Our Pick: Evernote Pro
The right note-taking application is Evernote Pro (not the free version). For its lightweight feel, extensive flexibility, and high-brow feature set. Although it requires an initial investment in its user interface, it’s worthwhile in the long term.
You’ll get all the bells and whistles with Evernote Premium. Sync your notes with all of your devices across different platforms (Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, etc.) quickly. You can easily scan documents through your phone or use web clippings and mark them as needed. Better yet, you can effortlessly search through all of your embedded PDFs and Documents, even hand-written notes! They even provide templates so you can get started. One of the most outstanding features is its ability to integrate with other applications making it a robust productivity tool.
The Evernote Premium differs from Evernote Basic by a few key features. Evernote Basic has a two device sync limit but premium allows unlimited devices. Evernote Basic has a 25MB maximum note size and a 60MB monthly upload limit, which the Premium increases to 200MB and 10GB, respectively. Premium also offers the ability to annotate PDFs, create and save your own custom templates, scan and digitize business cards to create a personal database of contacts, and forward emails directly into your Evernote account. But it’s not all good when it comes to Evernote.
Evernote Basic does not allow you to annotate PDFs or search text inside Office documents and PDFs that you embed into the notes. These are the primary features that make Evernote Premium the best note-taking application on the market today. I would recommend to start with Evernote Basic (Free) and push through the unattractive UI. Once you’re invested, spring for the premium, but if you need the annotation tools then it would be better to spring for the premium.
One gripe was the inability to import any note above 200MB in size with a 10GB monthly upload limit. For a premium price, I expected larger sizes. This hampered my ability to proficiently navigate my notes during my medical school training since each section was about 500MB in PDF format, so I had to split organ systems to make it work. I understand the constraints of server load, but 200MB seems too small. The user interface across platforms is also inconsistent and fairly unattractive. We found OneNote to be a lot more pleasant and beginner-friendly.
Microsoft OneNote was a viable alternative as a cross-platform productivity app. Although the user interface is superior to Evernote, it fell short in a few of our tests. OneNote feels familiar to anyone who’s used the Microsoft Office suite. OneNote also comes with annotations without the cost. Unfortunately, we found the app to be bulky; taking large amounts of hard drive space and RAM. Its also not accessible by other apps like Evernote Pro.
Evernote Basic (free) is a brief introduction to this featured application but you’ll find no benefits over alternatives like OneNote. We found OneNote to perform better than Evernote Basic in certain instances. Although OneNote has a friendlier user interface, the feature-set is lacking. There is no flexibility once you grasp the basics. You’ll find that that’s all it is, a basic note-taking application.
Notion is a great online note-taking application but it falls short. The application is hindered by lack of maturity, but it can hold its own against these juggernauts. We loved the templates but it feels more like a wiki replacement than a notebook. It’s aimed at teams and businesses but the lack of annotations makes it a less viable alternative.
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