Obsidian

Obsidian

8.8

Our Rating

Obsidian Notes Review

Best Features, Pricing, Alternatives & Verdict

Free personal knowledge management tool for creating links between notes. Obsidian is one of the most popular new note-taking applications for expanding your thinking.

Obsidian Canvas & Notes

What is Obsidian App?

Obsidian is a PKM note-taking app for connecting notes, ideas, and thoughts. Obsidian can be used for notes, writing, and capturing important memories.

What do people use Obsidian for?

Obsidian is an easy-on-the-eyes application that takes time to learn but offers a world of opportunity for your notes. Despite the learning curve, users can create a flexible tool to connect thoughts and ideas in a single space, stored locally with extra privacy protection.

Note-taking inside of Obsidian presents an advanced layer to your notes, allowing you to connect notes up using "backlinks", this helps create a connected graph of your thoughts, so when you search or look back on notes you will see everything else likewise or related.

You can learn Obsidian using our course.

Obsidian themes help you customise and create a unique space for note-taking.

Obsidian Notes: Pros

Here's an un-pack of the best features within the popular note-taking app Obsidian:

1. Obsidian Canvas

The Obsidian Canvas is an infinite open space for users to brainstorm their ideas, research, study, create diagrams, and create a base for linked notes, canvases and other integrated tools.

Obsidian Canvas for all kinds of Obsidian Notes.

The Canvas is free for all users and is part of the core package, so anyone can use this space for organizing Obsidian notes visually to create a space that makes sense and is easy to consume. You can embed other Obsidian notes from the vault, alongside any images, audio, media, and web pages into your canvas space. You can also nest other canvases into one space to link together.

The Obsidian Canvas can also be used with other apps and plugins to enhance your workspace, this can help users brainstorm for projects, link ideas, and create actionable plans. The canvas is infinite so you will always have enough space for all your notes.

2. Linking Notes & Graph

Obsidian search engine allows you to find previous notes or create new ones.

One of the biggest features of Obsidian notes is the ability to use links and graphs to see how your notes connect to create a second brain or PKM system, helping you better understand and learn from your writing.

You can link notes easily when writing and navigate your way through different pages to help make sense of your notes and connect ideas together. To create connections between notes, simply use the open and closed square brackets ([,]) you can then click through to the links created. Or, you can go through the local graph and visually see how notes link together through connections and backlinks.

Backlinks will show you where the notes backlink to, so where the notes previously existed inside other notes. It does sound confusing, that's why there is quite a big learning curve with Obsidian. You can of course then search for any kind of notes inside Obsidian, just type in some keywords and see what comes up.

Overall, by linking Obsidian notes and using the graph you can create your own Wikipedia-type space by linking anything from notes, people, books, web pages and more.

3. Daily Notes

Daily Notes plugin for daily Obsidian Note taking.

Daily Notes is an Obsidian plugin to create a daily note page you can access using the calendar or bring up with the Hotkey. This is a really handy plugin to have, especially if you want a separate space for daily journaling or daily to-do lists.

You can also use Daily Notes for creating lists, things you want to remember from the day, to save web pages, images and much more. It just creates a nice separate space for reflection or structured to-do lists all in one app. Daily Notes comes with a built-in simple template, however, you can create your own to use every day. Just create a new note for Daily Template, then change the template file location inside the Daily Notes > Plugin Options.

Obsidian Cons: What We Didn't Like

Let's look into the elements of Obsidian that we didn't quite like or missed out:

1. Education Curve

Obsidian properties for daily notes.

Obsidian is a very detailed and in-depth note-taking tool. There's a huge learning curve to understand how to link, connect, integrate, install plugins and much more. This can put off some users who just want a simple place to create a PKM or second brain without feeling confused

You can take courses, watch videos and learn from experts to help speed up the learning process. This is recommended because trying to figure out how to use Obsidian on your own might take some time, or might make you want to give up. A great place to learn how to use Obsidian is our official Obsidian course.

2. Obsidian Sync is Expensive

Your Obsidian Notes are stored locally on your device only, this means in order to have your notes available on other devices, you cannot just download the app and use cloud storage to sync, you will have to upgrade and pay $8 per month to sync notes online.

This is quite expensive when you think about it, especially since a lot of other note apps just use cloud storage, or allow you to do this already. So yes, it's expensive, not as much as Evernote, but still quite pricey to access your notes online each month.

Obsidian Pricing

Let's take a look at pricing for Obsidian Notes:

Is Obsidian app free?

Obsidian is a free note-taking tool but of course, there are upgrades and other packages you can use such as commercial use and add-ons. If you want to go for commercial use you can use the 14-day free trial and then upgrade for around $50 per year.

Obsidian Pricing, How Much it Costs

There are two add-on options, Sync and Publish, both are an extra $10 per month, allowing you to sync notes across multiple devices and publish notes on the web.

How does Obsidian pricing compare to others?

The biggest difference with Obsidian and how it compares to other tools is its storage capability. It's a nice idea to use a locally stored tool, but that's until you use up your device storage, if this happens you'll then need to store your Obsidian notes somewhere else or sync to another device.

Other tools such as Evernote and OneNote offer storage by using a Cloud, enabling you to add as many notes as you want without worrying about filling up your mobile or desktop. With Evernote you can sync between two devices and receive around 60MB per month which renews and grows, Microsoft OneNote offers 5GB and more if you're already in OneDrive.

