What would Mark Twain, Ayn Rand, or Confucius write if they were alive to experience the technology that powers smart notebooks and digital notepads? You don’t need to be a profound writer or thinker to use a digital notebook, but they sure help in refining ideas, organizing and planning!
Smart notebooks help in curating a workflow that is user-specific, eco-friendly, and enables optimal mobility. Come on, who wants to lug around a hefty notebook filled with chicken scratch, when you could simply organize your chaos by syncing the digital notebook to your laptop or preferred cloud storage service?
Not only can smart notebooks contribute to the evolution of your workflow, but traditional notebooks eventually run out of paper… then what? The lifecycle of a traditional paper notebook always ends. Brain dumps, to-do lists, scribbles, and fleeting thoughts that line endless sheets of notebook paper, just wind up stuffed into the back of closets, collecting dust on bookshelves, or in the garbage bin.
In an increasingly paperless world, smart notebooks are an efficient and cost-effective solution to avoid collecting waste or misplacing those million-dollar ideas. Digital nomads know that less is more, and smart notebooks empower tech-savvy travelers to jot ideas down that integrate seamlessly with their digital workflow.
Smart Notebook Buyer’s Guide
Modern problems require modern solutions. Smart notebooks are digital notebooks that use technology to replace traditional paper and pencil. This relatively new technology leaves digital nomads wondering what is the best digital notebook for their lifestyle, workflow, and budget. From cost to size and device integration, there are a number of things to consider when buying a smart notebook.
As with any purchase, digital nomads should be aware of the key identifying features of each product. Some smart notebooks are better suited for graphic designers and artists, while others are best for content writers, editors, or for taking notes during meetings.
Consider these factors when deciding which smart notebook is best for you:
- What features are important to you?
- What devices will you use with the smart notebook?
- What’s your budget?
By identifying the basics of what you need and what you are able to spend, you can rule out hundreds of options, even before you start the search.
There is a wealth of options for digital nomads in the market for the best smart notebook. Why? Because smart notebooks are incredible tools that power functionality, sustainability, and an easier workflow.
There are differentiating features of the best digital notebooks that will make or break your appreciation of smart notebooks. Things like number of pages, erasing the book, how many times you can reuse the book, which apps to use, among other key factors will help you define your idea of which smart notebook is best for you.
Size does matter
If you often find yourself getting overcome with brilliance and slammed with inspiration, you may need a smart notebook that is a bit more robust. The number of pages in a smart notebook often range from as little as 30 and can soar up to 100 pages.
The size of your digital notebook is really whatever suits your lifestyle. Smart notebooks often come in Executive (6” x 8.8”) and Letter (8.5” x 11”) sizes. You can also select a slightly larger size or opt for a mini smart notebook; it really is whatever suits your preferences and storage capacity.
Everyone wants a clean slate
Smart notebooks are exciting bits of technology! Some digital notebooks power their owners for so long, they’ll never have to step foot into another office supply store to buy a spiral notebook again! Others can fall by the wayside and will wind up as just another book collecting dust.
The method of erasing your smart notebook plays an important factor when shopping. It may seem miniscule, but some heat-based erasing methods could cause issues for digital nomads that find themselves seeking the sun-kissed peace of working outdoors in the sunlight.
The app is where it’s at
Apart from materials, size, and durability, the smartphone app that pairs with your new smart notebook is one of the most important features of your purchase. A quality digital notebook purchase will come with its own scanning app that allows you to scan, upload, organize, and store in one place.
However, if you skirt on price, you may find yourself stuck with an app on which you’re left falling short. The CamScanner app that comes with the more budget-friendly options works with most smart notebooks, but you have to sign up for an account and there are in-app purchases to be made to unlock all features. So it really is best to invest a few more coins and get a digital notebook that comes with its own app.
That said, let’s get into the nitty gritty. We did the legwork for you and put together this list of the best smart notebooks! This list will help you decide what is the best digital notebook that suits your style and will keep you writing, sketching, and doodling with ease!
Best Smart Notebooks for Digital Nomads
Our Favorite – Rocketbook Everlast Smart Reusable Notebook
- No more wasting paper - this 36 page dotted grid notebook can be used endlessly by wiping clean with a damp cloth
- Blast your handwritten notes to popular cloud services like Google drive Dropbox Evernote box OneNote Slack iCloud email and more using the free Rocketbook application for iOS and Android
- Allow 15 seconds for ink from any Pilot Frixion pen marker or highlighter to dry in order for it to bond to our specialized pages
- Sophisticated AI technology allows you to use Rocketbook’s smart titles smart search and email transcription for easier naming and searching of your notes
- Includes 1 Rocketbook Core (formerly known as Everlast) Executive Size (6" x 8 8") Notebook 1 Pilot Frixion Pen and 1 Microfiber Cloth Note package may reflect "Everlast”
One notebook to rule them all. Hands-down, this smart notebook is the ultimate tool for digital nomads that prefer writing things down by hand, but want that extra dose of digitally-integrated convenience. It’s endlessly reusable so you can scribble, scan, and store. And no – storing doesn’t mean you’ll run out of space on the device anytime soon.
The Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook allows both iPhone and Android users to blast those handwritten notes to popular cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Box, OneNote, Slack, iCloud, email and more using the free Rocketbook app. Use one storage platform, or a conjunction of your preferred services with no confusion. You can set up icons for each service you wish to use, then route which destination you’d like your notes scanned to and stored!
This convenient smart notebook comes in two sizes that cater to your needs. The more compact 6″ x 8.8-inch executive book is ideal for optimum on-the-go mobility, while the 8.5” x 11-inch suits those that need more space for a classic feel.
Both 36-page books display a dotted grid, making it easy-to-use for writers, designers, and doodlers. The pages are made with synthetic material, giving this digital notebook a similar experience to the classic pen and paper feel.
Each purchase comes with a high-quality Pilot Frixion pen. The Pilot ink glides onto the paper just as using any pen, but just like with a classic ink pen, you can smudge the ink on the pages, so let it dry for 15 seconds. Erasing is as simple as adding one drop of water and waving a microfiber towel across the “paper”.
The smart notebook’s technology allows you to use Rocketbook’s smart search and email transcription so you can easily name and find your notes with titles, headings, and subheadings!
- Rocketbook app integrates with most storage platforms with ease
- Rocketbook’s search feature allows users to efficiently sift through notes
- Dotted grid layout isn’t for everyone
The sustainability factor, ease of use, and the Rocketbook app landed this smart notebook the title of overall best digital notebook. You can choose the book size, cover color, and storage platform, and it works equally well for graphic designers, engineers, or writers, making this an incredible deal and the overall best smart notebook!
Digital Nomads – Rocketbook Fusion Smart Reusable Notebook
- No more wasting paper - this 42 page notebook has 7 different page styles for planning, listing, goal setting, note-taking, sketching, and sharing big ideas
- Blast your handwritten notes to popular cloud services like Google drive, Dropbox, Evernote, box, OneNote, Slack, iCloud, email and more using the free Rocketbook application for iOS and Android
- Allow 15 seconds for ink from any Pilot Frixion pen, marker, or highlighter to dry in order for it to bond to our specialized pages - just wipe clean with a damp cloth to start over
- 42 pages include task list, weekly planner, monthly calendar, OKR goal template, idea list, dot-grid, and lined pages
- Includes 1 Rocketbook Fusion Executive Size (8.5" x 11") Notebook, 1 Pilot Frixion Pen, and 1 Microfiber Cloth
Similar to the Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook, the Rocketbook Fusion Smart Reusable Notebook features sustainability and quality neatly put together in a snazzy, modern book. The difference is in between the covers. This smart notebook features that classic dotted grid, and 6 additional page layouts for your day-to-day scribbles, making this the ultimate tool and the best smart notebook for digital nomads!
Just remembered something you need to finish off that one last item to complete a project? Pop over to that lined to-do list and jot that baby down. Have a wild money-making idea? Flip to the ideas section and save that for later!
This 42-page smart notebook has 7 different page styles for planning, listing, goal setting, note-taking, sketching, and sharing big ideas. Specifically, it features a task list, weekly planner, monthly calendar, idea list, dot-grid, lined pages, and an OKR goal template. This book is available in those same two executive (6” x 8.8”) and letter (8.5” x 11”) layouts, and can be bought in colors like Deep Spay Grey, Scarlet Sky, or Neptune Teal.
Cloud platforms like Google drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Box, OneNote, Slack, iCloud, or even your email, all integrate seamlessly with the Rocketbook app. Search for titles and find ideas with ease using Rocketbook’s smart search feature. The free Rocketbook app can be used with iOS or Android, and is one of the most user-friendly smart notebook apps on the market, making this a smart choice and the best smart notebook for digital nomads!
Your smart notebook also comes with a high-quality Pilot Frixion pen that works with the synthetic paper. The Pilot ink goes onto the paper easily, but needs about 15 seconds to dry completely without risk of smudging. Erase by adding a drop of water and wiping away the ink.
- Rocketbook app integrates with most storage platforms with ease
- Rocketbook’s search feature allows users to efficiently sift through notes
- 7 different page layouts power users to organize and execute with ease
- Some reports of uneven pages and jagged edges
High End – Moleskin Pen + Ellipse Smart Writing Set
- INCLUDES: Pen+ digital smart pen, Paper Tablet with ncoded paper in dotted layout to work with pen+, pen+ smart pen USB recharging cable, 1 pen tip ink refill, & user manual Designed with Code...
