Evernote vs Springpad vs Catch Notes: which is the note-taking app for you?

Update:

Check out the updated August 2013 comparision

You can also read our detailed comparison with OneNote and Google Keep since Catch notes is being shut down.

[sws_button class="" size="sws_btn_xlarge" align="sws_btn_align_center" href="http://vhbelvadi.com/2013/08/13/google-keep-vs-evernote-vs-springpad-vs-one-note/" target="_self" label="Click here to read the updated comparison" template="sws_btn_default" textcolor="990000" bgcolor="ffffff" bgcolorhover="000000" glow="sws_btn_glow"] [/sws_button]

Evernote is arguably the reigning king of note-taking apps across all platforms. While there are several alternatives out there, only two others really stand a chance to challenge Evernote — and perhaps one even takes the throne?

The catch (no pun intended) here is that all three apps cater to different users and usage styles, so this quick review ought to help you decide very briefly which note-taking app is the one you have been looking for: Evernote, Springpad or Catch Notes?

Interested in this comparison?

Then take a look at our detailed, 7-part article series on how you can make your life and work more organised and efficient with Evernote!

Click here to read

As an aside before we head off comparing and chiding, if you have not been using note-taking apps, jump in and do it now. You almost definitely have a smartphone just as you have a passport, and that means you have no excuse for not making the best use of its capabilities.

Read on to find out more.

 Evernote : a big man with a few complications

Evernote for Android

Evernote was, to say the least, the best app of its kind, pioneering and creating a revolution. That was until the others caught up and started making nifty little things on their own. Evernote has since lost most of its trump cards already, but many people are still using it (often because they started with it and have a lot of data backed up.) Here is a quick run-through:

Pros:

  • The best web clipper aroundEvernote UI
  • Integrated into several third-party apps
  • Image search
  • Easy to handle long notes
  • Huge array of options for note-taking
  • Good accompanying widget

Cons:

  • Complicated, lengthy note-taking process
  • Design is not very intuitive
  • Slightly laggy UI
  • Free accounts get 40MB/month, paid account cost $45/year
  • Security is not stellar for free account holders
Download Evernote for Android        Download Evernote for iOS
Wondering about Google Keep?

You have probably heard of Google’s late entry into the party with its own note-taking app, Google Keep. How does it stack up against Evernote, Catch and Springpad? Perhaps Google Keep is the app you were looking for? Find out now!

 Springpad : the Pintrest of note-taking

Springpad for Android

I think Springpad was here before Pintrest, but people seem to compare  how similar it looks to the newer product, especially after the recent re-design. This is, in fact, the simplest definition of Springpad. It has a gorgeous interface laid out like pinboards and makes it a very visual task to manage your notes.

Springpad’s biggest plus, however, is that it takes note-sharing across the web into it’s stride, stamps it flat and makes it its own.

Pros:

  • Looks unique, especially on big screensSpringpad UI
  • Note-taking by type (e.g. Movies, Restaurants etc.)
  • Sharing is integrated beautifully
  • Simple interface to use
  • Especially good for sharing media Pintrest-style
  • Has its own social network to share with

Cons:

  • Design does not stand out on small screens
  • Does not offer a good interface for quick, on the go note-taking
  • Offers nothing radically different from Evernote or others
  • All tags do not appear on all note pages
Download Evernote for Android        Download Evernote for iOS

 Catch Notes : the sweet spot of note-taking

Catch Notes for Android

I use Catch Notes, and, while it is hardly the most feature-filled of the three we are seeing today, it is most definitely everything I need, looks great and (what I believe is most important) does its job in a straightforward manner. Yet, it is all still a matter of personal requirements, mind you.

