The 5 Best Smart Notebooks (Our Review for 2020)

The 5 Best Smart Notebooks (Our Review for 2020)

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In today’s increasingly paperless society littered with smartphones and tablets, smart notebooks may seem like a hard sell. But in fact, they represent an innovative merger of the old and the new. Hardly any tablet or smartpen can match the feeling of pencil on paper, but then it’s always great to have your notes in digital format as well.

That’s exactly what smart notebooks provide, plus you don’t need to change your notetaking or studying habits. And the productivity increases because you can quickly upload the notes to cloud services and have them available on multiple smart devices.

Keep reading to find out more about some of the best smart notebooks you can order today. There’s also a buyer’s guide at the end to help you make an educated choice.

Don't have the time read the entire review?

Here's a quick look at our top choices for the best smart notebooks:

BEST OVERALLBEST OVERALLRocketbook Everlast ExecutiveCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for ProfessionalsBest for ProfessionalsRocketbook Wave ExecutiveCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for studentsBest for studentsKYSTORE B5 Reusable Smart Erasable NotebookCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for Time ManagementBest for Time ManagementDexter Smart Erasable & Reusable NotebookCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for Both Analog and Digital JournalingBest for Both Analog and Digital JournalingMoleskine Evernote Smart NotebookCLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Best Smart Notebooks Reviews

Rocketbook Everlast Executive

Rocketbook Everlast Executive

The launch of the Rocketbook took the Indiegogo community by storm with the backing of more than 42,000 people and over $2.7 million raised. Some would argue that the comical promotional video did the trick. But once you get down to the features, this smart notebook exceeds expectations.

The pages are made of polyester composite, but they act and feel like real paper. Each page features small guide dots and has a QR code and a set of icons for easier note sharing. How does it all work?

Write your notes using any pen from the Pilot FriXion line and the moment the ink dries it’d bond to the page, so there’s no chance of accidental smudges. When you want to share the notes, make sure to cross out the correct symbol at the bottom and the Rocketbook app automatically sends the notes to the designated service.

For example, the bell icon links to Dropbox, diamond to Google Drive, horseshoe to Evernote, and so on. It’s important to note that you assign symbols to a specific cloud-based folder. And as you scan the pages, the Rocketbook app also enhances the images for more vibrant notes. At the same time, the pages end up in the designated cloud folder.

After scanning, just grab a wet cloth and wipe the pages clean to get your notebook ready for the next draft. The Executive size in this review measures 6 x 8.8 inches, which gives you more than enough note-taking real estate and fits any backpack or messenger bag.

Pros

  • Polyester composite pages
  • Easy sharing
  • Excellent scans
  • Portable
  • 5 colors

Cons

  • Requires Pilot FriXion pens

Rocketbook Wave Executive

Rocketbook Wave Executive

This is the notebook that opened a new chapter and started the trend of smart notebooks. It comes from Rocketbook, now a well-known manufacturer in the smart notebook industry, and it has all the features you need for better productivity.

The Waive has 80 pages with a dotted pattern on each one. The pages are made of durable acid-free paper and the cover features polypropylene binding which is tough enough to withstand microwave erasing. Pop the notebook inside your microwave with a cup of water and when the Rocketbook logo turns white, your notebook has been erased.

In addition, the Wave comes with Rocketbook’s app that utilizes machine vision to scan the pages and upload them to the cloud. Like its younger brother the Rocketbook Everlast, the Wave has symbols at the bottom of each page. Just cross out the symbol you assigned to a cloud service and your notes instantly end up in the right folder.

You can choose two sizes, Executive (6” x 8.8”) and Standard (8.5” x 9.5”), and there’s also a special pen station. Regardless of the size and pen station, the Waive ships with one Pilot FriXion pen.

Judging by the build quality and smart features, this is among the best notebooks you can get. But it is in the upper price range and it only comes in one color. These are small compromises to make for top quality, though.

Pros

  • 80 pages
  • Microwave-ready
  • 2 sizes
  • Pen holder

Cons

  • Only one color
  • Steep price

KYSTORE B5 Reusable Smart Erasable Notebook

KYSTORE B5 Reusable Smart Erasable Notebook

This notebook’s design and functionality meet the expectations of even the most demanding note-takers. The price is quite reasonable, making it an ideal choice for students and entry-level users in the realm of smart notebooks.

The designers have taken into consideration the many ways this notebook will be put to use. Its 60 pages are divided equally so that there are 20 pages of wide-ruled paper, 20 pages of dot-grid, and 20 blank pages. This accommodates note-taking, sketching, and bullet journaling.

The texture of the pages resembles high-quality paper, making it a good surface for sketches.

This notebook’s spine can be unclasped so that the pages can be easily moved and organized. The loose pages can be taken out to lay flat for easier scanning. An erasable pen comes with every notebook. Unlike other notebooks that need a microwave to completely erase the markings on entire pages, this one only requires a damp cloth or hairdryer.

The notebook is also compatible with CamScanner, for convenient storage in Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, OneNote, and iCloud.

Unfortunately, the notebook contains only 60 pages, which can be limiting when you are a heavy note-taker.

Pros:

  • Contains 20 pages of wide-ruled paper, 20 pages of dot-grid, and 20 blank pages—ideal for note-taking, journaling, and sketching.
  • Spine unclasps for re-ordering and organizing pages, and for easier scanning.
  • Paper quality and texture make it ideal for sketching.
  • No need to put in the microwave to erase entire pages.

Con:

  • Contains only 60 pages.

Dexter Smart Erasable & Reusable Notebook

Dexter Smart Erasable & Reusable Notebook

Looking for a notebook and planner combo? This notebook’s manufacturers partnered with CamScanner to bring you a notebook and planner combo that is capable of digital note sharing and storage. It is the perfect tool for time management.