- FROM PAGE TO SCREEN: Companion app seamlessly transfers what's written on the notebook page to your device, digitizing your analog notes & allowing you to notate, share, search, edit, & organize your...
- MULTIMEDIA: Record audio to sync with your notes; flesh out your ideas & ensure that nothing gets lost in translation Explain, clarify, detail With the app you can have the picture & a thousand words...
- MOLESKINE VERSATILITY: In addition to the iconic notebook, the Moleskine family of products includes both digital & analog writing & lifestyle technology, including smart notebooks & apps, bags,...
- MOLESKINE QUALITY: We're dedicated to culture, travel, memory, imagination, & personal identity—both physical & digital We bring this commitment to our notebooks, bags, apps & smart pens & notebooks
The Moleskin brand carries its quality name and product from analog to the digital notebook realm. The Moleskine Pen and Ellipse Smart Writing System is a seamless and cohesive tool for professionals. The digital notebook makes an instant and editable digital copy of every page, making this the best digital notebook for teams, leaders and directors, as it is incredibly handy for meetings and presentations. Sketch out concepts and ideas as you lead your remote team, or simply jot down ideas and sync it to your storage platform of choice.
Smart cameras and pressure sensors attached to the smart pen accurately captures every stroke, and displays true-to-life in real time. The facet that makes this particular brand classified as the best digital notebook, is the audio recording function. Record audio to sync with your notes and to flesh out rough ideas! Explain and clarify in detail what might get lost on your team, or hey – even on yourself when you revisit those excitedly scribbled notes.
No need to flip through endless pages of notes to find that revolutionary “ah-ha!” moment you scribbled down 15 hours ago. The digital notebook allows you to organize, archive, and search using tags, keywords, and titles. Sync with Google Drive or Evernote cloud storage and organize into folders to easily revisit later.
This type of digital notebook uses actual paper, and is not a reusable, so that could be a major deterrent for some; however, the Moleskin quality and real-time digitization of notes makes this one of the best digital notebooks on the market. The Smart Writing System recognizes 15 different languages, making this a versatile and practical selection in a professional or educational context.
- Instantaneous note digitization
- App works seamlessly
- Multimedia recording tool – record audio to accompany your notes
- Smart pen can be awkward to use at first
- Book is not reusable
- Pen is pricey to replace
Across the board, this is the best digital notebook for professionals, remote teams, and for you meeting notetakers. Jot down talking points and ideas, recording accompanying audio, then either store or share instantaneously via email or cloud storage!
- Start with a pen in your hand and a clean sheet of paper. Capture your thoughts and ideas. Then turn them into digital, shareable files while you write. When you're ready to turn the page, just touch...
- Use the free, next generation Wacom Inkspace app to convert your handwritten notes to text, edit your digitized notes and export them into JPG, PNG, PDF, SVG, or WILL files
- With an optional upgrade to the all new Ink space Plus, you can convert handwriting to rich text. (Free 3 month Ink space Plus trial included with purchase)
- System requirements: Bluetooth enabled iOS or Android smartphone or tablet with Wacom Ink space app/Internet connection/Maximum notepad thickness: about 80 pages ( less than 8 millimeter)
- And for a short time, we’re offering limited edition Bamboo Slate large in red and blue. The pixel pattern is inspired by Minecraft and designed with the high energy, gig economy go getter in mind
Visual learners, designers, and collaborative teams, look no further. The Wacom Bamboo Smart Notebook translates analog sketches or text into accurate digital representations, allowing teams to better visualize and ideate in an open and constructive platform.
This digital notebook looks and feels like a classic sketchpad; no lines, no dot-grids, no task lists. It’s a simple solution to jot down notes in whatever format you prefer. With 80 pages of blank space, your mind is free to unleash unbridled creativity. Write, scribble, and sketch until your heart’s content – or until the page is full.
When you’re ready to flip the page, simply press Bamboo Slate’s single button to instantly save a digital copy of your work to your devices and the cloud. The patented electromagnetic resonance method that powers this digital notebook, understands and translates what you’re writing as you write. Press the Bamboo Slate’s button to save your work, then move onto a clean slate.
The free, next generation Wacom Inkspace app converts your handwritten notes to text, edits your digitized notes, and exports them to either JPG, PNG, PDF, SVG, or WILL files. You can additionally upgrade your app to Inkspace plus, and unlock a rich text editor, so you can revisit thoughts and refine ideas, all in one platform.
Never lose your notes thanks to the built-in search-and-find feature! Never again waste time searching for an idea. The Wacom Inkspace app makes it easy to search and locate a note, idea, or address – even amongst thousands of pages. Just type in the keywords and let Inkspace sift through your brilliance.
