Using RocketBook: How effective are Reusable SmartNotebooks?
I have been using a reusable smart-notebook from RocketBook since 2019 and I only grew to love it more as I used it. There are two reasons why you would call RocketBook smart and reusable: Smart because it allows you to scan your notes/sketches with your smartphone and share/upload them on your preferred drive service and Reusable because you can wipe out your notes completely (with a damp cloth) and reuse the pages of the notebook.
After using the RocketBook notebooks for more than 12 months now, I have come to realize five factors you can categorize the notebook’s pros and cons in to finally judge if it is really as effective as a reusable smartnotebook.
So according to Google, the cover of a RocketBook Everlast/Core is made of high-density polythene. Enough with google, that means nothing to anyone. The cover is actually a little filmy when you touch and is quite durable. After months of using the RB Everlast, the cover has not betrayed the notebook thus protecting the pages inside. Same applies for the Mini, Fusion and Flip models.
The wire-bounding can be a little annoying while writing however RocketBook seemed to fix that with their RocketBook Flip which has the wire-bounding at the top. The wire-bounding also allows users to take of the pages from their notebook easily and make better versions of binding.
As for the pages inside the book, they remain intact and as strong as the high-density polythene cover on it and the way you use it. I have seen some wear over the months, which might be natural because of the way I use it in college.
Pen on Paper
The Pen on paper experience of RocketBook is simply amazing. It feels just like real paper and erasing pen marks is such a bonus. However, the limitation of remembering to use a Pilot Frixion Pen everytime persisits. But once you get used to the pen and paper experience of RocketBook, there is no going back.
The erasing experience can be difficult. Also I have noticed that when you use the frixion pen eraser too often on the dot-grid pages, it tends to make the dots less and less visible and scanning becomes more difficult sometimes for the text around those particular dots. Carrying the microfibre cloth along with a spray bottle filled with water is a must!
UPDATE: Using a water-brush apparently does the job better than the eraser at the back of the pen and will also not destroy the dot grids on the RocketBook pages.
The RocketBook App
The RocketBook App, in my opinion, is kinda okay: not too good, not too bad.
Scanning pages is easy with the camera on the app. I really wish it could be done directly from the camera app on smartphones unfortunately that would be upon the smartphone-maker to decide the integration. Bundling multiple scans as PDF is very easy and has been my favourite feature of RocketBook which I used for taking lecture notes in college.
Apart from the usual scanning, the app also has features like OCR that recognises your handwritten notes and converts them to text. It also allows smart-recognisation of page titles if you put a text between ##. Smart Lists converts a handwritten list on the RocketBook page into a To-Do kind of list on the app that you can use for easy editing and marking later on.
When I started using RocketBook back in 2019, the app had a lot of cloud and mail services integrated for sending your notes to your preferred folders on that service, with one-click. More and more services continue to be added by RocketBook. As of July 2021, the services that RocketBook App allows are: Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, Microsoft One Note, Microsoft OneDrive, Trello, Slack, box, iCloud, Email and iMessages.
RocketBook has been my go-to notebook for the past year or so in college. I feel proud to say I have only used 32 pages (of the Letter-sized RB Everlast) to take lecture notes and revision notes for one year in college while my friends might have wasted more than 500 or above pages doing the same.
For a college student like me, 32 pages of the Letter-sized version are more than enough for a week’s lecture. I scan the notes in 10 minutes and another 15 minutes for erasing them. That is surely a time-wasted doing the erasing but the fact that you get to use one notebook with all its notes in your cloud and all just for about $35 is amazing.
The RocketBook notebooks are priced somewhere around $30-$40. However, in the last couple of years, RocketBook has introduced some variants of the notebooks and legal-pads like the RocketBook Fusion, Mini, Matrix, Flip, Panda Planner and Orbit which might have a different pricing. I would recommend you visit their official site to have a look at the pricing but before that read the purpose section below to find which one suits your needs best.
The Pilot Frixion pens are priced low and you can get one or even a refill of the pen for less than $5. There are not many colours however, some other erasable pen might do the job too, if you search a little bit in stores or online.
For school students, I would recommend the RocketBook Core (preferably Letter-Sized & Lined) as most school notes are just writing and not much drawing. If you do want one for Labs and maybe a bit drawing, the Dot-Grid RocketBook Core should do the job.
For College Students, I would recommend the RocketBook Core along with RocketBook Matrix and RocketBook Mini (depending on your courses). If you are a Math or engineering student and make a lot of figures and graphs, the RB Matrix has graph papers to help you out. According to RocketBook themselves, “it’s an all-in-one STEM solution”. The Mini will help you with making To-Do Lists and other rough work that you can keep in your back-pocket for easy reference.
For Artists and creators, I would suggest the RocketBook Flip. The reason being that the wire-bounding which is at the top rather than between the pages and thus does not annoy lefties and righties (basically, everyone and anyone) and stop you creative ideas to flow on the paper.
For Office Use, the RocketBook Panda Planner is really great for planning however, I would recommend the RocketBook Fusion as it has a variety of different pages along with calendars, weekly planners and lined and dot-grid pages. It is really a good fusion and office users won’t regret it. If your needs are somewhat that of brainstorming and getting ideas down, you can go for the RocketBook Orbit which has magnets to stick on boards and cupboards, thus staying in plain-sight to remind you about what’s important.
If you still don’t understand which RocketBook to go for, you can contact me on Twitter , Discord(Username: Aditya Darekar#2656) or just leave a comment below, explain your workflow and needs and together we could find the perfect RocketBook for you.
Finally, I can conclude RocketBook are awesome and smart re-usable notebook are something. Now, you might argue tablets with stylus do make the job easier and yes, I would totally agree. However, not everyone might prefer a tablet-stylus over the conventional pen-paper experience, most have grown up with. Also, not everyone might be happy with a tablet’s price just for writing/reading notes. So yes, RocketBooks are currently ruling the smart reusable notebook experience (if there is any other brand I might have missed, please let me know).
For any queries related to using the RocketBook you can visit the FAQ page on RocketBook.