App Review: Evernote
If you know one business app, then it is probably Evernote. Evernote is a digital note-taking and organization app created with the premise that this one app will allow you to never forget anything ever again. Instead of exercising your brain and trying to expand it, Evernote assists you in tracking everything from daily thoughts to web screenshots and more to have any random thought or interest recorded for later use and exploration.
You usually only ever hear about great things when the mention of Evernote comes up. As a non-user, I was a bit intrigued. Is this really that amazing of an app? Is this more of a hype thing that is over-exaggerated? Am I trying to jump on the bandwagon too late, like seeing “The Hangover” a year after it came out (all the funny parts were spoiled for me, making the movie seem as an average comedy instead of the hilarious film it was built up to be)? There was only one way to answer these questions, and that was to try it out for myself. About a month ago, I downloaded the app and installed the desktop version. I used the app as often as I could, and from it, I have found these observations:
Creating a note in Evernote can be more than just text if you want it to be. Hit the little microphone, and you’ll create an audio message saved straight to your phone and backed up into your Evernote cloud. That song you love but don’t know the name of? Record a snippet to look up the lyrics in Google later. Thinking out loud while on a walk or long car ride? One tap lets you record your ideas to listen to in the future. (NOTE: Using a device that doesn’t have hands-free capabilities while driving is illegal. We’re not recommending it, but maybe have a passenger operate your phone for you, or ask Siri/Cortana to open the app and record on your behalf). Talk out a solution while recording it, and Evernote’s dictation will capture every thought in one handy spot.
There is something really awesome about being able to access your notes from anywhere. For example, I found making grocery lists in Evernote to be a great use of the app. As I was on my computer at work or at home, I could think of something I need to by and add it to my Evernote. Then, when I was at the store, I could open the app and have one complete list with everything I need. I really liked that I had the ability to do this from my laptop as well, so it wasn’t necessary to pull my phone out at work and risk getting distracted just to add eggs to my shopping list.
I could see this also being super handy for things like birthday/holiday lists. Whenever a birthday or gift-exchanging holiday comes about, I am always stumped for ideas (gifts to give or what I’d like). However, when I’m out and about, I usually always see things that would make great gifts for others (or myself), but never buy it for usually some timing issue. Being able to keep track of these ideas, including images and/or links, could be really helpful at a later date.
From a business standpoint, this is also very convenient. Make checklists for meetings from one device, and you can access it from any other device for edits or discussion. If you’re working remotely, this is great to make notes for your reference when you’re back in the office or vice versa. You can even set reminders for notes that can show up on any or all of your devices when the time strikes.
One of the coolest features about Evernote is its ability to take clippings from the web to save in notes. The image to the left shows you how its done in desktop version (not available in app). I don’t know about you, but I think taking screen shots is an inconvenient process. Press the right buttons, position your box appropriately, go back to your desktop, find the image, rename it, move it… It’s a lot of work for a silly little image, wouldn’t you say? What I like about this is that Evernote takes the image quickly, and saves it into a note on your cloud. No searching and moving, just quick, easy organization. For busy business people, or you average impatient person, this feature is very much appreciated.
Designed for Small Documents Only
Evernote is not meant for larger files. While the app has created wonderful usability for small notes and files for access anywhere, this app is not meant for larger documents. This can become somewhat of an issue because of its frequent usage amongst business professionals. This lack of large file usage capabilities means that you’re going to need another platform to do those types of actions. The way around this (sort of) is to take a picture of the document, as seen in the image, and house that image scan in your Evernote cloud. Having to do this is kind of inconvenient. The purpose in technology is to make our lives simpler, yet needing yet another application to share/use these files is not making the process any easier.
Call me crazy, but sometimes it’s nice to get all the features without a fee, right? While Evernote does offer a basic plan at no cost, it does require monthly or yearly payments to access more space and more features. After my month of usage, I find that the basic plan works just fine, but for those who may use the app more often, a paid subscription may be the better fit.
While the pricing isn’t any more than a Netflix subscription, it can still be a deterrent for users such as students and new graduates/fresh employees. By the time they get a few extra bucks in their pocket to have a subscription, they may already have a free organization tool in place.
Evernote has so many cool features, but unless you take the time to really learn what functions are available and how to use them, there is little added value to having the app. In my first few weeks of using Evernote, I really found no added value beyond the Notes app included in my iPhone. It wasn’t until I say down and took the time to learn all that can be done using Evernote that I saw it as an app that could be worthwhile.
That being said, the purpose in needing an app like Evernote is because you’re a busy person with a lot on your plate. The last thing you likely have time to do is spend quality time learning the ins and outs of app functionality. Therefore, Evernote is not necessarily the most practical app for the extremely busy because of the initial time investment necessary to get real use out of it.
Overall, Evernote is an app that can be really helpful to business people or any busy person who needs a little assistance remembering things and/or has scattered thoughts throughout the day. With its great features and mobility, it becomes ideal for people on the go. That being said, it does require some learning in order for it to be a worthwhile investment–of time, of space on your phone and of finances if you opt for a higher subscription level.