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The 5 best smart notebooks: Digitize your school notes

What is the best smart notebook for students? ZDNet chose the Rocketbook Fusion Smart Notebook. We analyzed features like pricing, reviews, page styles, and more to make our top picks.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer on
Reviewed by Elyse Betters Picaro

A notebook is an essential item for any student. It contains your to-do lists, class notes, calendar, and random reminders. If you're still old-school and like the feeling of putting pen to paper but still appreciate technology, a smart notebook is the perfect hybrid option.

We've rounded up the best smart notebooks available today so you can take natural and digital notes in time for back to school.

Features: 9 color options | 42 pages | 7 different page styles

The Rocketbook Fusion Smart Notebook is our top pick thanks to its decent price range, ratings, and plenty of page styles and templates so there is something for everyone. The notebook's synthetic paper allows you to write the included Pilot FriXion pen, then wipe the page clean with a damp cloth to reuse it again and again. In addition, you can save your pages to the Rocketbook app's cloud by tapping your pen on the icon at the bottom of the page to make them easy to find later.


  • Transfers notes from book to app
  • Different page styles allow for different uses
  • Compatible with popular cloud services like Dropbox, iCloud, Evernote, and more


  • No hardcover option

Features: Dot grid pages| 176 pages | Elastic closure

If you appreciate the look and feel of Moleskine notebooks, then the company's Pen+ Smart Writing set could be the right smart notebook for you. The notebook features the signature dotted Moleskine page in a "paper tablet" format, so the pages are tucked in between a sturdy tablet-like design. Ncoded technology is embedded within each page, which enables the accompanying smart pen to recognize where it is within the notebook and to transfer all your freehand notes from page to screen in real-time.

You can upload or share your notes digitally through the Moleskine Notes app and share them to Google Drive or Evernote. In addition, you can use the pen to record audio that lines up with what you've written, creating a multimedia note-taking experience.


  • Real-time sync creates digital notes as you write them
  • Sleek and stylish Moleskin notebook
  • Thick and resistant 100 g/m paper


  • Pages can stick together

Features: 13 color options | 48 pages | Dot grid pages

 For those looking for a much more budget-friendly smart notebook, Rocketbook's Mini notebook is a great alternative to its larger-sized notebooks and is tiny enough to carry in your pocket or purse. Like the Rocketbook Fusion notebook, this model comes with a Pilot Frixion Pen and a microfiber cloth to reuse the pages, although it comes with 48 dotted pages to fill up first. This mini version is also compatible with many popular cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneNote, and others. 


  • Compact and inexpensive
  • Plenty of color options to choose from


  • No icons on the bottom of pages for quick filing of notes

Features: 8GB internal storage | Stores about 100,000 pages | 1872 x 1404 resolution

Those diligent note-takers looking to really splurge on a great smart notebook should consider the reMarkable 2. This notebook is more of a large-screen tablet with a low-latency E-Ink writing experience that makes you feel like you're writing on paper rather than on a tablet screen. In addition, with reMarkable's cloud app called Connect, you get access to standout features like screen share, handwriting conversion, unlimited cloud storage, and more.


  • Free one-year subscription to Connect app
  • Left-handed mode 
  • Easily markup documents


  • Most expensive option
  • Have to buy the marker separately

Features: 15.5 ounces | Medium or small sizes | Compatible with Mac, Chromebook, and Windows

This tablet and smart pen combo let you easily draw shapes, write formulas and equations, or sketch and draw. It connects via USB to your Mac or PC, and you can detail artwork on your computer screen or annotate something. This smart notebook is specifically designed for students and teachers and even comes with a free three-month trial of EdTech software like the Kami App, Clip Studio Paint Pro, ExplainEverything, Pear Deck, and others. Also, it's included Wacom 2K Pen has 2048 pressure levels to give you that pen-to-paper feeling.


  • Certified Chromebook
  • Great for drawing and sketching
  • Durable quality 


  • You need a computer in front of you for it to work
  • Short micro-USB cable 

What is the best smart notebook?

The best smart notebook is the Rocketbook Fusion Smart Notebook. We made this pick based on its quality for the price, average rating, and standout features it offers, such as seven different page styles. 

Smart Notebook



Rocketbook Fusion


42 pages

Moleskine Pen+ Smart Writing Set


176 pages

Rocketbook Mini


48 pages

reMarkable 2


Stores about 100,000 pages

One by Wacom



Which smart notebook is right for you?

While any of these smart notebooks are great options, it ultimately comes down to what size notebook you want, what kind of notes you will take, and what price you're willing to spend.

Choose this smart notebook...

If you want...

Rocketbook Fusion

The best overall option.

Moleskine Pen+ Smart Writing Set

A stylish smart notebook from a classic brand.

Rocketbook Mini

A budget-friendly smart notebook that is compact.

reMarkable 2

A smart notebook packed with plenty of features that's worth the splurge.

One by Wacom

A smart notebook perfect for artistic students. 

How did we choose these smart notebooks?

We chose these smart notebooks after extensive research into the product category. We compared factors like pricing, reviews (both good and bad), different features that make each smart notebook stand out, and the number of pages/storage each notebook has.

What is a smart notebook?

Smart notebooks digitize your handwritten notes so you can make them a PDF, share them with friends or colleagues, or always keep your ideas with you and properly organized. Smart notebooks usually work hand-in-hand with a smart pen, and most are sold together to work in tandem.

Are there alternative smart notebooks to consider?

Here are a few other options to look into:

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