Today’s meetings and classrooms are populated by people tapping away at laptops. Certainly, this is a necessity if you’re presenting, but what if you’re just there to take notes? Sometimes a tablet or phone will be used in this capacity. Rarely will you see someone scratching away with a pen and a notebook. For those who prefer the old school method of writing things down, but also enjoy the convenience of living in a digital world, there’s another option: smart notebooks. Also known as intelligent notebooks, these manual-digital hybrids have the traditional feel of jotting down notes with the modern convenience of digitally capturing what’s been written.
Smart notebooks are favoured by people who like to write by hand, are visual, like to sketch out ideas, or are tired of carrying a larger device. Every model is a little different and smart notebooks range from simple technology to more complex functionality. Each gets paired with an app and most will allow you to save your work to cloud storage. Some use special pens and paper while others are more flexible about required tools. There are even models that can record audio and at least one that uses a microwave to erase saved notes. Consumers can turn to one of the many reviews that rate the best smart notebooks and talk through features and attributes. For this blog, we’re going to look at three of the most popular intelligent notebook manufacturers.
Moleskine Smart Writing System
Moleskine is a well-known purveyor of traditional notebooks, calendars, and planners. In fact, “Moleskine” has become a proprietary eponym for a notebook. The Moleskine Smart Writing System comes with a whole set of things to enable its smart notebook features. There’s a tablet, smart pen, and one pen ink refill. The specialized pages have a dotted grid pattern and the whole system is designed to work together, which means you’ll need to replace paper and ink when necessary. The magic of this smart notebook is in the pen, which uses a built-in camera to record user strokes which are then transferred to a digital device. There’s even a microphone in the pen—very James Bond—to record and transcribe audio.
Rocketbook Smart Notebooks
The Rocketbook line of smart notebooks has the greatest variety at the lowest price point. They offer everything from full-sized notebooks to mini notebook pads bound at the top or side. Planners, note cards, and calendars have options for notetaking layouts and to do lists that can customize your notebook. Choose from kits made for teachers, students, and office workers. This company definitely knows what it’s doing and consistently gets good reviews from users.
Rocketbook smart notebooks keep the tech simple and easy. Not a lot of bells and whistles here, which is why they’re also less expensive. Two models, Core and Wave, transfer hand-written notes to a digital device when you take a photo of what you’ve written with your phone. The photo is scanned and uploaded to a cloud storage service. With the Core, you’ll need to use a special pen to take notes but it also works as on regular paper and comes with an eraser—handy! This model also features endlessly reusable “paper” that can be erased with a drop of water. The Rocketbook Wave, another model, is erased with a quick zap in the microwave. The pages can be reused up to five times.
Wacom Bamboo Folio
Back to the higher end of smart notebooks, we have Wacom. The company website offers some support as to why people may want to take notes by hand, including research that shows doing so aids memory. They also make the point that eschewing a laptop means more eye contact with colleagues and teachers. Wacom seems to be selling the more Zen aspect of taking notes the old fashioned way and their product designs supports this notion.
The Bamboo Folio may be the closest thing to writing with pen and paper of the smart notebooks discussed in this blog. The user writes on normal paper that sits atop a clipboard-style tablet. This tablet tracks pen strokes and with the simple press of a button, your work is transferred to the digital realm. The setup feels more like a tablet-notebook hybrid than a true notebook. To use this system, a Bamboo Ink stylus is required to save handwriting digitally. Wacom says the pen can pick up subtle changes in pressure so there’s no concern about transferring your writing, even through a thick stack of paper. Ink cartridges can be replaced when necessary.
The Best of Both Worlds
Is a smart notebook worth the investment? If you’re a fan of the classic analog writing experience but also a fan of modern technology, a smart notebook may be the perfect bridge between the two worlds. Certainly, there are lower-priced models that make giving one a try easy on the wallet. A quick search on Amazon.ca showed most of the available notebooks are priced between $20 and $50. One big selling point emphasized by all the companies we look at here is the opportunity to save paper and trees by going digital. The Rocketbook website points out that most people will consume an entire tree during their lifetime when using traditional notebooks. Of course, this needs to be balanced with the energy put into making the smart notebook and what kind of model you’re using and how often you’re replacing parts. Perhaps the videos we’ve included will help you decide? Just another way video production can help a business explain their product to consumers and move them along the sales funnel.