Do your academic pursuits or career require that you take lots of notes? Perhaps you just love to scribble, doodle and draw. Whatever your reasons, you clearly have an addiction to notebooks.
However, you may be wishing that your notetaking or sketching didn’t seem like it was so wasteful. You also might be frustrated by trying to collate and keep track of all of those pages of paper.
This might lead you to try to take notes electronically with a laptop. Some people even resort to the use of a stylus and a tablet.
Nonetheless, electronic notetaking and drawing may not seem particularly satisfying to you. Maybe you’ve also noticed that you don’t remember what you type as well as you remember what you write.
That leaves you back where you started with a traditional blank book. At least, that used to be the case. Now, you can use a smart notebook instead.
What Is a Smart Notebook?
Think of these innovative electronic notebooks as giving you the best of both worlds. With a special pen, you write on sheets of paper just as you would with a traditional notebook. The main difference is that whatever you write in a smart notebook can be stored digitally.
This means that you can access whatever you’ve written or drawn in the cloud. You can even share your work with your friends, family or team members.
When you don’t need what you’ve written in the notebook anymore, you can erase it. It’s even possible to erase the entire notebook in one shot with some models. Then, you just start using it again. In fact, smart notebooks are designed to be used hundreds of times, and anything that you’ve erased is still stored in the cloud.
Elfinbook vs. Rocketbook Everlast
Two of the most popular and prominent smart notebooks on the market today are the Elfinbook by the company of the same name and the Rocketbook Everlast by Rocketbook.
They have similar features and price points, but they certainly are not the same products. Comparing the two likely will reveal which of these is the right smart notebook for your purposes.
Because they both are relatively inexpensive, it might not hurt to test them both.
Let’s start with an in-depth look at the Elfinbook.
Elfinbook 2.0 Smart Reusable Notebook
Size: The Elfinbook 2.0 is available in a user-friendly B5 size that measures 9.8″ by 6.9″. Black or gray covers are available, and you also may choose a smaller A5 size if that is more convenient for you.
The B5-size notebook features 30 sheets of paper for a total of 60 pages on which you can write and draw to your heart’s content. With its stone paper, the Elfinbook is the product that comes closest to providing you with an experience that’s just like writing on traditional paper. The look and feel of the paper is quite familiar, but there is an important difference. You can erase on these pages hundreds of times and still be able to use them as if they were brand new.
Pen: When you buy an Elfinbook, you receive one Pilot Frixion Pen. These writing instruments look almost exactly like a gel pen. However, they are filled with a thermo-sensitive ink. If you need to make a small correction or erasure, just use the pen’s eraser tip. Friction heats up the ink and makes it disappear.
In fact, that is precisely how you can erase all of the contents in your Elfinbook. Just pop it in your microwave with a mug of water according to manufacturer directions. When the entire book is heated through, everything that you have written in it disappears, and you’re ready to start all over again.
Apps: The Elfinbook comes ready to be connected to your cloud service of choice. Among the most popular ones are Google Drive, Dropbox, Onedrive and Evernote.
All you need is the Elfinbook app, which you can use to transmit all of your notes to the cloud. New OCR functionality in the app makes it possible to change PDF documents into Word files in seconds.
When your notes are converted into Word files, you’ll have the ability to use that software to make any edits or deletions that you wish. It’s the ultimate in usability and flexibility.
Quality: The people at Elfinbook claim that their patent-pending paper can be reused 500 times. Half of the pages are ruled and the other half are blank. This makes it the perfect choice for both writing and drawing.
Rocketbook Everlast Smart Reusable Notebook
Size: The Rocketbook is an executive size that measure 6″ by 8.8″. This makes it smaller than the Elfinbook, which may be valuable for people who want to be able to tuck their smart notebook into a bag or purse.
The Rocketbook also comes in an 8.5″ by 11″ letter size if you like a little more space to write. Instead of having lined and blank pages, the Rocketbook has dot-grid paper, which is suitable for everything from writing to drawing.
Quality: However, the Rocketbook has very different paper when compared to the Elfinbook. Rather than being closer to traditional notebook paper, the Rocketbook paper has a glossy look and feel. For some artists and left-handed people, this could be a drawback.
The manufacturers suggest waiting 15 seconds for the Frixion ink to dry so that it can fully adhere to the special paper.
That can be frustrating for anyone, but it may not prove to be much of an inconvenience to right-handed writers. Those who are left-handed and more prone to smearing may find this feature difficult to work with.
Nonetheless, it’s worth considering that Rocketbook says that their paper is “infinitely” reusable. This suggests that you could get more than 500 uses out of each of the pages.
With the Rocketbook, you get 18 sheets for 36 pages, which is fewer pages than what comes with the Elfinbook.
Cover color choices include black, red, blue and teal. Like the Elfinbook, the Rocketbook is used with a Pilot Frixion Pen, and one of these writing instruments is included with the notebook.
Set: Also included with the Rocketbook is a microfiber cloth for erasing the pages. The cloth needs to be slightly damp to work its magic. Unlike the Elfinbook, the Rocketbook cannot be placed in the microwave for a quick and total erasure.
Apps: The Rocketbook is similar in that it works with an app that allows you to place your notes in the cloud service of your choice. This means that they can always be accessed and shared. Just hover your smartphone or tablet over the page. This allows the app to detect the text or drawings, which are captured and stored.
It’s worth noting that all files captured by the app are stored as either a PDF or JPEG. At this time, the app does not have the ability to store files as a Word document, which means that they cannot be edited once in the cloud.
Elfinbook vs. Rocketbook: Going Head to Head
Which of these options is the best smart notebook for students? Both seem to perform well and promise excellent longevity. However, these products are not identical. A close comparison of the two likely will reveal which is the right choice for you.
Both options have a plastic cover that may seem a tad flimsy for a notebook that you could theoretically use for the rest of your life. Nonetheless, they both are plain and understated, though the Rocketbook definitely has the better color choices.
This category is a toss-up.
Number of Pages:
The Elfinbook’s 60 pages definitely tops the 36 pages in the Rocketbook. If quantity matters to you, then the Elfinbook is the right choice.
With the Elfinbook, you’ll be writing on an environmentally-friendly paper that’s derived from stone. It looks, feels and functions much like the traditional writing paper that you’re used to.
The Rocketbook uses a glossier paper that is virtually indestructible, but may tend to smear, especially for left-handed users.
This means that the Elfinbook comes out ahead in this category.
The Elfinbook gives you a combination of ruled and blank pages while the Rocketbook provides dot-grid pages. This one really just comes down to personal preference.
Both the Elfinbook and the Rocketbook come with a user-friendly app that makes storing your notes in the cloud a cinch. However, the Elfinbook has one advantage in this category, which is the ability to convert PDF documents to Word documents.
If you need to be able to electronically manipulate your documents after saving them to the cloud, then this category is no contest.
However, if you like the Rocketbook’s other features and don’t mind having documents that must be PDF or JPEG, you could do well with this product.
Plus, Rocketbook is always coming up with innovations for their smart notebooks, so additional functionality may be just around the corner.
The makers of the Rocketbook say that the possibilities for reusing its pages are limitless. On the other hand, the Elfinbook promises that their paper is good for about 500 uses. This means that Rocketbook comes out ahead in this category, though you may not live long enough to prove it.
For students and professionals, smart notebooks are the way of the future. They are environmentally friendly, and they provide a much more organized and streamlined manner for keeping track of notes.
Products like the Elfinbook vs Rocketbook are constantly improving. As their functionality improves, their popularity will grow. You’ll be able to say that you were there in the beginning.