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Obsidian Review (2024): Features, Pricing, and Alternatives

obsidian review

score: 4.7/5

Starting price: $50 per user per year

Main features:

  • Link
  • chart view
  • Work order management
  • Canvas function
  • plug-in

Obsidian blends the flexibility of note-taking with the power of a personal knowledge base, blurring the boundaries between how we organize and connect our ideas. Its unique markdown methodology and chart view functionality caters to a wide audience including writers and researchers.

In this Obsidian review, we dissect its features, pricing, and alternatives to provide a fresh perspective on traditional tools like Microsoft Office and new platforms like Notion.

What is obsidian?

Obsidian is a note-taking application based on Markdown, which is good at building online knowledge bases. It allows users to create, link and organize notes in a highly customizable environment, which makes information retrieval intuitive and efficient.

Hands-On Obsidian Review Results

standard Fraction
feature 4/5
Price 4.9/5
user experience 5/5

Obsidian Pricing

Fraction: 4.9/5

Pricing plan Monthly cost (per user, billed monthly) Monthly cost (per user, billed annually)
personal use $0 $0
business use _ Annual fee $50
Sync plug-in 5 USD $4
Publish add-ons $10 per site $8 per site

personal use

For personal use, Obsidian is free and includes all app features including themes, plugins, and API access. No account or registration is required, and users can enjoy community support.

business use

The plan is priced at $50 per user per year and is tailored for business users, offering a commercial use license, 14-day free trial and priority support.

add-ons

Obsidian also provides additional services to enhance the user experience:

  • Synchronize: The service costs $5 per user per month, billed monthly, and includes syncing notes across devices, end-to-end encryption, version history, and priority email support.
  • release: Billed monthly for $10 per site, users can easily publish notes to the web, with graphical views and outlines, no technical knowledge required and priority email support.
  • Catalyst solution: This is a one-time payment of over $25 for the Catalyst plan, for users who wish to further support Obsidian development. It offers early access to the beta, special community badges, and access to VIP channels.

Obsidian Core Features

Fraction: 4/5

Link

Obsidian’s linking feature allows the creation of direct connections between notes, allowing users to easily reference and navigate related content. You can keep track of paragraphs of text by linking them together. The team will be able to revisit ideas and view additional needed information. They can also go back and connect ideas as they see fit. It’s like a reference link in a research paper, but on a much larger scale.

Learn to create links.
Learn to create links. Image credit: Collins Ayuya/TechRepublic

graphics

Diagram view in Obsidian provides a visual map of notes and their relationships, providing a unique perspective on your knowledge base. It is a network of interconnected notes. This is useful for viewing relationships, organizing, and diagramming brainstorming ideas. These maps are interactive and highlight each note’s relationships as you hover over each note.

Connect all my notes in chart view.
Connect all my notes in chart view. Image credit: Collins Ayuya/TechRepublic

canvas

Canvas in Obsidian is a flexible space where users can organize their ideas and notes visually. The interface is similar to Figma, and you can arrange text boxes and images however you want. You can organize and connect notes visually in any layout. Teams can work with audio, video, images, and PDFs in Canvas, use the workspace as a working view for notes, and nest canvas views within canvas views.

Set up the canvas in Obsidian.
Set up the canvas in Obsidian. Image credit: Collins Ayuya/TechRepublic

plug-in

Obsidian supports a variety of community-developed plug-ins that extend the functionality of the application. Currently, there are over 1,000 plugins to choose from, and the variety is huge. They have plugins for various exports, working with HTML, software integrations, AI assistants, annotations, and more.

Some of the core plugins available for Obsidian.
Some of the core plugins available for Obsidian. Image: Collins Ayuya/TechRepublic.

Synchronize

Obsidian Sync is a premium service that provides end-to-end encrypted note synchronization across devices. Whether you’re working on a desktop, laptop or mobile device, it ensures your data is securely updated and accessed.

For an extra $4 per month, you get end-to-end encryption, offline working capabilities, version history for each note, and cross-platform capabilities. If you want a consistent workflow across devices, then you should consider syncing.

