A smart laptop is an incredibly useful asset, whether you’re in grade school, college, or a professional work environment. There are digital note-taking apps you can use, but sometimes, nothing beats the feeling of writing down your thoughts by hand. Plus, many smart laptops come with a companion app so you can get the best of both worlds with handwritten and digital notes.
What to look for in a smart laptop
If you do a quick search for “smart laptops,” you’ll see that Rocketbook dominates the industry right now. But there are other smart notebooks worth your attention, and the number of competing brands continues to grow. Regardless of the brand you choose, here’s what to look out for when shopping for a smart laptop:
- Reuse: Right now, Rocketbook is the only smart notebook brand to offer reusable journals and planners. Due to the material Rocketbook journal pages are made from, you can write on with Pilot FriXion pens, erase and reuse as if it had never been written on. You can also go a reusable route with a tablet journal, but this is much more expensive.
- Page size: Smart journals come in many different sizes. You can find larger journals that are about the size of printer paper, around 8.5 by 11 inches. Next, midsize notebooks that can easily fit inside a bag are the most common choice, typically 9 by 6 to 7 inches. Or, sometimes you can find smart mini laptops that are pocket-sized.
- Page style: Many smart notebooks will feature a page style, either ruled pages or dotted pages. But sometimes, you can find a variety of pages within a journal, like with Rocketbook Fusion Plus. In addition to the lined and dotted pages, you can find a weekly or monthly calendar page, a project planning page, or a list page. Think about how you plan to use your smart journal and which pages would be best designed to help you get things done.
- Compatibility: If you want to use your smart diary with an app, make sure it is compatible with your smartphone’s operating system and can provide all the features you want. Also, think about where you currently store your digital notes or where you’d like to keep them once you get a smart journal, like Google Drive or Evernote. Then make sure the smart laptop you’re looking at can send documents there.
Best Overall: Rocketbook Fusion Plus
- ✓ Many different page styles
- ✓ Reusable and durable construction.
- ✓ easy to use companion
- ✗ Requires Pilot FriXion writing tools
The Rocketbook line of smart laptops is famous for being one of the best. All Rocketbook journals are reusable, as long as you use Pilot FriXion pens, markers, or highlighters with them. Once you write something, you have to wait about 15 seconds for the Pilot FriXion ink to dry and adhere to the specialized Rocketbook pages. Then you’ll need to wipe it down with a damp cloth when you’re ready to reuse the page.
Rocketbook’s Fusion Plus Notebook comes with 60 total pages (30 sheets front and back) and there’s practically a page for every need. You’ll find pages for planning weeks, months, lists, and projects, as well as pages with lines, dots, blanks, or graph lines. In total, there are 11 unique page styles. You can get a Fusion Plus journal in a large executive size or a slightly smaller letter size.
Once you’ve finished writing in Fusion Plus, you can scan the page with your smartphone to send your handwritten notes to the Rocketbook app (Android/iOS). Or you can send pages directly to the cloud service of your choice, like Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Slack, iCloud, and more. You can then clean up the page so it’s ready the next time you need it.
Rocketbook’s Fusion Plus is the best the company has to offer, with regular lined and dotted pages, monthly and weekly calendars, planning pages, and more.
Best Budget: THINKERS Smart Laptops
- ✓ It can be used with any pen.
- ✓ Made of eco-friendly materials
- ✗ not reusable
- ✗ no android apps
The THINKERS Smart Notebook isn’t really all that smart on its own. Instead, all the smart features come from the THINKERS app, which is now only available for iOS devices. There might be an Android app in the future, but it probably won’t happen anytime soon.
Through the app, you can capture, organize, and share your handwritten notes. The app even features advanced handwriting recognition that converts titles, tags, and magazine page text into searchable digital text. Beyond organizing your text on the notebook page when you initially write things down, you can further organize it with custom folders in the app.
The notebook features a supple leather cover and 256 individually numbered pages, each with 120gsm paper and a 5mm dot grid layout. To be more environmentally conscious, the cover is made from recycled bonded leather and the interior paper is printed with vegetable oil-based colours. Because the journal contains non-reusable paper, you can use any type of pen, pencil, or other writing utensil you like.
