Springpad vs Catch vs Evernote vs OneNote – Which Is Best On Android?

Joel Lee 01-03-2013

At one time, people actually had to carry around notebooks if they wanted to take notes – remember the once-big fad of Moleskine notebooks 5 Ways To Kick Your Moleskine Notebook Up A Notch Over the years, the Moleskine notebook has become a trademark staple for anyone dabbling in creative endeavors. In fact, the Moleskine is almost as iconic as the Apple laptop, the hipster glasses, and the daily... Read More ? Nowadays, smartphones have made most pocket objects obsolete. Why carry around a notebook when you can just take notes right on your phone?


But one thing hasn’t changed: having to decide which notebook to use. Instead of deliberating over Moleskine, Piccadilly, and Stifflexible, now we need to decide between Springpad, Catch, Evernote, OneNote, and a whole host of other up-and-coming note taking apps. The medium is different, but we’re still tasked with making that final choice of which one we’re going to use.

Don’t know which one is best for you? Keep reading and I’ll show you the ups and downs of each, making it just a smidgen easier for you to reach a conclusion.

Comparison Methodology

I’ll be looking at each of the follow main Android note-taking apps with an eye on the following criteria:

  • Aesthetics. One might argue that a proper note-taking app is nothing more than a blank canvas, but I disagree. Proper interface design and ease of use is crucial for an app. If a map is pretty to look at and intuitive in terms of navigation, there’s all the more reason to use it.
  • Features. While note-taking apps don’t really need much more than the ability to jot words and save them, extra features can really elevate an app from “pretty cool” to “must have”. I won’t list every feature that these apps have, but I’ll point out the really cool ones that deserve mention. I may also mention mandatory features that are missing.
  • Performance. There’s no point in using the most feature-rich app if it takes a year to open and a decade to save your notes. I’m exaggerating a bit here, but my point stands: a smooth, fast, and clean operation is going to work wonders for user experience. An app that performs poorly is an app not worth using.


best note taking app

Aesthetics: My first impression is that Springpad is extremely aesthetic. The colors are vibrant, the design is cutting edge, and everything just feels very fresh and new. The interface is extremely newbie friendly; all of the steps for setup are simple. The app holds your hand and guides you all the way.


Features: Springpad is more than just your everyday note-taking app. Notebooks can include a bunch of different items: notes, photos, places, songs, movies, books, sound clips, to-do lists, events, links, and more. You can easily add items that you stumble across while browsing the web. You can also invite others to view your Springpad notebooks for collaboration.

Performance: Surprisingly, Springpad is blazingly fast. I expected something so pretty to be quite laggy, but it wasn’t. For so many features, it barely hiccupped once. Everything ran smoothly and I didn’t run into any bugs while trying it out.

Overall: B+. The only reason I don’t give it an A is because the app doesn’t seem to have a singular coherent focus. It’s an all-in-one sort of scrapbook but, because of that, it feels overly complicated. If you can find a use for it, great! But as a note-taking app, I think there’s too much going on without enough refinement.

Catch Notes

best note taking app on android


Aesthetics: Catch Notes is my note-taking app of choice and the aesthetics are one reason why I love it so much. It’s not minimalistic in any sense, but it’s very sleek and clean all the same. The layout is smart, compact, and saves on a lot of screen estate in clever ways. Nothing is hard to find and I find that I enjoy taking notes with Catch.

Features: Input notes as voice, text, or even photos; automatically sync to Catch’s cloud servers; share checklists and note categories with multiple users for collaboration; share notes instantly through social media; set reminders for important notes. Lots of great features for productivity without going overboard.

Performance: Previous iterations of Catch Notes were smoother and faster, in my opinion, but the current version works just fine. All of the stated features work perfectly and I’ve yet to ever run into a bug. Catch Notes has never crashed on me.

