Evernote Challenge 2023? I QUIT

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

I think I saw this coming but Bending Spoons’ acquisition of Evernote has been rocky. In a recent report, the rest of Evernote team has been released from the company.

I made the decision last month to quit Evernote after I made the claim I would spend the whole year using the app service. I genuinely thought it was a good choice after listening to Francesco D'Alessio and Tiago Forte talk about Evernote as a Second Brain.

Read my original Evernote post here.

What I didn’t know has how bad Evernote was going to be until I used it for six months. I mostly used Evernote across my Windows PC, iPhone, iPad and Chromebook.

The iPad and iPhone experience was OK, but only OK. Like many others, I experienced many sync issues. This was fine at first because I could be patient. However, as time went by and my notes grew, the performance and reliability became unacceptable.

One evening, when I gathering a lot of material, content and media for a significant WordPress migration at work, my Evernote app on my Windows PC crashed. I restarted the application and it was there. I checked my iPhone and the notes I had made weren’t.

I ignored the issue for a week until I noticed the notes were gone from my Windows PC too! By this time, my company had migrated to a new WordPress instance. I had lost everything I needed to restore blogs, pages and important content for the new website launch. I should have made copies elsewhere.

My conversation and ticket with Evernote did not help. Nothing could be retrieved.

After this event, I lost all trust in Evernote. I continued with Evernote, but only with clipping articles and pictures for later viewing. I switched to UpNote and life was so much better. Upnote has colour syntax and code blocks, which is miles better than Evernote for a start. The lifetime price of £25 made it a clear winner.

Colour syntax, coding and handwritten notes excel on Upnote.

Dire Chromebook experience

The Chromebook experience was the accelerant to my departure. The Android app was awful. It was buggy. Evernote claimed the app was optimised for Chromebooks. However, I found it was a stretched tablet app with poor performance, features and weird quirks with the stylus. Merge was missing too.

I tried the Linux AppImage for Evernote. It performed a lot better than the Android app. Unfortunately, the community around the Linux app became quiet. Then I saw a comment online that stated the Linux offering was winding down, which would explain a lot.

I resorted to using the web client on my Chromebook. This completely missed the point of using Evernote. I needed offline access with my job that demands I work in places with no internet connectivity. I ended up adding things to my Google Keep app instead.

The Vision for Bending Spoons?

I knew things wouldn’t end well for me when Bending Spoons set their vision on AI and features I was not interested in.

I am not interested what they were suggesting. I had a snag list of things I had experienced over my six months of use. The only positive was synchronisation had “improved”. I say that loosely. What I mean is I had to start a note on my Windows PC, open that note on my iPhone and the collaboration feature would force the changes across both devices, thus forcing the information to transfer in real-time. Not ideal really.

What I really wanted to see from Evernote was the following:

  • A sync button on the desktop.
  • A rebuild of sketches with more drawing tools.
  • Improved PDF annotation with more tools to edit and comment.
  • Reliable calendar integration (not disappearing events).
  • Markdown
  • Double brackets to start backlinking
  • Backlinking that made sense.
  • Deeper folders.
  • Colour syntax for coding (trust me, syntax is important).
  • USI stylus support for Chromebooks without spiking, palm rejection and Penoval rubber support. My Nebo app on the same Chromebook didn’t the this issue.
  • Tap on handwritten notes to convert to text.

Above all of these requests, I wanted the price to remain competitive. Instead, Bending Spoons went for a price point that made my eyes water. I could not stay with Evernote when Upnote offered so much more and it was reliable.

So, this is it. Goodbye Evernote. I made a mistake going with the app, but I have learnt a lot a long the way, especially about the importance of accessibility and quick capture.

I will post more in the future about my note-taking experience. There’s a lot that has happened over the last six months.

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