Head to Head: Drafts vs. iA Writer

Word processing for iOS is a bountiful well of possibilities with a lot of variety. During the day when you're out and about, it's easy to pull out your iPhone or iPad Mini to do a little bit of creative and productive writing during those small pockets of time. Many apps are thrown out there in this department like Evernote, Byword, My Writing Spot, Write 2 or Apples own Pages. While these are all valid options, I find that the best of the bunch that are the most effective is Drafts and iA Writer. But the real question is which one deserves your hard earned money more?

Computers these days are designed to do everything and anything, so it's extremely forgiveable to have a lapse in focus and get distracted. That's why a cleverly designed interface that's built to accept your work and to keep you there is incredibly important. While both Drafts and iA Writer pull this off extremely well, iA Writer does it better. There's something about the font, blue cursor, and choice keyboard additions that make it a breeze to jump into. Writing is a dream and you want to see your thoughts and words spread out on the document.

However as of this post, I do have one problem with iA Writer (version 1.9.1) and that is the keyboard is stuck in the pre iOS 7 era. Drafts keyboard on the other hand is up to date and while the interface isn't as streamlined for the creative process as iA Writer is, it still works as a distraction-free word processor. Where Drafts truly excels is in the way it manages documents.

Winner: iA Writer

iA Writer on iPad
In terms of features, iA Writer is extremely minimal. You can start a txt document and it can save onto your iDevice (which is accessible via iCloud), onto Dropbox or e-mail it and that's pretty much it. If you want to put it into Blogsy or some other app, you're options are limited to the aforementioned or copying and pasting.

As for Drafts, it has an extensive approach to document management. There are three 'folders' to save into, the default unsorted folder where new documents start their life, the trunk where finished documents can remain and pinned for special or important word files. Beyond this system, Drafts has an extensive programable export system for a variety of services such as Evernote, Dropbox, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, App.net and even device native services like e-mail, events, reminders, message, or AirPrint. If all that fails you can easily copy to clipboard to paste into another app. Best of all these user customized exporting features to these services are easily accessible and initiated with a simple tap on the side menu.

Another thing that Drafts does that iA Writer doesn't do is the markdown preview which is helpful for mobile coders.

Winner: Drafts

Drafts on iPad

In terms of cost-efficiency, Drafts costs more especially if you want it for both iPad and iPhone since it's not cross platform. The pricing scheme is as follows:

Drafts for iPad: $4
Drafts for iPhone: $3
iA Writer: $5

Technically Drafts can be the cheap option if you choose to get it for only one device. $2 over the competition especially considering all the features hidden beneath the surface that will save users a whole lot of time and effort is well worth the price.

Winner: Drafts

iPhone Versions: Left: Drafts - Right: iA Writer

Bottom Line
If I had $10 and had to make a choice of one or the other, I'd choose Drafts over iA Writer for my writing needs. However this is because I have a lot of writing that I need to juggle and that I prefer to always have access to. If I had simpler needs and just wanted a beautiful word processor, iA Writer more than steps up to the plate and fulfills that role adequatly. In the end, Drafts does more and does it better. Sorry Stephen Fry.

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