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If you tell someone you’re having a tough time staying organized, odds are good that they’ll come back with a recommendation for some kind of specific notebook, note-taking style, or program. Smart notebooks kind of combine all of these into one. Essentially, a smart notebook provides you with a system for uploading and managing your handwritten notes onto your online or digital note programs like Google Drive or Evernote. You know how a good scanner can turn your physical photos into digital files? Similar idea here.
Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Smart Notebook
Truthfully, there aren’t a ton of smart notebooks on the market right now (though this will surely change). Of those that are available, the features we are most interested in have to do with how easy the product is to use, versatility, compatibility, and functionality. Here are a few major selling points.
Reusable: Some of the most popular smart notebooks are reusable, which is a major plus for anyone trying to make their notes a little more eco-friendly. These products come with special paper and pens which you can wipe clean after uploading the notes to your digital organizing system and use again.
Companion App: Most smart notebooks work with a companion app for your phone, which is where you can scan and upload your notes.
Organization Options: The most high-tech smart notebooks come with programming that allows you to annotate, add to, and reorganize your notes once they have been digitally uploaded, making your handwritten notes living documents even when they’re on the screen.
Compatibility: You should be able to upload your documents into programs you already use in order to keep everything streamlined. This includes Evernote, Google Drive, email, and PDF formatting.
1. Rocketbook Fusion
This is the deluxe edition of the original Rocketbook (more on that below). We like the Fusion model because in addition to dotted grid pages, the 42-page notebook comes with seven different page styles, including lined and dotted pages, and templates designed for listing tasks, goal setting, weekly and monthly planning, and ideas. Once you’ve written down your notes, you simply scan your pages using the Rocketbook smart phone app (compatible with both Android and iOS) and upload them to whatever note system you use, such as Evernote or Google Drive. Then, wipe clean and start again. The set also comes with a pilot pen and microfiber cloth.
2. Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook
On the other hand, we also recognize that you may not want to be confined by set templates and specifically designed pages. In this case, we do also love the original Rocketbook, which comes with 36 dotted pages which can also be wiped clean and reused as needed. The advantage of a dotted grid over lined or blank pages is that this facilitates a lot more flexibility — whether you want to sketch, write, do math problems, draw a calendar, whatever.
3. Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse Smart Writing Set
Not to be outdone, iconic notebook brand Moleskine also has a smart notebook offering, and it’s a little more space age. The notebook kit comes with a digital smart pen and encoded grid paper that automatically uploads your notes to the companion app when you write them down. You can then add to these now digitized notes with annotations, reorganize sections, record audio to sync up with your ideas, and more. Upload your new fancy digital notes to Google or Evernote or save as a PDF.
4. GUYUCOM Smart Reusable Notebook
This smart notebook is not the Rocketbook — but it does offer more or less exactly the same features. It has 40 reusable pages in the “magic notebook” and comes equipped with an erasable pen and handy colored tabs, though you can use any erasable pen you may already have. By downloading a third-party app you can scan and upload your notes to Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Box, OneNote, iCloud or email.