- Ideal for everyone from artists to executives
- Classic pen and paper can be used with digital notebook
- Allows you to convert to most file types, including rich text with ease
- Not a reusable notepad
- Reports of synchronizing with Onenote or Evernote as cumbersome
There were some negative thoughts on the responsiveness and Inkspace app software back when the product was released in 2017, but Wacom listened and learned. They improved the Inkspace app and the digital resonance of the Bamboo Slate, making this a better experience for their users.
Budget – HOMESTEC Reusable Smart Notebook
- It’s a magic notebook that allows 15 seconds for ink to dry. Your writing can be cleaned by erasable pen tip or hot hair drier. But only works for erasable pens.
- A6 Size: 17.2 x 10.7m / 6.7 x 4.2 inch. It has enough space for sketching, taking notes. Suitable for architect, painter, teacher, etc.
- Smart cloud storage function. Please download “CamScanner” or " NEWYES NOTE " app, you can blast your notes to Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Box, OneNote, iCloud and email. Both PDF and JPG...
- No more wasting paper, one notebook can be reused over 500 times. Save your money also protect environment, great choice for your daily use. [ Please don't place the page below the sun, the ink may...
- 80 pages reusable ruled notebook. We present the following gifts for clients: 1 erasable pens and a set of sticky notes.
This budget-friendly bombshell is the perfect choice for digital nomads that aren’t ready to take the investment plunge into a mid-range or high-end smart notebook. The spiral bound digital notebook gives you a classic analog feel, while providing the modern spin of smart notebook convenience.
Use, re-use, and use it again! This smart notebook can be erased up to 500 times, and every reset is like breaking ground in a fresh book. The HOMESTEC Digital Smart Notebook is unique in that it requires heat to erase the pages. Let your doodles dry for 15 seconds, then erase over and over again using a hair dryer, microwave, or even the sun!
The only potential downside to the heat-erase feature is that working outside could pose as an inconvenience. Imagine writing something down, just to watch it disappear in the hot sun! But if you’re not much of a beach-goer or outdoors type, then this is a great low-cost solution for creating, organizing, and storing notes.
With 80 pages of lined paper, you can draw, sketch, or design in this digital notebook without fear of losing your work! Scan your work and upload the PDF or JPG to your preferred storage service or device. This digital notebook does not come with its own designated app. Choose between the CamScanner app or the NEWYES Note app.
Its compact size of 6.7 x 4.2 inches is optimized for compact storage and mobility, and still has enough space for sketching, taking notes and is suitable for a designer, architect, painter, teacher, etc. If that doesn’t sound like enough space for you to let your creativity go wild, the HOMESTEC smart notebook offers a slightly larger 8.7 x 11.2-inch book.
- 80 pages and can be used over 500 times
- Any erasable pen works with this digital notebook
- Purchase comes with pen and sticky notes
- Some reports of ink visibility even after erasing
- Heat-erase can be a detriment if left in a hot car or direct sunlight
For those digital nomads that are newly interested in testing the digital notebook waters, this is absolutely the route to take; however, spending a few more dollars on something like the Rocketbook Fusion is a worthy investment, as you won’t risk the inconvenience of watching your hard work and thorough notes disappear in the heat of the sun or even bake away in a hot vehicle!
Smart Notebook Frequently Asked Questions
That about wraps up our dive into the best smart notebooks for digital nomads. If you’re still unsure as to which digital notebook would suit your needs, take a look at these commonly asked questions:
What accessories should I get with my smart notebook?
It’s always wise to purchase a few extra pens, depending on the model you select. That way, if you misplace your pen, you’re not dead in the water. There are also stylish options for notebook covers to keep your digital notebook protected, and to keep those pens clipped alongside the book. The Folio Smart Notebook Cover gives a sleek and professional look to your notebook, while protecting your investment and pens!
What is the best value smart notebook?
Digital notebooks aren’t terribly expensive, and the budget-friendly options often sneak in unexpected in-app purchases in order to use. That said, the best smart notebook really does depend on your needs and lifestyle! The Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebooks deal bundle is an incredible package deal. The mini notebook is fantastic for day-to-day planning and jotting down quick thoughts on-the-go, while the full-sized smart notebook is great for note taking and writing longer passages.
Why Rocketbook over other digital notebooks?
If you haven’t caught on by now, get behind Rocketbook products because they’re durable, the app is incredible, and even their optional accessories add so much value to an already quality line of products. Simply put, Rocketbook knows what they’re doing!
Smart Notebook Conclusion
Both work and traveling are always better when you find a new travel gadget that makes your work-travel balance more manageable. Regardless of what your workday looks like, everyone could make great use of a smart notebook. The modern features and eco-friendly factors alone make this a necessary investment for all digital nomads.
At the end of the day, our pick for which smart notebook is best is the Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook. Time and again it’s rated as the best digital notebook due to its durability, design, and the easy-to-use Rocketbook app.
This content was last updated on 2020-09-12. Contains partner affiliate links and images via Amazon Product Advertising API.