However, that being said. It isn't hard to move notes around and sync Obsidian between devices with the add-ons available.

Will I ever pay for Obsidian?

Obsidian is a free forever application. Users never need to upgrade or pay to use Obsidian if they don't want to or need to. However, there are upgrades and add-ons available.

Obsidian Verdict

Obsidian is an awesome note-taking app.

Obsidian linked notes inside the graph feature.

Obsidian is really for those who want a free, PKM tool that uses Markdown to create easy, detailed notes inside one space. By linking notes in Obsidian you can create a really clever system for managing your thoughts and ideas to then turn into actionable items or goals to achieve.

PKM stands for "personal knowledge management" and attracts more hardcore note-takers and those who like to bring their notes together in one location, making Obsidian Notes a great choice. We'd recommend this for those who want to get into more advanced note-taking without too much hassle.

Best Alternatives to Obsidian

Obsidian is one of the best free tools out there for managing your notes. You do need to learn how to use Obsidian Notes which may take some time, but overall it's a popular choice. If you do want to check out some alternatives, here are a few you might like.

  • Reflect Notes - A great end-end encrypted note-taking tool with AI to help create a network of thoughts, notes and ideas.
  • Logseq - Likewise to Obsidian, Logseq has a big learning curve but is another cool tool for creating a second brain system for notes using backlinks and markdown.
  • Roam Research - A very basic and simple-looking tool with lots of markdowns and backlinking abilities to create a connected graph of notes.

Which Obsidian alternative should I go for?

Our choice is Logseq. Probably the closest is Logseq overall, it provides a very similar notes experience and includes features like "canvas" inside to help you visually collaborate.

Local Hosting

You can use Obsidian offline and online and store it locally within your folders area. Protecting your vault from online attacks, and using the markdown files locally too.

Community Plugins

Developed by community members, Obsidian offers an array of 3rd party developed applications to take your Obsidian further.

Offline Access

Obsidian's community almost never complain about the speed and pace of the Obsidian application on any device. People like how you can use it offline.

Who is Obsidian For?

Obsidian is a free note-taking tool with the flexibility to customise your own space for linking notes, thoughts and ideas to create a second brain-type system.

This kind of tool is best for those who have lots of ideas they need to write down, people who find it difficult to remember everything and need a reliable space for storing everything that pops into their mind.

Finally, Obsidian is a great tool for anyone who wants to turn their ideas into actionable tasks by connecting and building upon notes.

Why Use Obsidian Instead of Notion?

Obsidian is more for collecting and linking notes, whereas Notion provides a more customisable and flexible space for a range of purposes, such as project management, daily planning and more.

Obsidian is also locally stored, whereas Notion is cloud-based. So, if you want your notes to be more secure and on your device only, you'll get that with Obsidian unless you upgrade to sync.

Finally, if you are looking for a specialised app to effortlessly connect notes to create a PKM or second brain system, Obsidian Notes wins over Notion.

Is Obsidian Better Than Apple Notes

Apple Notes is a very basic, but very good note-taking application for those who want a simple space to collect daily notes with limited ways of organisation and linking.

You can link notes with Apple Notes using tags and then sort using filters, however, it doesn't provide the same second-brain abilities and backlinking as Obsidian Notes.

So, I wouldn't say one is better than the other, just both providing different levels of note-taking. Apple Notes is simple and just for collecting ideas, and Obsidian is for building a structured and detailed PKM space.

Is it Worth Paying For Obsidian?

You can use Obsidian for free forever if you want to, this allows you to store Obsidian notes on your device, use all of the app's features, access community support and use themes, plugins and API.

If you want to use Obsidian Notes for commercial use, with teams of two people or over, you will need to upgrade and pay for it. Also, to add on the ability to sync notes to another device or publish online, you will also have to pay.

So the answer is; you can use Obsidian for individual use for free, it might be worth paying if you want to use it with your team, access your notes on more than one device, or publish notes online on your own Obsidian web page.

How Obsidian Works

Understanding Obsidian further

Is Obsidian Free?

Yes.

Obsidian has a free plan that allows you to locally store your notes, but also a paid options where you can sync to the web, or even publish to the web - popular with digital gardens.

Is Obsidian hard to learn?

Yes and no.

Obsidian comes with a learning curve, but it can be learnt. We'd recommend learning the basic premises of "PKM" and "bi-directional linking" first and once you have those basics, you're good to go. You can unlock the power of Obsidian with the Obsidian Made Simple course.

Why store files locally?

A lot of things are on the web now, notes are a very personal experience and many sites like Supernotes and others are offering encryption - if you wanted your notes to only be locally stored on your device, Obsidian could be for you.

Obsidian or Notion?

Obsidian and Notion are different apps. We'd recommend looking at what your needs are, if your needs are note-taking, without the need for complex tools like databases or project management, then Obsidian could be for you.

Otherwise, Obsidian offers a more traditional note-taking set-up than Notion.

Does Obsidian charge premium pricing?

Yes, Obsidian offers two plans. Sync and Publish allowing you to connect your vaults to cloud storage and in the case of Obsidian Publish externally share your notes, perfect for digital gardens and client facing notes.

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