Way more than a digital sticky note
Evernote advertises itself as the best note-taking app. It goes far beyond just taking notes, however. Evernote lets users organize their notes into searchable notebooks, clip and send webpages, connect with collaborators and colleagues, as well as edit and format text to a level that rivals many mainstream word processors. This huge suite of features takes Evernote out of the realm of a note-taking app and turns it into a formidable workflow and collaboration tool.
A notepad app with focus issues
Evernote expands the typical notepad app with plenty of additional features, but more doesn’t always mean better.
Evernote is, in a single word, comprehensive. At its heart, Evernote is a note-taking app. You can have the app open on your desktop, and quickly access it to jot down text or notes. You can then save your notes into different “notebooks", organized in whatever fashion you desire. This is an area where Evernote shines: its organizational features are comprehensive, allowing you to search your documents and other files by keywords and categories. For business owners and office workers, this is a major plus. Evernote uses cloud-based storage, which allows you to quickly share and sync files between multiple contacts and devices.
Evernote offers a large library of sleek templates to suit your needs, from itemized lists to invoices and beyond. It's an exhaustive selection that makes it easy to quickly convey information without having to worry about taking the extra time to format a document in a way that makes sense. The features don't stop there: Evernote offers an instant messenger client, a web clipper that lets you save and send cached webpages, presentation tools, and document scanning capabilities. It's a comprehensive suite that rivals like Bear can't compete with.
The app has much to offer... arguably, too much. No matter what you use Evernote for, there will doubtless be features that you won't be using, which leads to the app feeling cluttered and clunky. The interface can be overwhelming for new users and feels crowded, which means you'll probably take a while to get the hang of using Evernote. Some of the extra features feel gimmicky and unnecessary, like a drawing tool that lets you translate sketches and doodles to your notepad. It's for this reason that Evernote feels like an app that doesn't know what it wants to be. It's not quite a notepad, not quite a workflow tool, and not quite an organizational tool. It's easy to see the difference when using other, sleeker note-taking apps like Bear or Simply Note. They may lack Evernote's features, but the overall experience feels much more directed and user-friendly.
Though Evernote previously attempted to apply this policy to all users, they have since backtracked after public outcry and made the policy opt-in only. This is indicative of a generally lax attitude in regards to privacy on the part of Evernote; notes aren't encrypted and are stored on Evernote's cloud servers, meaning your data is vulnerable to third party access.
If you're using Evernote to store sensitive data, you may want to think twice before using the app to store your material.
Where can you run this program?
Versions of Evernote are available for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android systems.
Is there a better alternative?
Bear does exactly what Evernote doesn't: it pares down additional features to provide a simple, streamlined note-taking app. The interface is easy to use and understand, search functions are quick, and it does away with much of the additional features that bog down Evernote. Simply Note does the same, paring down features even further and offering a no-frills, minimalist text editing app that's perfect for jotting down and organizing quick notes.
Evernote is a mixed bag. It isn’t a simple notepad app by any means; you won’t really be able to pop open the app to jot down a few reminders. Evernote sits somewhere between a full-fledged word processor and a notepad, and does lend itself well to those who like to keep their notes well organized.
Should you download it?
You’re probably safe to take a pass on Evernote. The app’s organizational features and templates are major pluses, but the bloated features make it hard to use.
- Plenty of features
- Large template library
- Privacy issues
- Convoluted interface