Evernote vs Notion: a detailed comparison of the two top productivity apps
Master of one vs Jack of all
- Confused between Evernote and Notion? Here’s a detailed Evernote vs Notion comparison to help you make an informed decision and pick the right service for your requirements.
- Evernote is a veteran in the note-taking space, it has evolved over the years into a (somewhat) complete solution for personal information management.
- Notion is a new service that has managed to garner the attention of a lot of productivity enthusiasts across the globe with a broader set of use-cases than Evernote.
- For more such comparisons and productivity hacks, check our Productivity hub.
In this digital era, where information overload is a growing concern, and where most of the interactions take place using computer systems, keeping a record of all the essential information has become crucial. So much so that it has given rise to a situation where we need an aide to help us keep a tab of the various tasks that need to be performed. While some still prefer manual entries to keep track of the information, that approach has a more nostalgic rationale attached to it than anything else. And, it is the digital mode of information curation that seems more practical today, with ease-of-use and perpetual availability being the most significant plus points.
However, as soon as you pick the digital path for information curation, the other block — a rather major one — is about the app choice. You see, there are numerous services out there, depending on the platform, which, by and large, offer you all the essential features to better manage all your information. Of these, two of the most popular services are Evernote and Notion. While Evernote is a veteran in the note-taking space, it has evolved over the years into a (somewhat) complete solution for personal information management. Notion, on the other hand, is a new service that has managed to garner the attention of a lot of productivity enthusiasts across the globe with its plethora of features, which make it an all-in-one utility for a broader set of use-cases than Evernote.
When it comes down to picking a service between Evernote and Notion, one always has questions about which of the two has a better approach for information management and should, therefore, be an ideal solution for their needs. Unfortunately, though, it is not a straightforward “this” or “that” question. But to make this simpler for you, we have a breakdown of all the essential features that you should look out for when choosing a service between Evernote and Notion.
Evernote vs Notion: Overview
To start with, let’s first address the core purpose and use-case of both Evernote and Notion.
Evernote started as a note-taking app in 2004. And back then, it was one of the hottest apps to ride the app store wave, which led to mass adoption for something that offered the convenience to jot down information and have access to it anywhere you go. Back then, there were barely any applications that offered such a service. But as time progressed and the competition grew, Evernote underwent various changes to bring a complete set of features and evolved into an ideal note-taking app (for most people).
On the other hand, Notion started fairly recently — in 2016 — and went through a slow transition from the web to the computer, and eventually, mobile. But despite that, with its enormous set of features and customizability options, it managed to hit a 1 million mark within just three years of its operation. A year later, that number quadrupled and created all the buzz that you see across the internet today. And rightly so, since the app came with an all-in-one solution for all the different needs of users, with the idea that you can manage all your information in just one place, without having to sign up for several separate apps individually.
Evernote vs Notion: Interface and Usability
Evernote and Notion both take a different approach with the interface across all platforms. And since this is by large a subjective matter, you might like one over the other based on your experience.
In my opinion, when put next to each other, Notion appears to have a minimal and clutter-free interface. It puts the editor right up front (with the selected home page), so you can directly start feeding in the information into pages or make changes to the existing ones. All other pages, workspaces, and notifications for collaboration updates sit on the left-hand (sidebar) menu and are accessible with a click.
Evernote, on the other hand, also has a similar approach, where it puts the selected note on the right part of the screen and lists all your notes, notebooks, shared notes, and tags on the left. While this is not a bad approach, I feel it is not as convenient as Notion’s offering — which allows you to set a homepage with links to all your important pages. Not just that, Notion gives you a more focused approach when it comes to creating and organizing content.
Besides, when it comes to entering information, say, for instance, creating a heading or a table, Notion clearly has the upper hand here with its quick command input: simply type ‘/‘ and select a block. [A block in Notion is basically any piece of content, be it a paragraph, heading, to-do list, table, etc.] Essentially, blocks build up pages, and pages form workspaces.
