When comparing Simplenote vs Todoist, the Slant community recommends Todoist for most people. In the question“What is the best cross-platform to-do list app?” Todoist is ranked 3rd while Simplenote is ranked 38th. The most important reason people chose Todoist is:
Todoist's web and desktop interfaces have a 2-column layout. The right column has all tasks organized in nested lists with color codes and information such as what people are assigned to each task and which project the task is part of. The left column offers ways of accessing various groups of tasks – tasks that have to be completed within a certain timeframe, tasks that are a part of a certain project or have certain labels attached to them, etc. The left column also contains filters that allow even more advanced ways of finding a group of tasks. The mobile interface follows a similar design philosophy, but gives each column a separate view.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Very simple and clean interface
Simplenote takes a minimalist approach to its interface. There are no toolbars full of formatting options or extra features like notebooks to group notes. The entire desktop interface consists solely of a sidebar with your tags and trash filters, the list of existing notes with search, a button to add a new note and a simple view for looking an existing note or writing a new one.
Pro Geared towards fast usage
Unlike alternatives (such as Evernote) that are laden with features, Simplenote is fast to use and sync. Reviews from the Verge, Lifehacker, and a variety of other sources all describe using the Simplenote apps as very fast. While it may not be as feature-rich as other apps, the responsiveness of the app and simple interface keep it easy to use while never slowing down the user when they need to quickly take a note.
Pro "Time machine" style revision control on the notes
Each edit of a note is saved in order to allow the user to go back to a previous version of a document. This way, if mistakes are made or something is deleted, you can go back to the previous version without any hassle.
Pro Works offline
Users can edit and create documents offline, can then sync their content the next time they are online. This way a user can work even when there's no data connection without the worry of losing work.
Pro Markdown support via web interface
There is support for Markdown when using the web app. This can be convenient for those who want to use Markdown in a particular note.
Pro Wide range of great clients with great sync
Official native apps are available on popular platforms such as Android, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, OS X, Windows and Linux. Open-source clients extend this support even more widely to various other platforms, such as webOS and the BlackBerry PlayBook. These apps embody the core philosophy of Simplenote: minimalism and focus on the note taking.
Pro Desktop app is open source
The desktop version of Simplenote is hosted on the GitHub and since it is open source, it can allow developers to fork the code in order to improve the app.
Pro Excellent iOS app
Pro Linux client available
Pro Can export your data
The program enables exporting of notes as text documents.
Pro Collaborative features
Notes can be shared with others or worked on collaboratively.
Pro Excellent desktop client in the form of nvAlt
Pro Minimalist UI that's designed for efficient use
Todoist's web and desktop interfaces have a 2-column layout. The right column has all tasks organized in nested lists with color codes and information such as what people are assigned to each task and which project the task is part of. The left column offers ways of accessing various groups of tasks – tasks that have to be completed within a certain timeframe, tasks that are a part of a certain project or have certain labels attached to them, etc. The left column also contains filters that allow even more advanced ways of finding a group of tasks.
The mobile interface follows a similar design philosophy, but gives each column a separate view.
Pro Powerful search and filtering functionality
Todoist allows you to perform advanced queries to find tasks that are overdue, have a certain priority level or label, are within a certain project, are assigned to a certain person, or have a deadline set within a certain date range. It also allows combining different queries, removing certain results from the queries, and creating either/or statements.
These queries can be saved as filters for easy access. Filters can be color-coded.
Pro Multiple ways to organize tasks
Tasks can be structured in nested lists. They can be moved around by dragging and dropping them or via keyboard shortcuts. Tasks can be assigned labels, color codes, priorities, and can also be grouped into projects.
Pro Supports natural language input
Todoist supports phrases like "tomorrow," "next month," "in 3 weeks," or for recurring tasks, "every week" or "every 3 days."
Pro Allows sharing and collaborating on tasks
Anyone can be invited to collaborate on tasks and projects. Users can work alongside five people for free and 25 via the paid version. Collaboration includes the ability to assign tasks, comment on tasks, and receive instant updates.
