Digital notebooks actually better than pen and paper 2021

Digital notebooks

Digital notebooks actually better than pen and paper 2021

If you’re anything like us at PixelSmith, you’re a practical person who loves being able to work, sketch, make notes, and plan in a natural way but still able to organize and store everything digitally. are capable. Until a few years ago, this was not really possible, or at least not ideal. Now, however, we are cosmically saved by digital/electronic notepads.

Coming in all different shapes, sizes and mechanisms, these notepads are a brand new innovation on the tech scene that is starting to catch on and see some interesting and innovative variations. These notepads perform all kinds of tasks, from direct to digital notes, sketches you can store on paper and digitally, and even screens that feel and bend like paper. The possibilities are simply endless.

We’ve put together this guide to our ten favorite digital notepads of the year, all with their own pros and cons and special nifty features. We’ve picked some of the top picks, compared them all by size, price, and features, and reviewed each one individually with the pros and cons to help you find the best digital notebook for you.

Wacom Bamboo Slate Smartpad Review – Digital Notebooks

Digital notebooks

Pros

  • Incredibly accurate tracking
  • Good battery life
  • Strong functionality in terms of cloud and export

Cons

  • None we could find

Wacom is well known for their digital drawing tablets, both those with and without screens. They’re the with most professionals working with drawing tablets using Wacom products near exclusively. With the Bamboo Slate Smartpad, Wacom haven’t stopped short of their usual excellence even in their venture into this new field.

The slate itself, underneath your drawing or writing pad, is the mechanical factor here in conjunction with the pen. You simply place your pad and draw or write as you usually would, and the Slate uses electromagnetic tracking and pressure sensitivity to record your movements and super accurately reflect them on your synced devices. It’s a nice balance of working digitally, yet still with analog tools that you’re familiar and comfortable with.

The Bamboo Slate Smartpad is aimed to be a creative tool more than anything else. How you use it creatively, however, is totally up to you. The app is great for handwriting to text transcription, accessing your saved notes on the cloud, and great search functionality. In addition, you can export any of your notes to a number of file formats for different graphics and design software.

  • $$
  • Great Build Quality
  • One of the most trusted tablet brands

RoWrite Smart Writing Pad Review

Digital notebooks

Pros

  • Live view
  • Great colour and style pen options
  • Carry folio is well designed
  • Good price point

Cons

  • Paper refills have to be the exact dimensions or official RoWrite paper
  • Battery life could be better

The RoWrite Smart Writing Pad is a really hot contender behind the Bamboo Slate, almost like it’s the younger sibling. It serves all the same functionality, with a few slight differences, at a better price point, yet not from a titan brand. Again, the pen uses regular ink for you to sketch and take notes as you please, but uses pressure sensitivity to digitally capture everything you do.

It also comes with handwriting-to-text transcription tools, a host of pen styles, thicknesses, and colors, and strangely enough, captures video of all your strokes. The reason for this feature is unclear, but we thought it could be useful if you’re creating tutorials or other video content using this tablet as a medium.

As with the Slate, the Smart Writing Pad allows you to sync to the app when you wish (until this point, all notes are stored in the app, ready to sync and edit), and also offers live viewing so you can watch what you’re writing or drawing live, in the editing app – once again a feature handy for tutors. It’s great for use in the office or at school, but even better just to have as a creative tool in your arsenal, especially if you’re someone who’s a digital content creator.

  • $$
  • Live tracking view on synced devices
  • Great selection of pen style and shape tools

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Boogie Board Writing Tablet Review

Pros

  • Simple, functional
  • Sleek design
  • Connect to PC via USB Cable

Cons

  • Contrast isn’t as strong as other Boogie Boards
  • No undo for mistakes

The Boogie Board Writing Tablet is a little step back from the digital notepads we’ve already looked at in terms of its aims. It’s meant to be simple and straightforward – you take notes, you share them onto your device if you need, and you start another note.

We’d imagine it would fit best as part of a classroom, or teaching program, or for use on-site in various professions in place of a simple analog notepad. It’s got a slick black display with bright, light writing making it easy to read in any environment, and your notes can be shared via Evernote, or to your device via Bluetooth.

