Reviewing the Rocketbook Notebooks

Last week one of my readers told us about how much she loves the Rocketbook Everlast Notebook, and you guys loved it! So I bought a whole pile of them to review.

Bottom Line: if you take handwritten notes or draw things you need to save or share, this is TOTALLY worth the money.

Rocketbook at a Glance

  • Rocketbook bills itself as a smart notebook that lets you snap a picture of notes or doodles and send them directly to any number of cloud-based services. And it works!
  • You set up your cloud-based services via the app, and then mark where you want the note to go by marking a circle on the bottom of the pages you’re scanning.
  • After you capture the pages, you can erase the ink and reuse the notebooks.

Try Out Rocketbook before You Buy!

So this is kind of crazy. The Rocketbook technology works because of specially designed paper (it has little dots). Rocketbook lets you download the paper without buying! Of course, it’s not erasable, but everything else will work. Well, I suppose it’s erasable if you use the Frixion pens and their built-in erasers, but that seems like a lot of work.

Download the Rocketbook pages to try it out now.

Setting Up Rocketbook

Setting up Rocketbook is very easy. Just download the app, set up an account and then customize the destinations. You have seven little icons that you can assign to different services:

  • Google Drive
  • Evernote
  • Dropbox
  • OneNote
  • OneDrive
  • Slack
  • Box
  • iCloud
  • Email
  • iOS Messages

You can change several settings on each option:

  • Send as a PDF or a JPG
  • Bundle scans so you can do just one page or multiple
  • Auto-send so it shoots off as soon as you snap the picture
  • Save as an animated GIF

This means that you can set one option to send one page to Google Drive instantly and one option that lets you scan several pages and also send them to Google Drive. In other words, you don’t have to set up seven different destinations… you can set it up so it works best for you.

Scanning with Rocketbook

To scan your notes with Rocketbook, just hit the “New Scan” button in the app. As soon as it detects the page, it snaps the picture. Mark one of the seven icons at the bottom of the page to send the scan where you want it, or set a default when you don’t mark any icon (so I guess that could give you a total of eight destinations). If you’ve set the destination to auto-send, zoooom… your scan is sent. Otherwise you can scan additional pages and push the send button. I really liked the auto-send feature so I didn’t have to take the extra step because, you know, that was like an additional two seconds out of my life.

I like that you can mark multiple destinations at once. Maybe you want to shoot the notes to your colleague via email as well as upload them into Google Drive for later. Just mark the two icons.

NOTE: Once you set up the destinations, Rocketbook has a page where you can note what each one is. I kept forgetting if the little clover icon was Dropbox or Google Drive or what. It would be smart to have a quick reference so you didn’t have to flip back in the app (‘cuz that’s like another five seconds).

Rocketbook Destinations

What do you need to do with handwritten notes you’ve taken at a meeting? You probably need to save them for a record, transcribe them into text, share them with others and find them when you need them. I played around with several destinations to see which ones would work the best.

I think I’d lean toward using Google Drive to save my Rocketbook scans because of two characteristics: 1. Google will make the PDFs searchable and 2. Google did a better job of converting the handwriting to text. I blame my poor handwriting for this fail.

Check out these walkthroughs with Google Drive and OneNote.

Handwriting Conversions

Both Google Drive and OneNote will take a shot at converting your handwriting into text. Google Drive did slightly better when I wrote in my very best handwriting.

But when I wrote in my regular, messy way, it totally failed.

 

Erasing Rocketbook

I tried out both the Rocketbook Wave and the Rocketbook Everlast (see below for the Rocketbook Color). Both let you use the erasable Frixion pens to reuse your notebooks. To erase the Wave, put the notebook in the microwave with a glass of water. The Everlast works more like a whiteboard: use a wet rag or cloth to rub off. There are pros and cons to each

  • Rocketbook Wave
    Pros: How nerdy is it to¬†microwave¬†a notebook?? It’s super interesting and fun. I felt like I was doing a science experiment. I also liked the fact that I could erase a whole notebook at once instead of having to wipe each page. I also liked the feel of the pages better… they were like regular paper vs. slick.

    Cons: I didn’t think the ink disappeared quite as well with the Wave as it did with the Everlast. Plus, the microwavable one is only reusable like three times, while the Everlast says it’ll do 50. But still… microwaving a notebook!
    Looking at the erased page straight on:

    Looking at the erased page at an angle:
  • Rocketbook Everlast
    Pros: You can reuse it like 50 times, and it doesn’t take very long to wipe it down. And, like I said, I feel like the ink disappeared a little more.
    Cons: You have to wipe each page, and the pages were slick and whiteboard-like.

If I bought another one, I’d probably go with the Rocketbook Everlast because the perfectionist in me has trouble writing over a non-pristine piece of paper, even if you have to hold the notebook at an angle to see where the erased words are.

Other Smart Notebooks

I spent $140 trying out three types of Rocketbooks as well as two other brands.

  • Rocketbook Color
    Are you an artist? I’m not. That’s why the Rocketbook Color did nothing for me. You use whiteboard-friendly markers and crayons to write on its very slick pages. Like the other smart notebooks, you can click a picture and save your work. This is great if you have a creative kid in the house and a limited budget for sketchpads, I suppose. You can snap and save your kids’ art. It might also be fun for creating GIFs with colored pictures.
  • Elfinbook and RUBbook
    I wanted to give some of the Rocketbook’s competitors a try, so I ordered these two. Good grief. These are horrible imitations. The RUBbook is microwavable, and they’ve even copied the circle logo that Wave uses. The Elfinbook was the wipeable kind. Even though they’re different manufacturers in Amazon, they have EXACTLY the same yellow page with the instructions for how to use. And exactly the same typos! I don’t know who copied what from whom, but just don’t get these.
  • Moleskin Products
    A couple-three years ago, Moleskin notebooks partnered with Evernote to create a smart notebook that you could send to Evernote with tags. It didn’t do well, and I kinda think they don’t offer it anymore (but you can still buy them on Amazon). Instead, it looks like Moleskin is putting its technology into the Pen+ writing system. You write on the special paper with the special pen, and it goes into the cloud. They also look to have a partnership with Adobe Creative Cloud.The notebooks are not reusable, and the pens are pricey. So Moleskin is not something I’m going to recommend. But I thought I’d share it.

Nerds in the News: CIPH January 2018
Win a Rocketbook Color!