The best smart notebooks of 2019

Smart notebooks are a hybrid product — part digital, part analog — designed for people who like to take pen to paper the old fashioned way but seek to save their writings, jottings, scribblings, doodlings, and notes in a decidedly newfangled way to the cloud. There’s something about writing notes that delivers ideas and concepts indelibly into the brain in a way that’s even better than voice memos or typing. And for those people, smart notebooks are the perfect combination of old and new.

The best smart notebooks come in a variety of sizes, flavors, and technologies so there’s bound to be a perfect one to suit your needs. Many require special pens or paper with built-in tracking, while others are lower on the tech scale. Special notebook paper can be re-usable while accompanying smart pens combine with the paper to transmit your notes for safekeeping. Many smart notebooks also sync up with mobile apps on your tablet or phone. There are just a few companies out there that specialize in intelligent notebooks. Here are a few appealing ones that are available now.

If you’re just jumping into the handwriting arena, be sure to check out our favorite smart pens, notetaking apps for iOS and Android, and styluses.

Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook

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With all their fine attributes, let’s not forget that smart notebooks can also save paper and trees while letting you write in style. The Rocketbook’s 8.5 x 11-inch, 42-page notebook offers seven different page styles for notes, sketches, plans, lists, goals, and sharing ideas via dot-grid and lined pages. When you’re ready to share, you can use the free app for iOS and Android to transmit your scribbles to cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Box, OneNote, Slack, and iCloud. Rocketbook works with any Pilot Frixion pen, marker, or highlighter and pages must be dry so the ink can bond to specialized pages – just add a drop of water and wipe clean with a damp cloth to start over. It comes in eight bright colors and two sizes.

Moleskine Pen+ Smart Writing Set

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This complete Moleskine writing set promises to be a treat for anyone who loves writing by hand. It comes with paper notebook and digital smart pen, USB recharging cable, one pen tip ink refill, and a manual. The paper tablet features encoded paper in a dotted layout to work with the pen and allow the pen to capture each stroke and recognize exactly where it is in the Paper Tablet. The Moleskine Notes app transfers words and drawings from page to screen in real time, so you can digitize text, edit, organize, and share content. Its companion app for iOS and Android digitizes your notes and transfers them to your device, allowing you to notate, share, search, edit, and organize notes. You can use the app to record audio to sync with your notes. You can save all output in PDF, or upload to Google or Evernote. The app recognizes 15 languages, and lets you organize, archive, search, and use tags to sort your notes. Save your notes in PDF, image, vector, or text file format.

Kystore Reusable Smart Erasable Notebook

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The Kystore re-usable 8.5 x 5.7-inch notebook can be used as many as 500 times. You can erase pages with a rubber eraser or — for the whole page — with heat from a source like a hair dryer. The Kystore comes with 90 pages built-in: 30 pages are wide ruled, 30 pages are dot grid, and 30 pages are blank. Scan your notes to capture colors, fix lighting, and crop and adjust the page. Each scan takes less than a second, and you can combine multiple pages and upload them as one document, saving images in PDF or JPG formats. In conjunction with the CamScanner app, you can blast notes to Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Box, OneNote, iCloud, and email. The package includes one A5-sized Smart Notebook and an Erasable Pen.

ParKoo Smart Notebook/Planner

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If you’re on a budget, you can still get a great smart notebook experience with the ParKoo notebook and planner. Simple and elegant, the ParKoo lets you write pen on paper in the completely natural way you’re used to with ParKoo friction erasable pens. It comes in an A5+ (5.1 x 8-inch) notebook format with 95 unlined or dot grid separate sheets. The plain page features time management lines for appointments and planning while the dotted pages let you write and draw freehand, which can be edited and appended later. The OCR function lets you sync events, while the app reminds you of your schedule. You can use your phone to scan and store the contents of the notebook in JPG and transfer the notes to Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Box, OneNote, Slack, iCloud, email, and more. Using the companion app you can store and organize your notes on your smartphone or tablet. To erase pages, just heat them with a hairdryer or other heat source to enable the heat-to-erase tech. The app uses augmented reality to connect the virtual contents and reality. Place notes in front of the app and click the AR button, and the virtual contents appear on the page.

Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook

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You can write, sketch, or draw with Moleskine’s Evernote Smart Notebook. With a hook into the notetaking app, the notebook employs Evernote’s page camera function to capture individual pages with your smartphone or tablet. The notebook works with the Moleskine Pen+ and Moleskine Ncoded technology embedded within each page that lets the Moleskine Pen+ recognize where it’s located within the notebook and to transfer all your freehand notes from page to screen in real-time via the Moleskine Notes app. It features unique Evernote rules and Evernote squared page styles with dotted lines that ensure a clean image when digitally capturing your notebook. Smart Stickers and Smart Tagging let you capture a page, while the Smart Sticker icons become searchable, digital tags that make it easy to keep your notes organized and your digital and analog workspaces synced. Once in Evernote, you can search for your handwritten notes by keyword, tag, or just browse.

Wacom Bamboo Slate Smartpad Digital Notebook

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The Bamboo Slate lets you transform your handwritten notes and drawings into shareable digital files, letting you collaborate and refine your ideas. You can write or draw on your favorite paper, and by pressing a button, you can transform each page into a digital copy to save to your device and to the cloud. You can save up to 100 pages at a time on the pad and transfer them to your iOS or Android device by touching the same single button. Wacom’s Inkspace app lets you capture your ideas with pen and paper and then export in the digital format of your choice. Transform your handwritten notes into text to share with colleagues and easily search for and find specific entries. You can convert files to various formats like PNG, JPG, PDF, SVG and WILL for further editing in other software or apps.

Rocketbook Wave Cloud-Connected Reusable Smart Notebook

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For those looking for a larger size notebook, the 80-page spiral-bound Rocketbook Wave Notebook comes in a generous standard size of 9.5 x 8.5 inches and sends your handwritten notes to the cloud via a subscription that you must purchase separately. The soft-cover Rocketbook Wave Notebook is paired with some intriguing smart tech. To clear the pages of any previous notes, you just pop the notebook into the microwave. Pages can be reused up to five times. Meanwhile, your handwritten notes get sent to the Cloud and transferred to digital form to the Rocketbook Wave app and its cloud services. Smart tagging makes it easy to keep track of pages with a QR code at that bottom of each page. The Rocketbook works with the included Pilot Frixion pen that uses a temperature-sensitive compound ink that goes clear when the smart notebook is microwaved.

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