THINKERS Smart Notebook
Only iOS users can take advantage of the capabilities of the THINKERS smart app, but the laptop has a nice, supple leather cover, and there might be an Android app in the future.
Best Premium: Moleskine Smart Writing Set
- ✓ The smart pen captures every stroke
- ✓ Robust App Features
- ✓ Moleskine premium build quality
- ✗ The pen needs to be recharged to work
- ✗ expensive investments
- ✗ You need to buy notebook refills/ink for pens
The Moleskine brand is quite famous for creating quality notebooks, bags and more. The company carries this attention to quality into its Smart Writing Set, which includes a Smart Notebook with N-coded paper, a redesigned digital Smart Pen, a magnetic Pen charging cable, and an ink refill for the pen tip.
Moleskine’s Smart Pen is the most expensive part of this set, but it’s easily the most impressive. Because the journal is designed with N-code technology, the Smart Pen can capture every stroke and store a digital copy of your notes in real time. The Moleskine Notes app (Android/iOS) can recognize 30 different languages and then translate them within the app if you want. In addition to translating your notes, you can also edit, delete, transcribe, color, share, search, and organize.
If you want to share your notes with others, you can send them in multiple image and text formats to an email address or various cloud services. To quickly email pages, simply tap the envelope icon at the top of the page. You can also record video or audio while writing notes or drawing something to show your thought process.
Moleskine Smart Writing Set
Moleskine’s Smart Writing Set is a fantastic option, with a rechargeable smartpen, a smart notebook with N-coded paper, and a mobile app packed with amazing features.
Best Small: Rocketbook Mini
- ✓ pocket size
- ✓ Reusable and durable construction.
- ✓ Easy to use companion app
- ✗ Requires pilot FriXion think
The Rocketbook Mini may be small, but it’s mighty. Measuring 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches, Rocketbook’s 32-Page Dotted Grid Mini Notebook can fit neatly inside your pocket or bag, perfect for taking notes on the go.
When you buy a mini notebook, you’ll also get a microfiber cloth and Pilot FriXion ballpoint pen so you can start writing right away. With any Pilot FriXion utensil (pens, markers, highlighters), simply wait about 15 seconds for the ink to adhere to the specialized Rocketbook pages, and it will stay there until you wipe it off.
As with any Rocketbook smart journal, you can write and plan as much as you like, scan your notes into the Rocketbook app (Android/iOS) to organize them, wipe your writing with a damp cloth, and reuse the pages over and over again.
With smart tags, you can send your notes to the app or directly to the cloud service of your choice, including Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Slack, and more. Once your notes are scanned into the Rocketbook app, you can take advantage of sophisticated AI technology that lets you use features like smart headings, smart search, and email transcription to help name and find your notes.
The Rocketbook Mini can do everything Rocketbook’s larger laptops can, only in a much smaller size!
- ✓ paper type screen
- ✓ Digital Features Matrix
- ✓ Reusable (as long as it is charged)
- ✗ Needs to be charged to work
- ✗ Subscription required for unlimited cloud storage
If you’re not attached to the feel of writing on real paper and have money to spend, check out the reMarkable 2 tablet. Although it’s not actually paper, it will feel like paper, much like the Kindle Paperwhite.
You can take handwritten notes directly on the reMarkable 2, either with your finger or with the included special high-friction marker. Or, if you want to edit a document instead of taking notes from scratch, you can make notes directly on a PDF or other digital document you get.
The reMarkable 2 tablet measures 7.4 x 9.7 x 0.2 inches and weighs less than a pound. So if you take the tablet to school or work, it won’t add much bulk to your bag. Inside, there’s a 1.2GHz dual-core ARM processor, one GB of LPDDR3 SDRAM, and eight GB of internal storage. Then the 10.3-inch multi-point capacitive touchscreen has a resolution of 1872 x 1404.
When you buy reMarkable 2, you’ll get a free one-year subscription to their Connect program, which automatically syncs your notes and documents with reMarkable’s unlimited cloud storage service. After the free trial, Connect is $2.99 per month. If you want to skip a Connect subscription, you’ll only be able to see files used and synced online in the last 50 days.
The best tablets
The reMarkable 2 is a paper-like tablet that allows you to handwrite your notes or sketch out your thoughts, then send them to digital storage instantly.