When comparing DEVONthink vs Roam Research, the Slant community recommends Roam Research for most people. In the question“What are the best personal Knowledge Base apps?” Roam Research is ranked 9th while DEVONthink is ranked 23rd.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Can store any file type
File types containing text are indexed.
Pro Very flexible
An extensive feature set makes it easy to adapt to your work flow.
Pro Completely offline
Pro Full text search
Pro Webpage Clipper
A flexible web clipper can add contents of any web page to DevonThink.
Sync between different macs and/or ios devices is fast, safe and easy. You can sync via iCloud, Dropbox, WebDAV or WiFi.
Pro Paperless office functions available in PRO Office version
Includes processing of scanned documents, OCR etc.
The OCR function is based on FineReader and is probably the best one on the market.
Pro One-time purchase vs monthly subscription.
Pro In place page creation / linking with brackets or hashtags
Pro Rename a page and all everything that references it renames as well
No broken links!
Pro Each bullet point can be either linked to, or included in full in any page (including the page it originated on. Yay transclusion!)
Pro Shift click on a link pulls up the link in a side panel without navigating you away
Pro Each bullet point on a page is zoomable as it's own 'wiki page'
Pro Helpful slash (/) commands while editing for autocomplete, TODOs and more
Pro Easy page merging.
Pro Explicit linked references included on every page at the bottom
Pro Supports markdown
Pro Bi-directional links
Pro Graph overview allows you to easily see how nodes relate
Pro Supports in place datalog queries
Pro In place editing
Pro Supports hiccup syntax for HTML snippets
Pro A default place for "Daily Notes" means not having to worry where a new note *should* go.
Con Only runs on Macs, iPoneOS, iPadOS & Web
It does not run on Windows, Android, and Linux.
Con Stores in a proprietary format
It stores the whole database in a proprietary file package, that you cannot easily access from another app or from the Finder. Considering you might be classifying a huge quantity of files there, it is quite problematic if you want to interact with this data from other applications.
Con Very limited automation
While the marketing claims are about an intelligent document manager, it actually does not offer many automation features, such as automatic classification, tagging and renaming of the files. It's much more like an extended file explorer.
Con Costs US$79.95 for just the Personal version
One-time purchase instead of monthly subscription.
Con Non free/libre (proprietary)
Con No mobile app
You can port Roam to Hermit, but there is no offline capacity.
Con No established pricing model, this could get expensive later
Rumored to be upwards of $30/month
Con No offline mode
The information can be accessed on the browser offline, but you cannot edit it.
Con Very expensive pricing model, no 'free' tier
For what still feels like beta-software, it's pricing model is very expensive in comparison with competitors that generally offer free tiers for example.
Con Forces you to edit with markdown, rather than wysiwyg
This issue is made worse by super basic formatting bugs, like if you want to for example unbold some text with control/cmd-b, it rather double-bolds it (e.g. it becomes bolded text), making the non-wysiwygness even more messy.