Notion vs Evernote: Features
As already mentioned in the previous section, Notion focuses more on providing quick access to the editor, which is why, when you open the app, you are greeted directly with the editor, or, in case you have set a homepage, it presents you with the same. This editor supports markdown, which can come in handy if you prefer writing with plain-text-formatting syntax. And, it is something that you do not get natively on Evernote. Besides markdown support, another advantage that Notion holds over Evernote is that, since Notion builds up pages on blocks, it makes it much easier to add different blocks on a page and organize the content in different ways. So, unlike Evernote’s editor, where you need to enter text and then format it — unless you have a workaround to get fully-functional markdown support — with Notion, you can simply enter the ‘/‘ key and start with the block directly. While having a more functional editor has its own advantages, if you are just getting started, it might take you some time before you can use it effortlessly and get the most out of it. And so, if that is one of your concerns and you just want an app for taking notes, Evernote is a better choice.
2. Pages vs Notes
Moving on, since Notion offers an all-in-one workspace to work with, that supports multiple workspaces and collaboration features, it is a much better project management tool compared to Evernote. And, that multi-facet feature set also helps with personal use. All your information in Notion resides on a page, and you can have as many pages in a workspace as you like. Moreover, you can also add nested pages (pages within pages) to create better notes or wikis on different topics. When compared with Evernote, this one ability single-handedly makes Notion a better choice for those looking to replace their traditional note-taking accessories with a digital equivalent. Since, unlike Notion, what you get to work on with Evernote is notes. And even though it offers almost all the essential types of inputs like tables, checkboxes, lists, etc., as Notion, it comes nowhere close to Notion’s prowess of building information banks and managing them. Besides, you can group together all the similar kinds of notes under notebooks — which you can have as many as you need. However, that said, offline access to notes requires upgrading to the premium plan on Evernote, whereas with Notion, you get the feature with the personal (free) plan.
Templates are default layouts that help you capture your thoughts or feed in information into different formats. So, in addition to using the editor to create different elements like tables, lists, checklists, and the likes, you can pick the default template to save the effort of creating them manually. Both Evernote and Notion are equally good in this regard, and you can get a template for pretty much any purpose you want on either app. To give you a quick rundown of what to expect, you can get templates for tracking the progress of a project, budgeting, tracking personal goals, keep a record of the syllabus, and a whole bunch of other uses. However, one advantage that Notion holds over Evernote is that it has community-made templates as well, which, as the name suggests, are templates made by other Notion users to help them meet their requirements. So, if you happen to have a requirement for a template that is not available in the traditional listing, you can check for the same on the community section to see if someone has created a custom one that meets your needs.
Well, this one is more of an expert targeted feature. Basically, if you use various productivity/utility apps like Slack, IFTTT, Google Docs, Google Drive, etc., you can integrate them with Notion and Evernote to have a more unified experience and get more out of these apps. On this front, both services offer a pleasant and seamless experience with third-party apps. However, in comparison, Evernote supports a broader range of third-party services than Notion — likely because it has been around for fairly long. That said, more third-party integrations appear to be in the pipeline for Notion. So, if your current workflow has certain apps that you use often, you might need to check for their integration support with Notion in case you decide to make a switch.
Although not the most significant factor when it comes to choosing an app, the search functionality is definitely a handy feature that can help you quickly find your notes (or pages) amidst a sea of gazillion notes. And the best part about it is that you can find a note by its contents. So, in case you do not remember the title of a note, but you have an idea of its content, you can input that into the search box to find the relevant results. When pitted against each other, Evernote manages to offer a much better search experience by offering the ability to refine the search results using different parameters — something that Notion lacks. However, that is not to say that Notion does not pull up relevant results for your searches: it does that quickly and effectively, but unlike Evernote, it does not offer the filters to narrow down the results.
By now, you must have an idea of what separates the two apps and how both apps share some features but have an entirely different scope of use. For instance, you can share notes (or pages) with people on both apps, which is a nifty feature and can help you collaborate with other users. Besides, you can star or favorite the notes (or pages) that you need more often for quick and easy access. As for other features, Notion clearly takes the high ground with better customizability and collaboration features. [You can check our detailed guide on Notion to learn more about the service.]
