Now that Evernote is raising prices for its Plus and Premium plans — and limiting the free basic sync to just two devices — perhaps you're in the market for a new note-taking app.
Well, we've used more than a few around here. These are the note-taking apps that keep us taking notes, day after day.
Phil Nickinson — Simplenote
I don't mind spending money on good apps and services. But I never particularly found Evernote to be all that great at either, and it definitely was more than a little pushy on the paid thing. I write most everything in Simplenote. It's basic as basic gets. No formatting. Some basic sharing. And while I loathe needing a separate log-in, it syncs across multiple platforms. So what I write on the Mac is available to me on my Android. And it works great offline and is much faster than a browser.
Jerry Hildenbrand — Google Keep
I don't mind spending money on things like note-taking apps either. But the app that works best for me happens to be free — Google Keep. I can synchronize my notes across all my devices, including the computer on my desk, as well as sync individual notes with anyone who has a Google account. With the ability to insert pictures, numbered lists and web content as well as create ordered lists and use stylized text, Google Keep does everything I need when it comes to taking notes.
Andrew Martonik — Google Keep (and Docs)
Any time I need to take some serious notes, for anything that's going to add up to more than a few sentences, that all goes into a fresh Google Doc — but if that's the case, I'll usually be using Docs on a laptop. I'll rarely go through the extra steps of getting a new Doc started on mobile.
For on-the-go notes, it's all Google Keep for me. I don't need any fancy features or advanced tools — heck, I barely use all of what Keep has to offer — I just need a place to dump snippets of information throughout the day and have it sync to my other devices. I never have more than about 10 Keep notes at any given time, and don't need notes with tons of formatting, images or anything of that sort. In this case, the simplest app wins for me.
Daniel Bader — Google Keep
I still use Evernote, and plan to continue to pay for the Plus account indefinitely. But I also understand that many people will be turned off by what is clearly a strategic imperative to hedge against a dwindling paid subscriber base or slowing user growth. But I realized today that I only use Evernote for longer-form note-taking, or archiving things like business cards and documents, as its image recognition software is excellent.
For shorter notes, I've begun defaulting to Google Keep which, though now richer in features, is still as simple and straightforward as it was when it first launched. Like Evernote, it is a cross-platform play, which means it's accessible on any device, including the web and on iOS. But Android is where it shines, with a beautiful Material Design interface and a great widget that drops me right into the note screen.
Richard Devine — OneNote
I never really bought into Evernote, frankly, as it never seemed to fit my workflow. If I'm doing anything that requires a decent amount of note taking and research, I use OneNote by Microsoft. The basic app is free to use and will sync across phones, tablets and PCs through OneDrive. If you're an Office user on top, you can use OneNote alongside the other products to get the most from it. It's a powerful tool that allows you to break down your content by notebook, giving you absolute control over your organization.
Perhaps most importantly, though, OneNote is platform agnostic. You can use it everywhere you might want to, including your wrist. There are mobile apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone, as well as a touch friendly app for Windows 10 tablets and full desktop clients for Windows and Mac. Just like Evernote, you need never worry about what piece of equipment you buy next, OneNote will come with you. They're all really nice apps, too, which is the icing on the cake.
Alex Dobie — Google Drive/Docs
I use Google Keep for simple lists and short notes, but if I'm in a meeting, interview or press conference situation, Google Docs — as part of Google Drive — is where I do most of my note-taking. Docs might lack some of the immediacy of Keep, but the rich editing interface on phones and tablets makes it an easy way to take notes on the go — for example, at an event — before transforming them into a full-blown article for Android Central. Also useful: The ability to create home screen shortcuts to specific documents, ideal for quickly hopping between docs on the go.