App of the Week: At Only 99 Cents, ‘Clean Writer’ is a Steal

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There’s no shortage of writing apps for the iPad: Take accessibility-angled options like Evernote (free) that allow users to add tags and keep everything organized, or more robust packages like Pages ($9.99) allowing for rich formatting and picture embeds. But the productivity app I’ve come to like the most is Clean Writer, which is currently on sale for 99 cents, and at that price it’s a steal whether you write for a living or as a hobby.

Now, the iPad is obviously not the ideal tool for creating content like a blog post. Compared to other portable machines like the Macbook Air or a Netbook, it simply doesn’t have the computing power or multitasking abilities to juggle the windows and tabs necessary to carry out an assignment.

(MORE: 50 Best iPhone Apps 2011)

But upon using Clean Writer I discovered something weird: I found myself actually writing.

The app itself is devoid of any superfluous add-ons. Unlike dedicated desktop applications like MS Word—where underlines and formatting at times add little more than clutter—the interface is stripped down to just the essentials. With Clean Writer, you merely boot it up and begin typing (I like to use an external keyboard).

You’re presented with a few minimalist options, like whether you want a light or dark background and three font preferences, but for the most part the app is nothing more than the blank page in front of you.

When you’re ready to save a document you can do so as a .txt file or send it to your DropBox. If you want to save sections of your text, you can highlight them and send as an email.

For all the distractions available on the Internet I’ve found the self-imposed restrictions of Clean Writer refreshing. It’s elegant, easy-to-use and a bargain for only a buck.

Download it here.

MORE: See All Apps of the Week

Chris Gayomali is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @chrigz, on Facebook, or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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