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Life as a student revolves heavily around class lectures. I’ve tried every method of note taking, from outlining to audio recording, but my notebooks always end up mangled and recordings forgotten. Fortunately, the iPad brought along with it a new method of taking notes. Sure, it’s possible to annotate PDF files on a laptop, but it’s not practical. Writing directly on the lecture slides is the only way to guarantee that I’ll ever give my notes a second glance.

There are plenty of PDF annotation apps in the iPad app store, but most are either feature sick or buggy. I’m not interested in an underdeveloped outlining feature or changing the in-app theme; I simply want an app that provides a minimal interface, snappy writing performance, and a few basic features. I’ve tried countless annotation apps, and there’s only one that combines the right balance of features and performance to make its way onto my iPad home screen. GoodNotes by Time Base Technology Limited provides an unobtrusive interface, solid performance, and a focussed feature set, but are these enough to set the app apart from the competition?