When it comes to a quality writing experience on your phone, look no further than Evernote … or Bear.

Evernote has been around since its 2008 beta release, and has built up a loyal following since. On the other hand, Bear doesn’t even have a wikipedia page. But considering it has many of the same features provided by its precursor and then some, we knew we had to do a thorough comparison. Starting with brand new accounts on each platform, we’ve launched the apps and examined each’s strengths and weaknesses. In this second installment of our Versus feature, we’re about to find out which of these two is the best.

Bear Versus Evernote
We avoided using Evernote’s signature green for the background, because the Holidays are still two months away and nobody needs to be seeing that much red and green yet. You’re welcome.


First Impressions:

Bear is decidedly minimal, which is a fantastic quality in a writing app. We like the default choice of fonts and we absolutely love the scrolling toolbar above the keyboard. This makes sure you’re always in the flow of your writing process, and it just works so well.

There’s also an option to add sketches into your documents. It comes with just a few color and line size options and is little awkward to use with just your finger.

We’ve noticed that a markdown-type syntax seems to be a core part of the app’s features. Essentially, this means you can type headers, strikethroughs, underlines, bold, italics, and much more without even having to use the toolbar.

The overall feel of this whole experience can be summed up in three words: Modern, Minimal, Intuitive.


First Impressions:

Evernote makes it easy to jump straight into writing, thanks to a green circle “plus” button at the bottom of the screen when you launch the app. The interface is well-organized and easy to navigate. Evernote sports a full-feature toolbar in writing mode, but we’re a little disappointed that all of your text options are paged and take you away from the keyboard. For example, setting the font to bold and returning to writing takes a total of four taps. Call us impatient, but that definitely seems to disrupt the flow.

There’s a cool sketch feature here as well. It’s nice to see a dot grid in this mode, as it helps the user draw straight lines and maintain a more uniform layout.

Three words to describe Evernote after a few minutes? Stable, practical, and feature-rich.


Pricing and Value:

Bear’s core app is free on any platform. There is a paid plan available for a very reasonable price: $1.49 monthly or $14.99 annually. With Bear Pro you get access to themes, exporting documents, and sync between all devices. Those are definitely must-have features if you’re using Bear for anything besides personal note-taking, but at that price we can’t be mad. More information can be found on their website.


Pricing and Value:

This is where the differences between Evernote and Bear really start to show. Evernote comes with three paid plans, each offering a sizable list of additional features. These are Plus, Premium, and Business. Each tier offers more data storage, and a slough of other capabilities that you’re better off reading about on their official website. The lowest-cost plan starts at $34.99 annually, more than twice the price of Bear.

Evernote’s paid services in the Premium and Business plans expand far beyond traditional note-taking. There are PDF annotating and clipping features, business card scanning/digitizing, offline access, and much more. They do seem pricey for what you get, but as an established brand we don’t doubt Evernote has any problems selling these services.

And the winner is…

We have to give the trophy to Bear on this one. It provides a better experience both in design and basic functionality, and most of all gives you the best value for your money. We acknowledge that Evernote could very well be the better choice for some people. Specifically businesses who want team management features and collaborative notes. But at Diivr, we’re all about apps. And as an app, Bear is just better.

Get it today from the app store!

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Posted: October 16, 2017