Best Note-taking Apps Evernote vs. Joplin

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EVERNOTE Vs. JOPLIN

There are a ton of note-taking apps available today.  Evernote has been along since the beginning and is the King of the  Note-taking apps.  BUT can Joplin beat Evernote?  

Which is the better note-taking app?

When it comes to note-taking apps and using them to increase your productivity, having an app that syncs across all your devices and has a browser version is necessary.  That is why today, I am comparing Evernote and Joplin. 

The King of Note-Taking Apps

The king of note-taking apps has been Evernote. However, the company has received its fair share of criticism over the years for hiking prices, gutting the free version, and failing to address major concerns raised by power users.  Nevertheless, in terms of functionality, you will be hard-pressed to find a service that does everything Evernote does.  However, it is not the best fit for everyone. Many people, including me, are turned off by the high price of the app.  Yes, Evernote does have a free version, but it is inadequate for most people.  However, if you need the best, most capable note-taking app and can afford to pay for Evernote Premium or Business, it is worthwhile.

Evernote’s New Release

The latest release of Evernote fixes a lot of problems, thus making the app more stable and the search tool faster.  They also addressed huge notebooks’ problems, which the previous app did not handle well and caused several problems for users.

The editor has been completely redesigned, and it makes a big difference.  It is easier to clear the formatting of notes, adjust the font size and color, although the tools for adjusting the spacing still are not available in the Apple Mobile apps.

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 are eligible for a 50% discount on Premium plans. 

Basic

The Basic option is quite limited, and as a result, it is not useful for many people.  You can only sync between two devices, and you can’t save notes office to mobile devices.  You get 60MB of new storage each month which is not a lot, and uploaded file is limited to 25MB.  Unused space does not rollover. To make matters worse, the free account does not include tech support.

Premium Plans

The premium plans include more features and perks.  The storage increases to 10GB per month, and the max file size is 200MB. You can sync with unlimited devices, and mobile devices can store offline notes.  The ability to annotate PDFs that you have upload and the version history of your notes.    When Evernote searches your text, it looks in your type notes, images, as well as attached PDFs and Office files.  Customer support is available through email or live chat.  Another feature is that you can turn your notes into slideshows with no additional effort on your part.  You can also scan and digitize business cards. 

Business Plans

The Business plan adds the team collaboration features and administrator functions.  It is a great tool for brainstorming sessions, storing documents, and embedding audio and images into notes.  However, it is best for small teams with limited needs; larger companies need robust collaboration tools without being disappointed.

Evernote Way

This is one of those apps that either you get it or you struggle to understand.  When you first open it, you can easily get that blank page syndrome.  Be sure to check out the company’s blog for helpful tips and use cases for Evernote.  This will help you understand not just how to use it but why.  The app gets better the more you use it because it’s difficult to see how valuable it is until you’ve filled it with notes.

Evernote Capabilities

Evernote is a place to record, save, organize, and search all your thoughts, notes, voice memos, images, or files.  Everything is stored in the cloud so that you can get to itf from your smartphone, computer, or tablet.  The search tool is excellent.  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 will find this formatting distracting. If that is the case, then consider another app.

Features in Evernote

There are several advanced features that most other note-taking apps don’t have.  The ability to search for text and find it in images, whether those images are snapshots of a page of typed text or contain handwritten text.  It is an incredible feature; however, it is not 100% foolproof.  Occasionally it will miss something due to glare on the image or some other problem.

Work Chat

Another advanced feature is Work Chat.  Work Chat is an instant messaging window right inside Evernote’s workspace.  It is available to all Evernote members, including free Basic members.  You can invite anyone to chat with you while you are in the app.

Web Clipper

Evernote also has the web clipper browser extension that lets you save a web page as an Evernote note.  This comes in handy when researching articles or an online recipe you found and want to save later.  The web clipper has the option to skip over advertisements.

Paying Evernote members also get a unique Evernote email address that they can use to forward messages into their Evernote account, thus turning emails into notes.  The app can also connect to Slack too.

Security

Evernote uses industry-standard encryption to protect your data in transit.  This is commonly referred to as a transport layer security (TLS) or secure socket layer (SSL) technology.  But Evernote does not use End to End Encryption (E2EE).  Your data is stored on their servers, and as a result, there is the possibility that it could be hacked.  Another work is an Evernote employee going rogue and selling or exposing your data.  You do not think someone would do this?  Do you remember Edward Snowden?  He leaked top-secret documents to the news media.

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Now let’s look at Joplin.

Joplin

One of the best features of Joplin is that it is open-source software.  Which means it is 100% free.  Now Joplin is not as feature-packed and versatile as Evernote.  However, it comes with great tools that can go a long way in enhancing your note-taking.  Like Evernote, the app comes with a handy web clipper to let you easily save web pages and screenshots from your browser.

Availability

Joplin is available on Windows, MAC, Linux, Android, and iOS.

Sync

Another great feature of Joplin is that you can decide where you want your data stored.  It can be stored on NextCloud, Dropbox, WebDAV, and OneDrive so that all your data remains secure and quickly accessible across your devices. 

Security

Joplin offers end-to-end encryptions so that your data has the much-needed safeguard.  It also supports a lot of plugins and allows you to import data from Evernote.

 Note-Taking Apps Note Version History

One excellent feature is that Joplin lets you access your note version history.  It will save your last 90 days of past changes by default but has an option for 750 days.

Supports Templates

Joplin does support templates; however, it does not offer any to start.  You need to create your templates if you want to use them.

Formatting Options

Joplin has a ton of formatting options available to you.  You can use Markdown language or HTML.  These include code blocks, quotations, several kinds of formatted lists, tables, inline images, and all sorts of attachments.  You cannot create audio memos using the app, but you can upload an audio file as long as you made it with another tool.

Cons- Note-Taking Apps

Joplin is not as feature-rich as other applications like Evernote and Microsoft OneNote.  It is missing collaboration support, optical character recognition (OCR) on images and PDFs, sketching and handwriting, email forwarding, and mobile scanning.

Support is Limited

Since Joplin is an open-source application, there is no support available other than the support limited to forums.

Note-Taking Apps Summary

Although Evernote offers a ton of advanced features, I cannot get past the app’s price.  Also, security is another issue.  If you want to use this app in your business, then Joplin may be the app for you if you do not need all the features.

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