There are a lot of productivity apps on the market. Notion is the best one of them all. It’s an all-in-one productivity solution, according to their website, and it’s simply one of the best tools I’ve ever used. Notion is incredibly flexible. It can be a writing repository, task management software, a workout calendar, a database, and so much more. Better yet, you can connect your data in each of those projects to each other, so your workout calendar can reference your journal entries.
Notion is great, but it faces some stiff competition. Here’s a shortlist of some of the best productivity apps in 2020, click to jump to that section:
I’ll compare Notion to Evernote, Airtable, and Trello and provide some of my thoughts. Let’s go!
Notion vs Evernote
First off, Notion gives current Evernote users $5 in credit to import their Evernotes into Notion, so they make it very compelling to try it out.
Let’s compare features, their free trials, and then wrap up with why Notion is better.
Notion is a productivity solution, Evernote is a note-taking app. That right there tells you some of the main differences. Here’s a overview of the main features of Notion and Evernote.
- Infinite Hierarchy - Pages within pages within pages. Nest to your heart’s content
- Tables & Databases - Categorize your data exactly how you want, and reference data from other tables or projects
- Markdown Support
- Drag & Drop - Drag a box around items and move it around the page, just like an editor.
- A web clipper browser extension
- Sync data between devices
- Native android, iPhone, Windows, and Mac apps.
- Handwriting support - Search and categorize your handwritten notes
- A web clipper browser extension
- Native apps
- Powerful integrations
Free Trial Comparison
Both Notion and Evernote are free to use. Notion’s free trial lets you create up to 1,000 blocks before it asks you to subscribe to a paid plan. A block in Notion is a piece of content. It could be an image, a paragraph, or a row in a table.
In my experience Evernote gates a lot of their main features behind their paid plans. So you can take notes and create folders, but it’ll pester you to upgrade to a paid plan before you can use it to its full potential.
On the other hand, Notion gives you access to all it’s core features, you’re just limited in how much content you can create. But 1,000 blocks is enough to write a third of Moby Dick if that tells you anything about how long it’ll last you.
Why Notion Is Better Than Evernote
Notion is so much more than a note-taking app. You can build an all-encompassing productivity solution for your life within it. I’ve written before about how I use Notion to track my life, and I still use it to track my workouts, catalog my journal, and aggregate my writing. I’m writing this blog post in Notion right now.
I’ve used Evernote in the past and found it cumbersome. Evernote also limits your monthly uploads to 60mb, and your notes have a maximum size of 25mb. You can only sync 2 devices to one account, any more and you have to pay.
Notion lets you add and sync as many devices as you want. They even incentivize you to try their other apps, giving you free credit by downloading a mobile app and sharing content from within the app.
Notion vs Trello
Whereas Evernote is note-taking software, Trello is task management software. Trello is terrible for taking notes, but it’s great for organizing your tasks and to-dos in one centralized place. However, Trello is strictly limited to tasks. It can contain a workout calendar, to-do list, and serve as project management software, but it can’t contain your writing, journal, or a database with pictures and references to other objects.
I’ve used Trello at work as a Kanban board for me and my team. It’s easy to create swim-lanes for To-Do, Doing, and Done. I can easily create new tasks for my team and setup automation rules to tag them in it. It helps me visualize what my team is working on, and I can reprioritize work as needed.
- Task management
- Automated workflows with rule-based triggers
- Easy for teams to use and get started quickly and for free
- Web based, no apps needed
Free Trial Comparison
Both Notion and Trello are free to start. Trello lets you create unlimited personal boards, with unlimited cards and lists. You’re limited to 10mb per file attachment, which is not unreasonable. You can add simple automations and one power-up, which is essentially an add-on or integration with other providers.
I’ve covered Notion’s free trial before so I won’t rehash it in detail here, but you’re limited to 1,000 blocks of anything you want to create.
Trello’s business-class plans starts at $9.99/month, billed annually. If you opt for monthly billing, it’s $12.50.
Notion’s personal plan starts at $5/month, or $48/year if you pay up-front. Notion is half the cost of Trello, and way more powerful
Creating A Trello Board In Notion
Creating a Trello board in Notion is super easy since Notion’s team has done all the work for you. All you need to do is create a project, search for Task List, and you’ll get this.
Simple, right? Trello is strictly web-based whereas Notion has cross-device apps and works on the web. Some may prefer working within a browser instead of a standalone app. Personally I prefer having an app because it’s easier to get distracted in a browser. I can open a new tab and navigate to reddit in less than a second, so I’d rather not have that temptation at all by working in a separate application.
Why Notion is Better than Trello
Come on, do I even need to say it? Trello is just for tasks, Notion is for life, baby.
Can Trello track your workouts in a calendar? Yes.
Can you reference those daily workouts on other boards? No.
Can you write your next novel in Trello? No. Not that I would recommend writing an entirely novel in Notion, but you could. More power to you.
Trello is old hat at this point. Move on to the one true productivity solution, Notion.
Notion vs Airtable
This is the closest comparison because Notion and Airtable are very similar. They both have apps and they both work in the browser.
Their aesthetics are very different. Airtable is all colors, and Notion is black and white.
My main complaint with Airtable is that it’s just confusing. I was able to get up and running in Notion super-fast with their stock templates doing all the heavy lifting for me.
Airtable also has preloaded templates, I just also found them cumbersome. Switching between views is confusing and the tab system at the top, while reminiscent of a web browser, just does not work for me.
Airtable also gates many of their premium features under their paid plan, whereas Notion gives you everything during the free trial.
Notion and Airtable Free Trial Comparison
- 1,000 blocks, create whatever you want
- Unlimited file uploads, each must be under 5mb
- Access to all templates
- 1,200 records per base
- Total file uploads cannot exceed 2gb per base
- No access to blocks, which are premium add-ons
- Access to all templates, some may use blocks that you don’t have access to
Notion’s Current Pricing, February 2020, billed annually.
Airtable’s Current Pricing, March 2020, billed annually.
Why Notion Is Better Than Airtable
Notion crushes Airtable on pricing and feature availability during the free trial. Airtable gives you access to the Pro features for 14 days, then cuts you down to their limited free tier. Notion gives you access to everything and just limits how much you can create.
I’ve personally found Notion’s in-app onboarding experience to be cleaner, more intuitive, and easier to get started with. Each tool has a learning curve that will take some time to get used to, but I found Notion’s to be simpler.
I prefer the left-hand navigation in Notion to the tab-based navigation in Airtable. It’s a simple difference but I find Notion’s more natural.
The Best Productivity App of 2020
Notion beats Evernote, Trello, and Airtable across the board. Evernote and Trello are very limited apps, good at one specific purpose and terrible at everything else. Airtable is Notion’s closest competitor in the scope of this article, but it still falls short. On pricing alone Notion is half the cost of Airtable, before you factor in all free credit Notion gives you for completing certain tasks.
Give Notion a shot today. The built-in templates are great, and there are tons of other articles on how to setup Notion just the way you want it.
Best of all, Notion doesn’t have an affiliate program. I’m not getting paid to say this, there are no affiliate links here, just a guy writing a blog post in a hotel room about his favorite productivity app.