CollaNote vs. Goodnotes: Which Should You Use?

Here’s my honest CollaNote vs. Goodnotes comparison guide.

If you’re looking for the perfect iPad note-taking companion, these two apps always pop up. While they offer similar note-taking features, they’re different in many ways. Here’s how:

The main difference is that CollaNote emphasizes real-time collaboration features and offers a subscription-based pricing model, whereas Goodnotes focuses on advanced note-taking functionalities like handwriting recognition and follows a one-time purchase pricing model.

CollaNote vs. Goodnotes: Key Features at a Glance:

PriceFree and cheaper plansPricier
Audio Recording✔️
Handwriting Recognition✔️✔️
Cloud Sync✔️✔️

What is Collanote and how does it work?

CollaNote is like your all-in-one digital workspace. Think note-taking, flashcards, mindmaps, and even real-time collaboration with classmates. It has tons of bells and whistles, and you can scribble with your Apple Pencil, type notes, and import all sorts of files.

CollaNote Pros:

  • Free version!
  • Packed with features (flashcards, audio, collab)
  • Versatile for many uses
  • Great built-in templates
  • Frequent updates with new features

CollaNote Cons:

  • Can feel a tad overwhelming at first
  • Handwriting isn’t quite as refined as Goodnotes
  • Some advanced tools are only in paid plans

What is Goodnotes and how does it work?

Goodnotes is a versatile digital note-taking application designed for iOS devices, including iPads and iPhones. It caters to students, professionals, and creative individuals who seek a comprehensive solution for organizing, annotating, and sharing their notes seamlessly.

Goodnotes Pros:

  • Advanced handwriting recognition for converting handwritten notes into digital text.
  • Extensive customization options, including customizable templates and digital handwriting styles.
  • PDF annotation capabilities for annotating and editing PDF documents directly within the app.
  • Shape recognition feature for creating precise shapes and diagrams effortlessly.
  • Seamless integration with iCloud and popular cloud storage services for easy access and synchronization of notes across devices.

Goodnotes Cons:

  • Available only for iOS devices, limiting accessibility for users on other platforms.
  • Requires a one-time purchase, which may be less cost-effective for users who prefer subscription-based pricing models.
  • Limited collaboration features compared to some other note-taking apps.
  • May have a learning curve for new users, especially those unfamiliar with digital note-taking tools.

CollaNote vs. Goodnotes: Detailed Feature Comparison

Let’s dive right in as we explore the seven core features and how they compare:

1. User Interface:

CollaNote boasts a clean and modern user interface, offering intuitive navigation and organization tools for seamless note-taking.

Goodnotes provides a visually appealing interface with customizable templates and digital handwriting tools, enhancing the overall note-taking experience.

Verdict: Goodnotes wins for its customizable templates and digital handwriting tools, providing a personalized note-taking environment.

2. Features and Functionality:

CollaNote offers essential note-taking features such as text formatting, organization tools, and real-time collaboration.

Goodnotes provides advanced features including handwriting recognition, PDF annotation, and shape recognition, catering to users with diverse note-taking needs.

Verdict: Goodnotes emerges as the winner for its advanced features and functionalities, offering a comprehensive note-taking solution.

3. Compatibility:

Both CollaNote and Goodnotes are compatible with iOS and Android devices, ensuring cross-platform accessibility for users.

Additionally, they offer synchronization options with cloud storage services like iCloud and Google Drive, enabling seamless access to notes across devices.

Verdict: It’s a tie; both tools excel in compatibility and cross-platform accessibility.

4. Customization Options:

CollaNote provides basic customization options, allowing users to customize text formatting and organization preferences.

Goodnotes offers extensive customization features, including template customization, digital handwriting styles, and color options, enhancing the note-taking experience.

Verdict: Goodnotes wins for its extensive customization options, providing users with greater control over their note-taking environment.

5. Export and Sharing:

CollaNote allows users to export notes in various formats and share them via email or messaging apps.

Goodnotes offers similar export options with additional features such as AirDrop and Dropbox integration, facilitating seamless sharing and collaboration.

Verdict: Goodnotes wins for its additional sharing options and integration with popular cloud storage services, enhancing collaboration and productivity.

6. Search and Organization:

CollaNote provides basic search and organization features, allowing users to search for notes by keyword and organize them into folders.

Goodnotes offers advanced search capabilities with handwriting recognition, enabling users to search for handwritten notes and organize them with customizable tags and labels.

Verdict: Goodnotes emerges as the winner for its advanced search and organization features, providing users with efficient note retrieval and organization options.

7. Price and Subscription Model:

CollaNote offers a subscription-based pricing model with monthly and annual plans. Goodnotes follows a one-time purchase model with no recurring subscription fees, providing lifetime access to all features and updates.

Verdict: It’s subjective; users may prefer CollaNote’s subscription-based model for its flexibility in payment options, while others may favor Goodnotes’ one-time purchase option for its simplicity and cost-effectiveness.

CollaNote Use Case Examples:

  1. Remote Team Collaboration: A marketing agency, “Digital Solutions Inc.,” uses CollaNote to facilitate remote team collaboration. They create shared notebooks for different projects, allowing team members to collaborate in real-time on brainstorming sessions, project plans, and content calendars. With CollaNote’s real-time editing and commenting features, the team can efficiently collaborate on projects regardless of their location, improving productivity and communication.
  2. Student Study Groups: A university study group, “BioTech Scholars,” utilizes CollaNote to collaborate on group projects and share study materials. They create shared notebooks for each course, where they can collectively take notes, discuss lecture topics, and share resources such as articles and research papers. CollaNote’s organization and collaboration features enable the study group to stay organized and effectively study together, leading to improved academic performance.