Overall: A. Catch Notes was my first ever note-taking app so it has a special place in my heart, but I promise you that my opinion of it is unbiased. It’s a very strong app and it rivals other great apps in its category like Evernote. Click here to read a more complete Catch Notes review Catch Notes: A Full-Featured App for Portable Note-Taking [Android] Portable notes have saved my life on more than one occasion. Not in the literal sense - thank God! - but in this day and age, when information is being thrown around at such high... Read More .



best note taking app on android

Aesthetics: Evernote’s interface looks very modern. There’s a certain feel to it that just screams “quality” and I can’t help but be enamored by its sleekness. With that said, there’s a whole lot of stuff you can do with Evernote, which means there are a ton of icons and buttons everywhere. There’s a learning curve, but once you get over it, it’s just plain pretty.

Features: Evernote is the quintessential note-taking app and everyone knows it. Features include: voice, photo, text notes and to-do lists; easily sync, share, and save your notes online and across multiple devices; access Evernote with Windows, Mac, Web-based interface, iPhone, and Android.

Performance: Apps that look as modern as Evernote are often slow and bulky, but Evernote is surprisingly lean. Even on my three-year-old Android phone, the transitions and effects are smooth. Note-taking is fast, syncing is fast, everything is as it should be. I have no complaints here.


Overall: A. Evernote is the industry standard when it comes to portable note-taking that can be synced and accessed everywhere. It’s updated frequently and user reviews are filled with positive remarks, so if you’re looking for reliability across multiple platforms, Evernote might be the one for you.

OneNote Mobile

best note taking app

Aesthetics: OneNote’s interface is reminiscent of its desktop counterpart: simple and to-the-point. It’s not bland by any means, nor is it flashy and beautiful. The utilitarian design makes it easy to learn and painless to use. That’s about as good as it gets for note-taking.

Features: While OneNote started as a desktop application in Microsoft’s big suite of programs, the Android version is much more refined and simple to use. It syncs with your Microsoft SkyDrive account, which is awesome in and of itself. Each note can have bullets, checkboxes, pictures, and videos.

Performance: As a Microsoft app, I was expecting OneNote to be a bit slow (biased, I know). Imagine my surprise when the app proved to be fast and without any hiccups. It may not be packed with too many impressive features, but the performance is quite good.

Overall: B+. Personally, as a minimalist, I think OneNote is one of the best note-taking apps on the market. However, seeing as how many users would prefer to have more features than I tend to want, I think OneNote is a little lacking in that area. For that, I’ll drop it from A to B+, but it’s still a fantastic app.


So which one is best for you in a nutshell?

  • Springpad if you really like pretty colors and lots of flexibility. It can store tons of data types inside notes, which is probably really good for creative types.
  • Catch Notes if you like a clean interface with robust features. It’s particularly good if you need to collaborate on categories of notes with other people.
  • Evernote if you need to sync your notes across multiple devices (computers and mobile phones). Everybody knows what Evernote is, so that’s another plus.
  • OneNote if you like something small, sleek, and quick. If you use SkyDrive, even better since it syncs with it seamlessly.

Related topics: Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, Note-Taking Apps, Springpad.

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  1. Peter
    August 6, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    it's a shame catch decided to drop the product, used it ever since and by far best note taking app on android

    • Joel Lee
      August 10, 2013 at 2:36 am

      I've been using Catch for over a year and I was devastated when I heard that Catch would be ceasing operations. I'm still a bit sad about it and haven't decided on a new default note app yet.

  2. Got Your Number
    August 5, 2013 at 5:22 am

    If a simple 'note-taking' app (after all we're talking about scribblings here, not rocket engine design), such as Evernote, is a 'steep learning curve', then it's already failed as a simple note-taking app.

    I note that others use 2 or more apps for 'note-taking'. Again, utterly daft.

    We've become tourists in our own lives, living life staring at screens, shuffling information around on them.

    I utterly reject that life. If that's your thing, enjoy. But one thing I know. On your deathbed, you're not going to be reflecting on how you never found the perfect note-taking app during you brief life.

    • Theo Benschop
      March 7, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      @Got Your Number,

      It's in the history of mankind indeed a simple thing: in former times people had to hunt distraction-free for animals or to work very hard in the fields in order to have something to eat.

