Evernote and Obsidian are two popular note-taking and knowledge management tools, each with its unique features and target audience.
To compare and determine which one is better for you, it’s essential to delve into their strengths, weaknesses, and use cases.
In this 1000-word analysis, we will explore the key aspects of both applications to help you make an informed decision.
1. Purpose and Philosophy:
Evernote was designed as a versatile, cloud-based note-taking app, aiming to capture and organize information from various sources effortlessly.
It boasts features like web clipping, multimedia support, and a user-friendly interface, making it an excellent tool for individuals and professionals seeking a centralized space for their notes, to-do lists, web pages, and more.
On the other hand, Obsidian is a newer contender, and it adopts a fundamentally different approach called “knowledge graph” or “linked note-taking.”
Obsidian emphasizes building connections between notes by using Markdown files stored on your local device or cloud storage services like Dropbox.
The focus is on fostering a network of interlinked ideas, turning the notes into a personal knowledge base that promotes deeper understanding and insight.
2. Interface and Usability:
Evernote has a polished and straightforward interface that allows users to create notes with text, images, audio, and even sketches.
The web clipper extension lets you save web pages, articles, and PDFs directly into your Evernote account, facilitating research and information gathering.
Additionally, Evernote offers a robust search functionality, tag support, and notebooks to help users organize their content effectively.
Obsidian, being a Markdown-based app, might have a steeper learning curve for users new to this format. However, its interface is clean and efficient, focusing on the organization and linking of notes.
Obsidian’s strength lies in its flexibility and customizability, as it does not force a specific organizational structure. Instead, you can arrange your notes in a way that suits your mental model best.
3. Data Storage and Privacy:
Evernote relies on cloud storage, making synchronization seamless across devices. While this ensures accessibility from any device with an internet connection, it raises concerns about data privacy and security.
Although Evernote has implemented robust security measures and encryption, some users might prefer having full control over their data.
Obsidian, being a local-first application, allows you to store your Markdown notes on your local device or any cloud storage service you prefer, such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
This approach puts data ownership and privacy back into the hands of the user. However, users need to manage their syncing processes manually, which may require more technical know-how.
Evernote has well-developed collaboration features, making it ideal for team-oriented projects and business settings.
You can share individual notes or entire notebooks with others, allowing real-time editing, commenting, and chat.
Evernote Work Chat facilitates communication within the platform, enhancing teamwork and productivity.
Obsidian, being primarily focused on personal knowledge management, lacks native collaboration features.
While you can store Obsidian notes in cloud storage and share them with others, it lacks the collaborative capabilities that are inherently present in Evernote.
5. Linked Note-taking and Knowledge Graph:
One of Obsidian’s standout features is its emphasis on creating a knowledge graph. By linking notes together through bi-directional links (wikilinks), users can establish meaningful relationships between ideas.
This interconnected web of notes enables a more organic and interconnected way of navigating through one’s knowledge base, fostering a deeper understanding of topics and concepts.
Evernote, while offering tags and notebooks for organization, does not inherently support this kind of knowledge graph.
It follows a more hierarchical approach to organization, which might not facilitate serendipitous connections between ideas as effectively as Obsidian’s linked note-taking.
6. Markdown Support:
Obsidian relies on Markdown, a lightweight markup language that allows users to format text without the need for complicated HTML or CSS.
Markdown is platform-independent and ensures your notes are future-proof, as they can be easily read by any text editor.
Markdown enthusiasts appreciate this simplicity and the ability to focus on the content without distractions.
Evernote, while offering basic formatting options, does not have native support for Markdown. Instead, it uses its proprietary rich text editor, which might be limiting for users accustomed to Markdown’s flexibility and simplicity.
7. Integration with Third-Party Apps:
Evernote has been in the market for longer, and consequently, it has built a strong ecosystem of third-party integrations.
Users can connect Evernote with other apps like Google Drive, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and more.
This integration potential expands its functionality and makes it more versatile in various workflows.
Obsidian’s plugin ecosystem is growing, but it might not be as extensive as Evernote’s integration options.
However, the open nature of Obsidian, with its local storage and Markdown format, allows users to build custom solutions and tailor their workflows as they see fit.
Evernote offers a freemium model, allowing basic access for free users, with limitations on the number of devices and storage.
To access advanced features and unlimited storage, users need to subscribe to the Premium or Business plans, which can be relatively expensive.
Obsidian, on the other hand, follows a different pricing approach. The core functionality of Obsidian is available for free, making it an attractive option for users on a budget.
However, to unlock additional features, such as third-party plugins and the ability to publish your notes as a website, you need to purchase a license for the “Obsidian Publish” add-on.
Final Conclusion on Evernote vs Obsidian: Which is Better?
In conclusion, the choice between Evernote and Obsidian depends on your specific needs and preferences.
If you require a versatile and user-friendly platform for capturing and organizing diverse types of content, Evernote might be the better option.
It excels in collaboration, offers a polished interface, and has been established in the market for years.
However, if you prioritize a more personalized and interconnected knowledge base, enjoy Markdown’s simplicity, and value data privacy and ownership, Obsidian might be the right choice.
Its emphasis on linked note-taking and local-first storage sets it apart, appealing to users seeking a more profound understanding of their accumulated knowledge.
Ultimately, it is advisable to try both applications and determine which one aligns better with your workflow and long-term goals.
Remember that the “better” choice is subjective and depends on how well a tool fits your unique requirements.