Okay, so the LiveScribe smartpen hasn’t exactly taken off yet. And you’re finding it impractical to carry around pen and paper these days. So, the question stands: what can I do to take down what I need to know or remember? Well, not to worry! Notes apps are getting craftier as time goes by and at this point, they’re proving to be essential for the connected, for the forgetful and for the studious.

We took a quick jot across five different notes apps for Android. Some of them have the capability for reminders. Some of them can take pictures of documents and convert them into decent looking full-size document images. All of them had at least 10 million downloads with the upper limit on Evernote’s end at 100 million and beyond. As you’ll soon see, there might be reasons why that’s the case. Here’s the skinny on each of them.

Most nonsensical: Inkpad is the most spartan of the lot. I’s subscription-based paywall covers more basic features that come free with the other four apps on this list. Syncing is limited to ten times a day on the free version, Jiminy Cricket!

Minimalist: ColorNote is one step up. It has what the tin says: you can color code your notes for easier sorting. Not as flush with features as the other three, but for the price of free, it gets you by and doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth. Doesn’t leave much of a taste, but again, that ain’t bad.

For the frugal: OneNote from Microsoft is free with your Microsoft account(s?). Multimedia attachments and “inking” (drawing) is here!

The complete: Evernote. This is definitely designed for an office-wide investment as it has a chat client for collaboration, a scanner for documents, Post-It® Notes (brand cohesion not required) and business cards. But you’ll end up paying for it one way or another if you want to keep on using it.

Wild card: Google Keep. They have a good attempt at optical character recognition going here. While their note-taking client lacks the capacity to fully take advantage of OCR, we think there’s room to overtake the leaders, here.

Hemorrhoid cream: whoops, how did that get on this list?

So, what are your favorite note-taking apps for any platform? Leave them in the comments below.

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