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PenReader review: Disappointing handwriting recognition keyboard for iOS

J.R. Bookwalter | Feb. 18, 2016
When it comes to handwriting recognition, PenReader isn’t particularly accurate, intuitive, or easy to use.

Accuracy wasn’t the only issue: Although spacious enough on iPad Pro, the handwriting input field feels cramped on smaller devices, even in landscape mode on iPhone 6s Plus. Although you can switch to other keyboards anytime, PenReader would be more useful if the app included an option to temporarily switch to full typing mode, rather than just symbols and punctuation. There’s also a setting to automatically enter a space after entire words are recognized, but I could never get it to work properly.

PenReader offers a generous space for writing with or without Apple Pencil on iPad Pro, but things get cramped quickly on smaller devices.

Bottom line

Unless your first language is something other than English or you want to revisit the days when Newton reigned as king of the marginal handwriting recognition castle, PenReader isn’t a particularly accurate, intuitive, or easy to use keyboard app.


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