Logseq

Logseq is an open-source, local-first, block-based, outliner and task manager. It's fairly structured and notes and tasks are stored in a "graph". Notes can be linked together, you can record audio attachments, and include inline images which are all really nice features.

Welcome to my 56th Android note-taking app review! Logseq has been on my backlog for a very long time and ticks off most of the checkboxes for what I'm looking for in the best note-taking app.

I didn't realize they had an Android app until someone on reddit corrected me. The app is currently in beta and not in Google Play so it's not surprising that I didn't know.

Logseq is an open-source, local-first, block-based, outliner and task manager. It's fairly structured and notes and tasks are stored in a "graph". Notes can be linked together, you can record audio attachments, and include inline images which are all really nice features. Encryption is experimental so I didn't test it.

Because Logseq is a journal-style outliner, everything is a bullet aka "block" which is not how I like to take notes. Unlike 95% of the other apps I've tested, Logseq kind of "forces" you to start with journals and then most of the functionality revolves around this. You can create separate pages via the sidebar or by typing the name of a new note in square brackets inside a bullet like this: [[new note]] but that's not obvious to a newbie.

I actually enjoy writing a daily journal now that I've done it for a couple of months but not as my primary note-taking method. Journey piqued my interest and then Diarium pushed me over the edge to enable the daily journal feature in Obsidian.

According to Crunchbase Logseq Inc., a private company, received $4.1M in funding from Andreessen Horowitz in May 2022. For this reason, I would wait a year or so to see how this flushes out. Given the return on investment that startup funders look for, I'd expect a lot of things to change and either become paid options or new paid options will be created like first-class device sync and publishing.

Screenshots

Quotes

Logseq is a privacy-first, open-source knowledge base that works on top of local plain-text Markdown and org-mode files. Use it to write, organize and share your thoughts, keep your to-do list, and build your own digital garden. - [1]
Qin and Co. created Logseq as an open-source “passion project” in early 2020, though it has only existed as a formal company for the past year. - [4]
It was through Logseq’s open source community that Qin connected with his co-founder ZhiYuan Chen (Engineering, formerly Mogujie) and Huang Peng (Engineering, formerly Hoolay.cn), An Vu (formerly engineering at NASA/JPL) to create the company. - [3]
Logseq’s seed funding round included investments from Stripe CEO Patrick Collison; Shopify founder Tobias Lütke; ex-GitHub CEO Nat Friedman; Quora founder Charlie Cheever; renowned software developer Dave Winer; Andreessen Horowitz partner Sriram Krishnan; Craft Ventures; Matrix Partners; and Day One Ventures. - [3]

Meta

Ugly

  • Bullets aren't shown in preview mode. I thought I had made a mistake since all of the bullets were gone but they came back 10 minutes later :)
  • No Markdown-based checkboxes
  • Clicking back exits the app which is standard Android but I wish it would prompt me as I kept having to relaunch the app. Obsidian does the same thing. It would be good to have an option to disable that or prompt "Are you sure you want to exit?"
  • Couldn't figure out how to import Markdown. Even though the UI said you can import them, there was no menu choice for that
  • No share option for a specific note
  • No backup and restore
  • No cloud sync - you can roll your own
  • No Android widgets
  • Couldn't figure out how to create a template on Android but there was an option to use a template, that was annoying

Bad

  • When I hit Enter it doesn't create the next bullet. If I touch the screen or press Enter twice it creates the bullet
  • No WYSIWYG editing
  • There are no cursor movement toolbar buttons
  • The calendar toolbar button didn't do anything
  • One font
  • One font size
  • No Android long-press menu options (MINOR)
  • I kept looking for Settings in the left sidebar menu but it's in : menu
  • Expand and collapse on my Samsung was tricky, kept loading the block

Good

  • Bullets
  • Text formatting: bold, italics, underline, strikethrough
  • Highlight text
  • 6 Heading levels
  • code
code block
  • Formatting toolbar
  • Nice grey horizontal line after each heading
  • Undo
  • Numbered lists
  • Inline images
  • Hyperlinks
  • Export to text
  • Preview mode (see Ugly)
  • Search across notes
  • Dark-ish mode, kind of a blue-ish green colour which is not bad
  • Export to EDN (but haven't looked at this format, so I'm just saying good to be nice)
  • Embed HTML (not sure it's useful on Android)
  • Date format setting
  • Export to JSON
  • Tags
quote

Great

  • Outliner
  • Move bullets up and down
  • Expand and collapse sections, aka blocks
  • Embed YouTube video
  • Daily notes
  • Audio recording in a note
  • Themes using CSS
  • Export the theme
  • Keyboard shortcuts if using a Bluetooth keyboard
  • Import from JSON, EDN, or Markdown
  • Markdown support
  • Priority using [#A], [#B], [#C]
  • Create checklist items with keywords LATER, NOW, TODO, DOING, DONE, WAITING, CANCELLED
  • Filter by checklist items like NOW
  • Callouts
  • Embed a page from another note (didn't try)
  • Embed a block (didn't try)
  • Org-mode editing
  • Lots of help on their Community Hub

Awesome

  • Open-Source
  • Local first, no account required
  • Link notes together
  • Backlinks
  • Tables, although extremely difficult without a tool to help create them
  • Zotero integration (haven't tried it)
  • Swipe to indent or outdent
  • Command menu with /
  • Templates (see Bad)
  • Embedded Tweet
  • Embedded YouTube video
  • Flashcards (haven't tried it)
  • Graph view - just put it here because people seem to love graphs, I don't have much use for them yet, especially on an Android phone!

Bottom Line

Logseq is great for people who want to journal and take logs of their day and work. I haven't tried their desktop app but expect it would be better. The Android app feels only partially baked so I'm sticking with Obsidian for now.

References

  1. Readwise and Logseq - Readwise, 2022-07-05
  2. Logseq Cheat sheet by ToolsOnTech, 2022-07-20
  3. Logseq raises $4.1M to Accelerate Growth of the New World Knowledge Graph, 2022-05-05
  4. Meet Logseq, an open-source knowledge management system that ‘stores data like a brain’ - VentureBeat article, 2022-05-05
  5. This open source tool used by Google, Meta and MIT is helping rethink knowledge management by Ron Miller - @ron_miller - 2022-05-05
  6. logseq - review on noteapps.info
  7. Logseq Community Hub
  8. Alternative to Roam Research