5 great free mobile note-taking apps not named OneNote or Evernote

You don't need to go with the big ones for note-taking. These five others are all worth the time.

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OneNote and Evernote may dominate mobile note-taking, but there are plenty other very good ones that might be better for you. Here are five of my favorite free ones.

Box Notes

This app, from the cloud-storage and sharing service Box, offers an interesting twist on note-taking: It's designed primarily for collaborating with others. It includes the basic note-taking tools you'd expect in a note tool, but that's just the beginning. Where it really shines is in collaborating with others. You can take notes, embed media content, and so on, with others in real time, right inside the app. And it's easy to do that with other people you're already collaborating with on Box. If you don't use Box, this app isn't for you. But if you're already a Box user, it's a must-have.

Google Keep

This doesn't have all the bells and whistles of OneNote and Evernote, but it's a great quick-and-dirty note-taking tool. That doesn't mean it lacks features; far from it. In addition to jotting down notes, you can create voice notes, embed media content, and very easily create lists. Naturally, it syncs with all of your Android devices and the Web. And behind the scenes, it does some very clever things, such as archive content you've deleted, so that if at some point you later realize you wish you had it back, you can get it just by searching.

Fetchnotes

If you're a hashtag lover, you're a Fetchnotes lover. This note-taker uses hashtags to organize all of your notes. All you need to do is put a hashtag in front of any text, and it automatically gets added to that category. It's available on the iPhone, Android, and the Web. And you can easily add notes not just by using the app, but by adding them using email, texting, or a Chrome extension. You can also easily share your notes as well.

Springpad

Here's a very good do-everything note-taking app that works with iPads, iPhones, and Android phones and tablets. With it you can create notes and clip Web pages, then store them in notebooks. If you want, you can easily share them with other people as well. Everything is available on the cloud as well as on your various devices. You can even embed your notebooks into your blog or Web site. It also offers one of the best features I've ever seen in an note-taking tool, by powering up your notes with additional content, such as linking a restaurant you mention in a note to reviews and a map.

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