Evernote is a well-known and capable note-taking tool that has been around for a long time. It is a powerful tool for managing your daily tasks, making to-do lists, and more.
While the service clearly does some things well, many people are becoming increasingly frustrated with some limitations. What’s more, the company isn’t doing much to make you want to upgrade your account.
Evernote is one of those apps that boasts a plethora of features, but in reality, you don’t need most of them. So, what are some of those frustrations? And how do they stack up against the competition?
1. Evernote Free Is Severely Limited
It’s fairly common for you to have low expectations when you use a free service. However, the truth is that Evernote’s free version is no longer truly free and isn’t even close to being competitive.
As you know, Microsoft’s OneNote is completely free for all users. Besides that, Apple Notes have improved exponentially in recent years. But, when it comes to Evernote—even the free version feels more like a free trial—than a long-term solution. The biggest issues for those unwilling to cough up are:
- An app limit of two devices per account. For example, your Mac and your iPhone, but not your Android tablet.
- No access to your notes while browsing offline. Better hope your mobile reception doesn’t drop out!
- A 60MB upload limit per month. Not an issue for those who use only text, but if you’re archiving PDFs, images, business cards, and so on, you’ll fill it up fast.
- No email forwarding into Evernote. Previously, a standout feature of the Web 2.0 era.
- No deadlines or reminders. Unfortunately, there is no way to create tasks with due dates or notifications.
2. Evernote Premium Is Expensive
There are different tiers of access available to Evernote users: Free, Personal, and Professional. The free tier is fine for very light users, but there are some glaring omissions from the feature list that Evernote used to throw in for free.
Evernote Personal is the most cost-effective paid offering for individual users. With Evernote Premium as its core, it offers new methods for you to keep track of your day, including extra tasks tools, enhanced widgets for Home, and the simplicity that comes with connecting your primary Google Calendar with Evernote.
Evernote Professional is mainly focused on the whole person model. It aims to help you, as a professional, manage your information overload. There are also a lot of extra features that come with Professional, like assignable tasks and the ability to link more than one Google Calendar.
The PDF annotation, inline tagging, and presentation mode features aren’t very useful to you if you aren’t a well-versed productivity expert, so don’t bother with them.
Meanwhile, you could acquire a year’s subscription to Office 365 for $10 extra ($99.99 yearly) and share it with up to five family members while soaking in 1TB of OneDrive storage apiece. By contrast, Evernote just doesn’t seem worth it.
3. Evernote Still Lacks Some Premium Features
Evernote is still missing a few obvious premium features for its premium price tag. At the top of the list for us is markdown support. If you want to do any writing in this note-taking software, Markdown support will help you immensely.
Above all, it’s also not possible to lock individual notes across all platforms. Apple Notes have had this feature for a long time, so why hasn’t Evernote followed suit?
Evernote seems to have put a lot of effort into developing features that many users are not interested in instead. There are separate apps for scanning documents, including scanning and managing business cards, annotating screenshots, and creating handwritten notes with your iPad. There’s a web clipper, which you would rarely use, and Work Chat, which serves no purpose for you if you’re a solitary note-taker.
We’d be far more inclined to plump for the premium option if the company focused on improving the service’s core functionality with note-taking features rather than widening the ecosystem.
4. Evernote Apps Are Frustrating to Use
We’ve noticed the Mac app slows down considerably in the time we’ve been using the service. Despite this, the iPhone app is what causes the most frustration. If you keep reinstalling the app to try to fix the problem, Evernote seems to keep running out of space on iOS.
Switching between Evernote and two or three different apps, for example, causes the note to disappear totally. If this occurs to you, you will be returned to the search engine, where you will have to search for the note all over again. This doesn’t happen with Apple Notes, nor does it happen with anywhere near as much frequency in other apps.
Lastly, we’ve had to revoke microphone permission from Evernote on iOS purely because the “record voice note” button is so easy to tap by mistake.
It’s right there above the home button, and it destroys your free upload quota if the file gets sent to the server. If you don’t share our annoyances, that is not to say that Evernote is the be-all and end-all of note-taking applications. Not any longer, at least.
5. Free Evernote Alternatives Are Plentiful
At this point, you may have resolved to delete Evernote. If not, you should absolutely reconsider. There are plenty of excellent Evernote alternatives, including encrypted ones that keep your notes secure. So, why not give one of them a try?
Microsoft OneNote is probably the closest thing you’ll get to an Evernote clone. It’s free for everyone, with no Office 365 subscription required. You get a totalidade of 5GB of storage shared with your OneDrive account and no device restrictions. There’s a web clipper, integration with services like WordPress and IFTTT, and an app for all platforms.
Simplenote will satisfy you if you’re a text-only purist. There are no storage limits, no device limits, and no fees to pay whatsoever. Unfortunately, you can’t attach media, so you’re going to have to find another way to organize your receipts and expenses.
Apple Notes is another worthy competitor, but you’ll need an Apple device in order to make decent use of it. There is no Apple Notes app for Windows or Android, but you can use it via the web at iCloud.com. It’s a simple note-taking app, with attachments, folders, locking, and built-in document scanning to boot.
Bear is a compelling option for Mac and iOS users who are unhappy with Apple’s free option. The core service is free, or you can pay $14.99 every year to lift device restrictions, data export limits, and new themes. It looks like a cleaner version of Evernote; it’s fast; it includes markdown support and a focus on typography that will surely please you.
But there’s more to it than this small selection. We’ve rounded up the best free Android note-taking apps, and productivity solutions for Linux users too.
How to Export Your Evernote Contents
You can export your Evernote contents using the desktop version for Mac or Windows. Ultimately, the app you’re replacing Evernote with will determine how best to go about this. The best way is to export notes notebook-by-notebook by right-clicking an individual notebook and choosing Export Notes in the ENEX format.
If you’re using the most recent version, you can also export your notes in single-page or multi-page HTML format. Additionally, you can also export complete notebooks to easily export your notes.
Evernote Is Still a Powerhouse
If any of the above reasons appeal to you, take the plunge and bid farewell to Evernote. But, in case we’ve still not convinced you that the grass is greener, that’s great. You certainly value some features that we take for granted. Maybe you’re happy to pay a small amount each month because you prefer Evernote’s way of doing things.
But simply using a service because you’re used to it and missing out on better functionality, as a result, is doing yourself a disservice. It’s never a bad idea to reassess your tools and routines in the interest of increasing productivity. And if Evernote isn’t for you, how about Google Keep?
Learn more about the new Home dashboard on Evernote and how it can make your note-taking better.
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