      In the here and now of the days of the digital internet however many people in western high wages countries have in the offices as a sort of slave of the banks indeed become tourists in their own lifes, living indeed a life that is structured by the far from distracrion-free moments that he or she is staring at screens, indeed shuffling information about the history of mankind that everybody already knows around them.

      So the only way in utterly rejecting that life will be plan B in a one way distraction-free ticket to paradise, where one can't see one single office where the people are far from disstraction-free staring at their screens, what they apperantly as a sort slave of the bank enjoy.

      So only God knows when one is on his or her deathbed whether he or she will remember the things that he or she made far from distraction-free a note of in order to be able to reflect on for instance how he or she never found the perfect note-taking app during his or hers brief lifes.

  3. Haider
    May 8, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Evernote is highly overrated . It has sync issues and problem of one single database file which acts weird when it grows big and old . It issues are mentioned on the forums

    • George
      April 16, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      I've been using Evernote for years and am extremely disappointed, not with the sync issues, but with the pricing and usage policy. I tried migrating to OneNote which shortly developed a corrupt database and sync issues

  4. Shiraz Mistry
    April 12, 2013 at 4:46 am

    Thanks for the comparison. Will you be doing a new one with the addition of Google Keep?

  5. Muhammad H
    April 11, 2013 at 2:29 am

    I really thing the comparison is between Evernote and onenote and shortly it will be google keep....

  6. Mr. herb
    March 23, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Article well done, Catch was my first and I still enjoy that , but I enjoy even more the Evernote and haven't put it down, because of the Syncing with the PC and Android, the apps that come with Evernote are great.

  7. DonB
    March 21, 2013 at 4:49 am

    And now comes Google Keep. It's in the beginning stages, but it's been launched. Give it a try:

    It's simple and will sync across devices. No sharing or collaboration, yet.

  8. Emma
    March 5, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    I've only used Springpad, but I really love it's flexibility. I have both my Youtube favorites and Pinterest repins going over there via IFTTT to have one collected hub of things I like. It also has my collection of interesting tech articles and app tips, some recipes, movies and games I want to check out etc. If only I'd have an easy way to sync it with Goodreads and Hypejar as well to make it even more of a centralized hub for my interests. And if I want to, I can just make a simple checklist as well without the extra fuzz. I used to use Out of Milk, but after I realized I could do the same stuff with another app I was already using, I switched over to Springpad (partly because of limited memory on my HTC Desire, but also because it really was convenient enough).

    In short, I'm quite annoyed with all the interesting stuff in the web sprawling over different accounts, so I'm glad I can unify the experience at least somewhat. With well organized boards it's well easy enough to find what I'm looking for when needed.

    • joellee
      March 9, 2013 at 7:50 am

      After what you said, I think I'm starting to see the appeal of Springpad. Unification is always a great feature of convenience and that's one of the reasons why people love Google products. Being able to centralize with Springpad may be enough to get me to try it out again, with purpose this time!

  9. Julian Altshul
    March 5, 2013 at 11:44 am

    I've never tried Catch, but I have tried the other 3 of these apps and Evernote gets my vote. One Note and Springpad are both decent but I find Evernote the easiest to use - syncing is straightforward, and the search function works well and is quick - if you have lots of notes and need to find something in a hurry. I tend to store mainly text notes and web clippings, with the odd audio note. Springpad might suit you better if you like to store more visual material.

    @Joel Lee and @Kelly Buchanan, I can see a lot of sense in using more than one of these apps for different purposes and I agree, Springpad looks more like a scrapbook.

    • joellee
      March 9, 2013 at 7:48 am

      Straightforwardness is a great quality and I can see why so many people, including yourself, prefer Evernote over the rest. If you ever get a chance, do try Catch though. You may be pleasantly surprised. :)

      • Julian Altshul
        March 9, 2013 at 11:55 am

        Thanks Joellee, I'll check it out!

  10. EdmarJohn SanDiego
    March 3, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    i think ill try catch note because it has a nice GUI and its featured in vsauce

  11. Greg
    March 3, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I'm cheap! So, in articles like this, I'd like to see a summary of the limits to the free version vs paid. And limits that force you to upgrade to a paid version such as, in this case, a limit on the total number of free notes (if it's a number I'd reach in a month or two), is a show stopper.

