There isn’t much to say other than I have bounced around Notes apps for the last decade. Many try to be either super simple, or super powerful. I find that a notes app is either way too basic for me to store notes, or they offer millions of features that I really don’t need/want and leave the actual note-writing experience behind (cough**ever**cough**note).
Finally a year and a half ago I met Bear. This app is the notes app I always wanted. It sucessfully bridges the gap between simplicity and power. I love that everything is just in chronological order, all the notes are in one place… but then with tagging you can put notes into folders, and better yet… multiple folders (tags sort of work like smart folders). This allows you to sort through notes like stacks of paper on your desk, the most recent one at the top, and oldest at the bottom. I like to sort through notes like this, especially if you just want to jot something down that continues a thought from earlier today. But there are times I want to be a bit more organized. For example all my notes for future blog posts together, even if they are written years apart. Bear makes it easy to process notes both ways. And you don’t have to choose one or the other. You can use both methods interchangeably. This is the best of both worlds.
Plus they have full-text search which works faster than evernote ever did. So for once I am confident I will never lose a note again.
Let’s talk about the writing experience. I love how beautiful it is to write in Bear. It uses a modified Markdown (although you can revert it to traditional markdown), to make it easy to format everything. In addition standard shortcuts work like you expect (Ctrl+B to bold, Ctrl+i to italics, etc). The fonts and themes are beautiful. Its just a great experience. I have gotten used to the modified markdown now and don’t really think about it. Its pretty easy to learn and the shortcuts or formatting buttons (hidden on the left) helped ease the transition. The only one that throws me off still is usng a hyphen when i want to make a bulleted list. In Bear this makes a checkbox, not a bullet. To make a bullet you use the asterix. Its not a huge deal, but its the one format that throws me off still, then i see the checkbox and remember to make the asterisk. Overall i love the writing. Its beautiful and easy.
Pro-tip. When i start to get into the zone I press Control+1 which will hide all the sidebars and just go into zen mode (not sure thats the term they use in marketing, but thats what it is).
Bottom line: Bear gives me the flexibility to work with notes on my terms with only the features necessary for a notes app. I enjoy writing notes in there, and find it easy and pleasure to read my notes back. I never have trouble finding my notes thanks to how it is built and organized and using tags or search to find things. I write everything in Bear and love it.
Just get the pro version. Thier pro version is so reasonable and allows you to use the app across iPad, iPhone, and Mac which is what you want in a notes app. It gives you themes too, although I still prefer the default one. But just the ability to sync is worth the reasonable price they ask for it each year. Just get it.
My Recommendations for improvement:
Truthfully, the app is great. if they do not add another feature ever again, it will still be my go-to app. However, there are some ideas for future things that would be nice to have if they can incorporate them without turning this into a bloated mess.
1) Archive notes -Sometimes i don’t want to delete it, i want to archive it because I have detachment issues… UPDATE: this was added recently. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
2) Customize icons for your tags - Nice to have, i like that a few tag names trigger unique icons. UPDATE: This has been added now! Yay! Thank you
3) Publish to wordpress - This may never come to pass. But it would be cool. As of right now I export to .docx and then copy and paste into wordpress, because wordpress supporst word doc pasting out of the box now
4) Add native support for Grammerly - I use grammerly for long writing that I do in bear. It would be cool to toggle this on and off because it would be annoying all of the time, but it would be great for longer more formal notes.
5) Maybe a web version - This would mainly be for the few times i am wanting to access notes from my PC or from someone else’s computer. It would be cool to have.
I feel bad even asking for this stuff. Now that we have the archive feature, I don’t really feel like there is anything else I can ask for that is truly missing. These other things are just cool features to see, but thats it. THey might be too focused in on my workflow to justify incorporating them, which is why I give bear 5 stars with or without them. The archive feature was the one part that felt like it was missing from bear before, and now its here. So now its perfect!