Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working on various apps for note-taking. I tried to reflect and ask myself, what were the core features I wanted in my daily note-taking app, as well as what are some features others would like?
After awhile, I realized I was getting lost in all the great features. Rather than make a snap judgement, I thought I’d cook up a chart and see what happened if I assigned a score to each based on features available.
Since I often need the “kitchen sink” when it comes to note-taking apps, especially since I like to see my note-taking app as a file cabinet that is an alternative to GoogleDrive, I found myself making certain choices. I also found myself looking for an easy to use app that my family could use.
While I’d encouraged them to use Evernote, then SimpleNote, I found neither a good choice. As much as I wanted to like MammothHQ, it’s absence of a mobile app that allows for editing left me waiting for features.
As a result, I settled on TWO apps for daily use (and I use them a LOT) and the choices surprised me:
- Apple Notes – Thanks to @larrysilabra‘s article, How to Move Notes from Evernote to Apple Notes, I’ve successfully transitioned!
- Google Keep – While I had ruled out Google Keep early on, playing with it again–especially since it came out on iOS–has made it an easy tool for grocery lists and short to-do lists that must be shared (e.g. “honey-do list” is a perfect example) but won’t last long.
Some miscellaneous reflections about the whole pile:
- Again, I hoped SimpleNote Premium (thanks for the Premium account, BTW!) would fill the role but Google Keep simply blows it out of the water.
- Sorry, MammothHQ, you were a non-starter because of no mobile app editing. Really need to get that fixed! I also dislike how new content just gets “added” to the bottom of a Board. In fact, I hate the whole Board view (even though it’s pretty)…wish it had more “tag” views.
- I worry about SimpleNotes and Google Keep’s longevity. The former has already “died” and been kept around by WordPress folks, but isn’t being actively pushed. Also Google Keep remains but Google has a habit of killing off some of my favorite services (e.g. Google Reader) and that’s why I see Google Keep as a “light, who cares if it goes away, use it now when it’s here but don’t cry about it if it dies” app.
- I wish Evernote had a light and airy design like GoogleKeep or SimpleNote.
- It wouldn’t take SimpleNote much to build up to a quality product…GUI editor, file support.
Finally, in spite of all the issues, I do like the “mindset” that MammothHQ founder espouses. It suggests that things may be changing.
So, here’s the comparison chart that includes feature compilation from various note providers and my own…I realize that I may have something wrong, so don’t be afraid to leave a comment in the blog comments. Again, this isn’t an exhaustive list of all features in each solution but a list of what *I* found valuable and worth having. For the most part, some of you may have similar needs.
|Features:||Evernote Free||Evernote Plus||Evernote Premium||GoogleKeep||SimpleNotes||MammothHQ|
|1 OPINION||Too complicated, get Keep or SimpleNote instead||Best features are in Premium, but compromise price. But better to get MammothHQ||Powerhouse of features but only if you need this. Worth the investment if you need it! I pay for this.||Simple, great for low-tech users. VERY easy to use, voice transcription is great||Simple and easy, Premium is available||GoogleDoc on steroids since you can drop anything but needs mobile app editing and other features to be Evernote Premium competitor.|
|1 OVERVIEW SCORE||25||28||31||16||15||24|
|2 step authentication||x||x||x|
|Add tags to notes||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|AES-256 encryption for notes|
|Backup Support (e.g. Dropbox, Drive)||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Cost||Free||$24.99 per year||$49.99 per year||Free||Free Premium with email request||$47.88 for Pro and Plus versions|
|Digital Archive, long-term file storage||x||x||x||x|
|Encrypts notes (built-in)||x||x||x|
|Get more features/storage/whatever via referrals||x||x||x||x|
|GUI Editor for Notes||x||x||x||x|
|Markdown for Notes||x||x|
|Monthly note upload capacity||60MB||1gig||10gig||Depends on your Google Drive storage||1000gb for Pro; 50gb for Plus|
|Note collaboration/sharing without account||x|
|Passcode lock for mobile apps||x||x||x|
|PDF, MP3, etc.||x||x||x||x|
|Save emails into service via email||x||x||x||x|
|Scan to Note||x||x|
|Search handwritten notes||x||x||x|
|Search/retain images/business cards||x||x|
|Search/scan PDFs and docs in notes||x|
|Store images in notes||x||x||x||x||x|
|Sync across devices||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Unlimited total storage||x||x||x||x||x||get more storage via referrals|