    Thanks for the article--right length for a quick understanding of these products.

  12. mete
    March 2, 2013 at 4:13 am

    There is one more criteria that you missed and it's Sharing.
    I added my friends accounts to my springpad and give permissions to view, edit my notebooks. We are taking notes, sharing usefull links together.

  13. João Laranjeira
    March 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I thimk evernote the best, but i have to try the others to see better if is true.

  14. mike
    March 1, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I don't understand why Evernote allows a very easy import of OneNote but OneNote has no import from Evernote capability. I use both apps but my permanent base of notes is OneNote. The problem I have is if I create anything in Evernote I can only copy / paste to OneNote which is fine for a note or two but not 20-30 or more.

    There was an app that converted Evernote to OneNote imports but it hasn't been updated to Windows 8. Hopefully that app will get an update.

  15. Tarek Ramadan
    March 1, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I use ever note in my laptop and my android mobile but the mobile version is not as good as springbad

  16. Dhruv Sangvikar
    March 1, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Each of the tool is good if you need it for indivisual purposes. But for sharing based usage ..atleast for me, Catch is better than Evernote.

    • Joel Lee
      March 1, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      I agree. I do prefer Catch to Evernote in almost every way. :D

  17. Nikhil Chandak
    March 1, 2013 at 10:00 am

    For me , NoteEveryThing (android app) is better than evernote !!
    Give it a try , guys !

    • Joel Lee
      March 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Never heard of it but I'll look into it. Thanks!

      • Nikhil Chandak
        March 2, 2013 at 7:20 am

        @Joel Lee , I use it everyday to write notes or for something else , but its great !! for me .....

  18. Nevzat Akkaya
    March 1, 2013 at 7:05 am

    The comparative article I need, many thanks.

  19. Junil Maharjan
    March 1, 2013 at 6:16 am

    I have been evernote and it is a great app. this is one of my favourite apps on android.

  20. Kelly Buchanan
    March 1, 2013 at 5:27 am

    I use Springpad for curating personal collections like wine lists, book lists, restaurant reviews, gift ideas, etc.. I use Evernote for more practical, utilitarian uses like collaborating on work projects, expense receipts (with Expensify), meeting notes, and lists. Catch could work for me like Evernote but Evernote's functionality suits my work style better.

    I like having them seperate. They both work well for me.

    • Joel Lee
      March 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Springpad does feel more like a scrapbook, which is great for clipping and saving things for later (like you're doing). But I guess I have no use for that which is why I feel it's just overly complex. Good that it works for you, though.

  21. Augusto
    March 1, 2013 at 3:16 am

    Some important notes about some of those tools (I tried all of them too).

    Evernote doesn't do offline caching in the free version of the service. Killer issue for me.

    Catch has a limit on the number of streams (5) in the free version. But it's the most simple to take quick notes too.

    Springpad, as you said, is a bit too complex. As it has multiple types of data it requires you to chose that before adding the item every time. Unnecessary complexity IMO.

    I use catch for simple text notes and Springpad for other stuff, like clipping content from websites and wine wish lists.

    • Joel Lee
      March 1, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      Good catch on those limitations that I missed. I think it's smart to use different apps for different purposes like you (Springpad + Catch). Nice!

    • Hari
      March 18, 2013 at 4:13 am

      It is funny how most reviews miss the Evernote limitation. It is actually surprising that the service became so popular with this huge limitation. I had it was already popular on the desktop before the mobile revolution started. I started using SpringPad because it had no such limitations on the mobile, but their chrome extension is very limited, which is huge limitation for me. E.g., you can not edit notes and the direct link to open notes on the web app had been broken for very long, so it requires many click before you can start editing it.

      Lately I have been using GNotes for quick note taking and log maintenance (it supports buttons to enter date and time other than automatic bulleting). It syncs with Gmail, so the notes are available readonly outside the app. I wish there is a web app to edit notes from browser.