Evernote vs Bear: An Unbiased Comparison for Note-Takers

In today’s fast-paced world, having an efficient note-taking app is essential for staying organized and productive. Two popular note-taking apps on the market are Evernote and Bear, both offering unique features and attracting users with different preferences. As we dive into comparing these applications, it’s important to understand what each app has to offer to determine which one best suits your needs.

Evernote, a widely-used application available on multiple platforms, has been a go-to choice for many individuals seeking a versatile and robust solution for their note organization. Meanwhile, Bear, developed by a small company called Shiny Frog, caters to macOS and iOS users with its clean and elegant design. Each app has its strengths and drawbacks, catering to different user preferences and specific needs.

As we explore the similarities and differences between Evernote and Bear, we will examine their features, interfaces, pricing plans, and unique selling points. By understanding these aspects, users can make an informed decision on which app fits their workflow and desired functionality.

Overview of Evernote and Bear

Evernote and Bear are popular note-taking apps designed to help users efficiently organize their thoughts, ideas, and important information. Both apps offer a range of features that cater to different user preferences and needs, making them stand out in the crowded digital note-taking market.

Evernote is a well-established app in the productivity world, having been around since 2008. It offers a wide range of features, including text formatting, web clipping, and collaboration options. Evernote is available across multiple platforms, making it easy for users to access their notes from various devices. The app also supports file attachments, PDF annotation, and an extensive organizational system that includes notebooks, tags, and the ability to search within notes. Evernote offers a free plan as well as premium and business plans for advanced features and increased storage. To learn more, visit Evernote.

Bear is a newer note-taking app, primarily geared towards macOS and iOS users. It features a minimalist design and supports Markdown, a lightweight markup language that makes formatting notes quick and easy. Additionally, Bear allows users to link notes through a unique system called “Wiki-links.” This feature enables seamless navigation between related notes. Bear offers a hierarchical tagging system to organize notes and includes a convenient search function. Unlike Evernote, Bear does not have a web version or direct support for attachments. It offers a free version with limited features, while the Pro subscription provides full access. More information about Bear can be found here.

Available onMulti-platformmacOS and iOS
Text formattingYesMarkdown support
File attachmentsYesLimited
Web clippingYesNo
Tagging systemYesHierarchical
Search functionYesYes

In summary, both Evernote and Bear offer unique features and tools for managing notes and organizing information. While Evernote is a comprehensive note-taking app with collaboration features, Bear focuses on a clean interface and Markdown support for macOS and iOS users. Depending on individual needs and preferences, users can choose between these two powerful note-taking apps to enhance their productivity.

User Interface and Experience

When it comes to user interface and experience, both Evernote and Bear offer slightly different approaches to managing your notes and documents. Evernote’s user interface is designed to accommodate a wide range of users and tasks, offering a variety of features and tools across different platforms like Mac, iPhone, iPad, and even Apple Watch. Its interface is robust, providing users with multiple views like list, grid, and thumbnail views, depending on their preferences.

On the other hand, Bear focuses on simplicity and aesthetics, offering a clean and minimalist user interface. This app is currently available for Mac , iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Its markdown editor makes notes easy to format and organize with various styles like headings, lists, and images. The focus here is on providing users with a smooth, distraction-free writing and reading experience.

When comparing the two applications on iOS devices, Evernote takes advantage of additional features such as widgets, allowing users quick access to some of the app’s essential functions. Bear, in contrast, offers a more straightforward user interface and experience without the use of widget support or additional features. This makes the app more suitable for users who prefer a cleaner interface and fewer distractions during their note-taking sessions.

UI StyleRobust, list/grid/thumbnail viewsMinimalist, clean
PlatformsMac, iPhone, iPad, Apple WatchMac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch
Widget SupportYesNo
Markdown EditorNoYes

In conclusion, both Evernote and Bear cater to different user preferences when it comes to user interface and experience. Evernote is feature-rich and provides multiple ways for users to view and interact with their notes, while Bear focuses on a clean and straightforward interface for a more streamlined note-taking experience.

