When comparing Apple Notes vs Roam Research, the Slant community recommends Roam Research for most people. In the question“What is the best cross-platform note taking app?” Roam Research is ranked 22nd while Apple Notes is ranked 38th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Sync with other Apple devices via iCloud, other cloud/email services
It syncs with iCloud, and surprisingly, also with Gmail and possibly other services too.
It's a default system app, making it easy to find and use since it is already installed.
Pro Rich-text editing
Allows for simple text formatting and making TODO lists with checkboxes.
You can add files to notes and then filter notes by attachment types.
Pro Supports sharing
Pro It's fast, and syncing is very dependable
The app launches quickly on both Mac and iOS, it also syncs quickly (in seconds) and very dependably across different Apple devices.
Pro It remains simple to use with a gentle learning curve
Despite the significant new updates in iOS 9 and iOS 10, you can start using Notes immediately, then try/master new features with ease — definitely a gentle learning curve.
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 Cannot export to a format that can be imported again
This makes it obscure and cumbersome to back up your notes as files that could be managed by your backup system. You can export to PDF, but not in bulk; and this isn't the native format that you can easily recover with.
Apple compounds the problem by using some undocumented format for notes. You can, however, back them all up by backing up the files found in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Library/Notes
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.