It's been two years since I first looked at XMind. During that time I used MindManager at work and experimented with MindNode Pro at home. I mostly use the tools to explore new terrain, and as a visual aide to some teleconferences (share the mind map while discussing).
MindManager wasn't ideal, but it was a decent tool when we could buy it for $100 or so. Their current pricing is too high for team use, and I really did want the option of sharing maps. So when I switched projects I also switched to XMind. I don't have time for a proper review, but I can share some bullet points on why I chose it, what it's like, and what I would love to see.
Why I chose XMind
- It runs on Windows 7 and it's nice I can also use it on my Air.
- Price: Free for a very solid version, upgrade to pro was $80 for me. I don't like free software, but we can't afford MindManager - so this freemium model is a good balance.
- Longevity: It's been on the market for several years and just went through a significant update.
- Quality: it's got bugs, but it's tolerable so far.
- It's a simplified clone of MindManager so it has a good feature set.
- The base version is "open source". A weak form of insurance, but could be worse.
- Freemind lacks the corporate look and seemed a steeper learning curve for non-geeks.
- Data lock: The inevitable for all but Freemind
- Java: The UI is native, but the back-end requires Java. That's bad enough on Windows, but for a Mac user Java installation feels like installing a malware-welcome sign.
- There's no built-in Help, only web help.
- It is slow to load what I consider a mid-sized map.
- It is pretty reliable, but I have run into a significant bug with string search. Search sometimes fails unless the map is fully expanded.
- It's made in China, and the language localization is imperfect. "Extend" is used in place of "Expand" for example, and the mouse-over tooltip text is quaint.
- Gordon's Notes: XMind: Software made in China for OS X and Windows: 11/2010
- » Fix for Xmind missing icon bug. Gordon's shares
- Gordon's Tech: Mac Mind mapping software: Inspiration, OmniOutliner and MindNode 6/11: links to related topics and articles
- Gordon's Tech: Tinderbox, Simplenote, MindNode and data freedom 10/2011