Evernote on Android is a completely new app with new limitations

It was once the household name in productivity but Evernote rested on its laurels far too long, allowing new competitors to catch up and even surpass it when it came to features. The former unicorn has been trying to make up for lost time, though not at a pace that its own users would have liked. Still, even a little progress goes a long way and its latest update for Android can hardly be considered little. It is a completely new app with a fresh design and fresh features but, unfortunately, comes at some rather heavy costs.

One of the biggest complaints about the classic Evernote experience was that it was slow. While it relatively easy to get notes into the app, using the app and even searching in notes was hardly ideal in this fast-paced mobile world. Evernote has been addressing those complaints on its Web app as well as its backend, and it is now bringing those improvements to the Android app.

If there's an overarching theme for this update, it would be "speed". The new interface makes it easier and faster to get to your notes by using a navigation panel that slides from the left rather than hiding behind menus. There is also a faster search feature that even offers real-time suggestions as you type.

As for the note-taking experience itself, the new "New note" button is strategically placed at the center bottom edge of the screen for easier reach, offering the same variety of new content you might want to add in a single tap. The improved note editor also places formatting options right under your fingertips and is advertised to be more consistent with the note editor on other platforms.

Now for the catch. The new Evernote for Android app is compatible only with Android 10, which already limits how many users will be able to get the new experience. That said, the update also loses features like home screen widgets, sharing a note via e-mail, and integration with password managers, so some users might actually prefer staying on the older version until these are ironed out completely. Given Evernote's pace, however, that might not happen any time soon.