Evernote vs. Day One: The Perfect Blogging Companion

A couple of weeks ago, I tweeted a question about Evernote and Day One. Which one is better? I admitted that I was leaning on Day One because of the pretty user interface, but I needed to know if the app can handle my workflow. A blog reader then suggested I should write a comparison between the two and I thought that was a brilliant idea (Thanks, Danica!). A thousand words later, here I am with a comparison post! What is Evernote? Evernote, in its simplest term, is a digital workspace. It is designed for notetaking and archiving your thoughts, ideas and inspiration. Evernote comes in three plans: Basic, Plus and Premium. Here’s a summary of the things you could do with each plan:

  • Evernote Basic: You can write ideas on the desktop app. You can also clip text, photos, and links from anywhere on the web. It also comes with a Work Chat feature to share and discuss your notes with others. You only get 60MB of monthly upload allowance. Price: Free.
  • Evernote Plus: You get all features being offered on Evernote Basic but with offline access on your phone. You also get 1GB of monthly uploads and have the ability to forward or save your emails. Price: PHP550/year or $2.99/month.
  • Evernote Premium: You get all the features mentioned above, plus the ability to turn notes into presentations, annotate attached PDFs, and scan business cards. You can also see previous versions of your notes and has an unlimited monthly uploads. Price: PHP1100/year or $5.99/month.

The best plan is entirely up to your lifestyle and work. For my blogging needs, however, Evernote Basic is more than enough… provided I have wi-fi or 3G on my phone. While I was in Japan, I was forced to upgrade to Evernote Plus because I needed the offline access on my phone while touring. I never had this kind of problem while I was in Manila because I was always on LTE/3G. Needless to say, I was a little annoyed I had to pay two bucks for offline access, but I’m also quite glad that the upgrade happened at the right time because Evernote Plus was only introduced last April 29, 2015.

Anyway, here’s a screenshot of the notebooks and the unedited note of post:


Evernote may be a robust note-taking tool but like everything else, there’s always going to be pros and cons:

The advantages of Evernote:

  • The basic plan is free.
  • Evernote can be synced on multiple devices.
  • Notebooks serves as a folder of your notes. For better organization, you can stack these Notebooks into Stacks.
  • Evernote comes with a powerful search function, but you can also add tags on your notes.
  • It has a built-in simple rich-text editor, allowing you to change the fonts, add lists, and create a to-do list at a click of a button.
  • Apart from note-taking, you can also attach photos, links, and PDFs.

The disadvantages of Evernote

  • You have to pay for added features.
  • Offline access for mobile is only available on paid plans and that sucks. However, you can still use Evernote on your laptop even while offline.
  • The interface of Evernote for Mac can be a little overwhelming. Maybe it’s just me but I think there’s just so many things going on that I find it hard to focus on what I’m writing.

It’s given: Evernote is a powerful tool. But it’s also complicated. I know how to make to use Evernote but I always feel there’s so many things going on in one window. The organization of the notebooks can also be quite confusing. Wouldn’t it be nice if I can put colour on the notebooks? I wish! If you’re also having trouble with Evernote, I recommend reading this fantastic article on how to organize your Evernote account.

What is Day One? From the website, it is described as "a journaling app for the iPhone, iPad and Mac. Record life as you live it. From once-in-a-lifetime events to everyday moments, Day One’s elegant interface makes journaling your life a simple pleasure.” From the description itself, it’s not meant to go against with Evernote but some people prefer this app than the other. One thing I’m particularly fond of is the design of the app. The sidebar and toolbar are not intrusive but easily accessible. In other words, I can write without getting distracted by other things. I also like how easy it is to find older entries through the calendar I also like how easy it is to find older entries through location, calendar, or tags. But the app is using Markdown instead of a rich-text editor (RTE). For a journaling app, I believe using Markdown instead of a RTE defeats the purpose of journaling because no one has the time to memorise syntaxes like these:


Here’s a sample screenshot on how to format the texts:

Fortunately, you can bold or italicize a word or sentence using your keyboard (ex. Ctrl/Cmd + B or I).

The advantages of Day One

  • The mobile app is free on iTunes.
  • The user interface is gorgeous. It’s modern and clean. Just the way I like it.
  • The interface is focused on writing. It also has that personal appeal whereas Evernote is so serious and business-y.
  • It has a calendar, making it easier for you to find previous entries.
  • You can also add tags and location for better organization.

The disadvantages of Day One

  • Day One for Mac has an upfront fee of $10.
  • I can’t sync the app on iCloud unless I upgrade my Mac OSX to Yosemite. Fortunately, you can sync it through Dropbox or Day One’s account.
  • There’s no visual editor to make formatting much easier.
  • Not available for Windows and Android phones.

In conclusion Which is the better app? In terms of features and versatility, the obvious choice seems to be Evernote. You can write and attach photos, links and articles on Evernote. It’s also free and supported by various devices. But with so many features offered, users may feel overwhelmed. But if you need an app to write your thoughts or ideas without the extra features, Day One is a great choice. It’s a simple but modern looking app. It’s also easy to browse old entries and you can use tags for better organization. The only downside is that it’s cost $10 (one-time payment) and not available for non-Apple devices. As for me, I would continue utilizing Evernote as my blogging tool while Day One for personal entries that I can’t share in public.

Do you have any experience with either app? What do you like about these apps?