If you want a free, top-tier note-taking app for Windows Phone, that syncs your notes online, you have two choices: Evernote and OneNote.
Which of the two is the best Windows Phone note-taking app? Let’s find out!
OneNote in a nutshell
OneNote was made by Microsoft, so it should be no surprise that it came pre-installed on your phone. In fact, it’s one of the few apps that you can’t uninstall, at least on my Lumia 520. So if you’re going to have it on your phone either way, you might as well get to know OneNote.
What does it use for online sync?
OneDrive, which is Microsoft’s answer to Dropbox and Google Docs. You get 7 GBs of free space, and can use online web apps to create, edit, and save Office files … like Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and in this case OneNote notebooks. You can get to them online even on a Mac or Linux PC, like at school or work. But if you’re on Windows 8, you can install the OneNote app from the Windows Store for free.
So how about Evernote?
It’s not surprising that Evernote has chosen to support the Windows Phone platform with an official app. Part of Evernote’s value proposition is that it is basically everywhere; they even sell branded Moleskine notebooks that integrate with the app. There are desktop apps for Mac, Windows desktop, and Windows 8/RT, and you can even use it on Linux or from a different computer just by going to the Evernote website.
There are limits on what you can do and how much you can upload without a Premium account, which they keep trying to upsell you on. But you’re unlikely to run into these if you’re just taking text notes and the occasional picture or voice memo.
So which one is best?
Personally, I use OneNote for all my daily note-taking tasks. It feels slower than Evernote, especially when trying to switch between notebooks, but it has two features that make it a must-have for me: The ability to format text (with things like bold, underline, and bullet points) and the ability to type in landscape mode, which means that I can type much faster by holding my Lumia 520’s 4-inch screen sideways.
On the other hand, sometimes I need to look up an old note that I wrote down in Evernote … and by pinning the “new note” action to my start screen, I can instantly create a reminder any time I want. Evernote on Windows Phone is terrible for longhand note-taking, but it shines as a reminder app because you can set a time for it to remind you about any note you put in it.
Whatever you end up using, good luck and have fun with your Windows Phone!