Evernote for Android review: More than just a simple note-taker

On the app's home screen, there's the Work Chat menu, which shows your existing conversations. While this is the most obvious place to create a new conversation, it's actually recommended that you do that from a note or notebook. You'll see the Work Chat icon above every note or notebook; simply tap it to launch a new conversation or open an existing one.

The app will share access to the content and let you add your own message. You control the sharing permissions, meaning whether someone can edit your notes or only read them. Within the chat, you can also send messages without other Evernote content attached, but Work Chat is really designed for talking about shared notes in the service.

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Work Chat lets you chat with other Evernote users within the app. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Work Chat is only useful for people who collaborate inside Evernote, since it lets you share messages about what you've saved in the service. If, like me, you only use Evernote for yourself, the Work Chat features are useless and best ignored.

Presentation Mode is a new feature for premium users only and it's meant to completely replace standalone presentation programs. Unfortunately, it's only available on Evernote for iOS, Mac and PC for now. For more information about it, check out CNET's review of Evernote's iOS app.

Finally, Context is another premium-only feature that surfaces relevant news articles below your notes to augment what you've already saved or written in Evernote. I find it appears most often below other articles I've clipped, but it's also supposed to show up when your notes have keywords that also pertain to any news articles. Evernote partnered with Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and other publications for the articles you see in Context.

If you aren't a premium subscriber, you'll simply see related notes from your Evernote account below your current note.

Free versus premium

Luckily for anyone who doesn't want to spend money, Evernote's free service is robust, with plenty of features and few limitations. With a free subscription, you're not likely to run into any issues, unless you want to upload a lot of photos or other files into your notes.

If you need more storage space or want more features, the premium version is worth a look. For $5 per month or $45 per year, a premium subscription gets you some of the work-focused features above, plus more monthly upload space for files (4GB with a paid account versus 60MB with free account), offline support for the mobile apps, access to past versions of notes and a PIN lock for the app to protect your data.

The downside with premium is that the price is a bit steep for the features you get. Sure, the PIN lock and offline support are both useful, but I feel that those should be free already. I'd prefer that Evernote charge for storage; if you need more space, you pay to upgrade.

Consider how you'll use the service and even try out the free version for a while before you decide to upgrade, since the premium features aren't must-haves for now.

Final thoughts

Evernote can feel overwhelming at first, since there are so many possible ways to use it. But once you dig in, it can quickly become a wonderful digital file cabinet, filled with photos, notes, files and more.

For keeping notes and saving Web pages, I haven't yet found something I personally like better. That's because the design doesn't get in the way, I can organize my notes and notebooks in any way that makes sense to me and the search tools keeps everything handy, even though I have hundreds of notes spread out over more than 50 notebooks. The system's sync feature keeps everything current, too, so shopping lists I make on my computer appear on my phone, and reminders from my tablet appear on the desktop.

Give Evernote a try if you haven't already, but hold off on upgrading until you get a feel of how you'll use it.

Editors' note: Jaymar Cabebe contributed to this review.

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