The best lightweight notes app in 2013 is Simplenote

I’ve switched away from Google Keep and now using the best state-of-the-art note-taking app called Simplenote. Simplenote got a clean & lean rebuilt code base and its new ownership by the makers of WordPress (which runs over 20% of the Internet) signals to me that it’ll be around for a while.


What I was looking for in a notes app was:

  • multi-platform (covering the whole span of web, Android, iOS, Windows, Mac)
  • cloud-synced (everything gets sync’d manually or automatically between all those platforms)
  • useable offline and online
  • fast and lightweight, plain text and searchable essential, tags and design and low-price/free are bonus

Simplenote delivers all of the above most wonderfully! The only other fast multi-platform notes app I had found was Catch, and I had used it for over a year. But that company shutdown end of August 2013.

The next best lightweight notes app was Google Keep, so that’s where I migrated to after Catch’s demise. Unfortunately, Google Keep has had a stagnant code base, and it crashes the Safari and Chrome browsers on iOS, and there’s not an official iOS app. Granted the Google Keep app for Android is great and the web-based version is good, but as I’ve created more notes, it’s gotten more sluggish. The sluggishness might be attributed to its infinite-scrolling user interface, so it’s loading too many notes at once, and maybe that’s why the iOS web browsers crash too.

For the record, I’m also an active user of the ever-popular note-taking app Evernote; and I do pay the annual subscription fee for the extra features and storage that comes with Evernote Premium. But, it’s slow to sync, slow to search, slow to respond on those moment when I need to jot a quick note. What I do use Evernote to store my big archive of documents, caching web pages, and that kind of stuff.

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4 Responses

  1. dchow186 says:

    Great heads up on the Simplenote by the way. Saw a review of this on but didn’t pull the trigger till I saw your post on it. Been looking for the same thing. I also use Evernote, but it seems better for compiling information, rather than taking a quick note. Thanks!

    • djchuang says:

      Dennis: Thanks for the comment, great to hear you’re loving Simplenote too!

      • dchow186 says:

        Good news is that you don’t have to totally choose between Evernote and Simplenote. Simplenote has a feature where you can highlight text in a note (or everything in that note) and copy it over to a new note in Evernote. Its really quick too.