First, there was the chisel on the cave wall. Then, the pen and sticky note. And now this! The next great technology for taking, storing, and organizing notes is here and it’s the coolest new gadget you didn’t know you needed. Introducing… the digital notebook!
For many people in the digital age, taking notes on a laptop is quick and easy and all but second nature. But others miss the flexibility of paper and pen that allow the author to flip from page to page, doodle, draw diagrams to enhance their text, or add notes to an existing document. They may also hate the effort of reading their own chicken scratch post-meeting and transcribing it in a way that will make sense to others. Enter the digital notebook.
These devices look more or less like tablets but behave like a pad and pen. One model, the reMarkable 2, even boasts it is the only tablet that “feels like paper” when you write. However, where a tablet leaves off, digital notebooks take over with some neat functions as useful to students in a classroom as they are to executives in a boardroom or developers in a lab. A few of the standout features include:
- Converting handwritten (block and cursive) notes into text you can save, edit, or email to others.
- Saving illustrations (even doodles!) and images to be imported into other documents.
- Taking notes directly on PDFs.
- Integrating with GoogleDrive, Dropbox, and OneDrive so you can access your content from anywhere—even if you don’t have your notebook with you.
- Organizing notes with folders, bookmarks, and tags as if you were applying the sticky notes yourself.
These notebooks vary in construction (affecting the touch, capabilities, and of course the price) so it’s important to try before you buy. If it’s all about the feel of paper (and the tons of functions), the reMarkable may be for you—but be prepared to drop $300-600. If price matters most, try the Boogie Board Blackboard for under $50. If you’re likely to sketch or draw intricate designs, the Royale RoWhite is for you. And, if part of the reason you’re switching from paper notes to a digital format is to up your security game, try the BOOZ Note2 which boasts fingerprint unlock.
It may feel like a leap to leave that trusty yellow legal pad behind, but the benefits of a digital notebook make it a must-have for students, businesspeople, and creatives. Take one for a test drive at your local electronics store, and you’re likely to never go back to paper, pens, highlighters, and binders again!