Evernote and OneNote are two mostly widely used professional note taking apps out there. Moreover they exist on all major platforms making it a breeze to sync data across environments.
Personally I have been an Evernote user for about 4 yrs now and I love how simple it is to use on mobile platforms. I regularly use the Scannable app to scan my receipts and sync to Evernote.
Recently I started using OneNote and I am kind of starting to like it.
There are many blogs online which compares between the two but mostly all of them speak of usage on Laptops or Macs. The experience which I am going to share is restricted to mobile devices because many people use these apps on their smart phones and tablets.
I have been writing blogs on Evernote for some time now but very recently I am trying it on oneNote. Its a kind of mixed experience I will say.
Major Differences and similarities.
The main difference is in hierarchy. Evernote has “Notebooks” which are further divided as “notes”. You can have as many notes within a notebook. Think of the notebooks as category. And notes as individual entities. You can have multiple notebooks say “Personal”,”Medical”, “Office”, “Home” etc.
Each of them can have as many notes as you want.
In a note, you can have text, pictures, checklist, audio, drawings and even files. Its like putting whatever you want on a piece of paper.
Now lets see OneNote. The arrangement is a bit different here. You can create Notebooks and which are further divided into Sections and further into pages.
So you can have something like : Personal > Vacation > Trip to Singapore where Personal is your notebook, Vacation is a section and “Trip to Singapore” as a page. Page can contain texts, photos, audio, video, checklists and drawings. Even you can insert files.
Both are pretty much similar in this context. They support wide range of files and also texts, audio, checklist, drawings and pictures.
This is where OneNote takes a leap. On ON you can write anywhere on the page. As scattered as you want. This is really useful in meetings or brain storming sessions where you can have ideas floating all over the page. As of now this feature is absent in Evernote. But again this seems limited to tablets and not iPhones (cannot comment on android phones though).
Both these apps exist on Android, iOS, Web, Windows as well as Mac. But I personally have seen the iOS version is better than the android counterpart. On iOS you can resize the pictures but cannot as of now on Android which is big drawback. On Mac its pretty nice though but PC looks more polished. Undoubtedly it works like a charm on Windows PC and phone.
Both apps come free but Evernote has a “Plus” and “Premium” plans for heavy users and offers features like “offline notebooks” and password protection which are absent in free version. Also free version is limited to 60MB per month.
Both apps can be integrated with many 3rd party apps but since Evernote has been a long runner on mobiles, it has more integrations. Its supported by tons of major apps as well as some blogging apps.
If you are a fan of Apple watch, then you should be happy that both the above apps support Apple Watch.
Overall UI experience:
Going strictly with mobile platforms its very tough to say. I liked the Evernote experience on Android better than iOS counerpart but the same is reverse for OneNote whose iOS is much more polished and with more features.
So in my perspective for long writings and scans (with Scannable) Evernote seems a decent choice, though ON also will work just fine. But for Brainstorming, meetings and floating ideas OneNote is the king. Moreover oneNote is integrated with OneDrive making syncing and integration easy.
Let us know which suits you best and why.