With a battery the lasts for up to five days, a sturdy, child-friendly build and small form factor it makes for easy transporting, allowing you to easily take it wherever you need to go. It also has handwriting recognition when saved to Evernote. It’s a simple eWriter, but a good one, and if you’re looking for something simple then this is likely the one for you.

  • $$
  • Simple and functional
  • Great for kids
  • 9.7” Display

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Rocketbook Everlast Reusable Notebook Review

Pros

  • Super lightweight
  • No frills
  • One of the cheaper digital notepads out there

Cons

  • No sync options – camera scan only
  • Frixion pens don’t work as well as standard pens with the Everlast

The Everlast notebook from Rocketbook is a hot take on digital writing tablets. It comes in at an incredible price point, and of course sacrifices some functionality for the price, however, Rocketbook have found great workarounds to a lot of these issues.

It uses a combination of a Frixion erasable pen, and a phone app for scanning pages. Once you’ve drawn or written your notes to completion, scan them into the app and wipe the page clean with the included cloth – pretty neat. Each page also has seven different symbols along the bottom, which you can assign to apps like Drive, Email, Evernote or Slack. A simple selection of one of these symbols instantly sends your current note to the desired destination.

You can, however, use any pens (including colour) in this notebook, making it great for the creative on the go. If you’re looking for a quick and cheap way to take notes by hand and store them digitally, then this is the one for you. It’s not terribly fancy or finicky, but very effective and useful for what it does.

  • $
  • Looks like a standard ring bound notebook
  • A4, A5 and Mini size options

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iskn The Slate 2+ Review

Pros

  • Use any pen or pencil
  • Works with any paper you desire
  • Doubles as a drawing tablet

Cons

  • Calibration can cause issues
  • Some customers felt the stylus was too sensitive

The Slate 2+ is a pretty standard take on digital notepads and falls somewhere between the Everlast and SmartPad in terms of how it works. It’s got great reviews and seems quite popular among artists, more so than those looking for the best digital paper tablet for the office or school, at least.

It’s a sturdily built tablet that works with all your own pens and pencils, not requiring any fancy digital pen to use it with. It takes paper up to 0.27” in thickness, which you clip in and align, and simply go ahead and draw on.

You can use the Bluetooth sync or USB cable on the Slate 2 to then sync it to your computer or personal device, to watch and edit your creations in real time. You can also use it standalone and sync your creations at a later stage, or use it with a stylus as a regular drawing tablet with Photoshop, Illustrator, and other similar programs.

The battery lasts for around 7 hours, and the Imagink app that it comes with offers a great selection of different artsy tools for drawing whatever you desire. It’s a great choice for those with a focus on art and design, and will easily find its place in your regular creative setup as it’s incredibly versatile, with functionality that can be tailored to your personal needs.

  • $$$
  • Doubles aV a standard drawing tablet
  • Great for drawings

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Moleskine Pen+ Smart Writing Set Review

Pros

  • Great quality pen and paper
  • Very cool and innovative tech
  • Moleskine Notes app is quality
  • Ncode paper can be replicated and bypassed

Cons

  • Pen is just a rebranded Neo Smartpen

So, as we previously mentioned, the Moleskine Pen+ works in two parts with the pen forming one, and their smart notebook forming the other. This means you can’t effectively use either of them independently, but together the set is a quality piece of innovative electronic notepad tech.

When writing or drawing, the pen uses an infrared sensor to detect movements across the dotted Ncoded paper in the diary. When synced with the Moleskine Notes app, you can transfer all your notes and sketches to organise and edit them digitally. There are handwriting to text transcription features, colour editing options and more, all stored on the app.

Your strokes can also be paired with real-time audio, again making this a great tool to use for instructional or tutorial purposes. It’s also easy to export and share your notes as PDFs, images, vectors or text files, although it’s probably still best used as a fun creative tool and a breakaway from solely using digital or analog for these kinds of purposes.

  • $$$
  • Size and shape of a regular Moleskine
  • High price point

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Digital Notebooks Online
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