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(Archived) Evernote Mac: Ver 3.3.0 vs Ver 5.x



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Evernote Mac: Ver 3.3.0 vs Ver 5.x

I have been using both versions since the initial release of Ver 5.0.0 on Nov 15, 2012:

  • Ver 3.3.0 on my main production MacBook Air (Lion)
  • Ver 5.x on my test MacBook Air (Lion and Mt. Lion)

Based on the Ver 5 Betas I knew I did NOT want to use Ver 5 on my main production Mac, but I did want to test it out.

So, after over 2 months of use of both, I wanted to report on my experience.

Here are my main conclusions:

  1. Ver 3 has contined to serve me very well
  2. I have not found any new features in Ver 5 that I really wish I had in Ver 3.
  3. I have not found any compelling reason to upgrade my main production Mac to Ver 5.
  4. Even after using it for 2 months, I find Ver 5 harder to use than Ver 3
  5. I have not seen any benefits to the new UI of Ver 5
  6. In spite of Evernote's claim that Ver 5 is "cleaner and less cluttered", I do not see that
  7. I find the UI of Ver 3 much more user-friendly and it actually makes my workflow much easier than Ver 5
  8. Each release of Ver 5 has had a large number of bugs, many more that with the Ver 3 and prior releases.

In summary, I much prefer Ver 3 even though I have been using Ver 5 daily for over 2 months.

Based on the large number of users with a wide variety of workflows and computer skill that have strongly complained about Ver 5, I would guess there are a large percentage of users who also prefer Ver 3 over Ver 5. The negative Ver 5 posts in these forums have come from both long-time forum members, but also many, many users who are very new to the forum. IMO, when you get a large number of first-time posters who go to all the trouble to subscribe to this forum in order to post negative posts about Ver 5 you should be very concerned.

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I agree completely with your observations. I made the mistake of upgrading to ver. 5, and found it to be far inferior, from a purely user efficiency standpoint. Ver 3 is much easier to look at, and to quickly scan through notes. The shades of grey on grey motif of ver 5 is also really lousy. I think ver 5 is change for the sake of change, and adds no value. After a ver 5 revision was rendered non-functional to os 10.6.8 users on macbook pro's, I deleted it, re-installed ver 3 from my time machine and have been using it since. I find no reason to upgrade at all. 

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Thanks for posting. I've been trying to follow everything the past few months with all the feedback we've gotten. Have there been any new insights from using it for 2 months, or were your initial impressions spot on?


Anything at all that seems quicker or easier in V5? Is type ahead search useful for you?



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For me, the plain text conversion, related notes, faster searches, and searchable joined notebooks have been nice improvements over version 3. I will concede that some of the bugs / lost features have had a negative impact on me. Specifically, note links are not working correctly, and saved searches cannot be edited. I do think these will be addressed, though.

I think JM's fundamental problem is with the interface itself, and here I am guessing it is like the Microsoft Ribbon in Office products, or the "modern" interface. Love it or hate it, this is the shape of things to come. It's probably best to adapt your workflow to it rather than downgrade. However, that is just my opinion, and your mileage may vary!

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If I may just chime in here - briefly: type-ahead search is of no use to me for a couple of reasons.  First is that I am not a touch typist - I'm pretty quick (although there tends to be lots of errors too), so I watch the keyboard while I type, NOT the screen.  I stress that is MY situation, not everyone's, but for those who DO touch type and can watch the screen as they type, it may be a useful feature.


The second reason I don't like it is that it slows the whole thing down.  I have thousands of notes in multiple notebooks, and it is much quicker just to whack in the search term (typing while watching the keyboard) then hit "Enter" and see the results.  With the type-ahead search, the screen was jumping all over the place in my peripheral vision as I typed each character, and didn't keep up even at MY typing speed.  And of course, as I tend to make a lot of errors then immediately backspace over them and correct them, the type-ahead really has a hard time.


I, like JMichael, have been keeping up with the progress (?) of v5, on my wife's MacBook Pro, while sticking firmly with v3.3.0 on my own computers.  And also like JMichael, I still prefer v 3.3.0 by a large margin, and there is no way that v5 is tempting me to upgrade.  Even the simple things - such as the lack of a configurable toolbar (unless I'm missing something) in v5, which doesn't let me put a Print button on it, or change the positions of buttons, just for example.  The question, for me, remains - WHY?  Why is the toolbar not configurable, as it seems to be pretty much an Apple standard?


Also the DREADFUL grey-on-grey interface.  What a shocker!!  Please - let's get back to USABILITY!  Not the awful hard-to-read rubbish that the interface has become.


As you would have gathered - I'm sticking with v3.3.0, thanks.


And Grumpy - once again you're being too nice!  Conceding that some of the bugs/lost features have a negative impact on you is WAY too nice.  Tell it like it is - not that you think these will be addressed.  They may NOT be.  You really are much too nice a guy...!  ;)

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And Grumpy - once again you're being too nice!  Conceding that some of the bugs/lost features have a negative impact on you is WAY too nice.  Tell it like it is - not that you think these will be addressed.  They may NOT be.  You really are much too nice a guy...!  ;)

LOL. Maybe.

I'm a touch-typist and find it faster just to make a search, and type-ahead is not my thing. I bet a lot of users do like it, though. In my case, I just want faster searches.

The toolbar ought to be configurable, in my opinion, but keyboard shortcuts work fine, and this is not a burning issue for me. I'd like to get rid of it entirely, but then I lose search, so I am more annoyed about the missing vertical real estate.

The note link bug has been pretty devastating for me personally, as my entire account is built around being a personal wiki. However, I'm probably an edge case on this, so I don't want to make a stink about that. And, the developers are aware of the problem and say they will fix it, so what more is there to say?

The gray on gray is a longstanding pet-peeve of mine, but again, it isn't such a big deal that I'd downgrade. The same for the saved searches, which I have largely abandoned for notes listing all of my search queries--I copy/paste from there.

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I briefly tried evernote 5, and for the reasons listed above by others, had a very strong aversion to it. I therefore re-installed ver 3.3 and am very happy with it's core function, which in my opinion far exceeded that of Evernote 5. The grey on grey is insane. Maybe my eyes just can't accommodate to it, but it was very uncomfortable to look at. Also I hated the card view, and much prefer the snippets arranged linearly. I find it much easier to scan notes. I have been looking for a compelling reason to upgrade and have yet to find one. If the evernote team allows configuration so that the color scheme is better, and note/folder layout is in the user's control I may give it a try on a secondary computer. 

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