Okay, I love Evernote. I use it daily and almost all my life ends up in Evernote in some form or another. But that doesn’t mean it’s all daisies and roses. There are some big annoyances with Evernote.
Even as I work on this article I’ve got two other articles sitting in the background. One is about 1,200 words, and about every 60 seconds it ‘beach balls’ on me as I type. I often get 20 words in while I wait for it to actually put them on the page.
Now this short article (about 150 words at this point as I type) is having no issues at all. I type away happily with Evernote keeping up. But it’s not uncommon for me to write 1,000-word articles, all of which get laggy at some point.
There are a bunch of ways you can correct this, like removing Evernote and deleting the local copy of the database, then installing it again and waiting for it to sync all your notes back to the machine — among other dark magic. But this takes a long time for someone with 6,000 notes like me, many of which are 30 mb or more in size. I can’t imagine how long it would take for someone with more notes than me, and I know there are lots of them out there.
If you need to create a bunch of long notes, then Evernote is going to be a pain in the ass.
I’ve tried things like Alternote, and while they are much faster they have many other issues, like crappy markdown storage in Evernote.
Yes, Evernote has annotation features but really it’s just Skitch annotation. That means you can draw on a PDF and ‘draw’ a yellow line over text you want to highlight on that PDF, but not actually select the text and highlight it like you would in an application like PDF Pen Pro.
For me that means opening the PDF in PDF Pen Pro, making my annotations/highlights, and then putting the new PDF with annotations back into Evernote.
On OS X this workflow isn’t terrible, but on iOS…ugh. Yes it works, but it’s less than ideal — actually it’s just a plain old pain in the ass. The PDF feature in Evernote feels more cursory, as if the developers added it simply to check off a box on a feature list, without really digging into what’s really needed to deal with PDFs.
At least when you save a PDF in OS X it automatically updates the version available in Evernote.
So what keeps me using Evernote? Well, it’s available on all platforms, and you can link between notes while you’re doing research just like a Wiki. The context feature is super awesome amazing and I love it.
Really, the biggest pain is the laggy UI on large notes. If that could be solved then I can live with the PDF thing.