Reflect Notes app | A Mini-review

Could Reflect be the best web app for productivity?

During my final week of the digital detox, I signed up for a 7-day free trial of Reflect to see if it was any good. I know I kept saying I wasn’t going to explore any more productivity/note-taking apps, but I was curious. Their website is gorgeous.

Reflect on my MacBook Air M1
Reflect on my MacBook Air M1

Here is a mini-review of what I have experienced in the first six days of using Reflect. From what I have used, all I can say is…

Wow. This is one seriously great application. It has E2EE, too! Reflect reminds me of Obsidian. The learning curve is not bad at all because I have used so many services out there. The extension is spectacular. I can easily clip tweets, parts of a website, and it even pulls in my Kindle book collection with highlights and comments. I was impressed, to say the least.

My graph is building up quite quickly.
My graph is building up quite quickly.

The only issue I noticed what the Kindle entries did not have location numbers next to highlights. I don’t find this to be an issue, but I can imagine some people would find this annoying. I believe there is a way of importing Readwise data. However, I don’t use that service, so I can’t say if it works or not.

Finally, the Whisper AI feature for transcription is the best I have ever used for dictating my ideas and thoughts. This is miles better than asking Siri (anything beats Siri).

Reflect can appear as pricey ($120 for the year). I guess it is worth it when you think about the features, E2EE sync, publishing, calendar integration, an extension, and a whole list of other little details it includes. If I was going to use Obsidian again (I’m not), I would have to buy the sync and publishing options at $192 per year, so Reflect is actually a great deal.

So many cool features!
So many cool features!

It’s not an outliner

When I looked at the website (and other websites), I thought the app was an outliner like Logseq. That’s not necessarily the case. The daily notes, a starting point for each day, offers an outliner to start recording. I was quick to discover I can treat the daily notes and new notes like a traditional note-taking app. I love the backlinking that appears at the bottom of each note. Tracing back to previous entries is something I have come to appreciate. I miss it when I am using Apple Notes.

It works offline!

One thing that I don’t get is the fact that their download page shows the application as an Apple-centric service. I have had this app on my radar for some time now, but I never tried it because I was using a Chromebook / Windows PC at the time. Now, I am all in with the Apple ecosystem. However, you can use it through a web browser. You are getting something like Obsidian, but it can be accessed through a web browser. How cool is that?

So when the home page of Reflect mentioned offline, I thought that was for the Apple apps. Nope. You can install Reflect as a PWA, and it works offline through the web browser! Mind blown — seriously. This changes everything. I thought Amplenote was the only PWA offline app out there. Just think — you could have web access to a networking note-taking app, similar to Obsidian, at work.

Why doesn’t include a web app?
Why doesn’t include a web app?

It has AI!

Reflect uses GPT-4. I’ve only used it a few times. What I have used has worked as expected. I’m new to AI. I am learning as I go along, so the YouTube videos presented by Sam Claasen have helped me understand how AI can enhance my productivity. One AI feature I like the most creates backlinks automatically.

Reliable

The message that comes across from Alex MacCaw and through the Discord server is the focus on reliability. I can see that. The Mac and web app are fast, reliable, and easy to navigate. Even if the iPhone and iPad (Beta) are not in the App Store, they perform exceptionally well.

Again, the Whisper AI for transcription is available. I like having the lock screen widget accessible, so I can conveniently record an idea down with as little friction as possible. When I access my daily note, an outliner point called Audio memos appears. I am able to view all my memos, in written form, and I can decide where I want to put them.

Final thoughts

Overall, I love Reflect. It is an app I would seriously consider buying into. There is so much going on. Maybe 7-days is too short of a time to truly test an application. Perhaps 14 days would be more sufficient? Tomorrow, I will get to test if Reflect is accessible in my workplace. You know how firewalls can be a pain to anyone’s intentions.

Is $120 too expensive for the service? I don’t think so. You are getting a quality application with a lot of functionality. I haven’t covered everything the app can do. It’s meant to be a mini-review, after all.

As always, thank you for reading my post.

Mark @ CodeMacLife