The notebook contains 100 reusable pages that record notes well with a Pilot FriXion pen. A built-in pen holder ensures that you will never be without a writing implement when it’s time to take down important notes or to organize your appointments for the week.

You can erase typos using the pen’s eraser, or, if you have a hair dryer on hand, aim it at the pages to make notes disappear. An erasing cloth is also provided.

The planner is designed to optimize your notes and schedules. It helps you get the most out of your time whether you’re taking care of professional or personal matters.

This notebook’s key feature is the use of the Pareto Principle, which ensures that you get things done in the most efficient way possible. The designers claim that using this notebook can increase your productivity by up to four times.

Its pages are textured like actual paper, and its durability and reusability makes one Dexter notebook equivalent to 100 regular notebooks.

This is definitely one of the pricier notebooks in this review, and its page layout of one side for notes and another side as a daily planner may not be ideal for heavy note-taking.

Pros:

  • Planner design is inspired by the Pareto Principle of time management.
  • Provides an integrated pen holder so you always have your pen with you.
  • 1 Dexter Notebook is equivalent to 100 regular notebooks.
  • Very realistic paper feel.

Cons:

  • If you’re looking for a notebook for regular note-taking, this might not be the one for your needs.
  • Priciest smart notebook in this review.

Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook

Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook

Moleskine is renowned for their premium journal notebooks, so naturally, you’d expect that a smart notebook from them would also give you that luxurious writing experience. And in many ways, it does.

This notebook works like a regular Moleskine. The dotted-line pages are great for heavy note-taking or daily journal entries. However, the fact that it is a smart notebook ensures that even if it gets damaged, your notes are safe in digital storage.

The notebook comes with the proprietary Moleskine Notes app. With a Moleskine Pen+, you can transfer your handwritten notes from the page to screen in real time, courtesy of its NCODED technology.

It also comes with a set of smart stickers that are quite helpful in tagging and organizing notes. This feature works when you take a picture of your notes using the Evernote camera. These colorful stickers automatically assign a category to your notes when you’re saving them to your Evernote account. This is available for both Android and iOS.

A large pocket is provided, ideal for storing the stickers. Further, purchasing this notebook gives you a three-month premium subscription to Evernote.

The only drawback is that the notebook is only available in black.

Pros:

  • Uses NCODED technology that allows for real-time transfer of your freehand notes from the page to the screen.
  • Comes with a three-month premium subscription to Evernote.
  • Better note organization with smart stickers.
  • Luxurious paper quality.

Con:

  • Only available in one color (black).

Buyer’s Guide

Smart notebooks should be built to last, and some manufacturers even go out on a limb and say it’s the last notebook you’ll ever need. In reality, it might not be the last notebook you’ll ever need, but there are features that make some smart notebooks more durable.

Materials

You need to look up the cover, binding, and pages materials. In general, smart notebooks come with plastic or reinforced cardboard covers and there are models with faux leather covers. For all intended purposes, plastic works best, though faux leather and cardboard can withstand some wear and tear as well.

You can’t go wrong with a wire binding and there are models like the Elfinbook 2 which feature durable plastic binding. Either way, the page material is the one that makes the real difference. Most models feature fine-grain paper specially designed for wet wiping.

But if you want something that can really withstand heavy use, you might want to go with polyester composite pages.

Pens

Pen recommendations vary based on the smart notebook. However, most popular brands advise against using anything other than the Pilot FriXion. That said, the FriXion line of pens are gel pens loaded with thermo-sensitive ink, which makes it easier to erase.

Size

Smart notebooks usually come at standard A5 (5.8” x 8.3”) and B5 (6.9” x 9.8”) sizes. Some manufacturers also offer the so-called executive size which is just a fraction larger than A5 at 6” x 8.8”. In addition, you can also get a mini smart notebook from Rocketbook which is about half the size of the executive model.

With this in mind, the final choice here boils down to your preferences and note-taking needs. For most people, A5 is just the right fit because you get more than enough writing/drafting real estate without being too big for storage.

Number of Pages

The number of pages starts as low as 36 and goes up to 100. Since you are buying a smart notebook, the pages can be wiped 500 times or more so the number of pages is not that important. It’s better to focus on the notebook quality and page material.

For example, the Rocketbook Everlast has only 36 pages but it’s arguably among the most durable, so you might not need more pages.

Maintenance

Keeping your smart notebook clean is really simple, all you need is a damp cloth and your notes are gone in a few quick swipes. However, there are creative ways to remove your notes. As indicated, most smart notebooks can be cleaned with heat sources, such as a hairdryer or a microwave.

Yes, you’ve read it right, some smart notebooks are microwave-ready. But remember that you’ll also need a water source and follow the manufacturer's instructions to the T. And if there’s no suggestion that a model is microwave-ready, you may not want to push it.

Smart Notebook App

Aside from materials and durability, the app is one of the most important features. And a quality smart notebook comes with its own app that allows for smarter scanning and uploads to cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, etc. In addition, some apps have a built-in PDF to Word converter, which can be a lifesaver if you need to edit the documents.

On the other hand, CamScanner is an app that should work with any smart notebook and it offers similar features to many proprietary apps. But you’d have to account for in-app purchases to get all the features, so it’s still best to get a smart notebook that comes with an app.

Final Verdict

In the end, among all the best smart notebooks, the Rocketbook Everlast Executive came out on top for its durability, appealing design, and premium materials. Plus, the intelligent features make scanning and sharing notes a walk in the park. However, it also comes at a premium price.

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