Goodnotes Use Cases:

  1. Medical Professionals’ Note-Taking: A group of doctors at a hospital, “MediCare Clinic,” relies on Goodnotes for digital note-taking during patient consultations. They use Goodnotes to annotate medical records, draw diagrams to explain treatments, and create personalized care plans for patients. Goodnotes’ handwriting recognition feature allows them to convert handwritten notes into digital text, ensuring accurate documentation and easy sharing of patient information among healthcare providers.
  2. Architectural Design Sketches: An architectural firm, “Design Innovations Studio,” employs Goodnotes for creating and sharing design sketches with clients. They use Goodnotes to sketch architectural plans, annotate blueprints, and collaborate with clients on design revisions. Goodnotes’ precision drawing tools and PDF annotation capabilities enable the firm to create professional-grade sketches and share them seamlessly with clients, facilitating efficient communication and project management.

CollaNote vs. Goodnotes Pricing at a Glance:

Pricing PlansCollaNoteGoodnotes
Monthly Subscription$5.99/monthNot Available
Annual Subscription$59.99/yearNot Available
Free Trial14-day trialNot Available

This table provides a summary of the pricing plans for CollaNote and Goodnotes. Collanote offers both monthly and annual subscription options, priced at $5.99/month and $59.99/year, respectively.

In addition, CollaNote provides a 14-day free trial for users to explore its features before committing to a subscription.

Goodnotes, on the other hand, does not offer a subscription model and follows a one-time purchase pricing model with no recurring fees. Both tools include updates and support as part of their pricing plans.

What to consider when choosing between CollaNote and Goodnotes

Here’s a deeper dive into the 5 factors to consider when choosing a note-taking app:

1. Budget:

CollaNote’s generous free plan and lower-priced upgrade tiers give it a serious edge if you’re watching your spending. It’s ideal for students or anyone trying out in-depth digital note-taking for the first time.

Goodnotes’ one-time price is substantial, especially compared to CollaNote’s subscription model. However, if you know you’ll be using it heavily for years, that one-time purchase could work out better in the long term.

2. Feature Needs:

Ask yourself: what do I absolutely need? CollaNote’s audio recording, flashcards, and real-time collaboration are game-changers for specific workflows. If you don’t need those, Goodnotes’ laser focus on note-taking itself might be a better fit.

Consider not just your current needs, but how you see your note-taking style evolving in the future.

3. Handwriting Experience:

Both apps feel good to write in, but have different strengths. Goodnotes prioritizes the smoothest, most realistic digital ink experience.

If calligraphy, beautiful journaling, or detailed sketch noting is your jam, Goodnotes excels. CollaNote’s handwriting is solid, but it trades a bit of finesse for its broader feature set.

4. Work Style:

Are you a solo learner or do you thrive on collaboration? CollaNote makes sharing notes and working together in real-time a breeze.

If your study groups or work projects demand these tools, it’s a strong contender. Goodnotes, on the other hand, is designed for individual creativity and focused note-taking.

5. Feature Updates & App Maturity:

CollaNote, being newer, regularly adds features and improvements. This is exciting but means occasional changes to the interface or some functions feeling slightly rough around the edges.

Goodnotes is a mature, stable app with fewer major shakeups.

This reliability means you can depend on how it works day-to-day, but might not see as many thrilling new features pop up.


Are CollaNote and Goodnotes compatible with my devices?

Both CollaNote and Goodnotes are compatible with iOS and Android devices, ensuring accessibility across smartphones and tablets. However, CollaNote may also offer compatibility with web browsers for additional flexibility.

Can I collaborate with others using CollaNote and Goodnotes?

Yes, both CollaNote and Goodnotes support collaboration features, allowing users to share notebooks and collaborate in real-time. Users can invite collaborators to edit and comment on notes, facilitating teamwork and group projects.

Do CollaNote and Goodnotes offer handwriting recognition?

Goodnotes provides handwriting recognition features, allowing users to convert handwritten notes into digital text for easier editing and sharing. However, CollaNote may not offer this functionality.

Are there any limitations on file size or storage with CollaNote and Goodnotes?

CollaNote and Goodnotes may have limitations on file size and storage capacity, depending on the subscription plan or pricing tier. Users should review the storage options and limitations provided by each tool.

What customer support options are available for CollaNote and Goodnotes?

Both CollaNote and Goodnotes offer customer support options, including email support, knowledge base articles, and community forums. Users can access help resources and contact support teams for assistance with any issues or inquiries.

Is CollaNote better than Goodnotes? Takeaway

There’s no clear-cut “winner” here. It depends on what you need from your digital notebook! Let’s boil it down:

CollaNote shines if…

  • You’re on a budget and want powerful features right out of the gate.
  • You need audio recording, flashcards, or want to collaborate with others.
  • You love an all-in-one system for notes, planning, and mindmaps.

Goodnotes is king if…

  • Your top priority is the most beautiful, pen-on-paper-like handwriting experience.
  • You’re willing to pay more for a polished, well-established app.
  • You crave deep focus while note-taking with fewer distractions.

Bonus Tip: The beauty of iPad note-taking is that you can try both! CollaNote’s free plan and Goodnotes’ trials let you get a feel before committing.

A Note about updates: CollaNote is a newer kid on the block, so they push out updates and features pretty frequently.

This also means some things might occasionally feel unpolished compared to the rock-solid stability of Goodnotes. Keep this in mind if you like apps with steady, predictable release cycles.