Awhile ago we took a look at Digital Journaling with Penzu and since then the Penzu team has been hard at work making their app even more outstanding and feature rich. The biggest changes, however, have been the addition of mobile support using the power of HTML5—including offline support.
With well rounded support for all the major mobile platforms, Penzu is certainly a web app showing others how its done. We’ll take a quick look at a few of the new features in the desktop app then check out what they’re offering for mobile devices.
Penzu has also offered to give 1 Year Free Pro accounts to a few lucky readers! Read on for more info.
If you haven’t had a chance to reader our review of Penzu back in March, it’s a great place to start for a more in-depth initial look. A Private Web: Digital Journal with Penzu
To summarize our last review, we were very pleased with the Penzu app. It functioned very well, looked great and filled a void where not everyone may want to share everything they blog. However, it lacked a few features we would’ve liked to see and, like all new web apps, needed to do some more maturing. Seven months later and it’s clear they’ve been doing exactly that—maturing and developing the app.
As I mentioned in our last review, Penzu needed the ability to upload custom backgrounds. While they have some nice backgrounds to choose from, it’s hard to beat offering users the ability to upload something they really want. I’m very happy to report that users can now upload custom backgrounds!
As you can see, the ability to upload a custom background is now available. I’ve uploaded a small repeating image I liked, which has the delete button at the top of the thumbnail.
Custom backgrounds are only available to Pro users and are limited to 5MB.
Journal via Email
You are now able to create posts via email, including attaching photos. You’re also able to forward emails to add full conversations to your journal, a nifty feature for sure!
The desktop web app has certainly had some great improvements, but let’s get on to the awesome new mobile app!
See more of the great features Penzu Pro offers here.
The best new “feature” Penzu has added is mobile journaling, which takes advantage of HTML5’s killer capabilities, including offline support. There’s no app to download, no updates to hassle with, just go to http://penzu.com and login to start journaling.
I was happy to see Penzu provided a fun video explaining the advantages of their app along with rocking a fantastic mobile design interface, which was to be expected since their desktop interface is quite sexy itself. Adding the app to the home screen offered a pleasant surprise with a high quality app icon (lower right of the screen). Too many web apps miss this little detail but it all counts!
Once you’ve logged in you can jump straight to your pad and get to writing, view your entries or change the app lock settings. As you can see, the app doesn’t use the typical native iPhone app design but rather follows in suite with the desktop app’s design (which I actually like). From the entries page you can create new, tag, delete or search posts.
An important feature to note here is the ability for the app to lock after a specified number of minutes (changeable via settings page). You can unlock the app with your chosen 4-digit PIN. Penzu keeps your privacy in mind at all times!
Writing a post was quick and easy and even auto-saved the post so you never loose what you write. It’s also synced online so you can jump from platform to platform and immediately pick up where you left off last. From the post page you can quickly add tags, share or even password protect the post.
An important feature to note is the mobile version of Penzu uses the same high security 128-bit SSL as the desktop version. You’re always secure, no matter which platform you’re using.
For a web app, I must admit that I’m impressed with the number of supported platforms. Not many web apps support such a diverse selection of mobile devices. Penzu supports the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android devices and even BlackBerry devices (often forgotten).
Penzu also has an even more robust iPad app in the works!
While a web app can come close to feeling like a native app, none I’ve tried really make it there. That being said, Penzu’s mobile web app is actually pretty impressive. It doesn’t feel like a native app, but it’s certainly among the fastest I’ve used lately. I have to hand it to the Penzu team, they’ve done an incredible job with new mobile app!
Penzu is clearly a killer web app on all fronts, it’s as simple as that. From the desktop through all the major mobile platforms, Penzu steals the show with a fantastic and consistently designed UI, amazing web app performance and top notch usability.
I’m aware that overly praising reviews tend to come off as paid reviews. I can assure you this is not one of them. If there was something I didn’t like about the app, you’d know about it. Having said that, I encourage you to go try the app (it’s free, you have nothing to loose) and if you find something you don’t like, let us know in the comments below or let Penzu know directly. I can assure you they take constructive criticism very well and user feedback is what they use to make their app even better.
Great work Penzu team, I look forward to seeing new features down the road!
Five 1-Year Free Penzu Pro Accounts
The Penzu team has offered a few lucky AppStorm readers free Pro accounts for a year. For a chance to win one, leave a comment below with a like or dislike (constructive please) of Penzu’s app (mobile or desktop). We’ll select three winners at random via comments below and announce them this coming Friday, October 8th.
But wait, you said five?! Yes, I did. Make sure you’re following @webappstorm and stay tuned this week. We’ll give out the two remaining Pro accounts at random.
Please Note: Envato staff or people who have written more than two articles or tutorials for AppStorm are ineligible to enter.
Random giveaway code 1: Penzu5
Random giveaway code 2: