The quest for a note taking application has plagued me for some time — you can read a few steps along the way for me here:
My first app of this type was Evernote — then years ago when they limited the features of the free version, especially limiting you to 2 devices, I switched and migrated everything to Microsoft OneNote — which I used for some years. Then I decided to pay for Evernote Plus (remember that), and I switched back to Evernote. By the time lockdown began I had switched back to OneNote. During lockdown I discovered Nimbus Notes and thought it was the answer to all my hopes, but some issues with the integrity of my notes and one or two other things made me bite the bullet and try and build something in Notion. I based it around Danny Hatcher’s edit of Thomas Frank’s Note taking system in Notion. I used this happily for a while but it always felt a little bit risky — so I went back to Evernote. I briefly played around with apps like Notejoy, Notesnook, Slite and Obsidian but having rejected them all, and OneNote by this time, it seemed my options were Evernote or Notion.
Then last year I discovered UpNote. A newer app in a lot of ways and so there are still some things missing (though a lot of these have been added since I found it) and some foibles that need resolving. So, in December I pitted these 3 apps against each other in a head to head. I thought I would share my findings with you.
You can find my thoughts here on what I am looking for in a notes app but by and large the things I consider fall into the following areas:
- Capture — How easy is it to get stuff into the app
- Edit & Format — what can you actually do with the notes themselves
- Organisation — what options does the app give you
- Retrieval — once stuff is in the app, how easy is it to find it again.
Before we dive in — I am looking at the premium versions of both Evernote & UpNote here and the free version of Notion. The cost will become a factor at the end. Evernote is ~£45–50 a year (at the time of writing), UpNote is £24.99 for a lifetime subscription and Notion is free.