Everyone’s talking about the amazing Notion. This all in one workspace has got people excited, with good reason. It’s an impressive application. However, no one’s really focusing on the negatives of this app. There is no such thing as a perfect app. Before we review Notion, its cons are significant.
Notion Is A Subscription
We don’t like subscriptions, especially if you have to pay to access your data. That was the main reason we avoided Evernote. Evernote makes you pay to store your documents on their servers, which you can’t download offline unless you pay the subscription. Why not pay for an app that keeps your notes offline on your device and backup to a Cloud service of your choice?
Of course, you can use the app for free if the limitations on the Personal account don’t bother you. However, to unlock the few features unique to the Personal Pro version of the month, you’ll need to pay $4/month. This is effectively what you’re paying for if you upgrade to the Pro version of Notion.
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Web-Based Note-Taking Apps Are A Bad Idea
With web-based note-taking apps, you have less control of your data. Why put your notes on the developer’s servers, when so many apps let you store your documents on your device? With native note-taking apps, you have a copy of your notes on your device and you can also back them up to a cloud service of your choice.
No End-To-End Encryption
Due to the lack of end-to-end encryption, Notion has access to your notes. They see everything. In good faith, we trust that the employees at Notion who have access to our data won’t abuse it, but why take the risk? If Notion insists on storing our notes on their servers (which they do), they should at least encrypt it.
Painful Exporting Options
Only Enterprise accounts can export all their notes out of Notion in PDF format. PDFs are the universal format for sharing notes between apps. Almost everyone has at least one app that can open and read PDFs. However, in Notion, that option is only available for their most expensive subscriptions. This means your notes are trapped in the app unless you can appreciate Markdown, CVS and HTML formats.
Export Workspaces In Markdown, CVS And HTML
I exported my workspace from Notion, firstly as a Markdown and CVS. The application exported twenty-seven pages! How do three pages translate to twenty-seven? I get the same number of pages when I export in HTML format. The app creates a useless copy of the export file on your PC and sends you a zipped file to your email. Massive inconvenience! The files I exported look nothing like what I had created in Notion.
Export Single Pages, But Without Subpages
Bright side: you can export individual pages as PDFs, with specific paper sizes (though the choices are limited). But to export subpages, you need the Enterprise subscription. Notion lets you create notes you can’t export out of the app.
No Images Exported With Your PDF
Note: you can’t export photos out of Notion. The PDF you export has a hyperlink to the image in your notes (if they are in a gallery view). They (Notion developers) didn’t even think of exporting each image as a single page.
Notion makes creating notes a piece of cake, but exporting them impossible. Question that! If you ever want to export anything out of Notion, you will suffer! If you like #sufferlife, you will enjoy using Notion.
Notion has gone to great lengths to ensure you love their app. You can create a lot of things in Notion by collecting information from across the web and from other apps into their app. However, they have also put considerable effort, if not more, to make sure your information stays on their servers and application. They designed it that way, it’s not a flaw in their coding skills. That should worry you.
Great minds created this app. They know how to simplify note-taking, draw and lock you in. For all our sakes, I pray I am wrong about this.
Folder-less they called it as if it’s a good thing. Notion’s marketing team makes every bad feature sound amazing. You will want to buy it. When is lack of folders (or organisation) a good thing? A note-taking app without folders? Unheard of! Most digital note-takers crucify other apps for this!
Notion has a unique approach to organisation, but let’s stop pretending like they are doing us a favour by not having folders. Folders are easier to understand since we’ve been using them for decades.
Don’t Put All Your Information In One App
It seems we finally have an app that does it all. Question is: should we put our whole lives into one app? The answer to that critical question is: No, you shouldn’t.
An all in one workspace sounds fantastic! All your plans, projects, notes and collaborations all in one place. But it’s a sure recipe for disaster, one we are certain can affect any app, especially after Adobe Lightroom permanently deleted user’s photos. All the users who had no backups and kept their photos only in Lightroom lost all their life’s work in seconds. Is that a risk you can take with the notes you’re storing in Notion?
You have one copy of your work on their servers. For normal note-taking apps, you can sync across devices as well as backup your notes in a different cloud service. You could sync via iCloud and have a backup in Dropbox, for example. We crucified GoodNotes for not having an AUTO BACK-UP system for the notes we have local copies of on several devices. Yet we are comfortable with Notion keeping our notes on their servers without any kind of backup? Notion should let its users backup to Cloud services of their choice in readable formats.
Notion Doesn’t Work Offline
It’s not rocket science, an app that works offline will behave the same way whether or not you’re connected to the internet. If I wanted to take notes in Apple Notes, for example, I can just open the app and start typing. I will probably realise I am not online when I want to access those notes on another device. With Notion, when you close the app, you need an internet connection to get it started, which makes sense because it is a web-based app. It’s thus safe to conclude that Notion DOES NOT WORK OFFLINE. Of course, there might be workarounds for this, but those wouldn’t be necessary if it worked in the first place.
Multiple Apps Are Better Than One
If you put everything into one application, best pray nothing happens to it or its developers. Any small change in their code or policies can potentially see you lose everything; decades of notes and documents.
Notion asks you to pay a monthly subscription to add content online (which you have no local copy of or a backup for). Why is no one questioning this?Paperless X
The Best Way To Use Notion
Find ONE aspect of Notion you like. One or two features in this all-in-one app which you love and use the app for those. Don’t put your whole life into one app and question every app that asks you to do so.
We have had issues with Facebook that asked us to put our social lives online. Just our social lives! What do you think might happen when we put our whole lives (business, creativity, diaries, calendars, planners)? This time around they’ve even asked us to pay and voluntarily give them our information.
Remember information sells, don’t give yours away for free.Paperless X
With that out of the way, we’ll be doing reviews of Notion in the future. At the end of the day, we are here to make sure you find productivity apps that work for you. Notion is a fabulous note-taking app. We hope to help you understand the different ways to use this powerful web-based note-taking app.