Pros:

  • Simple, straightforward and easy to useCatch Notes UI
  • Note-taking is quick and hassle-free
  • Tagging feature is integrated beautifully
  • Note sharing or making private are both easily done
  • Looks great, works smooth, reacts beautifully
  • Integrated S-Pen/finger drawing with pressure sensitivity
  • Pass code lock for secure notes
  • Good accompanying widget
  • Checklist notes are a separate type themselves
  • Notes (similar to files) organised under spaces (similar to folders)

Cons:

  • Free account allows 70MB/month with $45 for 1GB/year
  • Re-ordering of spaces is impossible (as of the time of writing this article)
  • Slightly buggy audio memo
  • Integration with third-party apps is fewer than Evernote
Download Catch Notes for Android Download Catch Notes for iOS

Evernote vs Springpad vs Catch Notes — conclusion: which is right for you?

We have seen all the pros and cons of the three apps here, so you may already have made up your mind by now. However, it is often not in the list of specifications but in the feel and working of the app that the real choice hangs from. So here is a quick summary of each app to help you decide.

First of all, all three are cross-platform, all three have web browser integration and all three are safe and handy at all times with a cloud back up. Everything you need is, therefore, ready; what remains is what more you want.

Why Evernote?
If you’re the kind of person who likes to prepare their phone, get things ready and start taking notes — long notes — and then save them up to edit on your computer and turn those into huge documents, picking anything except Evernote would be plain foolish.

If you are a security enthusiast (or alarmist) too, then Evernote is your app. If note take for you comes with enough time to calmly fill in stuff, puff up your note and store it away safely, Evernote is for you.

If you occasionally search by images: shoot something, feed it to your app and ask Evernote to search based on some text in the image, for instance, then you guessed it, you need Evernote. It has Google Goggles style image search that works lags but is tolerable and, nonetheless, usable.

Why Springpad?
If you like to share a lot of media of any kind, be it pictures, videos, web clippings with previews showing, then you’ll love Springpad. If you are looking for something to build personal stuff on, collect things and share with the community, while still keeping a springboard or two exclusively for yourself, then Springpad is the way to go.

Springpad is for the media friendly with a lot of note-taking time and a crazy desire to have their own, personal Pintrest — besides a Pintrest account. Also, if you think you need a feature that lets you look up things automatically (think, enter “Must listen to ‘song name’” and the app draws out the album art, composer, singer etc. from the web) or you wish to categorise notes and look them up by category, then download and stick to Springpad.

Why Catch Notes?
If you’re anything like me, you’ll almost always be going, “Ah, that’s a good idea! I should write that down — dabble with your phone, two clicks,  enter text, one click, forget it —  then Catch Notes is what’s been missing all your life.

Catch Notes is for people who like to take notes and end it at that; nothing more, merely note taking, occasional sharing, and almost always having something at the tip of their tongue to note down hurriedly and let go of without making a huge mountain out of it.

Also, if you own an S-Pen device, Catch Note allows you to keep all your notes in one place by integrating almost all of S Note into its own app. Your own finger? No problem. If you want to keep note taking a side task and not your day job, Catch Notes it is.

So what app have you decided to download? Also take a look at other great recommended apps here and here. [vhb]  Cover Image: Flickr / Johan Larsson 

Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponDigg thisShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

Also read...

Comments

  1. I like Catch but sharing data in from other apps is beyond poor…(app exists in a mobile ecosystem , it must relate!) Can’t email items in either.

    Reply
    • Tim Morrison is incorrect about being able to email to Catch. I regularly use this feature – link > http://support.catch.com/customer/portal/articles/7844-email-notes-into-catch -
      Email notes into Catch -Simply send an email to note@catch.com from the email address you registered with and we’ll post that email as a note to your account. It’s that easy! – You can also add multiple email accounts to your Catch.com account, here’s how:
      Make sure to confirm your email addresses. You can email notes only from a confirmed email address.

      Reply
      • Neil,
        Thanks for pointing it out. I have never used the email feature myself, so I could not talk about it earlier.
        Catch has been working and the email feature is becoming rather basic in such services. I doubt Catch has a Twitter share service, though. That’s in Evernote and I use it a little too much!
        Once again, thanks for the link and your comment.