Notion vs Evernote: Use Cases
By now, you must have got an idea of what each of the two services has to offer, and based on that, how do the use-cases for both of them differ. But, to give you a better (and clear) idea of the scenarios where the two shine, here’s what I feel after having used both services for a considerable period of time.
On the one hand, there is Evernote, which has always been a note-taking app: a good one at its primary objective, with a bunch of different features and formatting options to help enhance the note-taking experience. The service allows you to create notebooks to save all your notes and organize them in an efficient manner. Plus, its search functionality makes it a lot easier to find notes, thanks to the different search filters. Adding to the note-taking and information documenting experience is the ability to scan documents natively in the app, which is a really useful feature for those who scan a lot of documents and is something that is missing on Notion. However, when it comes to collaboration, Evernote does not have a strong suite to take on Notion’s offerings.
Notion, on the other hand, appears to be slightly challenging to work with for someone just getting started. But, once you get a hold of it — it doesn’t take that long — you will find the service a lot more efficient and flexible to manage all your information. Everything from taking notes to creating checklists to working with files feels more refined on Notion. Needless to say, collaboration features are a lot better and offer a lot more functionality than Evernote. One of the biggest advantages of using Notion is that, since the service provides you an all-in-one workspace, you do not need to subscribe to a bunch of different apps and services to achieve different objectives. And instead, you can get everything done on just one app.
Evernote vs Notion: Supported Platforms
Both Evernote and Notion are available on the web, which means you can access them via a web browser. Besides the web, the two apps also offer standalone apps for macOS and Windows on the computer side of things, and Android and iOS, on the mobile.
Since these are basically all the platforms most of us use, you can add, edit, and access all your information on any of your devices from anywhere using the internet. The cross-platform sync functionality works flawlessly on both services.
Evernote vs Notion: Plans
The subscription plans for Evernote and Notion can be broadly classified into two categories: personal and business.
In the case of Evernote, the company has two plans: Basic and Premium, which fall under the personal use case situation. The Basic plan is free and offers sync on up to 2 devices, with a 25MB maximum note size and a 60MB monthly upload limit. For those who need more, the Premium plan ($7.99 per month) allows sync across unlimited devices, gives offline access, and extends the limit for maximum note size to 200MB and the monthly upload limit to 10GB.
On the other hand, Notion also offers two personal plans: Personal and Personal Pro. With the Personal plan, which is free, you get access to unlimited pages and blocks, the ability to share content with up to five guests, and cross-platform sync functionalities. However, if you are a power user and want to get rid of the restrictions, the Personal Pro ($4 per month) gets rid of the same and offers unlimited uploads, sharing with unlimited guests, and access to the version history of the app.
Moving on to the business plans, Evernote has a single subscription plan for businesses, with a very generic name, Business. The plan comes in at $14.99 per user per month. It carries forward all the features from the Premium plan and adds a few extra ones like the ability to work together in shared spaces, single sign-on (SSO), access to the team’s activity history, and a 20GB monthly upload limit.
However, with Notion, you get two business plans: Team and Enterprise. While the details for the Enterprise plan are only available on inquiry, the Team plan is priced at $8 per member per month, and it offers the entire suite of the Personal Pro plan, plus access to unlimited team members, a collaborative workspace, admin tools, and advanced permissions to manage workspaces in a better way.
Evernote vs Notion: Conclusion
I had personally been an Evernote user for the longest time, using it for almost everything — from taking casual notes and creating wikis (kind of) to setting reminders (for projects) and creating checklists. However, ever since I got introduced to Notion last year, I have completely moved from Evernote to Notion in favor of all the goodness that it offers. Everything from its (kind of, comparatively) minimal interface to the ability to add blocks quickly to create nested pages to better markdown support gives a sense of working in a modern environment with a more functional editor.
If you are someone looking for an app that gives you the ability to create wikis, take notes, or organize all your information in a better manner, Notion is a much better service. Heck, even if you need to take simple notes, we suggest Notion over Evernote. That said, taking into account the fact that there is a learning curve to using Notion, if you are someone who does not require power-user features and are fine with a service that is simple yet functional (more than the default notes app), you should be fine with Evernote.