Evernote review

It's ubiquitous, but is this note taking app for everyone?

Overall Score 
Available on wide range of devices; rich ecosystem; unlimited storage;
Limited upload in free version; limited OCR
Evernote's rich ecosystem and speedy syncing make it an excellent information tool for businesses.
From free; Premium version: £4 per month; Business version: £8 per user per month.

Through its collection of virtual notebooks that store text, images, audio files and PDFs, there's some justification in Evernote's claim to be a tool to remember everything.

It’s not the only cloud-based organisational tool that could make such promises, of course. Plenty of popular alternatives, including Microsoft's OneNote and Google’s Keep, offer similar ways to capture media.

One thing that Evernote, like OneNote, has on its side is near-platform ubiquity. It offers multiple clients for desktop and mobile, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry alongside Windows and OS X clients. Each syncs impressively quickly with its core, powerful web-based service.

All versions of the apps share the same notebooks metaphor. You create virtual notebooks containing individual notes that can hold audio, text and images in the same document. It's easy to further organise information: notebooks can be combined into stacks, so you could have, for example, separate notebooks for each month, organised into stacks of years. As well as a powerful content search, you can apply tags to notes. In both web and desktop apps, these are listed underneath notebook names in Evernote's left-hand navigation menu. Clicking on a tag gathers all notes with matching tags in the main window, and previews the first. It's a simple way of collating content across different notebooks.

Usefully, you can attach reminders to notes. In the web version you do this by clicking an alarm clock icon above the note. This allows you to be notified by email or in-app reminder when that note is due. Reminders work across platforms too: add one on the iPhone or web app and it will up in your PC application.

Features are broadly consistent across platforms, with a couple of notable differences. For example, one of the handiest features of the mobile and desktop apps on both Android and iOS is Evernote's ability to record audio directly into a note using the device's microphone or add a photo to a note from its camera roll; a combination that greatly simplifies note-taking during meetings. But you can't add audio directly though the web app, though you can play it back and view photos from the browser. In most browsers, Evernote simulates a desktop application by letting you drag images, MP3s or PDFs over a note in the browser window to add them. In fact, just about any file type, including Zip files, can be attached to the note in this way, even if some can't be previewed. By way of further compensation, Evernote offers a browser extension that lets you clip the contents of the current web page and send it to Evernote by clicking the browser's toolbar button.

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