Pro Monitors productivity and rewards it with karma
Todoist monitors how many tasks are completed and gives karma points as rewards for accomplishing them. It can also display charts showing productivity trends, which are great for finding areas that need improvement and increasing your overall productivity. This feature is a great motivator and an effective way of tracking productivity.
Pro No ads in free version
The unpaid version contains no ads or popups encouraging you to upgrade. The only time you will be asked to upgrade is if you attempt to use a premium feature.
Pro Visual scheduling
By clicking on a task and then selecting “schedule,” a dialog box will pop up with shortcuts like "today," "tomorrow," or "postpone until tomorrow." A date can still be entered manually.
Pro Great home screen and lock screen widgets
The native widget is fully functional and editable without needing to open the app. A premium feature allows you to add and edit the task list on your mobile device’s lock screen.
Pro Can be set to send a daily digest email
You can easily program a digest email that will send you an up-do-date summary of your tasks and deadlines.
Pro Allows creating task templates
Tasks can be saved as templates by going to "task actions" and selecting "export as a template." The template will be saved locally. Saved templates can then be imported by going to "task actions" button and clicking "import from template." This allows you to use past task items as a starting point for creating new tasks.
Pro Extensive integration with a wide range of external apps
Todoist offers integration with a wide range of external apps, including Google Drive, Dropbox, Google Maps, Apple Maps, Zapier, Toggl Button, TaskClone, CloudMagic, IFTTT, Calendar Sync, Google Now, Dispatch, Mailplane, Airmail, Drafts, Workflow, PomoDone, 1Password, Powr of You, Mailbird, Yoke, Taco, Ginger Keyboard, Time Doctor, and Rindle.
Pro Browser extension for "add website as task"
Bookmark any webpage as a to-do item.
Pro Allows creating location-based reminders
Location-specific tasks can utilize the GPS in your mobile device to offer reminders when you are in the appropriate vicinity. For example, grocery lists that are linked to the location of your regular grocery store.
Pro Super quick syncing
You can shift between devices without having to worry about if tasks have been synced or not. Todoist sync will always be quicker than you.
Pro Supports text formatting
You can make tasks stand out by setting them in bold and spice up your project names with emojis. Todoist also allows editing of hyperlinked text in the task comments. Hypertext, bold text, italic text, and emojis are supported in task names, project names, and task comments. Emojis are also supported in label names.
Hypertext, bold text, italic text, and emojis are supported in task names, project names, and task comments. Emojis are also supported in label names.
Pro Quickly browse your list through smartwatch devices
The Todoist app supports Apple Watch and Android Wear for instant action and task viewing through smartwatches.
Pro Integration with any app supporting web-calendar link
Pro Infinite list depth
All subtasks are full featured tasks. This means that at a glance you can see subtasks, unlike other applications that require you to open the task.
Pro Smart Schedule (Let AI schedule your tasks)
Todoist Smart Schedule adapts to your habits over time, analyzing your workload and determining how urgent a task is. By using both your past todos and future todos (as well as the data from millions of other users), it can sort your tasks in most important/ most urgent order, if you want.
Pro Business strategy doesn't hinge on being acquired
Doist publicly declared their opposition to exit strategies like acquisition that regularly leave users high and dry (https://blog.doist.com/why-we-don-t-have-an-exit-strategy-d3256107d958).
Pro On mobile apps, swipe left/right performs fast reschedule/done
Swipe right to mark a task as done, swipe left brings up several rescheduling options (tomorrow, next week, specific date, etc.).
Pro Quickly assign a task to a project as you type with #
Typing # while entering a new task brings up the list of projects (and sub-projects) to assign the task to. Type in any letters of the project name to filter the list to a subset of projects that have those letters in them.
Con Search is limited to one tag
There seems to be no way to find notes that have both tag X and tag Y. This isn't a big deal until you have a large library of notes, and want to cross-search for two things at the same time to vastly narrow down your search.
Con Limited ways to reorder notes
You are able to sort your notes alphabetically, date modified, or by last created. There is no way to drag and drop the notes to create a custom order.
Con No support for file attachments
Simplenote doesn't provide support for embedded attachments. This can limit the use for some as many other note-taking apps do support this type of feature.
