Issue: 9.3 (March/April 2011)
Author: Dave Mancuso
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Article Length (in bytes): 3,989
Starting Page Number: 16
RBD Number: 9304
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IN BRIEF Product DEVONthink 2.0 Manufacturer DEVONtechnologies, LLC Price DEVONthink Personal $49.95, expanded feature versions available for higher prices Contact Info http://www.devon-technologies.com/ Pros Powerful, artificial intelligence automatic cross-referencing, extensive interface options Cons Interface and Features can be confusing, has yet to successfully transition to the cloud and mobile devices Rating (1.0-5.0): 4.2
For years, one product has promised to be an amazing collection tool with an incredible auto cross-referencing engine. This engine, developed by DEVONtechnologies, forms the backbone of several products, from DEVONagent to multiple versions of DEVONthink. DEVONthink has always been recognized as a powerful tool, but it has faced increasing competition from the likes of Evernote. The question is, does DEVONthink maintain its reputation as the ultimate collection and research tool?
Certainly DEVONthink has good text tools; I've written reviews for years in it. In addition, it will hold virtually any file you drag into its window. Version 2.0 comes with new tools to grab information, including Safari and Firefox extensions to clip information from the web. This isn't anything different from Evernote's web clipping features, though.
The search feature is very fast, and DEVONthink's ability to automatically classify and cross-reference seems to be unique, or at least light years ahead of the competition. The issue is whether or not you need these features. If you need the collection aspect of a program but not the cross-referencing, then DEVONthink's abilities won't hold as much value for you over something like Evernote.
The interface options in the DEVONthink client are numerous. The main window view has not only the traditional three-pane view, but five other configurations to match your working style. You won't lack choices with the organizational layout of this application. DEVONthink Pro and Office versions also add extra features for their higher prices, notably Applescript support and scanner support for managing a paperless office.
DEVONthink is usually described as a very powerful tool that's hard for users to wrap their mind around. It's hard to get an idea of how to use the product beyond its basic abilities, and to take advantage of its incredible research features. To address this issue, DEVONtechnologies has peppered their websites with white papers, "user portraits," video and online tutorials, and more. They've fashioned an entire section of their website to this end, titling it the DEVONacademy. They also sell two eBooks to aid in learning the product and in starting a paperless office.
If DEVONthink has one major flaw, it's that it seems to be rooted firmly in the desktop application end of things. The developer has provided a DEVONthink To Go app for IOS to address this issue, but things simply feel like they're on the ground floor with multiple device integration in DEVONthink. The company is advertising for an IOS developer, so it's clear that moving the application forward is a definite priority.
DEVONthink is a very powerful tool that had begun to show its age. DEVONtechnologies is making a huge push to advance the product and put it ahead of the competition. This is definitely a product to watch in the next year.
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