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Tech Execs Are Obsessing Over Note-Taking Apps. We Tested Them Out

Photo: Illustration by J. Claeys

Investors are newly enamored of note-taking apps, financing startups like Notion Labs, Coda and Roam Research at high valuations. Some of the recent buzz stems from a legion of tech and finance superusers. They claim these apps are making them more creative and productive, qualities that can feel in short supply during long days of remote work.

Switching to a new organizational app requires time and effort, however. As journalists who take lots of notes and often organize them haphazardly, we have tried out many such tools over the years. They generally offer an improvement on reporters’ notebooks tagged with sticky notes, but few stand up to lasting use. Some suffer from overly complex features, others feel siloed, and still others don’t seem worth the price. 

Below, we give our take on the newer generation of note-taking apps (Bear, Roam, Coda and Notion), plus an older app (Evernote) and the free alternatives associated with the Apple, Google and Microsoft systems. Got a preference? Let us know in the comments. 

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