- Rocketbook is best-known for creating a $30 smart notebook called the Everlast which wipes clean with a damp cloth. You may have seen it on Kickstarter or Shark Tank.
- By outlining one of the icons printed on each page in pen, you can blast a JPEG or PDF of your handwritten notes to Google Drive, iCloud, messages, Dropbox and more.
- I've been using the Everlast for a little while now, and I'm surprised by how great the product is. If you're looking for a smart notebook that sends handwritten notes to your devices, this is my personal recommendation based on its price, reliability, and simplicity.
If you're an old soul who prefers pen and paper notes (they're just more personal, you know?), or you just get how obnoxious it is to be the only person clack-clack-clacking away at your laptop in a big meeting, you'll probably be interested in this $30 Kickstarter-funded smart notebook.
Once rejected on Shark Tank, the notebook is made by Rocketbook (the same company that brought you such worldly gifts as microwavable notebooks), and it connects to an app on your phone so you can save your notes easily.
How it works
You can write in the Everlast notebook with the included FriXion pen, take a picture to scan the notes, and seamlessly send either a PDF or JPEG of your writing to a host of destinations (your email, messages, iCloud, Google Docs, Dropbox, and more). Then, once you're done and want a fresh page, you take a wet cloth and wipe it down. Your notes come off, and you can start the process again. There are 36 pages, but some users may find they only regularly touch one to five of them.
Mara Leighton / Business Insider
Why it's a good value
It's a pretty great use of $30. You get access to your notes online without additional typing, get to use something lighter and easier than your laptop to jot things down, and you only need to buy one notebook for $30 to end all future notebook purchases. You don't need to re-up on your Everlast (theoretically), and you'll have digital copies of your notes so you won't find yourself digging through a stack of legal pads in the attic at any point.
How it is in real life
When I heard about the idea of a notebook that lets users wipe down the pages to reuse them, I thought back to high school lab assignments. It seemed like a fun, cool experiment for that would last a couple of days, but not a feature I would bother to use very often. I'm pretty minimal when it comes to day-to-day life, and few gadgets punch through to the everyday.
I was surprised by how much I have used the Everlast, and by how much I really, genuinely like it. I personally prefer the ease and immediacy of handwritten notes, and the post-it notes strewn across my desk can attest to that fact. Since Rocketbook sent the Everlast to our office, I've used it nearly every day, almost like a whiteboard. I write down a to-do list for the day with the day's date at the top, and I cross tasks off as I get to them throughout the day. If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll scan the remaining tasks into an email to do later that night if I leave the notebook at the office. The next day, I wipe the page down and start again. It's taken some of the pressure off of note-taking, and I love that it has become a habit. Writing things down helps me organize my thoughts, and crossing them out incentivizes me in a 'simple joy' kind of way. It's also a much less wasteful way to prefer paper in the 21st century.
How it compares to competitors
I've used more expensive options that digitize notes, and each has their merits (like Moleskine's $200 Smart Writing Set, which actually turns your handwritten notes into text you can copy and paste into documents — a huge help during college lectures that didn't allow laptops), but Rocketbook's $30 Everlast is hard to beat in terms of usability and dependability for cost. Plus, you can reuse it. It's a sustainable purchase that won't require you to shell out $30 more in the future when you run out of pages and have to replace your investment. And for a minimalist like me, I appreciated its simplicity.
It's also easier than expected to use the Everlast's scanning system (just take a picture in the app) and you get to assign each of the seven icons at the bottom of the page to a specific destination (the diamond can be emails, the apple can be iCloud, and so on). When you want to email your notes rather than send them to iCloud, just outline the assigned email icon with pen. When you scan, the app will understand the command. If you outline more than one, the Everlast app will send it to both destinations.
Having said all that, it's worth noting that you're only supposed to use specific pens in the notebook, which is always an added inconvenience. I haven't lost the FriXion pen that comes with the Everlast purchase yet, so this hasn't impacted me, but it is something to consider. Replacement pens are about 7 for $11 on Amazon. Just to be sure, I did a test with a Bic pen, and you really are better off using the recommended styles that wipe away; any other pen is there to stay.
However, the pens do work particularly well — the paper is smoother than average, and even though they sort of "glide" across it, I never noticed any smudging when my hand rested against past notes. After the designated 15 seconds, the ink dries and stays put until wiped away with a damp cloth.
All in all, the Everlast is a really useful tool if spending $30 for a reusable smart notebook makes sense to you. It saves you money on future notebooks, sends scans of your notes to your devices, and wipes down for easy and immediate reuse. I already prefer handwritten notes, but I'm surprised by how easy and helpful using this notebook has been. If you're looking for a new office or school tool, the Everlast is a really solid option.