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.
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 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.
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
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 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 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.
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.
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 is an awesome note-taking app.
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.