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Despite the great move to all things digital in the modern world, there is still a strong need for written notes. In fact, emerging research is showing us that writing things with pen and paper helps you remember material better than typing notes on a computer. 

Dr. Helen Macpherson notes:

When we write by hand, we have to coordinate verbal and fine movement systems. And when we learn new information, for example at school or in a university lecture, we don’t write verbatim, which means we have to create our own summaries and concepts. Basically, because we can keep pace typing but we can’t keep pace with handwriting, it means we have different ways of encoding the information, which in turn leads to richer memory.

But using paper is distasteful to many because it’s not sustainable. Writing on standard paper feels wasteful, unsustainable, and it’s difficult to transfer the notes to more flexible digital forms. 

This conundrum is why Rocketbook was created.

What Is Rocketbook?

Rocketbook is a combination of standard and modern note-taking. It is a reusable notebook that you can create handwritten notes in. This physical notebook or planner allows you to take notes in it by hand using a compatible pen, then lets you save your notes to the cloud via the Rocketbook note-taking app. 

After your notes are saved, you can then erase the ink in your physical notebook and use it again.

There are multiple variations of notebooks and planners available, and they come in executive size, standard size, and even miniature size to fit your personal digital writing needs. Currently, the following models are available for purchase:

  • Academic Planner
  • Orbit Kit
  • Core
  • Fusion
  • Panda Planner
  • Matrix
  • Flip
  • Rocketbook Wave

How Does Rocketbook Work?

Rocketbook notebooks and planners have specially designed pages that are similar to portable whiteboards. You write, sketch, draw, number, doodle, or even jot out a letter in them by hand using an appropriate pen, marker, or highlighter. Most of them feature a dot grid on each page, which can be useful for different functions.

Using The Rocketbook App

When you’re ready to save what you’ve written, you simply scan them with your Android or Apple phone into the Rocketbook app. These are then available to search and share online with other popular cloud apps such as Dropbox, Evernote, OneNote, Google Drive, and email.

In fact, each page has a QR code at the bottom, which you can configure with your desired services. Then each time you scan the code with the app, you select an icon to have those notes automatically sent to the desired service you’ve associated with that icon.

After syncing your notes, sketches, or creative projects, you can erase what you’ve written in your physical notebook so it can be reused again. 

It’s important to know that the pages will not erase if you do not use the correct compatible writing implement. 

You must use the included Rocketbook pen, or a Pilot FriXion pen if you want to be able to wipe the pages clean and reuse them later.

Even though the paper may resemble whiteboards, you cannot use whiteboard markers on them. If you try to use a whiteboard marker, you will not be able to erase it later.

Cleaning and Reusing A Notebook

Erasing is as simple as wiping it down with a damp cloth. You have to be careful your cloth is not too wet, nor too dry. There are no special cleaners needed, either. Simply wet a cloth and wring it out tightly, then wipe your pages clear. Wait for each one to fully dry before wiping the next one.

The Wave model is slightly different in that you put the notebook in the microwave to erase your notes. 

With that said, some people use non-erasable pens or markers to make templates and checklists that they can continuously reuse. Since it will not wipe off the page, you can use them to create a standard page template within your Rocketbook.

Then use the FriXion pen when filling out the form or writing on the template page. This way, you can scan the page into your app, erase the filled-in data as needed, yet still retain the basic template page for use again later.

What Is It Like To Use A Rocketbook?

Using Rocketbook is very much like using ink and a notebook. Writing with the FriXion pens resembles using a ballpoint one so closely that it can be easy to mistakenly pick up a standard pen if one is nearby.

Users enjoy Rocketbook because it is lightweight and small enough to fit into bags and backpacks. The core notebook, previously known as the Everlast, has about 30 dot grid pages to notate and draw on. This leaves plenty of room for note-taking in class or writing down your thoughts throughout the day, without having to stop and sync too frequently. 