Note-Taking and Organization Features

Notes and Notebooks

Both Evernote and Bear offer simple note-taking capabilities, allowing you to create and edit notes with ease. While Evernote is one of the most popular note-taking applications, Bear is considered a lightweight and minimalist alternative1. Both applications support Markdown formatting, ensuring that your notes are well-formatted and easy to read2.

In terms of organizing your notes, Evernote provides notebooks, while Bear uses a unique folder system. You can create and organize your notes into different folders or notebooks, ensuring a logically structured note environment.

Tags and Labels

To categorize and organize your notes more effectively, both Evernote and Bear offer tagging and labeling features. Tags and labels help you find relevant notes quickly, improving your overall organization and productivity.

While both applications share these essential features, Evernote has the upper hand with its label integration within shared notebooks3. This is particularly beneficial for collaboration efforts, as team members can easily classify and locate notes in shared spaces.

Checklists and Reminders

Another useful feature in both Evernote and Bear is the ability to create checklists and reminders. By adding tasks and setting due dates, you can effectively manage your daily tasks and goals.

Though similar, the tools differ in that Evernote has a more robust reminder system, allowing you to set specific dates and times for tasks, while Bear focuses more on simplicity and ease-of-use.

Folder System

As mentioned earlier, Evernote uses a notebook-based organization system, while Bear opts for folders. In Bear, folders are called “tags,” effectively merging the folder and tagging concepts into one feature2. You can create and nest tags for a more granular organization system, making Bear’s organization approach more streamlined and efficient.

However, Evernote’s notebook system offers advantages such as support for collaboration and sharing3. The choice between the two systems ultimately depends on your personal preferences and workflow requirements.

Writing Experience and Markdown Support

Evernote and Bear offer different writing experiences primarily due to their differing support for Markdown. Markdown is a lightweight markup language with plain-text formatting syntax designed to be readable and easy to write.

Evernote, a popular note-taking and organization app source, provides a rich text editor that allows for basic formatting options like bold, italics, and lists. However, Evernote does not have native support for Markdown. This means that if you want to write Markdown notes within Evernote, you’ll need to rely on third-party add-ons or tools to process them.

On the other hand, Bear is an Evernote-like application available for Mac and iOS that focuses on providing a conducive writing experience with native support for Markdown source. This allows users to write and format their notes using the Markdown language effortlessly. In Bear, the Markdown syntax is rendered in real-time, offering a live preview of your formatted text.

When comparing their writing experiences, Bear’s Markdown support allows users to easily structure and format their content without interrupting their writing flow. This can be advantageous for those who already have experience with Markdown or prefer to use it for their note-taking needs. Evernote’s rich text editor, while not as seamless as Bear’s Markdown, still offers a robust set of formatting tools for users who don’t require the Markdown language.

In terms of organization, both Evernote and Bear provide tools for arranging and categorizing your notes. Evernote uses notebooks and tags, while Bear utilizes tags and nested sub-tags to help you arrange and navigate through your content.

PlatformMarkdown SupportWriting ExperienceOrganization Tools
EvernoteNo (Requires Add-ons)Rich Text EditorNotebooks, Tags
BearYes (Native)Markdown EditorTags, Nested Sub-Tags

In summary, the key differences in writing experience and Markdown support between Evernote and Bear lie in their formatting approach. Bear provides a more seamless writing experience with native Markdown support, while Evernote offers a rich text editor better suited for users who aren’t interested in using Markdown.

Additional Features and Integrations

In this section, we will discuss additional features and integrations of Evernote and Bear, such as web clipping and app support, audio notes and dictation, PDF and export options, and Microsoft OneNote compatibility.

Web Clipper and Web App

Evernote has a Web Clipper feature, which allows users to save web content directly to their notes. This is extremely useful for research and content curation purposes. However, Bear does not offer a web clipper, which can be a disadvantage for those wanting to save online articles for future reference.