        Reply
  2. Tim,

    We were discussing this very issue over on Google+ the other day.What you say is quite true. As I mentioned above, Catch has very little integration with third party apps (in fact, some apps listed on their website as “compatible” are their own!) But these are perhaps the only places where the app lags and Evernote can squish it with its hands tied.

    Hopefully the guys at Catch will learn a thing or two about how important this feature is and implement it before they lose what’s left of their fan base :-)

    Thanks for your comment.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Evernote mobile - Part 1: Getting started

  4. Which is best for those who aren’t using a wi-fi connection? I like to jot down ideas and lists while on trips and am not connected to the internet.

    Reply
    • Rachel,
      Evernote and Catch both work beautifully when you are not on wifi or data connection. You can jot down anything and sync it with your other devices later when you do have a data connection!
      Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  5. The one thing Catch seems to have over Evernote is that it stores the notes offline. This is great when you are in a low signal area or are travelling and don’t want data roaming. You can also use your gmail account to sign in.

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Lista de aplicaciones para Android | aortegavilla

  7. You’ve left out a few things.
    Evernote has formatting such as bold, italic text. Catch doesn’t. Win for Evernote.

    Evernote drops note updates occasionally if data connection changes.
    haven’t had Catch drop a note. Win for Catch.

    If I try to share a Catch note to some services such as Push to Kindle, it sends info about the ‘Catch app on Google Play’, if I share the same note from Evernote, it correctly sends the note to the Kindle.Win for Evernote.

    You mention Evernote for long notes, you don’t mention what length limitations exist for either. Fail for your post!

    Neither lets you jump to the end of the note. Fail for both.

    Neither let’s you “insert date and time” Big fail for both.

    I haven’t mentioned Springpad because I’ve never used it. Fail for me. Though it seems more like a “pocket” style clipper. With text features? Sounds like a good thing but I have my hands full wityh tghese other two rascals.

    At this point I think I need a strategy for using both Catch and Evernote.
    Catch for quick notes, Evernote for longer drafts strikes me as a possibility due to it’s formatting options but again, their refusal to add insert date (I’ve suggested it)
    strikes me as absurd..

    by the way when I try to enter my email to post this comment an obnoxious full page pop-up appears obstructing the screen.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment, James. With the speed at which these apps are being updated, I doubt we will have to wait long for some of those features. But, I’m still with you for the time and date entry.
      All in all, it looks like everybody’s got fails and wins :-)

      Reply
  8. I’m with Dev on this one. I used Evernote at first and kept getting stymied when I’d whip out my phone on the subway or some other poor-signal area and discover that I couldn’t see any of my preexisting notes. If the app was supposed to sync, it wasn’t working for me. Catch is always synchronized and whichever device I pick up has all my notes on it, regardless of when or where I made them. If you need to create notes offline, anything is fine, but if you want to be sure you can refer to them offline, I don’t recommend Evernote. I like Catch too.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your views, Steve.
      I think we can blame this on the fact that Evernote notes are just plain large when compared to the ones Catch makes. So syncing with Catch is a matter of seconds, which is hardly noticeable, but when it comes to Evernote…
      I would still recommend Evernote if you have the time to tend and care for your notes, but for the lot of us who need things going fast and smooth, it has to be Catch as of now. I actually use and like both myself!

      Reply
  9. This is an awesome article! Nearly 2 years ago, I tired all 3 and walked away with no hesitation in my mind that Catch was the best for 99% of people’s needs.

    I couldn’t agree more!

    Reply
  10. Pingback: Google Keep: is Google's new note-taking app really meant for you?

  11. I’ve lost important ongoing notes on catch.com. I’m really glad they are getting out of the business at the end of August 2013. They failed me horribly.

    Reply
  12. I didn’t have any issues for the 8 months that I used Catch. Now that it is going away, I’ll have to go back to the research drawing board and again look for something that I don’t need to be online in order to use, but can sync later. :(

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Like what you see here?

You can also follow me on Google+, Twitter and more: