start.me review: the best Xmarks Alternative

Screenshot start.me
Sleek opening screen of start.me
5 out of 5 stars

start.me is a free bookmarking tool to replace Xmarks. It’s a powerful and visual bookmark manager that opens on your homepage or on every new tab page. Once you’ve imported your old bookmarks, you’ll always have quick access to your favorite sites. 

Where many other bookmark managers never seem to progress to a version 1.0, start.me is clearly being developed actively. Their blog is proof enough. Or the status updates in the Chrome Web Store. The service keeps getting faster and faster every year. Plus, they keep on adding new features every month or so. Let’s call this more than a big plus: it’s a necessary condition, if you entrust your personal data and workflow to someone else. They haven’t disappointed us yet.

Major advantages of start.me

First, it works on all browsers and platforms, without the need to synchronize your bookmarks. You can access all your bookmarks on a webpage (like my.xmarks.com). Pages are private by default, but you can also easily share them with others.

start.me comes with an elegant design which is customizable. As a result, you can determine the number of columns you see, the bookmarks widgets you use to organize everything. So, you need more levels? Even in the free version you can add as many pages as you’d like. Set colors, backgrounds, icons, choose a Dark Theme, if you want to. Also, the interface is easy-to-use.

Moreover, it has offers great support for bookmarks, with features like bookmark search, import/export, Broken Link Checker.

Finally, besides bookmarking, it provides a lot of extras, like support for RSS Feeds, Notes, and Images. The embed widget allows you to embed any external webpage into your dashboard.

What makes start.me different from Xmarks?

The wonderful thing about Xmarks was the fact that it was a free solution for an old Firefox problem. When they started out, the Internet was a hugely different place than today. Now, more than 50% of all traffic is mobile. Google knows this, and it’s advanced their Mobile First Policy ever since. Without claiming that Xmarks met its demise because of these changes, it’s not difficult to see that a desktop-tied solution wasn’t built for the future. 

Times they are a-changing…

Rating start.me

Features:
5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Usability:
5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Mobile support:
4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Performance:
5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Customer support:
5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:
4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Pricing

  • Free with a PRO subscription for extras.
  • The basic version is free (and promised to be free forever). It includes all the features of the product.
  • The PRO subscription costs $20/year. You get many extra features like a broken link checker, archive function, and bookmark groups.

More info

Toby review

3.8 out of 5 stars
Toby

Toby is the new kid on the block. It’s a browser extension that helps you organize your tabs on every new page. You can use it in Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. So it’s not a bookmark manager per se, which makes it the odd one out in this list, probably.

Quick view of Toby

To use this tab manager, create a collection and drag any open tabs from the right into a collection. Toby stores your tabs locally on your computer but we recommend creating a Toby account. Hereby, you activate sync and a ton of extra features like sharing. You also get the ability to restor your service, so you’ll never lose a collections or tab again.

In a previous version of this review, we noted that the app wasn’t being actively maintained. We did discover a new update of the extension, however, so I guess that Arthur (the developer) is at it again. Good for him!

Other considerations

While the emphasis still rests on bookmarks, Toby also has a bigger ambition. They don’t like the word Bookmark, it seems. So the developer seems eager to head into Evernote territory. Or Trello, Github, Dropbox. At any rate, it’s not clear why any company should entrust their most precious knowledge resources to this SAAS solution.

Rating

Features:
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Usability:
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Mobile support:
3 out of 5 stars (3.0 / 5)
Performance:
4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Customer support:
4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Average:
3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

Pricing

  • Free to use. There is no payment system attached to this extension.

More info

 

Pinboard review

Pinboard.in

Pinboard

4.1 out of 5 stars

Pinboard is a social bookmarking website developed and run by Maciej Cegłowski. It is a fast, no-nonsense bookmarking site for people who value privacy and speed. Also, since this product there is only one developer with explicit opinions you can follow on Twitter, you’ll choose a service with a face. A sympathetic Tweeter, we could add.

Still, what you see once you decide to try it out, is not very visually appealing. Cegłowski has a sense of design that’s just borderline boring. Sure, it’s fast and reliable, but there’s only text there — nothing else. And, as for new services: we haven’t seen a lot of them lately.

So, this is what do you get: no background image, but tagged bookmarks. No ads, no tracking. A pricing model that’s not prohibitive. Plus: reliable access for all platforms and browsers. It doesn’t do a million things but focuses on bookmarking.

This Xmarks Alternative is not free to try or use. For $11/year, you will receive access to the ad-free bookmark manager. For a few dollars more, Cegłowski lets you archive your bookmarks. You also get a full-text search and a dead link checker.

If you are looking for a no-nonsense bookmarking solution, this is is the right choice.

Rating Pinboard

Features:
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Usability:
3 out of 5 stars (3.0 / 5)
Mobile support:
3 out of 5 stars (3.0 / 5)
Performance:
5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Customer support:
5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:
4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Pricing

  • $11/year for a Regular account
  • $25/year for an account with support for Archiving
  • No free version available

More info