I’ve been using BearNotes on my phone and laptop for the past few months. I mostly use it to to annotate screenshots or pictures when I take them. Below I break down what I think is good and not-so-good.
- FAST: It has seemed very fast on both iPhone and my laptop.
- TAGGING FLEXIBILITY: I don’t think I like that there isn’t a dedicated spot to show where to enter tags for each post because I think that ends up making it kind of a mess BUT the actual speed and flexibility of the tagging system is really good.
- CONFLICT MODE: Really does a good job of tracking when things are in conflict:
- IMAGE SUPPORT INSIDE MARKDOWN: Love that you can embed images easily.
- MARKDOWN CONSISTENCY: I want to complain about some of the limitations of markdown but Bear does such a great jobs with their visual editor that you don’t feel like you are wasting time doing anything wonky to get everything to work.
- CONSISTENCY: The use of markdown allows you to have a lot of design consistency and not have a lot of the HTML crap that gets stuffed into Evernote notes … if you change the global font in settings it changes everything and I think I like this. I am not trying to design HTML inside my notes app and Evernote is likely significantly slowed by trying to store HTML inside a note!
- MANY IMPORT/EXPORT OPTIONS: … desipite lack of issues with API there do seem to be many import and export options built in.
- ACTIVE DEVELOPMENT: Very talented team behind this continuing to look for ways to build it out and improve it.
- MINIMAL “VIEWS”: I really like the very simple email-like view in Evernote and the ability to vary views and Bear lacks this.
- CRUMBY WEB CLIPPER: Oyyy. The web clipper just sends a link to a new note inside your desktop app. Evernote’s web clipper is far more powerful and can just send a bookmark right to the databese.
- NO OCR SUPPORT FOR PDS (and I think images too): I don’t use this feature on Evernote but I have tested it and it’s seems useful to power users that have their whole life in Evernote. Bear doesn’t have anything like this.
- NO API: You could just export your data and the mess with it but the lack of an API is a limitation.
- OCCUPIES iCLOUD SPACE: I can see this becoming a problem if it is storing your images there and you don’t use iCLOUD and then have a bunch of images.
- THEMES: The themes all look pretty. Not such an improvement to my note taking to deserve to be in the good column.
- BEAR DRAWINGS: I guess I could do without the Bear drawings. I guess I just want my work apps to be neutral and not have a mascot / not need a mascot.
- NO TABLE LAYOUT: It’s nice to be able to make a table in notes. I don’t believe markdown supports this and I get that if this HTML element were added it might invite the issues around messiness that can happen in Evernote so I will put this here in “neutral” but there are limitations with how you can format your Bear notes.