As for the web app, unfortunately, Bear does not have a web app version available. On the other hand, Evernote does have a web app, making it possible for users to access their notes on different devices and platforms.

Audio Notes and Dictation

Evernote supports creating and storing audio notes, which can be valuable for recording ideas, meetings, or lectures. While this feature is available in Evernote, Bear lacks native support for recording audio notes.

However, both Evernote and Bear do not support dictation or transcription of audio notes into text. This might be a crucial feature for people who use voice input frequently.

PDF and Export Options

Evernote allows for exporting notes as PDF, HTML, or other file formats, which can be very useful for sharing files or archiving. Bear also offers exporting options, such as PDF, HTML, Markdown, and ePub. The ability to export to ePub format in Bear is an added advantage, especially for those who prefer reading on ebook readers.


Microsoft OneNote Compatibility

Evernote does not have direct compatibility with Microsoft OneNote, but users can use third-party tools to export Evernote notes to OneNote. Bear, on the other hand, does not have a direct compatibility option with OneNote, which could limit those who need to collaborate with OneNote users.

In summary, Evernote and Bear have their own set of unique features and integrations. Evernote’s Web Clipper and web app support might be valuable to some users, while others may appreciate Bear’s ePub export option. Both applications have strengths and weaknesses depending on individual needs.

Cross-Platform Availability and Alternatives

When comparing Evernote and Bear, cross-platform availability plays a crucial role in determining the user experience since different people use various devices and operating systems. Evernote is well-known for its compatibility with multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. Whether you’re using a smartphone, tablet, or computer, you can easily sync your notes and access them from any of your devices.

Bear, on the other hand, is primarily built for Apple devices, including macOS and iOS. This means that users who rely on Android or Windows systems may not find Bear as suitable, as there is no native app support for these platforms. However, Bear still offers a great note-taking experience for Apple users, with seamless syncing across devices through iCloud.

For users seeking cross-platform alternatives to Evernote and Bear, there are several options available:

  • Google Keep: This note-taking app from Google works on Android, iOS, and through a web browser, making it a highly accessible option. Google Keep offers a simple organization system with labels and color-coding, as well as integration with other Google services.
  • Microsoft OneNote: Another popular choice, OneNote has native apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS, making it a viable cross-platform alternative. Offering several organizational features like notebooks, sections, and pages, OneNote integrates well with other Microsoft applications.
  • Ulysses: Primarily aimed at writers, Ulysses is available on macOS and iOS. It offers a clean and focused writing environment with a variety of export options, like PDF and ePub. However, it might not be the best choice for users looking for a cross-platform solution since it only supports Apple devices.
  • Milanote: This visual note-taking app works on Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows as a web app. Thus, it has excellent cross-platform availability. Ideal for creative work, Milanote lets users create boards with various types of content, such as images, links, and text notes.

To summarize, here’s a table comparing the cross-platform availability of these apps:

AppAndroidiOSmacOSWindowsWeb App
Google KeepYesYesNoNoYes
Microsoft OneNoteYesYesYesYesYes

Keep in mind that each alternative differs in terms of features, integrations, and overall user experience. It’s essential to evaluate which app best suits your specific needs based on its unique offerings and cross-platform compatibility.

Pricing and Subscription Plans

When comparing Evernote and Bear, their pricing and subscription plans are an important factor to consider. Both apps offer a free version, but each comes with its own set of limitations and premium features.

Evernote provides a three-tiered pricing model, including Basic (free), Premium, and Business plans. The Basic plan has limitations on the note size, monthly upload limits, and device syncing, whereas the Premium plan costs $7.99 per month, providing increased storage and additional features such as PDF annotations, OCR, and priority support. The Business plan, priced at $14.99 per user/month, focuses on team collaboration with features like team spaces, single sign-on, and team onboarding.

