Paper by FiftyThree – Silky Smooth Drawing Experience

2.5 Overall Score
Usability: 3.5/5
Design: 3.5/5
Duration: 1/5

Outstanding ink engine for smooth drawing | Brilliant muliti-touch UI | Great experience

Limited colors | No portrait mode | Odd payment structure | No wrist guard




Click image for full retina size.

There are a whole lot of drawing, sketching, and note taking apps for iPad, and yet there’s always room for another one. Paper by FiftyThree is a sketching journal that allows you draw ideas, sketch objects you see, take notes, draw graphs, create outlines, or really anything you could think to write with your finger or stylus. The app is all about intuitive creation that is built for multi-touch and the iPad. You begin with your different notebooks, and you can pinch to reveal the pages inside. Then you can pinch a particular page to open it, and begin drawing on screen.

The interface is as smooth as can be, and it makes you want to use the app whenever a drawing fancy overcomes you. There are five main tools in the app with Draw, Sketch, Write, Outline, and Color, but only Draw comes with the free app. The four other tools are $1.99 each, but you can test each tool before buying, and only select the ones you want to use. Once you have the full set of tools ($7.99), you then create very finely detailed sketches with various pens to cover each requirement of the drawing at hand. You can switch between pens by dragging up from the bottom of the screen, and it’s another aspect showing a smooth UI.

The best part of the app is the ink engine which allows for super smooth strokes, and even varying line density based on the speed of your stroke. The app also supports the new iPad retina display allowing you to see the fine details of the various pen types. The app does have a number of faults though besides the limitations of the in-app purchases. There are only nine colors included, and they’re in some odd shades also. The app does only work in landscape mode, though it would seem writing could be potentially easier in portrait. Also, there’s no wrist guard protection for use with a stylus, and you can’t zoom in for any precision.

Paper by FiftyThree (Free, iPad) features an outstanding drawing engine with a wonderful user interface and design. The app has a great back engine, but is practically featureless beyond that making for a very basic app. It feels more like a technological demo than a productivity app, and there are many better drawing solutions out there.



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