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Notion vs Bear

by | Software Review

The modern age demands more and more organization from us every day. It can be impossible at times for us to keep up with everything going on around us, and stay productive at the same time.

This struggle is at the very core of the modern professional, and it has not gone unnoticed. Many project management, note taking, and organization applications have been developed over the last two decades to help with this struggle.

Two popular pieces of software in this field are Notion and Bear. Both designed to help their users stay organized, collaborate, and keep track of their notes with ease. Today we’ll be looking deeper into each of these pieces of software, and see how they match up against each other.


What is Notion?

Notion is often referred to as a ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of project management platforms. The team behind Notion have worked hard to provide a platform that offers a complete range of software solutions for business and personal organization. Notion works to bring together the features of many different project management tools, all housed in a single workspace program.

What is Bear?

Bear is an organization platform that is new to the scene, compared to many other titans who have a long history. Developed by the Shiny Frog team, Bear quickly rose to popularity. Even cementing itself as the most popular app on the iOS store in 2016. The platform combines note taking and organization features to provide you a streamlined notebook of your thoughts and business.

Notion Pros

is well known in the project management industry. Standing on the foundation of an incredible reputation. Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits that the platform is known for:

An Extensive Template System

Notion is built on a template system at its backend. Templates can be used to set up large parts of your Notion platform in an instant, and are often created to fit a wide range of users needs. This can include anything from novel planning, software development, databases, development roadmaps, and much more. 

Notion’s templates are also created by third-party users, as well as the Notion team themselves. Meaning that if you need a very specific template, then it’s quite likely someone has made one.

Wide Range of Integrations

Notion has put in the work to provide a wide range of integrations on its platform. In fact, it is impressive with the sheer scale of third-party integrations that the platform supports. With over 10,000 different software integrations possible in Notion, the Notion team had to create a dedicated page to house them all. An impressive feat!

Notion Has a Free Version

Whilst Notion is primarily a paid service, it does offer a free version. This free version is limited in functionality, but still usable. Designed for one person, the free plan allows you to trial Notion with no time limit. Providing a great sample for you to test out the platform.

Great Note Taking

Notion comes with a fully integrated word processor in its base client. This word processor comes with almost all of the functionality you’d expect from Microsoft Word. Providing Notion with incredible note taking capabilities.

Coupled with the complex note storing matrix that you can set up; this makes Notion one of the best project management platforms for note taking out there.

Multiple Platform Viewing Functionality

Notion has a wide range of viewing options for its workspace. Including list, table, calendar, and time traNotion cking views. Furthermore, Notion uses the Kanban system, which was invented by Toyota in the 1950s to help streamline workflow, and identify bottlenecks in their productivity.

You’ll now be able to enjoy that same functionality in Notion as well!

Highly Customizable 

Perhaps the most important point on this list, and the reason for Notion’s widespread success, is its highly customizable nature. The design of the software allows users to customize almost any facet of their workspace, providing a level of flexibility that is not often seen in project management platforms.

Notion is built on a block system, which can be quickly moulded to fit a wide range of creative and professional applications. It is absolutely possible for two people to both be using Notion, and neither of their workspaces look anything alike.

Supported on All Platforms

Notion comes supported on all platforms. From any operating system that can support a web browser, to all mainstream app devices. Such as iOS, Android, and Windows. These platforms also sync between each other, allowing you to seamlessly work on the go, and return to that work when you get home.

Bear Pros

In the short time Bear has been on the market, it has gained a widely positive reputation for itself. Let’s take a closer look at many of the core benefits that Bear users can enjoy:

Native Word Processor

Bear is primarily a note taking app, so it’s important that it has significant word processing support. Thankfully, this is absolutely the case. The Bear platform comes with a very capable word processor, and provides much of the same functionality as Microsoft Word. 

You can easily produce extensive prose, or heavily formatted work, within the Bear platform. Without a concern that you’ll be limited by a poorly designed word processor.

