Notejoy is an app that has been on my radar for some time. It is not an app I have really used that much. Whilst it has some impressive features and functions for a standard notes app, some of these are a bit of a let down and some things I look for are missing. That being said I wanted to write a review of n|otejoy as I am looking at notes apps on the market more generally. Here are some of my previous entries in this series:
- Reviewing Notes Applications — Part 1: Microsoft OneNote
- Reviewing Notes Applications — Part 2: Evernote
- Reviewing Notes Apps — UpNote
Notejoy comes across as a fairly standard notetaking application. It will look very familiar to anyone who has used Evernote in the past. It has the standard set up of a sidebar, a note list and note editor. Notes exist within notebooks, but only in one notebook so far as I can see. Notes can be tagged with in-line hashtags, (which then show up in separate list of tags in the side bar) and favourited.
But let’s dive in to a review of n|otejoy.
Of the apps I have reviewed so far — Notejoy is the weakest here. Notes can be created quickly via a keyboard shortcut, but not created there is no global shortcut. To create note, you have to go into Notejoy. The same is true on my android phone. There is no widget or shortcut available for quickly creating notes from my home screen. I’ll be honest, for me this is a deal breaker right at the first point. That being said, you can forward emails into Notejoy but they have to come from the email address you signed up with. It is possible therefore to set up a quick capture widget using IFTTT in order to send emails to your Notejoy notebook but this is a little bit clunky and would not be my preference to do.
Notejoy has a web clipper which is actually pretty good. It is more advanced than some, enabling you to modify the location and tags for your note before it clips and it works pretty quickly and is pretty accurate.
To be honest, Notejoy is not strong here but it works well at what is capable of doing.
Edit & Format
Notejoy comes with all the basic formatting features for your notes which is good. Different headings, up to H5, different colour and highlights, check boxes, quotes and code blocks. It also supports markdown if you like that kind of thing. You can attach files and embed images and videos which is all good.
However, I have some issues that again, leave me with little joy as I think about taking notes in this app. For speed, I will simply list them below:
- There is no support for tables in the editor
- There are only 5 colours for text and highlighting
- The quote style, simply places a red vertical bar next to your text and indents it. I know this is fairly standard, but I like apps that make quotes stand out a little more.
- The checkboxes seem really quite small to me
- There is a difference between heading sizes but to me they don’t seem quite different enough to be instantly and obviously different.
- It is not possible to drag and drop content around within a note
- Whilst you can enter inline # tags, they remain formatted as normal text and nothing makes them stand out. When you type them, nothing comes up to indicate you are creating/typing a tag so it would be very possible to inadvertently create multiple tags to represent the same thing through typos, spelling mistakes or use of singular and plural versions.
On the whole, whilst generally the functionality is there, it just feels like it is not there anywhere near as well as other apps I have used and there are some notable things missing. Again I would say that Notejoy is pretty weak here.
As I said, notes exist in a notebook and can be tagged with inline # tags. This is all good. Also, Notes can be starred and come up in a starred list on your sidebar. You can also see a list of recent notes which is again a helpful thing. Notes can be dragged to different notebooks from the note list.
You can also link notes together using a double [ shortcut. Once you have done this, then the backlink will show up on the note you linked to. Your notebooks can be nested many, many levels deep as well. Tags can also be nested which is good. One feature of Notejoy is that your notebooks all exist within a personal library. In addition to a single personal library, you can create team libraries and invite others to join these libraries with either admin, editing, commenting or viewing privileges. Note — you can only comment on text within notes in a team library, not the personal one.
Again though, there are issues that I am struggling with as I have tested this app. Again, I will list them:
- There doesn’t seem to be an all notes list that is obvious. If you click the search button, this does I think give you a list of all your notes but this is not obvious.
- The backlinks appear at the bottom of your note with a preview of the note. This preview seems to be a small selection of text before and after the link you entered to the note. This could be good for providing context, but isn’t really clear so I am not sure helpful it is as a small preview.
- Tags placed in notes are not clickable or (as I said above) distinct.
- Links to other notes are clickable but simply get coloured red and are indistinguishable from red text in the note.
- When you are in a search list or a tag list or the recents list it can be hard to see which notebook the note is in. It is in small print at the bottom of the note card in the note list but this isn’t easy to see if you don’t know it is there.
Again, I would say the functionality is pretty reasonable — but the execution of it lets it down.
This is one area where I think Notejoy is actually pretty good, though a bit odd. If you know you search language pretty well. Typing in a phrase with no search language will just bring up a list of all notes that contain any of the words in your phrase. But, I have noted something. If I search for the word note, with no search language, then I get results that include note, notejoy & notes, but NOT notebook. I am not sure why this is.
Search language involves things like putting words in “ “ to search for an exact match, typing things like Notebook: to search for notebooks, Title: or Body: to search only titles or only the body of the note. You can also search things like has:checklist.
What you can do, seems pretty good, but it does feel a bit odd and a bit clunky and involves a lot of typing to get what you want.
All this is access via a shortcut cmd/ctrl + /
In addition to the functionality of an application there are some key technical things of these applications that can be the making or the breaking of them and a review of n|otejoy would not be complete without examining them.
Accessibility — where is it accessible and what limitations are there on portable devices like phones etc
Notejoy is accessible on Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. There is also a fully functioning web app. All in, this means that you can access it anywhere you want to.
Privacy & Security — How secure is your data and are there any issues with privacy
Notejoy have their own servers and that is where your data is stored. To be honest, my experience is that for all of these types of apps, with one or two exceptions, the terms are fairly standard. End to End encryption is offered for premium users.
Speed of the application — load times for the application and notes etc, sync speed between devices
Everything I have tested gives pretty good response times for the app. Considering I was on the free version and there is no offline support, the speed was actually good. The tool is built for collaboration and therefore sync between devices is near instant.
This is only available for premium users and since I have not paid for this, I have not tested it. For me, no offline support without paying is a difficult pill to swallow…
Export options — how easy is it to get data out of the app and in what format
Again, this is reserved for premium users. So far as I can tell the only export option available is to export your data to google drive in a gdoc format. One gdoc per note. The website indicates that from Google Drive/Docs, each document can be converted to whatever other format you want. We all know that this is weak.
Buggyness — are there any bugs or issues that are either frustrating or risky
Overall, it is a fairly polished application and I never encountered any major bugs.
Conclusion & Pricing
The free version is limited. You can have notebooks, 3 team libraries and only a max of 100mb storage for free. And as said above, features like offline support, end to end encryption and exporting your data are premium features. It costs $48 dollars per year and can only be paid yearly for the solo plan. The solo plan gives you all the features and a total of 5gb of storage. It also enables you to create more libraries to store notebooks in. But, whilst the free plan allows for up to 5 users per team library, the solo plan doesn’t seem to allow any team libraries. For this you need to spend $96 per year per user.
I am sorry, on all counts I cannot recommend this app. My conclusion is that it is expensive, lacking in features, poorly executed and generally weaker than every other note taking app I have tried. It is a competitive market and in my opinion there is no aspect of this kind of app where I would say, “if that matters to you then Notejoy is the app for you”. On every point, I could recommend something better.
If you would like to look at the app yourself — then here is the link to the website — https://notejoy.com/