Best Evernote alternative in 2017

TL;DR Bear writer.

In the past 3 years, I have tested various productivity apps and most of them were note taking apps.

As author Tim Ferriss says: “I trust the weakest pen more than the strongest memory.” Write something down, and you’re certain to remember it.

Evernote, OneNote, Keep, Apple notes, Hackpad, Simplenote, Ulysses, iA Writer, Drafts, Marked, Byword… you name it, I tried them all, some of them even a few times, but Evernote was my daily driver for the last couple of years. I was in love with this app. Simple, but yet really effective. As a huge GTD fan I was able to implement this system fairly easy. I even wrote a whole article about that (Serbian version only). Powerful tagging system, awesome features, clean design, all in one app. “Capture everything that matters” was the perfect tagline for this company.

Unfortunately, today, 3 years and 1000+ notes later, I gave up. Evernote is not the company I was in love with all these years. In the past few months, Evernote was unstable, with poor sync between devices, bad new business models and lack of new features. I can’t even remember if they implemented anything “cool” and useful last year. More importantly, I don’t trust them anymore. From my perspective, they do not have a clear direction where they want to go. Writing notes is a huge part of my daily life, in that sense, I need a powerful and trusted app (and system) which can help me organize all of them.

After intensive hunting for the best Evernote alternative, I ran into Bear.

Simply said, Bear is the combination of Evernote and Apple notes. Minimalistic, clean design, a decent tagging system, excellent sync, powerful search, markdown compatibility, focus mode for writing, etc.

The import from Evernote went perfectly. Unfortunately, the tagging system is a bit different, so I had to invest a bit more time to organize everything according to my needs, but after an hour or two, everything was ready. Bear is now my new daily driver and it has served me really well in the last couple of weeks. This article is written fully in Bear, of course :).

Pros

  • Beautiful UI
  • Clean, focused editor, similar to the Medium editor
  • Advanced Markup Editor
  • Markdown editor with live preview
  • Really nice ToDo lists
  • Smart element recognition
  • Decent tagging system (Evernote tagging is better though)
  • Clever pin system
  • Smart syntax that recognizes addresses and colors
  • Performance is stunning
  • Seamless sync between Mac and iPhone
  • Solid import options
  • Interesting business model — core app is free; there is a pro option for advanced users (sync is a pro feature)

Improvement areas

  • Tagging system should be more advanced (e.g. bulk tag edit; drag and drop; auto-suggest)
  • More markdown options
  • Browser extension for iOS is too simple (parsing external URLs should extract the whole article, not just the link)
  • Export options — you can export notes in numerous formats, but there is no option to export as a Bear link
  • Conflict Resolution and Merge option should be more “smart”

What should be implemented

  • Sharing links — this is really a missing feature; right now there is no option to share a note with an external link like in Evernote
  • Cross-platform versions — Apple apps available only
  • Collaboration feature — Something between Evernote and Google Docs would be perfect :)
  • 3rd party integrations

With all that said, in my opinion, Bear is the most beautiful and effective note taking app that you can find on the market currently.

Happy (Bearing) writing :).

Image — Unsplash.