Synchronized action.
Synchronized action.Image: Obsidian

release

With Obsidian Publish, users can share their notes and knowledge base with the world. This service transforms your Obsidian Vault into a publicly accessible website where you can share ideas and information on a personal or professional platform.

Starting at $8 per month per website, you get up to 4 GB of hosting space, customizable themes and domain names, priority email support, and SEO and mobile performance. Features also include hover previews, graph views, stacked pages and backlinks, and a variety of authoring and collaboration options.

Publishing example in Obsidian.
Publishing example in Obsidian.Image: Obsidian

Obsidian User Experience

Fraction: 5/5

Obsidian has a visually appealing user interface that makes it easy to get started and use without much guidance. It also has native mobile and tablet apps for iOS and Android, so users can seamlessly access and edit notes across devices. While its core functionality focuses on Markdown-based note-taking, its extensive plugin ecosystem allows for significant customization, including adding automation features to streamline workflows.

Obsidian Advantages and Disadvantages

advantage shortcoming
Simple, intuitive and uncluttered interface. Too simple for data-intensive projects or teams that need more functionality.
Ability to use it locally and on mobile devices via subscription. With the exception of sync plugins, security is maintained by individuals.
There are many kinds of plug-ins. The plugin community is risky and unsupported.
Multiple flexible pricing options. Customization can be time-consuming.

Best uses for obsidian

Obsidian’s versatility makes it ideal for a variety of applications, from personal note-taking to complex project management. Here are some of the best uses for obsidian.

writing and research

Obsidian excels as a writing tool, especially for those who prefer Markdown for formatting, with its ability to link notes and sources and simplify the organization of research material. Its seamless integration of writing and note management makes it the perfect choice for writers, journalists, and researchers.

Project Tracking

With features like the Kanban board plugin, Obsidian can be transformed into a powerful project management tool. Users can track the progress of various tasks and projects, moving projects to different stages of completion, open to freelancers, project managers, and anyone who needs to keep tabs on multiple projects.

personal knowledge management

Obsidian’s links and backlinks make it useful for building a personal knowledge base. Users can create a network of interconnected notes, making it easier to store, retrieve, and connect information. This is very convenient for students, academics and life-long learners.

digital gardening

For those interested in digital gardening, Obsidian provides a canvas on which ideas can grow and develop over time. Diagram views and customizable links enable users to see how their ideas intersect, fostering creative exploration and idea development.

Obsidian Alternatives and Competitors

obsidian Evernote notebook concept
Support price reduction Yes No No Yes
Graphical view of annotation connections Yes No No Yes (with restrictions)
Plug-in support extensive limited limited ease
starting price Free or $50 per year paid plan Free or $7.99 per month.For paid plans free Free or $4 per month.For paid plans
Easy to use Medium learning curve user friendly user friendly Intuitive and user-friendly
Real-time collaboration via plugin Yes Yes Yes

Evernote

Evernote logo.
Image: Evernote

Evernote is an effective tool for web clipping and cross-platform note access. Its simple user interface and organizational features cater to both personal and professional note-taking needs, making it a reliable choice for capturing and organizing information from a variety of sources.

For more information, read our Evernote review.

notebook

Microsoft OneNote logo
Image: Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote provides a flexible digital notebook experience that is useful for users embedded in the Microsoft ecosystem. Its free-form canvas and deep integration with Office tools make it ideal for detailed note-taking, project planning, and collaboration, especially for students and professionals.

For more information, read our OneNote review.

concept

Concept sign.
Image: concept

Notion is an all-in-one workspace function that integrates notes, tasks, databases and wikis. If you’re looking for a highly customizable platform to manage your work and personal life, with strong support for collaboration and organization, then Notion should be on your shortlist.

For more information, read our Notion review.

Obsidian Review Method

Our review of Obsidian focuses on three key categories: core functionality, user experience, and pricing. The maximum score for each category is five points, with Obsidian scoring very highly.

We tested the tool to see how Obsidian handles links, notes, and more. From the start, it’s simple, beautiful, and easy to use. Based on our hands-on experience, we looked at Obsidian’s use cases – its pros, cons and ultimately alternatives in case users aren’t impressed with Obsidian.

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