Whether you want to save your notes nightly or you’ve run out of room to create new ones, scanning is as simple as snapping an image with your phone. The mobile app saves the data in either PDF or JPG form, and it can automatically send the pages to Evernote (or any app) of your choice immediately or save it to send later.

Once you’ve scanned your pages, you’ll want to clean them off so they’re ready for use again. Cleaning, or erasing a Rocketbook page is a simple matter of wiping it down with a moist cloth or tissue (or microwaving pages in the Wave). Once wiped clean, you then let it dry fully before cleaning the next one.

Who Is Rocketbook Best For?

While most people assume Rocketbook is best for older people who still like to use pen and ink on paper, it’s actually much more than that. Many people of all ages learn better by writing things down physically, and creative people often enjoy the tactile sensation much more than typing. 

Really, the Rocketbook is a good fit for anyone who wants the benefits of writing by hand while also still being able to save notes digitally. If you’re familiar with the Remarkable Tablet, the Rocketbook is a similar, less expensive version. 

Since Rocketbooks can be taken along with you anywhere, they’re ideal for people to use on the go. This is particularly important for people who are away from internet services, or in an area where they’re not allowed to use their mobile phones. Thus a business professional can keep track of his ideas while hiking a remote trail, and an architect can capture her designs while in flight. Likewise, a mom might simply like the option of writing down her family recipes and sharing them in PDF form to the cloud for friends and family to use.

The various versions of Rocketbook make it ideal for use in a number of different ways. We’ve already mentioned the notebook style of Rocketbook Core, but there are several other options available as well.

Rocketbook Fusion, for instance, comes with 42 reusable pages and premade templates including calendars, blank pages, and to-do lists. The Rocketbook Panda Planner comes with monthly, weekly, and daily planning pages, and an academic planner is designed for use by students. There are also Rocketbook Beacons which make it possible to turn a traditional whiteboard into digital notes.

As you might imagine, the Core notebook is ideal for anyone who likes to handwrite information. It is an excellent tool for students or business professionals to take notes in, and artists can sketch ideas or rough plans as well.

The Panda Planner is an excellent tool for anyone who wants to keep a calendar and action lists while still having that information available to others online. Likewise, the Academic planner is an ideal tool for students to improve their note-taking and time management skills.

How Does It Compare To Other Notebooks?

Smart notebooks are relatively new technology and there aren’t many competitors yet on the market. The most notable one is the Moleskine Smart Writing Set. That system is much more expensive and it stores your writing in a pen until you synchronize it with your computer or an app.

There is also a Moleskine Dropbox Notebook but it solely works with Dropbox. Similar to Rocketbook, this notebook has an app that will scan an image of your notes and organize them into Dropbox for you.

Rocketbook is the most versatile system because it offers so many variances. It is also the most economical. Rocketbook Core is a general notebook suitable for just about any use. It comes with either dotted or lined reusable pages. Rocketbook Fusion offers more versatility because it provides you with a variety of useful templates, such as a calendar page. There is also a Rocketbook mini which is very much like a traditional small pocket-sized spiral notebook.

The Benefits of Pen and Paper Meet The Cloud

Rocketbook is not just unique because it allows you to capture digital writing and creative projects, it’s unique because there is no one-size-fits-all where notebooks are concerned. 

Some people want a notebook that is simple lined pages while others want a full-fledged agenda style planner. Some people want standard size pages while others want a miniature writing pad for their pocket. Then there are those who want an executive-size planner with all the bells and whistles. 

Aside from meeting each of those individual needs and desires, Rocketbook helps users capture notes, doodles, and creative ideas and store them digitally. This allows them to help do their part for the planet by reducing paper usage and waste and reducing physical storage needs. Most importantly, it lets them reference their notes and ideas from any cloud-accessible device, and their favorite organizational and storage apps.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thanh Pham

Founder of Asian Efficiency where we help people become more productive at work and in life. I've been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, and The Globe & Mail as a productivity thought leader. At AE I'm responsible for leading teams and executing our vision to assist people all over the world live their best life possible.


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