DevonThinkProOffice: Personal Review
So...No Offense to anyone (Seriously)...but I just wasted $210 and 2 weeks of my life on the Devon trio (DevonThink Office, D.Agent,D.Sphere) and I'm very much regretting it. It's my fault of course, I wasted the trial period due to being busy elsewhere then hastily spent my money being impressed by what I saw on paper. I know DTPO isn't a replacement for Evernote, but that's what they're trying to be, which is why comparing them sheds light on DTPO's priorities for future feature set. My personal usage-based feedback on DTPO (Devonthink Pro Office)(the topic of this thread) -
Indexing didn't carry over my folder structure preferences into DTPO even after I imported those indexed docs in completely. I deleted the DB, then imported again from scratch; only then did See Also & Classify actually start being useful. I'm guessing that folder structure preferences only carry over when you import everything, not index, which is a deal-breaker because it forces you to live inside Devonthink.
iOS version absolutely sucks - U can barely enter anything in. DT2G is just a ugly sub-par reader app. and the bait-and-switch-style-promised DT2G has been overdue for so many years (at least 3 - their current manual still has 2013 as release date as of Jan 2016 ) that I doubt it'll ever come out.
An obvious-but-not-to-be-underestimated one: Cross-platform Presence sucks. Windows/Android/Web/Linux, yeah but iOS too? Main point: Accessibility sucks. That's a deal breaker for a PIM/'Paperless Office"
UI is by far the ugliest I've ever seen on a Apple device. Ugly enough to be a deal-breaker. Wanting an attractive UI for what I stare at all day is not a sin but a prerequisite, esp for Apple products.
Integration with most mainstream products and with things like IFTTT suck, when compared to the rich open Evernote ecosystem
Note-taking/New Document tools suck - I doubt anyone actually cares about 'sheets' and plain vs rich notes... Another deal-breaker for a "paperless office".
Memory Performance really sucks - 'smart' features (auto group/auto classify/see also & classify) & import for multiple doc's always get me an everlasting beachball and a sharp drop in free ram; so does OCR. (this could, of course, be due to size of library, I have 45GB in one database...I didn't create multiple db's to share the load because that would exclude me from running on all my stuff at once the aforementioned 'smart' features and search, which are the only saving grace of this product).
Can't read many doc. formats (.mobi etc.), which renders search and 'smart' features non-comprehensive.
The Applescript is far more complicated than Evernote's.
Almost all its features can be done by and even outmatched by other more-easily-accessible tools (that look far prettier)- Spotlight for Search (including search inside documents...Preview does this too), Tags, Smart Folders,sync; Evernote for all these + item links, though not smart folders.
Steep learning curve.
Not all of us use Mail or Outlook or Unix mailbox based Mac clients, so email integration worse than Evernote for those of us. Dragging mail into sorter doesn't satisfactorily get everything in.
Your own storage, your own ram, your own processor whereas Evernote offers features heavy on these server-side for free,bundled with itself.
There are more cons too that I presently cant recall, but you get the picture.
The only useful features I couldn't find elsewhere :
1.search highlights the matching text inside each pdf for all relevant pdf's and actually displays that exact spot, lets you browse them with "next/previous highlight" buttons (last I checked, neither Evernote nor Spotlight does this; Preview does but not for a gazillion documents at once). Also, Merge Highlights.
2.Help with organizing what you put in:
2.a. See Also and Classify. (But Evernote Context is on See Also's heels, and also shows related things from outside your notes.) (Auto group and Auto Classify haven't worked well for me yet...maybe with more structure in my db over time but not yet).
2.b. Scripts like "convert keywords to tags"...auto-tagging.
3. You can get a local hyperlink for anything and everything inside DTPO, down to selected text inside some pdf (if you want to go through the trouble of getting Excerptor, I dont ) Useful to paste into OmniFocus notes, Calendar etc.
4. Integration with DevonAgent, which I actually like
I must emphasize again - no offense intended towards anyone - this is just my honest feedback on a product I expected much from and am sorely disappointed with. Feel free to ignore or take heed. I hope this is useful for the undecideds (in case there are any still lurking). And I sincerely apologize for any mistake I might undoubtedly have made in this post.
Oh, and back to my original question of Evernote vs DevonThink (more like Evernote only vs EN+DTPO): there is no contest.If you like collecting books and stuff, and/or have a large collection of them that you want to sort through,DTPO might come in handy as an option.
Evernote, despite its innumerable shortcomings, remains the only reliable cross-platform product in its category as far as I can see after an extensive search. Please feel free to guide me to a better alternative other than SimpleNote, OneNote & DTPO. For now : EN is far simpler and FAR better at every front except for a couple of auto-organize commands,compared to DTPO.
Hands down: Evernote wins.