I’ve been using Evernote on a variety of devices to help keep notes, blog posts and study material in sync for a couple of years. What helped pique my interest was the O2 customer special deal of a free year on their premium service plan. This includes offline data and a few other services. Its been very nice, I’ve sync’ed between Evernote on Windows Phone, my iPad and my Nokia C7 using the third-party client Notekeeper.
However, one thing that has annoyed me with Evernote, no matter whether you have offline access or not, is that the sync service isn’t quite 100%. Its fine when you have wifi and a good data connection everywhere, but here in the UK I do travel to some places where the quality of the data connection isn’t 100% and this can lead to some problems. In particular, if you are updating a document and want to save a small edit; I was updating some notes for the CP-123 review the other day and I was in a bit of a black spot for mobile coverage. I had a few minutes to kill, so I added another paragraph to the review and saved the document. Evernote went through the motions of syncing and because I’d had experience of this before, I went back into the document to make sure my changes were there. Unfortunately not – ten minutes of note-taking gone into the ether.
As I said, Evernote has got ‘previous’ in this area for me and this has been the final straw. In addition I usually sync between my Lumia and my iPad and I’ve had problems when Evernote has said its sync’ed my document (via wifi) from the phone to the cloud (or from the iPad to the cloud) and neither device will pick up the changes. Eventually after much stabbing of the ‘sync’ button it would complete, but this isn’t the best way to keep your documents upto date.
So I needed a way to sync documents between my iPad and Lumia and for the Lumia to store documents locally until I could sync the changes with a good data connection. I’d never really used the Office suite supplied with the Lumia, but it offered a way forward; I could sync with OneDrive (which I have both on the Lumia and iPad) and I can store files on my MicroSD card on the Lumia. I’d also read a lot about Microsoft Word and Excel on the iPad but didn’t have an Office 365 account. However, a closer read through the Apple app store revealed that I could have limited editing facilities by simply using my Microsoft account.
Word and Excel on the iPad take up quite a bit of space (about 450Mb apiece) but you get pretty well fully functional word processing and spread sheet apps, on the iPad. The iPad version can be linked to both OneDrive and Dropbox. Though the Lumia doesn’t support Dropbox integration from within the app (one for an update Microsoft?) the recently announced DropBox app does allow you to download files (but only upload photos – so one way transfer at the moment) so if you needed a file and it was residing in your DropBox folder, there is a way to get the file.
This way I can keep my documents in sync by using cloud storage as a transfer system and if I’m out and about save it to MicroSD card if there is poor mobile / wifi coverage.
Another couple of advantages of using the Office suite is that the Word app on the iPad is very functional – there are a lot of features available and its not just some cut-down RTF text editor. Something else that has always irritated me about Evernote on the Lumia is that that it doesn’t support landscape typing, you have to use portrait mode all the time. For someone that has large hands, this just reduces the functionality of the application – so when I found that I could use Word on the Lumia in this mode, that sold it for me.
Don’t get me wrong, Evernote is a very good application for keeping notes, but the irritations I’ve described have just pushed me towards the Office suite. Until there is good connectivity everywhere, for me having the option of local storage in an app is a must and that’s where at the moment, Office is a win for me.