Con No Widgets on Android
There is no way to view a list of the notes in Simplenote via a Widget on Android
Con No reminders
You cannot set reminders to revisit a specific note or complete a task.
Con No 32-bit version
Con The search function doesn't see tags
If you search for 'foo' you won't find notes with tag foo. In that regard, tags are completely isolated from the search.
Con No way to bulk-apply a tag
This is a typical workflow action in other apps: Do a search, multi-select notes among the matches, then apply or de-apply one or more tags to all these notes at once.
There's no way to do this in Simplenote. The only bulk operations are Delete and Pin-to-top.
Con No notification when changes made on a shared note
Currently, there is no way to be alerted when a change is made by another contributor on a shared note.
Con Save-to-disk feature is poor
The only way to download your data off Simplenote is via a "download zip" feature that unfortunately loses all the semantic structure of your data (tags, for instance).
Con No integrated social media sharing
The only way you can share notes with others is with a link you're given when you publish your note. There is no integrated social media sharing if you directly want to post your note to Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Con Lack of color impacts usability
There are two themes available, the default theme and a dark theme.
Both use only the single solid color (either white or black) for the background, so there is a lack of visual cues to separate what you're looking at.
Con Does not listen to user suggestions
Todoist has been shown to be fairly unresponsive to requests from their user community. An example can be seen here.
Con Annual subscription required for notifications and attachments
A yearly subscription costs $29.
Con Awkward data entry
Several aspects of data entry are far more awkward than they should be: Adding notes, moving subtasks within the outline, and scheduling repeating tasks are all handled better by other apps. Adding notes cannot be done while creating the task, but must be done after. Moving items within the outline hierarchy is very clumsy and the use of keyboard shortcuts (such as holding down 2 or 3) requires knowledge of your current level in the hierarchy (which is not always clear). Finally, there is a natural language syntax for repeating tasks but it is very finicky and there is no good feedback mechanism to tell you whether or not it’s working.
Con Heavy premium advertisement
There is a screaming red "Upgrade and get more done" badge fixed in the bottom of the view, and additional features free users cannot access.
Con Labels (@contexts, etc.) only available with premium subscription
Con No way to add additional info to a task
There is no metadata for the task itself, like a description. While a paid feature allows you to write comments and attach files, info could be lost in the conversation.
Con Makes it too hard to see all tasks assigned to you across the app
There is no default or easy-to-access view to simply see all your tasks from all your different projects. You have to use the filter (to:me) which seems like too much effort for something that should really be a default view.
Con Free version has limited functionality
Without a subscription you won’t have access to reminders, comments, or labels and filters. These are features that many users find essential, but aren't included without a subscription.
Con Using "next" actions requires a messy workaround
Todoist was not designed for "next" actions. You can use a workaround by manually setting certain items as priority and then filtering them, but that process requires a lot more management than other tools.
Con Not much independence of customising the layout
This has been a consistent "con" with Todoist. You cannot decide what should be the size of the fonts. You cannot switch between one-column layout and 2-column layout. You cannot view completed tasks. It is a brilliant application of course, but the development team is stuck on its basic idea of the app and after that they just haven't been developing further.
Con Cannot import data
Con Cannot export data
Con Does not have a reminder snooze
Con Mac Mail not supported
Even in the Pro version, Mac Mail is not supported for sending tasks as email attachments. There are some workarounds to send mail, but those attachments will still be impossible to forward.
Con Very basic compared to alternatives
Compared to some other options, this is not a feature-rich app. The free version is not much better than keeping a text file of your to-dos.
Con Lacks advanced task repeating options
For example: second Saturday of every 2 months.
Con Can't mark all completed tasks uncompleted
It's possible to select multiple uncompleted tasks, but there's no way to select completed tasks.
Con Naming convention for labels is very limited
No spaces or special chars are allowed.
Con Recurring tasks are hard to set because the app only supports "natural language"
Con Latest iPhone app only available for iOS 8 and above
The latest iPhone app is only available for iOS 8 and above, which excludes users with iPhone 4 or older models. Older versions of the app that can be used with previous iOS versions can be found here.