Multiple Export Options

Bear is designed to allow you to export your work with ease. Providing support for almost any file type you would want to export text in. This includes: HTML, PDF, DOCX, MD, JPG, and much more!

Exporting is a very simple process with Bear. With a few simple clicks, you’ll have your work exported in seconds. No complicated menus stand in your way to getting your work exported out of Bear.

A Wide Range of Themes

For those looking to tailor their Bear platform to their own liking, the platform has you covered. With a wide range of themes available for the platform. This includes a classical light and dark theme, a must have. However, the team behind Bear has also gone out of their way to provide some more personalized theme options. For those looking for a new unique touch.

Extensive Hashtag Support

When you place a lot of text information into a platform such as Bear, you will eventually need to organize and perhaps search this information. Thankfully, unlike many other platforms of this nature, Bear supports an extensive hashtag system. Allowing you to tag your work and search for it easily.

A Very Cheap Subscription Plan

Whilst the Bear platform is primarily a paid platform, it provides an incredibly cheap subscription plan. At only $1.50 per month, Bear is one of the cheapest subscription plans on the market. If you go with a full year subscription, you’ll only pay for ten months, meaning Bear costs a mere $15 per year! A huge plus.

Enhanced Security Options

Bear provides a range of security options to keep your data safe. This includes 2FA on login, if you choose to use it, and a range of encryption options for your work. You can even add a face scan, or fingerprint lock on your Bear profile.

Syncs on All Platforms

Bear will seamlessly sync between their desktop client, and their iOS app. Meaning you can app notes when you’re out and about, and return to them once you get home. Providing a wonderful level of functionality that is incredibly handy.

Notion Cons

No matter how hard we might try, nobody can make a perfect piece of software. Let’s have an honest look at many of the drawbacks of the Notion platform:

The Free Version is Strategically Limited

Notion does provide a free version, however there is a strategic element to how they’ve set up their free plan. The free version of Notion is designed to only offer you functionality for one person, with limited features. You’ll have to invest $4 per month to get the full personal use client of Notion.

Yet if you want to make the most out of the platform, you’ll need to invest further to the Pro version. This will cost $8 per month, and open up the collaboration features of the platform as well as several other key project management features.

Since a platform such as Notion excels as collaboration, and team-wide organization, this means you really won’t get the full picture of the platform until you invest heavily into it. Making this a bit of a drawback.

Customization Comes at a Cost

Customization in Notion is a doubled sided sword. Whilst it is fantastic that the platform provides significant customization options, you will need to learn how to utilize this. Learning this will take time, and effort, which you may rather spend on your work.

This is made even more difficult with the template market. If you are looking for a very specific template for your business, or personal use, then it’s likely you’ll need to invest money for it. So, whilst it is great that Notion opens up the doors to a wide range of customization, it will cost you, in either time or money.

Underdeveloped Mobile App

If you take some time to review the Notion app on any app store, you’ll quickly notice a theme. It is poorly reviewed by many, and there is good reason for this. Navigation in the app can be very difficult, and many users state that they have deleted items by mistake. This is due to the awkward app UI that Notion uses.

On top of this, the app is known to be poorly optimized on many devices. If you phone or tablet is an older spec, or not as powerful, then it may struggle to run Notion smoothly.

Internal Index Searches are Not Great

Project management on all levels in about information, and Notion is a platform that excels at housing that information. However, you’ll quickly notice a drawback the moment you attempt to search for information within Notion.

If you are using an extensive information index, you cannot attach any specific filters or custom tags to your work. Meaning you are required to search by only keywords. This can bring up a wide range of information you may not be looking for, making looking for specific items a pain in many professional contexts.

Bear Cons

Bear is by no means the best piece of software on the market, and many features within the platform hold it back. Let’s take a moment to unpack many of the issues with the Bear platform:

Limited on Features

Whilst Bear is a great platform, it is limited on features. Meaning that several of the functions of the Bear platform are quite limited in nature. This isn’t all over a bad thing, and this provides a great ease-of-use. However, for those looking for more in-depth features, you will be out of luck.

