Joplin (opens in new tab) is the brainchild of a solo developer named Laurent Cozic, who released the first version of the app in 2017. He made it open source (opens in new tab)so that other developers can bring in their expertise to add more features to the note-taking app.
Cozic released a mobile (Android) version of Joplin in July 2017 and a desktop version a few months later. In 2021, he launched Joplin Cloud, a paid service that allows users of the note-taking app to sync or share notes with each other.
Many people consider Joplin to be an excellent note-taking app (opens in new tab)so we decided to see for ourselves if the app deserves the compliments it gets.
Joplin: subscriptions and prices
As we mentioned, the main Joplin app is free to use. But you’ll have to pay for the Joplin cloud service to allow syncing and sharing of notes, customer support and access to the app via a web interface. You can choose one of three plans; Base, Proand teams.
The Basic plan costs €1.99 per month, Pro costs €5.99 per month and Teams costs €7.99 per user per month (for a minimum of 2 users), or in your local currency equivalent. You get a significant discount if you pay for 12 months in one go.
You can take advantage of the 14-day free trial to test the Joplin Cloud service before making a final decision. We recommend any user to do this as the platform does not offer refunds to customers.
To use Joplin for free, you need to download the app on your desktop or mobile phone. You can download the desktop app package for the Windows, macOS or Linux operating systems directly from the official website. Likewise, you can download the mobile apps from the Google Play Store (Android) or Apple App Store (iOS).
Otherwise, you can access Joplin through a web-based interface if you use Joplin Cloud. The web-based version has a similar interface to the desktop or mobile app.
The core function of Joplin is the digital notebook, which is akin to a paper notebook, but with virtually unlimited functions. You can create a new notebook and type content in it at any time. To do this, check the top left corner of the dashboard for the “+” button and click on it.
Clicking that button will take you to the note editor where you can write your notes. This editor allows you to format text in several ways. For example, you can: in bold or italicize text. You can also create hyperlinks to link text to web addresses. Similarly, you can create bulleted or numbered lists.
A good thing about Joplin’s note editor is that you can attach multimedia (images and videos), which can convey a lot of information.
Once you are done typing in the note editor, you can save your notepad to the Joplin app using your device storage. If you use Joplin Cloud, you can: share your notebooks with other Joplin users to view or edit them.
Likewise, Joplin Cloud users can: sync their notes with their account and access them on any device with their credentials. There is no limit on the number of devices you can sync, but the storage is limited to 10 GB on the highest plan.
Joplin: interface and usage
We encountered no significant challenges using Joplin. The app has a pretty neat interface that makes it easy to navigate. Compatibility is top notch, as you can access Joplin through a web-based interface or native apps on the most popular desktop and mobile operating systems.
One of the major drawbacks of the Joplin app is that you cannot directly contact support representatives for solutions to any issues you encounter with the app. But instead there is an official support forum where users often exchange answers to each other’s questions. Similarly, you can use the Discord chat server or the unofficial Subreddit to seek or offer help where you can.
Joplin: The Competition
Popular alternatives to Joplin are Evernote (opens in new tab), Quip and Obsidian. Evernote is the main competitor, so Joplin offers a tool that allows you to import your notes from it.
Evernote has more features than Joplin, but is quite expensive. On the other hand, Joplin offers many useful features for free, so we think it is the better choice.
Joplin: Final verdict
If you want a free, easy-to-use app that allows you to effectively take notes, go for Joplin. The extensive feature set it offers for free is valuable, and the extra paid features make it worth it.
The main drawback we observed with the app is the limited customer support.
We’ve highlighted the best note-taking apps for Android.