A couple years ago I purchased a bundle on StackSocial called The Five-Star Productivity Pack. It featured:
- A 1-year subscription to Pocket Premium
- A 1-year subscription to Wunderlist Pro
- A 1-year subscription to Evernote Premium
- A 1-year subscription to LastPass Premium
- A 3-month trial of Dropbox
- An 8-week free trial subscription of New York Times Digital
It cost $59.99. I had been a happy subscriber of Evernote Premium, which cost $60 per year, so buying this bundle for $59.99 was a no-brainer.
All of my subscriptions have since expired. In the end, I decided to renew only one subscription, and it wasn’t Evernote.
What it is: Pocket is a management tool for saving interesting articles, videos and more from the web for later enjoyment on any device.
- Save from anywhere, including your browser and over 1,500 apps like Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly
- Automatically syncs across your phone, tablet, and computer
- Offline viewing of articles and webpages
- Search by Title or URL
Why go premium?
- Personal backup of all the articles and webpages you’ve saved
- Suggested Tags for quick organization
- Search by Full-Text, Tag, Author, or Topic
- Access to Advanced Search Operators
- Sort Search Results by Relevance or Date Saved
- View Recent Searches
How I used Pocket
I used Pocket to save interesting articles for later reading whenever I encountered them on my computer or on my phone. A neat feature they added in 2015 integrated text-to-speech into the app, allowing the app to read articles back to you out loud. I stopped using Pocket when I realized that Google Chrome saves bookmarked web pages on the cloud, so if I bookmark an article from my phone, I will see it on my desktop bookmarks list. I like the Pocket app, but its features aren’t enough for me to pay for it.
Steve’s Rating: 8/10
What it is: Wunderlist is for cloud-based task-project-management app that helps you create personal and professional to-do lists.
- Group all related lists in one easily accessible folder
- Host all your communication in one place, accessible for all
- Use Wunderlist on all your devices
- Set due dates
- Add reminders via push, email and in-app notifications
- Add notes
- Turn emails into actions by simply forwarding them
- Add any file from photos to spreadsheets, up to 5MB per file
- Share your lists with up to 25 other people
- Break down large goals into up to 25 subtasks
- Use hashtags
- Print your to-dos and lists with one click
- Personalize your Wunderlist with up to 20 backgrounds
Why go pro?
- Add unlimited file sizes
- Delegate to-dos to an unlimited number of people
- Break down goals into an unlimited number of subtasks
- Personalize your Wunderlist with up to 30 backgrounds
How I used Wunderlist
I used Wunderlist to keep track of To-dos, create shopping lists, set deadlines for long-term goal milestones, take notes for later processing, and keep track of expiration dates of foods in the refrigerator. There is also a nice feature where I can e-mail a shopping list to my wife when she gets groceries.
I also didn’t renew Wunderlist. In 2015, Google released Google Keep for iPhone. This was a game changer. Google Keep can do pretty much anything Wunderlist can do, but is totally free.
Steve’s Rating: 7/10
What it is: As one workspace that lives across all of your devices, Evernote is suite of software designed for note-taking, archiving, collecting information, finding what you need, and presenting your ideas to the world.
- Note-taking workspace for daily projects
- Clip web articles, capture handwritten notes, and snap photos to keep the physical and digital details of your projects with you at all times
- Sync across all devices
- Presentation mode for transforming notes into a beautiful screen-friendly layout
Why go premium?
- Notes can be 4x larger
- Annotate PDFs with text, shapes, and arrows inside Evernote
- Enhanced search features
- Offline access to notes on mobile
How I used Evernote
I used Evernote to save notes on my phone. It let me take pictures of recipes so I could have them on-hand in the kitchen. I could digitize business cards, receipts, and important documents so I could find the information from any device. It also made it easy to digitize hand-written notes.
I like Evernote, but the release of Google Keep on iPhone made it hard to justify paying a yearly fee for it. While Google Keep has fewer features than Evernote, the features that it does have are good enough to replace all the features I used regularly in Evernote. Google Keep also has a simpler design that is easier to operate on my small iPhone 5S screen. I’m sure Evernote is impressive on larger tablet displays, but I don’t own a tablet.
Steve’s Rating: 8/10
What it is: LastPass remembers your passwords cloud so you can access and manage them from all of your devices.
- Unlimited browser sync for Mac, Windows, Linux & Web
- Automated filling of logins & forms
- Secure Notes for digital recordkeeping
- Share credentials with friends & colleagues
- Password generator
- Multifactor authentication & One Time Passwords
- Audit passwords with Security Challenge
- Command-line interface
Why go premium?
- Unlimited mobile sync (iOS, Android & more)
- Additional multifactor authentication options
- Priority tech support
How I used LastPass
I used LastPass to store all of my passwords and login information. I also used the SecureNote feature to store copies of some important documents like birth certificates and passports.
LastPass was the one app for which I renewed my subscription. I was initially hesitant about storing sensitive information online, but I think the security options they offer are adequate. I have over a hundred different sets of login credentials to keep track of, and LastPass makes it easy.
Steve’s Rating: 9/10
What it is: Dropbox is a web-based file hosting service that provides a simple way to view, share, and backup your files, wherever you are.
- 2 GB of space
- Safe, reliable backup
- Access from anywhere
- Simple file sharing
Why go pro?
- 1 TB (1,000 GB) of space
- Additional sharing controls
- Remote wipe
How I used Dropbox
I don’t use Dropbox because they wanted my credit card information so they could automatically charge me after three months if I didn’t call to cancel. I did try the free “basic” version, but preferred Google Drive. For me, Google has been winning in the battle for cloud computing space.
Steve’s Rating: 6/10
What it is: New York Times Digital provides access to NYTimes.com content including articles, blog posts, video, slide shows, and other multimedia features from any computer or device.
- Read 10 news articles from NYTimes.com per month
Why go “All Digital Access”?
- Unlimited access to NYTimes.com
- Access to NYTimes apps for smartphone and tablet
- Access to the full Times Archives from 1851
- Share Digital Access with a family member
How I used New York Times
I don’t use New York Times Digital Access because they wanted my credit card information so they could automatically charge me if I didn’t call to cancel before the trial ends. For me, the 10 free news articles per month that they offer was sufficient.
Steve’s Rating: 5/10