Evernote vs. Obsidian. Which App?

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Hi, it’s Nancy.  Today, I am going to go over Evernote and Obsidian.  The goal is for you to make an educated decision on whether you want to try one or both of these apps.  As always, I will be providing you with my opinion on both of these apps.  Just remember that what works for me may not work for you as we all have our app requirements.

Must-Have Features

The first step you must take when deciding which is the best note-taking app for you is what features the app must-have for the way you work.  Some things to consider are web clipping capability, sync across devices,  integration with other tools like Google Drive, Outlook, Salesforce, and export capabilities.  It is best to spend some time thinking about using the app and what you want the app to do.  Please make a list of the things you want from the app and then compare them with them.

Evernote

Evernote has been the king of note-taking apps for over a decade.  It is no wonder as 200 million people use Evernote to take notes, track tasks and organize projects.  The app is available on several platforms and has the capability of being synced across devices.  However, the company has received its fair share of criticism over the years for raising its prices, gutting the free version, and failing to address significant concerns raised by power users.  The high cost of the app turns off many people, including me.    

Evernote Plans

Evernote has three tiers of service:  Basic (Free), Premium ($7.99 per month or $69.99 per year), and Business ($14.99 per person per month with a minimum of two people).  Students may be eligible for a 50% discount on Premium plans.

Basic Plan

Let’s start with the free plan known as Basic.  The Basic Plan is quite limited.  For instance, you can only sync data between two devices, and you can’t save notes to mobile devices.  You will receive 60 MB of new storage each month which is not a lot, and your uploaded files are limited to 25MB per month.

Premium Plan

With the premium plan, you will receive more features and perks; however, you will pay a premium for these features.  The premium plan costs $7.99 per month or $69.99 per year.       You can sync across devices, access your notes offline, annotate PDFs, create custom templates, customize your home screen, and your maximum note size is limited to 200MB with a 10GB monthly upload limit.

Business Plan

With the Business Plan, you get everything that the premium plan has and the ability to share workspaces, see your team’s history, centralized account administration, login fast with a single sign-on, business data ownership, and 20gGB monthly upload limit to 2GB per user.

Evernote Way

For new users to Evernote, you either understand the app right away or struggle to figure it out.   When you first open the app, you can quickly get that deer in the headlight look as that blank page stares back at you.  Be sure to check out the company’s blog for helpful tips and use cases for Evernote.  The blog will help you understand not just how to use it but why.   The more you use the app, the more you will see how valuable it is.

Evernote Capabilities

Evernote was made as a place to record, save, organize, and search all your thoughts, notes, voice memos, images, and files.  Everything is stored in the Cloud so that you can get to it from your smartphone, computer, or tablet.  The search tool is excellent, and you can use tags, geolocation tags, notebooks, and stacks of notebooks.

Formatting In Evernote

Evernote uses rich formatting.  Menus let you change the typeface, point size, alignment, and so forth.  Some people find this formatting distracting, but you will find this worthwhile if you use Microsoft Word a lot.  Other people have commented that these menus are distracting; consider another app if the menus bother you.

Work Chat

An advanced feature in Evernote is Work Chat.  Work Chat is an instant messaging window inside of Evernote’s workspace.  It is available to all Evernote members, including free Basic Membership Members.  You can invite anyone to chat with you while you are in the app.  I think this is a gimmick.  However, you may find this to be helpful if you have the Business Plan.  For me, it is not something that I would ever use.

Web Clipper

Evernote also has the web clipper browser extension that lets you save a web page as an Evernote note.  The web clipper is one of the best features of Evernote, in my opinion.  I find that I use this feature a lot when researching articles, looking for recipes, or even researching a product to purchase.  Now, the web clipper gives you an option to save the whole page or skip over the advertisements.  I love the skip the ad feature most of all.

Security

As with any app available today, you must look at the security features offered by the app. Nowadays, we need to look at how secure our data will be and who will access the data.  Especially apps that store your data in the Cloud outside of your control.  Now Evernote uses industry-standard encryption to protect your data in transit and at rest.  This encryption is called transport layer security or TLS for short.

Obsidian

Obsidian is a note-taking and knowledge management app created by the same people who made Dynalist. Unless other note-taking apps with Obsidian, you control where your data is stored. Obsidian’s data stores your information on your hard drive in a folder of Markdown files.  Obsidian allows you to access your notes using any text editor or Markdown app.  You can also elect to store your information in the Cloud using iCloud, Google, Drive, GitHub, and more.

As you can tell, Obsidian lets you decide where to store your data, and therefore you are ultimately in control of your security.  Just be sure to check out how secure your data is if you elect to store your information on the Cloud.

Pricing

Let’s look at the pricing structure for Obsidian.  Like Evernote, Obsidian offers three tiers of pricing for their product.  The first is Personal, the second is Catalyst, and the third is Commercial. 

Personal (Free Version)

The free version of Obsidian is known as Personal Plan.  It is 100% free for personal use and does not require you to sign up for an account.  Wow, I like this!  You have access to plugins and API along with community support.

Catalyst

The Catalyst plan contains four tiers.  Depending on the tier you select will be what access you have to the community.  For example, Obsidian offers the Insider plan for a one-time payment of $25, allowing you early access to Insider builds and insider badges in the community.

For a one-time payment of $50, you receive the Supporter Plan, which allows you early access to insider build, access to exclusive development channel, and supporter bade in the community. Next up is the VIP for $100, which provides early access to Insider builds, access to exclusive development channels, and a VIP badge in the community.  Lastly is the Obsidian Unlimited.  You gain no additional benefits for your most generous donation.  It would be best to upgrade to the VIP before you can go for the Unlimited plan.  Obsidian states that the monies will help them stay independent.


Commercial

Obsidian also offers a Commercial Plan for $50 per user per year.

You will notice that Obsidian does not provide a Synchronization of your notes.  That is because they offer this service as an add-on feature.

Add-on Services

Now, Obsidian does offer add-on services which I will discuss next. 

            Website Push

The first add-on service is the ability to push your notes onto a website.  This website push-on service is available for $8 per month paid yearly or $96 per year.  If you want the monthly option, it will cost you $120 per pear or $10 per month.   As of this video, these were special pricing offered by Obsidian.  They are presently offering it at a 50% discount for future pricing.  Plus, if you sign up now, you get this pricing for a lifetime.

I know what you are thinking.  But Nancy, what about syncing my data? Well, that is the next add-on service offered by Obsidian.

Sync Add-On Service

For just $4 per month billed annually ($48 a year), you can get syncing, including end-to-end encryption, build-in version history, and priority email support.

Web Clipper

Obsidian does not provide a web clipper for their app; however, you can use a third-party add-on like Markdownizr, a Chrome Extension.    I am sure that eventually, the Obsidian developers will create their web clipper extension as an app enhancement.

Summary

At the beginning of this video, which app is right for you will depend on what you want the app to do.  With that said, I do like a lot of what Obsidian offers, but there are a few things that stop me from moving over to this app.

I love the security features that Obsidian offers.  Their payment structure is also an excellent bonus.  However, I am concerned with the lack of support for a web clipper.  I have not had a lot of luck using third-party add-ons on apps in the past.  I sure don’t want to go down that road again. 

Obsidian is the new kid on the block, and I would rather wait a while to see if they are still around in a few years.  However, the biggest reason for not changing is that I am content with using Evernote; as I said before, you need to look at what you want out of the app and see which one works well.  Let me know in the comments which app you like and why?

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