a fantastic choice, for example, if you’re using a Samsung S Pen device and a Microsoft Surface tablet, so that your notes get synched across both. It does not work as good in Chrome OS, so if you’re also using a Chrome OS device, I can’t recommend it.
Nebo is my favorite note taking app at the moment. While it’s not free, you’ll have to pay 10 dollars, it has lots of features and works with Android, iPadOS, Chrome OS and Windows. The most important feature of Nebo is that it converts your handwritten text into typed computer text. And it does an excellent job. You can have notebooks with lots of different languages and my English and German notes both get recognized very well.
You can edit your notes with the pen and fingers using gestures. That way you can mark text, write something bold, separate lines, and add bullet points. You can also add diagrams and drawings. Nebo is very well executed and if you want your handwritten text converted into typed text, you should definitely check it out.
Squid is another pretty good note taking app that is mostly free to use, although it’s not my favorite. Without having to pay, you can have lots of notebooks and notes and add your handwritten notes and drawings. But to get additional tools, like different pens and backgrounds, you’ll need a subscription. Once you’re a subscriber, you can also import and annotate PDFs and have your notes synched in the cloud. Squid works well with Chromebooks too, so it could be a great choice if you use a Chromebook as well in addition to an Android tablet or phone.
INKredible is another note taking app that’s great for handwritten notes. The app icon looks a bit pixelated on a tablet, but don’t worry, the app itself and the handwritten notes look great. You can have different notebooks and notes here too, and you can add notes and drawings, use different tools, and so on. The basic features are free, so you can try it first and use it for basic notes without having to pay anything. However, if you want more tools or if you want to annotate PDFs with it, you either have to buy single features as an in-app-purchase or get the Pro version for 8 dollars.
Bamboo Paper is a great free note taking app. It doesn’t have as many features as the other ones do, but it works great for handwritten notes. It doesn’t transform your notes into handwritten text. And you can’t add PDFs. But you can include images, and, as I said, it’s free, works well and looks nice too. It’s a nice and simple alternative to the others.
Autodesk Sketchbook is a free and fantastic drawing app. You can use it for simple drawings, but also for very complex and difficult artwork. You can use lots of tools from simple brushes up to different kinds of rulers and even tools that make it simpler to draw symmetrically. It supports layers too, just as Photoshop does, for instance. It’s a great app for drawing – and as I said, it’s completely free.
Adobe Photoshop Sketch
Another free drawing app is Adobe Photoshop Sketch. It doesn’t have as many features and tools which makes it look a bit simpler. But here you can use different brushes too. Layers are supported and it has tools that help you to draw shapes. You can also import Brushes, so it might be a great app, if you use lots of Adobe products anyways.
Now, a different kind of drawing app is Penup which is made by Samsung and works with Samsung devices only. It has lots of different features and modes. In one mode, you can use it as a coloring book. Yes, that means you color in shapes just as you might have done as a kid.
You can also use it to learn how to draw. Here you follow along as someone draws and you try to imitate that drawing. That works very well.
Now, if you want to animate your drawings, you should check out RoughAnimator. You’ll have to pay 5 dollars but it’s a very powerful app. Basically, you can use it to animate your own movie. There are lots of tools and options and you’ve got to spend some time to learn everything. But ones you do, you could make a real animated movie with it. The old way, like Disney’s Snowwhite was made. Well, at least kind of. I’m terrible at drawing but I know I would have loved it as a kid.
Write on PDF
If you’re using a Samsung device and want to annotate PDFs occasionally, you can do that with the app Write on PDF. Now, for some reason there’s no app icon for that app. But once you try to open a PDF, you can choose to open it with Write on PDF. It’s a very simple app that let’s you annotate the PDF only without any extra tools. But it works and you don’t have to install anything extra.
Adobe Acrobat Reader
In case you want to annotate PDFs more often and also edit them, highlight texts, save signatures and so on, then you should check out the Adobe Acrobat Reader for Android. It’s free and you can use it to read, edit, annotate and highlight PDFs. And, as I said, you can also save signatures in case you need to sign PDFs often.
Adobe Fill & Sign
If you need to add signatures to PDFs often and if you often need to fill out PDF forms, you can also check out the Adobe app Fill and Sign which is specifically made just for that purpose. It’s free and I used it a couple of times to fill out contracts and it works great.
Microsoft Math is a fantastic app for students – especially if you can use it secretly at school during exams. Here, you simply handwrite the math equation you’re working on. You can also just take a photo of a piece of paper with the equation. In both cases, once you tip on the arrow, you see the solution for the equation and the way to solve it. You even get a diagram and you can take math quizzes. You can learn real math with this app and it’s free.
MyScript Calculator 2
A similar but a bit different app is MyScript Calculator 2. This is basically just a calculator for handwritten math problems. By hand you write what you need calculated and it calculates the solution for you. It works great but it gives you the solution only, not the way to get there. You’ll have to pay 3 dollars but it works great.
Let’s end this list with a game for your S Pen. Scribble Racer is one of those endless runners. But here, you use your pen to draw your way through obstacles and collect stuff. It’s a fun, simple games, that’s free.
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