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Why I'm sticking with Evernote


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There are lots of reasons why Evernote hasn't been making me super-happy lately:

  • The new Mac app doesn't have AppleScript, which nerfs the 20 or 30 scripts and Keyboard Maestro macros I'd built for EN
  • The Mac App is also just kind of goofy with the new interface, although it's getting better quickly, it still feels like a half-step backwards
  • Home is absurd and pointless useless you truly use Evernote as your daily dashboard (and even then, it's nothing compared to what people are doing with Notion)
  • EN has lost that magic cachet which caused it to be integrated with everything - now Android/Google Assistant integration requires IFTTT, and all the cool new apps require the same
  • Still can't print on Android, which undermines its use as an auto-saving text editor and list manager on mobile
  • Android continues to lag behind iOS, despite the new unified code base
  • It's just bloaty and slow. Keeps getting better, but where it used to be an instant jump to my camera on my mobile, that's now a multi-second delay as often as not.

So I've been on a sojurn to look at other note taking apps, and there are many. However, none of them fit the bill. I rely on Evernote primarily as a "digital junk drawer" that's searchable, has everything in it, and is clean and fast (well...). For my purposes, at least, nothing else gives me:

  • An amazing web clipper - nothing else comes close to what Evernote offers
  • Excellent straight-up-typing search (Nimbus Note is the closest competitor to Evernote, but its plain-text search is beyond abysmal for a large library of notes)
  • The ability to absorb any kind of content and make it searchable in one place - there's nothing else that works as well as a digital "junk drawer"
  • A mobile (Android) app that keeps things offline, so I can use it to store my boarding passes (remember when we could travel?), ID cards, grocery lists, and everything else I need when I find myself offline or in a bad connection area
  • Very strong integration with IFTTT and Zapier (while I wish more was integrated, if I have to use another automation tool I'd like it to be a first-class member)
  • The ability to export all of my data in multiple formats, including images, attachments, and everything, with zero loss in fidelity. There's plenty of Markdown-based notetakers out there that will give you a bunch of text files, but ENEX saves everything, and lots of other tools enable import. Likewise, HTML export basically turns my notebooks into a portable archive I can use with anything. Whether or not Evernote survives for another 10 years, I know I can keep all my data.

While there's losses in features and growing pains with the new apps, there's also momentum. Home notwithstanding, every release is better than the last. Many of the competing note editors have seen themselves launch and then abandon core features or vanish entirely.

That said, I've let my paid membership lapse. $80/year adds a lot to my subscription overload, and Evernote is not up to the task of being my central hub for all the things. And maybe it's because I've been locked at home for 18 months, some of those advanced features just aren't as necessary these days. I'm taking a lot fewer photos of whiteboards and not carrying travel docs around with me for business trips. I did reactivate for a month to search for some images that I couldn't search anymore, though.

Would love to see costs go down, that would go a long way, even if it was contingent on a multi-year prepay. The competition keeps getting stronger, and some of the tools out there nail things for specialized uses, greater speed, and are increasingly hitting feature-parity; and cost half as much on an annual subscription.

Heck, even looking towards premium users, I can get Office 365, which includes a TERABYTE of storage, plus OneNote (which is a credible competitor, to be sure) and the rest of the Office suite, for $10/year less than Evernote. If I'm looking at business, Office 365 Premium is $13/month vs. Evernote's $15/month, and there's no comparison at all features-wise.

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I'm still an Evernote Legacy user    
I will not switch to any product that lacks a scripting interface   
- I use Applescript on my Mac
Data export is also important; I won't get locked into a product

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