Android App Review: Writer

Writer is a quick and clean word processing app. It has limited features, but what it does it does reasonably well.

Basically, writer lets you type things and save them on your phone. When you’re using it, it looks like a super-stripped-down version of Microsoft Word.

But my phone already came with a basic notepad-type thing (Memo, it’s called), and yours probably did too. What does Writer offer that this default app doesn’t?

Two things. The first is that saves your writing as .txt files, which you can then open on your computer or whatever other device you want. This is really handy for when you start writing something on your phone and want to work on it more at home, which I often find myself doing.

The other thing this app has over your basic note program is formatting. Writer uses Markdown formatting for headings, lists, bold, italic, etc. Having the markdown capabilities is genuinely useful, even if you’re just taking quick notes – sometimes I just want my notes to have emphasis, you know?

But I feel that maybe the heading options are superfluous. Who’s making up a whole formatted text document on their phone with headings and subsections? Who hates themselves that much?

The keyboard is the key, and I’m not even sorry for that terrible play on words. On my Samsung, typing is a pain – the punctuation is on a different screen to the letters, the dollar sign is on a different one again, the whole thing is a slow and awkward mess.

Given this, I use my phone to write down only the briefest of notes to myself – keywords and the odd choice phrasing that I’m worried won’t stay in my head until I get home or near a piece of paper.

But writing a whole review/article/script on my phone? My thumbs ache at the mere thought of it. And having three different heading options doesn’t alleviate that pain.

But there are heaps of keyboard apps available for Android devices, some of which are free. Find one that suits your needs and typing style, combine it with Writer, and you might just have a workable word processor sitting in your pocket.

Writer says it’s “perfect for everything from taking notes to writing a novel on your phone or tablet.” I’d agree with the first part, certainly.

And set up on a generous-sized tablet, with a well-designed keyboard app (or USB plugin, even), I could be convinced about the second.

But for the average phone user this is a quick-and-dirty note-taker, and that’s really it. If that’s all you want though, then Writer certainly delivers.

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