Obsidian

Obsidian

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Developer
Dynalist Inc.
Version
1.6.3
Downloads
1747454
Category
Productivity
Android OS
Varies by device
Price
Free

Obsidian is a type of dark, glassy rock which originates from cooling lava. What does this have to do with an app? Well, going back in time to 2020, during the pandemic, the engineers Erica Xu and Shida Li started working on a ground-breaking note-taking app which they named Obsidian as a metaphor. As they officially stated: “If your raw, unstable thoughts are lava, then Obsidian is… well, Obsidian. It is your crystallized (and beautiful) knowledge.”

The developers define it as a knowledge base and a second brain. For those who are not yet familiar with the concept, “building a second brain” is a method formulated by a productivity guru: Tiago Forte, for improving your learning, being more productive and growing personally. In this sense, Obsidian is a knowledge management tool that helps you to create your personal second brain, which would work as an extension of your mind.

To put it simply, it’s like journaling digitally, and makes being more organized easier by allowing you to take notes on the go and then creating a network of interconnected ideas and concepts, much like a mind-map.

Plus and minus points

Nowadays, it’s becoming more and more popular, with around one million users and a growing Discord community of more than 110,000 members. Obsidian users actively contribute to the app’s development by creating new plugins, so this adds value to its customization possibilities. Also, since your notes in Obsidian are locally stored in plain text files in your own device, then you don’t have to worry about depending on the app to access, control and own your notes.

One thing about Obsidian that might be a bit of a downer for not-so-technical users is that at the beginning it takes some time to get accustomed to the interface. Additionally, if you’re not familiar with Markdown language, you’ll need time and patience to catch up with it in order to make the most of the app’s full potential.

Availability

Obsidian is multi-platform, and it’s available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad and Google Play for Android, and also for Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s worth noting that you can sync your notes to any device.

Pricing

Obsidian is free for personal use, while if you’re planning to use it for commercial use, you should get the annual license for each user.

If you’re feeling generous, you can contribute by getting a Catalyst license. Generosity is much appreciated: by supporting Obsidian, you get early access to beta versions, special community badges and a VIP channel.

Add-ons

Obsidian allows you to improve your experience by getting some paid services, which could be billed monthly or annually.

  • Sync is how you can synchronize your notes across any supported device and OS. It’s safe and secure, as it keeps your work synchronized and private through end-to-end encryption, using the strongest encryption standard.
  • Publish lets you put your web of ideas on the web not only to share your notes but also to invite others to collaborate. You don’t need technical knowledge to use it, and by signing up you also get priority email support.

Final thoughts

All things said, I think Obsidian is for you if:

  • you’re a person who needs to organize and manage lots of information (writers, students, researchers);
  • you enjoy learning and profit from connecting multiple thoughts and ideas, gaining a deeper understanding;
  • you value the flexibility of customizing your workspace, and have the knowledge (or don’t mind learning) to do it.

On the other hand, I don’t think Obsidian is for you if:

  • you’re more into traditional note-taking;
  • you wouldn’t be willing to invest time into learning to use a new app;
  • you prefer a simpler, more straight-forward note-taking app.
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Rating

4.4
Pros
  • Simpler alternative to Notion for note-taking.
  • Works offline.
  • 100% user-supported: the community’s feedback is highly valued.
Cons
  • Requires a bit of a learning curve to make the most of it.
  • Paid feature needed to get seamless syncing.
  • Not open-sourced.
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Obsidian

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Frequently asked questions

How does Obsidian stand out from other note-taking apps?

It can be said that Obsidian performs better at executing all the useful features also found in Evernote and Notion. Also, the users’ community has created —and keeps creating— tons of plugins to make up for missing features.

What if I get an add-on, but I don’t see its worth?

Add-ons are proved to be really useful, but in the unlikely event that you’re not satisfied with any of the purchased add-ons, you can get a full refund within 7 days.

Does Obsidian store the users’ data?

No, all data is saved on each users’ device, and never sent to outside servers. Obsidian doesn’t collect personal data.

Screenshots

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