Evernote Free vs. Paid: Which Plan Is Right for You?
Most people have gotten over the fact that Evernote hiked their prices back in 2016. The question now remains: is it worth it to upgrade? And if so, which plan should you choose?
When most people start out with Evernote, the free plan is just dandy. With it you can:
- Store and organize your notes.
- Clip web pages and images using Evernote’s much-loved Web Clipper.
- Search for text inside images.
- Share and discuss your notes with other users.
For someone just dipping their toe in the note-taking world, this’ll work pretty well for a while.
But you’ll soon hit some limitations if you want to start organizing your life with Evernote . The most frustrating of these limitations is the 60 MB per month upload limit. For text notes, that’s plenty. But if you start clipping web pages, saving images, and audio notes, you’ll soon run out of space and be forced to upgrade.
When it comes to upgrading, Evernote has two options: Evernote Plus and Evernote Premium. You can see a side-by-side comparison below (or on Evernote’s site).
Evernote Plus costs $35 per year, and you get all the basic features plus a few more. Your upload limit is increased to 1 GB per month and your maximum file size is upped to 50 MB.
Evernote Premium costs $70 per year, and you get all the features of Evernote Plus along with a few more. Your upload limit is 10 GB per month, and your maximum file size is 200 MB.
The feature list for each of these options is slightly different. Which one you choose will depend on exactly how you want to use Evernote, and the kind of Evernote user you are.
Choose Evernote Plus If…
You’re a Web Clipper Junkie
Evernote’s web clipper is a browser extension that allows you to clip and annotate sites and images you find around the web. These are then saved to your Evernote account. This is especially useful if you’re researching a specific topic, or just want to make sure you don’t lose the cool things you find online.
The clipper itself is actually available to free Evernote users. But if you use it a lot, you’ll soon hit that 60 MB upload limit. If you find this limit stops you capturing important information, it may be worth upgrading.
You Need Offline Access
On the free account, you can only access notes on your mobile devices if you’re online. By upgrading to a paid plan however, you can choose which notebooks you want to store locally on mobile, so you can access them wherever you are.
You Use Evernote on More Than 2 Devices
Accessing Evernote on two devices is enough for most people. Luckily, that is actually possible on the free account. But if you want to access your notes on three or more devices (a computer, smartphone, and tablet, for instance), you’ll need to upgrade to Evernote Plus.
This limitation doesn’t apply to the Web version of Evernote, but relying on the Web version rather than the desktop app (just so you can use Evernote on your tablet) is far from ideal.
You Live in Your Inbox
Being able to quickly save important emails to your account for easy storage or offline access is an advanced Evernote feature many users won’t use. But sometimes, you’ll receive emails you want to save as a note so you can easily search for them later. This can be a big time-saver. It’s perfect for saving travel reservations and receipts.
By upgrading then, you get your own Evernote email address. When you send an email to this address:
- The subject becomes the title of your note,
- You can use @[Notebook] at the end of your subject line to add the email to a specific notebook,
- You can use #[Tag] at the end of your subject line to add tags to the note, and
- You can even specify a reminder by adding ![Reminder]to the end of your subject line (i.e. !tomorrow or !2017/06/04).
Head to this page for more information.
Choose Evernote Premium If…
You’re a PDF Geek
If you spend a lot of time reading and highlighting PDFs, Evernote could become your new best friend. I know many students who swear this feature alone makes Evernote Premium worth the money.
Although you can store PDFs on both the Free and Plus plans, the Premium plan takes this much further. As a Premium subscriber, you can store PDFs up to 200 MB in size. And more importantly, you can also highlight and annotate these PDFs with lines, text, and shapes.
As you can see above, these annotation features are much the same as the annotation features offered with Evernote’s Web Clipper. Both the text within the PDFs and your notes are then searchable. To start annotating, click the small a in the top-right corner of the relevant note.
If you don’t like these annotation features, however, there are plenty of PDF annotation alternatives out there.
You Need Access to Note History
If you want to retrieve data from a previous version of a note, you’ll need to sign up to Evernote Premium. Evernote stores various versions of your notes, so you can easily revert back to these if you need to.
To view your note history (as a Premium user), click the i button at the top right of the relevant note, then click View History
This is especially useful in the event of syncing conflicts or if you accidentally delete something.
You Want to Make More Sense of Your Notes
Evernote has some pretty impressive search features by any standard. Not only can you search based on keywords and tags, and search within attachments and PDF annotations. Evernote also uses this technology to recommend notes related to the note you have open.
Evernote does this by examining the context of a note, and automatically suggests related content that might help you out. This only really happens when you have enough information within a note. When Evernote then finds something relevant, a link will be shown at the bottom of the note in a small “Context” window.
- You’ll be shown links to your own relevant notes and attachments from within your Evernote account.
- If you type the name of someone you’re connected to on LinkedIn, you’ll be shown a direct link to their profile.
- Related articles from publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, and Fast Company will be suggested based on what you’re working on.
You Have Too Many Business Cards
If you find yourself at networking events always collecting mountains of business cards , snap a picture of these using the camera within the Evernote mobile app (iOS and Android). Evernote then uses OCR technology to pull the name, contact info, and company name from the card. This is saved as a contact note, along with an image of the card, and a photo of the person, and LinkedIn info where available.
You Often Give Presentations
If you hate preparing presentations in apps such as PowerPoint, Evernote may have a solution.
Just click the presentation button at the top right of a note, and your note will be displayed full screen, so you can easily scroll through everything (including text, images, attached PDF and Office files).
It sounds a bit basic, but the end result is actually very slick and simple. Plus, you get a cool pointer to draw attention to different parts of the presentation more easily.
If you want even more control over how your presentation is displayed, you can use line breaks to divide your presentation into different sections.
Which Will You Choose?
Choosing the best Evernote package for you basically boils down to how much you value some of the features above.
If you love Evernote but need some more storage space, and the ability to save some of your notes offline, at $35 Evernote Plus is probably well worth the money. After all, it’s only the cost of one coffee per month.
It’s when you start getting to the $70 Evernote Premium option that people start to really question whether it can actually be worth that much. Will its PDF, business card, and presentation features really be able to give you $70 worth of value over a year? That decision is ultimately yours. Some people think Evernote just isn’t worth it anymore .
What do you think? Which of these features would be most useful to you? And are they worth what Evernote is charging for them?
Image Credit: Yulia Grigoryeva via Shutterstock.com