Questions to consider when choosing the best note-taking app: Pricing and general affinity for the product

So you want to find the best note-taking app. This post is part of the series on questions to consider when choosing the best note-taking app that will work for you or your team.

Today, we focus on pricing and general affinity for the product.

Is there a free trial?

Always start with a trial of the product. Some developers offer anywhere from three to thirty days to try their product. If a trial is not available, are you willing to subscribe to test the product for a month or more? I generally recommend, and in my experience, trying out an app–using it as it was intended–for some time to test and see if it’s something you like and are willing to purchase.

If you work as part of a team, team members should also test out functionality and speak to the benefit of the app for their work.

Can I afford a monthly or yearly subscription?

If, after the free trial, you decide that you like the app, can you afford it? Have you, unfortunately, fallen in love with a note-taking app that you can not afford? Can you afford to add team members, if necessary? Moreover, how much are you willing to pay? On February 10, 2021, I became an Obsidian Insider because it met my needs even at that point in its development. I know today that I can not afford the cost of RoamResearch long-term, no matter how great the app is. I was an early adopter and thankfully have been locked into a free graph (for now). Should things change, similar apps are emerging that offer similar functions. Though, in my view, Roam still excels above the others.

Do I like this tool?

At a basic level, we should enjoy using the tools we rely on to get our work done. I am drawn to apps that are aesthetically pleasing and well-designed. That is, on the surface, the app looks good. Here, I may also ask myself whether I would enjoy using this app every day. If the answer is no, then, unfortunately, the app would not work for me, and I would need to seek out another option. I would most likely learn whether I would enjoy using the app every day during a 30 day trial of the product.

Are my feelings about this tool based on what others think? Or does it meet my needs?

At separate times, I tried to use Notion, RoamResearch, and Obsidian for everything, notes, tasks, quick captures, and project planning. But they did not work for me as an everything notebook, and I did not understand why. There was so much hype about each of these apps, so I was surprised that I could not get any of them to work for me. In the end, I was trying to bend myself to fit within these tools, which created unnecessary friction. I lost time trying to configure these apps when I could have been better spent simply using them as they were intended.

Stay tuned for more posts on note-taking, writing, and general productivity.


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