Bear, on the other hand, offers a simpler pricing system with Bear Pro subscription at $1.49 per month or $14.99 per year. The Pro version unlocks extended features such as syncing across devices, more app themes, and export options.

Here’s a comparative table to help visualize the differences in pricing and features for each app:

 Basic / FreePremium / ProBusiness
EvernoteLimited Plan$7.99/month or $69.99/year$14.99/user/month
BearLimited Plan$1.49/month or $14.99/yearNot Available

Keep in mind that while the pricing might be a deciding factor, it is essential to consider the functionality offered and whether it aligns with your note-taking and organization needs. You might find the free version of Bear or Evernote sufficient, or you may require a more robust feature set provided by their premium offerings.

Final Thoughts and Tips

Switching Between Evernote and Bear

Switching between Evernote and Bear can be a smooth process, especially for those who are deeply invested in the Apple ecosystem. Bear notes can be easily migrated to Evernote and vice versa. To do so, you can export your notes from one app and import them into the other. For Evernote, you can export your notes as an .enex file, while Bear allows you to export them as a .bearnote file. Keep in mind that some formatting may be lost during the migration process.

Workflow Suggestions

When it comes to workflows, both Evernote and Bear offer features that cater to different needs, making them suitable as a project management tool or for taking quick notes. Here are some tips to help you maximize your productivity:

  • Project Management: Evernote provides a robust platform for project management with its notebook and tagging system. Use these features to create a hierarchy of notebooks for your projects, tasks, and ideas. On the other hand, Bear uses hashtags for organization which can be helpful in maintaining a minimalist workspace.
  • Quick Notes: Both apps offer the ability to quickly capture thoughts, ideas, or to-dos. In Evernote, you can use the Quick Note feature for easy note-taking, while Bear has the “scratchpad” feature for jotting down spontaneous ideas.
  • Integrations: Evernote offers a variety of integrations with other apps and services, such as Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, and Trello, allowing you to enhance your workflow. Bear, while not as feature-rich as Evernote, still provides useful integrations like Siri Shortcuts and Apple’s Share Sheet.
  • Formatting: Both tools provide numerous formatting options to help you create clean, well-organized notes. Evernote supports tables, bullet points, checkboxes, and more. Bear offers markdown support for a seamless writing experience.
  • Searching: Evernote’s advanced search capabilities make it easier to find specific information within your notes than Bear’s search functionalities. However, Bear’s lightning-fast search is still effective in locating relevant notes.

In conclusion, neither Evernote nor Bear is inherently better than the other; it depends on your specific needs and preferences. Take your time to explore both apps and choose the one that best fits your requirements and workflows.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which app is better for note organization?

Evernote offers a notebook-based organization system, where notes can be grouped into notebooks and stacks. Tags can also be added for easier searching. Bear, on the other hand, uses a hashtag-based system for organizing notes, making it easy to organize and find related content. Both apps offer a powerful search function, so whether you prefer notebooks or hashtags will likely determine which app suits your organizational style better.

How do sync features compare in Evernote and Bear?

Evernote uses its own sync service, ensuring compatibility across various platforms such as Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Bear, however, focuses on macOS and iOS and syncs through Apple’s iCloud, which may not be suitable if you frequently work on non-Apple devices.

How do the writing experiences differ in Evernote and Bear?

Evernote provides a rich text editor with basic formatting options and even allows you to draw or sketch in your notes if you’d like. Bear is based on a Markdown editor, making it perfect for those who prefer writing in plain text and using simple syntax to format their notes. Users who enjoy the simplicity of Markdown may find Bear more appealing, while those who need more versatility might lean towards Evernote.

How do Evernote and Bear handle attachments and media?

Both Evernote and Bear handle attachments such as images, audio files, and PDFs with ease. Evernote allows you to store and preview these attachments directly in your notes. Bear, while offering attachment storage, only links to the files in your notes and does not have a built-in preview feature. This makes Evernote a better option for users who want a seamless experience when working with various media formats.