Notion is a relatively new productivity tool that has been gaining a lot of traction in recent years. And for good reason – it’s an incredibly versatile tool that can be used for a wide variety of tasks, from taking notes to managing projects.
But is Notion really the best productivity tool out there?
In this review, we’ll take a closer look at what Notion has to offer and see if it lives up to the hype.
What is Notion?
Founded in 2016, Notion is a productivity tool that has quickly become popular among professionals and students.
It’s often described as an “all-in-one workspace” because it can be used for a wide variety of tasks, including taking notes, writing articles, creating to-do lists, and tracking projects.
It's part of a wave of new modular productivity software that allow users the freedom to customize the layout of their workspaces like pieces of lego. Other notable apps offering similar solutions include examples include Coda, Airtable and Mailernote.
Pages and blocks
Pages and blocks are the building blocks of Notion (no pun intended).
Pages are like folders, where you can store all your information related to a specific topic.
Blocks are the individual pieces of content within a page, such as text, to-do items, images, code block or files.
You can use blocks to create anything from simple to-do lists to complex project management systems. And because pages and blocks are modular, you can easily rearrange them to suit your needs.
Notion comes with a library of templates that you can use to get started with your projects. There are templates for everything from articles and blog posts to product launch plans and event schedules.
The templates are fully customizable, so you can easily adapt them to your own needs. And if you can’t find a template that suits your needs, you can always create your own from scratch.
Notion lets you create different workspaces for different projects. This is useful if you need to keep track of multiple projects at the same time.
Each workspace has its own pages and blocks, so you can keep all your information organized and separate. You can also invite other people to collaborate with you in real-time on a workspace if you are on the Team plan.
Notion automatically saves every change you make to a page or block. This means you can always go back and view the history of a page or block, and even restore it to a previous version if you need to.
This is a useful feature if you make a mistake or want to experiment with different versions of a page or block.
The Notion AI feature lets you use the power of GPT-3 to help you write content faster. This is especially helpful if you have writer's block and need help thinking about what to write.
Notion AI can help you generate content for blog posts, meeting agendas, social media posts, press releases, job descriptions, poems and a whole lot more.
The AI tool can also help you summarize longer pieces of content, correct spelling and grammar and even translate text. Currently Notion AI offers translations in languages such as English, Spanish, Chinese and French.
Notion AI is currently in its alpha phase of development, so you will need to join the waitlist for access.
Notion integrates with a number of popular productivity tools, such as Google Drive, Slack, and Jira. This allows you to easily add information from these other tools into your Notion workspace.
For example, you can use the Google Drive integration to add files from Google Drive into your Notion workspace. Or you can use the Slack integration to send messages from Slack directly into a Notion page.
Mobile and desktop apps
Notion is available on both mobile and desktop, so you can access your workspace from anywhere. The mobile app is available for both iOS and Android, while the desktop app is available for Mac and Windows.
The Notion app is well designed and easy to use. It’s also constantly being updated with new features and improvements.
Notion has an API that allows developers to build custom integrations and applications on top of Notion. This is a powerful feature that gives developers a lot of flexibility in how they use Notion.
Notion offers a variety of pricing plans to suit your needs.
You can start with a free Personal plan to try some of the core features and then decide to try a Personal Pro or Team plan if you require additional features.
They even have an Enterprise plan for larger organisations who require additional levels of security and compliance.
Here is a short summary of the pricing plans.
A Personal plan is free for individuals and includes the following:
- Unlimited pages and blocks
- Share with 5 guests
- Sync across devices
A Personal Pro plan is $5 USD per month (or $4 USD per month billed annually) and includes the following:
- Everything in the Personal plan, plus
- Unlimited file uploads
- Unlimited guests
- 30 day version history
A Team plan is $10 USD per user per month (or $8 USD per user per month billed annually) and includes the following:
- Everything in the Pro plan, plus
- Unlimited team members
- Collaborative workspace
- Sharing permissions
- Admin tools
Enterprise plans require you to contact the Notion sales team to negotiate prices and includes:
- Everything in the Team plan, plus
- SAML SSO
- User provisioning (SCIM)
- Audit log
- Advanced security and controls
- Unlimited version history
- Dedicated success manager
- Custom contract
Notion alternatives and competitors
Notion is one of the most popular productivity tools on the market. However, there are a number of other alternatives too. Let's take a look at how Notion compares to some of these alternatives and competitors.
Notion vs Evernote
Evernote is a popular productivity tool that allows you to collect and organise notes, ideas, and images. It’s similar to Notion in many ways but there are also some key differences.
- Evernote is primarily a note-taking app, while Notion is focused on being an all-in-one productivity tool for managing tasks and projects collaboratively.
- Evernote doesn’t have as many features as Notion, but it’s simpler to use if note-taking is all you are after.
Both offer free plans, however Evernote's free plan is limited by note file size and upload size. Evernote's paid plan starts at $8.99 USD per month, while Notion's Personal Pro plan starts slightly cheaper at $5 USD per month.
Notion vs Onenote
Microsoft's OneNote is a note-taking app that’s part of the Microsoft Office suite. It shares some similarities with Notion but there are also some key differences.
- OneNote like Evernote is more of a note-taking app compared to Notion which offers a suite of productivity features to help you manage tasks and projects with your team.
- You can write handwritten notes in OneNote, which is not possible in Notion.
OneNote is free to use, while Notion does also offer a free plan with limited features. Notion's paid plans start at $5 USD per month, while OneNote's Office 365 Personal subscription starts at $6.99 USD per month.
Notion vs Clickup
Clickup is a project management tool offers some similar features to Notion. Let's take a look at some of the key differences between the two.
- Clickup is focused on project management for teams, while Notion is more geared towards general productivity uses such as task management and note-taking.
- Clickup has features such as whiteboards, time tracking, dashboards and real-time chat for teams which is not currently available in Notion
Both offer free plans. Notion's paid plans start at $5 USD per month, while Clickup's paid plans start higher at $9 USD per month.
Notion vs Obsidian
Obsidian is a popular note taking tool that is similar to Notion in many ways. However, there are some key differences too.
- The main difference is Notion is available online, whole Obsidian is only available offline
- Notion data is stored in a hierarchical database of folders, while Obsidian uses a knowledge graph which lets you visualise the connections between your notes in a flatter, less hierarchical way
- Notion offers real-time collaboration, while Obsidian doesn't offer this due to it being an offline note-taking tool
Both Notion and Obsidian offer free personal plans to start. However, Obsidian charges $50 USD per user per year for commercial use which is cheaper than Notion's Team plan which is $96 per user per year.
Notion pros and cons
- Drag and drop blocks make it easy to customize pages
- Real-time collaboration with team members is easy
- Tonnes of pre-made templates ready for you to use
- Sync your workspace spaces across devices including the desktop and mobile
- Generous free plan for personal use
- Pages can sometimes be slow to load
- May require a steep learning curve for some users due to the flexibility of the tool
Verdict: Is Notion the best productivity tool?
Notion is an incredibly versatile and powerful productivity tool.
Notion can be used as a simple note-taking app, or you can use the more advanced features to manage tasks and projects with your team.
It's modular design with drag and drop blocks makes it easy to customize pages to suit your needs. And the real-time collaboration features make it easy to work with team members on projects.
In our opinion, Notion is leading the move towards more modular and flexible productivity tools. So if you're looking for a productivity tool that can do it all, then Notion is definitely worth considering.