ZeptoPad, from the company of the same name, reminds me of a hybrid car that gets only 10 miles to the gallon. It’s a terrific idea, but it’s hard to see why you might actually want one.

ZeptoPad at its core is a sketch pad. Like many new Japanese-made cars coming off the lots of dealers these days, ZeptoPad has some options similar cars don’t. For example, ZeptoPad features Wi-Fi connectivity.

Like other sketch pad apps I’ve seen, you can draw on the iPhone’s screen using a variety of colors and and pens. You can undo/redo your most recent work, save images to a directory and so on. You can also enter text into your drawings.

You can insert photos into your drawing either by importing them from your Camera Roll or taking them using the iPhone’s camera from within ZeptoPad. There’s no need to quit one app and launch the other — so that’s convenient.

ZeptoPad has other unique features. The first is that you can use it as a whiteboard by linking your iPhone to your Mac or PC desktop. Go to the preferences menu, enable automatic access and enter a password. Then enter the iPhone’s IP address and port number into your Web browser, followed by the password, and you’re all set.

You can sketch on the iPhone and the sketch will appear on your desktop monitor in real time as though you were using a whiteboard. You can also browse the sketches stored on your iPhone on your desktop monitor. It’s a really cool feature.

The second unique feature is that you can “Shake ‘n Share” your sketches with another iPhone user. I can’t say how well that feature works because I don’t have another iPhone handy.

Okay, where does ZeptoPad come up short?

ZeptoPad markets this app as a “mind mapping tool,” something that it does poorly. Mind mapping in it’s simplest form starts with a core concept and then branches out using related words. In short, it’s intended for brainstorming or stimulating your creativity. However, there are other mind mapping apps such as iBlueSky that do a far better job.

Drawing on the iPhone’s screen is a chore to begin with and ZeptoPad doesn’t make it any easier. It’s sometimes slow to react and lacks a feature to automatically create geometric patterns. If there’s a way to draw straight lines and snap them together, I couldn’t find it. Last, the resolution of your drawings is 256 x 256, which is no biggie.

Unless you’re Picasso, and have had hours upon hours of practice, what you’re likely to end up with are very crude drawings. Simple note taking is a challenge!

My app is missing the delete button so I’m unable to delete the sketches I’ve created and no longer want. It’s a huge bug that should have never been overlooked. ZeptoPad quit on me a couple of times too.

What I find inexcusable is the writing in the help files, in the App Store and elsewhere, is barely understandable. The text was obviously written by someone for whom English is a third language. How is one to understand an app’s features when even the developer is unable to clearly explain what the app does?

ZeptoPad is $9.99, way over priced for what it does. It really misses the mark as a business tool, which is how the company has positioned it. Take a look at ZeptoPad’s own video to see it for what it really is: an entertainment app.

Like I mentioned: Nice idea but poor performance. YMMV.

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