Only Supported on iOS

Bear is only for Apple users, which is a big drawback. Whilst the Apple platform is an incredibly large one, many people do not use their devices. Meaning if you’re looking at using Bear, you will absolutely need an Apple device.

Syncing Requires a Paid Plan

Syncing between their app and desktop client requires a paid subscription. Whilst their subscription is very cheap, this is still an annoying limitation to have to grapple with. As free users may get frustrated as they try to use the app, and are unable to find their work on their desktop client.

It seems like a very strange feature for a paid plan, especially when the paid version is so cheap. We feel that Bear could have limited free users in other ways.

Advantages That Notion Has Over Bear

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages that Notion has over Bear:

Much More Extensive Project Management Features

Notion is, without a doubt, a far more extensive program than Bear. This is true in almost every capacity of its design. It provides more in-depth features, more collaboration features, more project management functionality, and considerably more customization.

Supported on All Devices

Notion comes supported on all platforms, apps or desktop. This is a huge bonus compared to Bear, who is only supported on the Apple platform. Barring many people out from using the Bear service.

Advantages That Bear Has Over Notion

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages that Bear has over Notion:

Much Easier to Use

Bear is, without a doubt, a much easier platform to use. Their UI is easier to navigate, their features are easier to understand, and their platform is set up to teach new users much more effectively. For new users to organizational tools, Bear will be a far better option.

Far Better Security Options

Quite surprisingly, we’ll admit, Bear provides much better security options than Notion. Allowing you to encrypt your data, providing 2FA on login, and even opening up the option to use more extensive security options such as a face or fingerprint scan.

Who Should Use Notion?

Answering this question can be difficult, as Notion is designed to be used by an extremely wide range of professionals and individuals with vastly different needs. However, if you’re looking for a platform to bring all of your project management, note taking, and organization needs under one roof, Notion is for you.

If you are the type of person who needs a high level of customization, professional grade features, and collaboration support, then Notion is well suited to your needs.

Who Should Use Bear?

Bear is a platform designed, primarily, for an individual. Supporting and designing features that excel at meeting the needs of professionals that need to improve their organization, focus, and productivity. 

The platform is also well suited to creative professionals, such as writers, who need to keep track of a large amount of information in one place. As well as many freelance style professionals that need a platform to keep them on track.

Which is Better for Project Management?

The answer to this question won’t be the same for everyone, and it is impossible to make a perfect call considering the unique needs of many professionals. However, from a pure feature standpoint, Notion is significantly better at project management than Bear.

Providing users with a wide range of expertly crafted features to help you, and your team, excel and stay productive and organized.

Which is Better for Collaboration?

Notion wins out in this department, by a long shot. Providing a wide range of collaboration features that push the platform far beyond Bear. The Notion workspace is set up to include team members and clients with ease, providing a professional atmosphere for your work, as well as the flexibility to make sure you can work together in any capacity you need to

Which is Better at Note Taking?

Bear is unbeatable in this department, and even takes on some of the most popular note taking apps in the world. Whilst Notion does come with note taking features, Bear is focused at excelling in this department as a foundation for their entire design. You simply can’t beat the ease of use, functionality, and organization of Bear Notes.

Pricing: Asana vs Trello


Both Notion and Bear are organization tools that have become popular for good reason. They both provide significant benefits for the people they are designed for. Directly comparing the two as equals is not really applicable to their design.

Notion is an expertly crafted professional project management platform, and will continue to excel in this department for anyone that is looking for that solution. Whilst Bear is much better suited to individual use, providing incredible benefits to those looking to become more organized and productive.

Choosing which program is best for you is a matter of judging your own needs, and then picking the program that is tailored to meet them.

Want to read more about Notion and other tools like Trello, Asana, OneNote, Basecamp…?

Have a look at our Notion “vs” software reviews here:

Notion Review

Notion vs OneNote

Notion vs Asana

Notion vs Basecamp

Notion vs Airtable

Notion vs Roam

Notion vs Todoist

Notion vs Clickup

Notion vs Coda

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