Evernote and Springpad are my virtual filing cabinets for saving, managing and accessing notes, bookmarks and documents on my Macs and mobile devices. As useful as these notes applications are, I still occasionally use the desktop client SOHO Notes 9 ($39.99) because of the numerous faster ways to input and access notes, webpages, and other content.
The price tag for SOHO Notes is probably a turn off for many potential users, but I think Notes contains enough advanced powerful features that most users will find very useful while browsing the Web, conducting research, or just for adding quick notes on-the-fly.
The key differences for me between SOHO Notes and Evernote are that the former has smart folders, desktop access to notes and other content, and a handy QuickNote window for writing notes from within any application.
Basic Notebook Features
SOHO Notes 9 includes the basic features found in similar desktop, online, and mobile app notebooks. Notes can consists of text, audio, bookmarks, PDF files, images, web archive pages, and movie files.
All notes are organized into folders and can be browsed in list, icon, and Cover Flow views. As with Evernote, SOHO Notes content can be sorted by date created, modified, or title. Notes can also be exported via email, but the application is sorely missing the robust sharing features of Evernote and Springpad.
Content within SOHO Notes can also be synced with NoteLife, the iPhone/iPod touch ($4.99) and iPad ($9.99) versions of the application, but SOHO Notes is not a cloud-based application and service like Evernote. SOHO Notes also does not have iCloud support, nor does it technically sync between computers, though it may be possible to sync the application’s database using Dropbox.
The lack of cloud support is also probably a deal breaker for most potential users, but I still recommend SOHO Notes because of some advanced features not available in Evernote or Springpad…
Smart Folders: The ability to use smart folders in SOHO Notes is–for me–one of its main attractions. I don’t always take the time to manually keep my notes organized into folders, especially when I’m exporting content to a notebook application from another application.
With smart folders, notes can be managed based on a set of criteria. For example, a smart folder can be set up to automatically include any kind of note with a designated keyword or tag included or attached to it. Individual smart folders can be created to collect all your web archives, movies, or audio files. Smart folders simply save you the trouble of manually adding or moving notes to folders, or conducting searches to locate related notes and files.
FlashNote: When a notebook application is stuffed with content, you typically don’t look forward to opening it just to locate a note or two. This is why FlashNote is so useful in SOHO Notes. It allows you to search and access all your content right from your menu bar without the application being launched.
You can even access, browse, or open the content of your folders from within FlashNote. I have several reference files and notes in SOHO Notes, and accessing them from FlashNote is a huge time saver.
DockNote: SOHO Notes has a DockNote feature that works similar to FlashNote. You can position DockNote to a designated side of your desktop, where it can be clicked open. DockNote contains only folders you assign to it, and not only can you open those folders from DockNote, but you can add content, such as web pages and files from within any application.
Likewise, you can use DockNote to open designated notes or files, and you can even select text from an application and drag to copy it to a folder in DockNote. Notebooks and individual files can also be added to OS X’s Services drop-down menu so you can right-click on a file or selected text and quickly add it to a designated folder or note.
QuickNote: While the latest Mac version of Evernote includes a menu bar feature for adding notes and audio recordings to the application, SOHO Notes is more advanced in this regard. It includes a QuickNote window that can be opened from within the application, and it allows you to add notes on-the-fly without launching SOHO Notes.
I even find the default hotkey (Option+Command+Return) a super fast way to invoke the floating QuickNote window to quickly add content. Adding and browsing notes is just not this simple in Evernote.
Then There’s 50+ Other Features
I’ve only highlighted a few of SOHO Notes’s main features. It contains lots more functionality for Mac power users, including the ability to assign alarms to notes, add multiple databases, save web pages as web archives, create document forms, and publish content to your blog site.
Admittedly, the design of SOHO Notes is a little outdated, especially when compared to Evernote or Springpad, and it has had some stability issues. But it’s still a workhorse notebook application that can integrate with your workflow which means less time stopping to launch an application just to access or add content.
You can take SOHO Notes out for a 30-day free trial spin, so let us know what you think of it, compared to the more popular Evernote and Springpad.
Download: SOHO Notes ($39.99, 30-day Free Trial)
Is SOHO Notes worth the price tag? What note-taking software do you use on your Mac? Add your thoughts in the comments.