An electronic notebook is an ideal alternative to paper for note-taking, document writing, and drawing. Some models even come equipped with intelligent pens that track what is written on them and sync their output to devices.
Select a notebook that can easily fit into your bag for convenient portability.
1. Note Air
Onyx Boox’s Note Air digital notebook provides an exceptional writing experience thanks to its ballpoint-style stylus. Plus, it excels as an eBook reader and refills PDF documents with messy text.
It features an E Ink Carta HD screen with a resolution of 1872×1404 and 227 ppi behind a glass cover and aluminum housing, measuring 5.8mm thin and weighing 412 g, making it one of the lightest devices in its category. Two sensor layers enable multi-touch capacitive page turning and zoom documents intuitively with two fingers; below the E Ink panel is a Wacom pressure-sensitive layer that recognizes up to 4096 levels, making notes or sketches possible with pinpoint accuracy.
While the Note Air excels at reading, it handles graphic media fairly well and features fast refresh modes to display video. Furthermore, comic book pages can be shown without ghosting or artifacts when using faster refresh rates; however, image quality degrades slightly as you increase these rates.
Note Air goes beyond Android’s standard split-screen support and virtual keyboard features to offer additional benefits such as handwriting recognition algorithms for writers. In addition to NeoReader for ebook reading and the Note Air app for taking notes simultaneously while viewing multiple pages simultaneously. With support for handwriting recognition algorithms built right in, this is one of the top e-ink tablets on the market.
2. Remarkable 2
The remarkable 2 is the gold standard in monochromatic note-taking and sketching tablets, combining premium hardware with intuitive software, an impressive selection of accessories, and an outstanding battery life. Other companies, such as Huawei, have since joined E Ink tablet popularity with great designs. However, none can match reMarkable’s meticulous hardware designs and attention to detail; its core experience remains outstanding over time, with updates that add functionality without jeopardizing its beauty.
The 10.3-inch e-ink display provides an uncluttered writing and drawing experience without distraction. Its smooth paper-like surface feels good in your hand and grip easily, and it is more responsive than other touchscreen displays with support for pen and brush pressure, making it great for drawing or sketching. You can even import PDF documents and annotate them directly on screen – an added touch!
Metal frame and matte finish design ward off fingerprints while its rounded corners and edges make the reMarkable feel solid and secure in your hand. Though heavier than most tablets, the reMarkable remains stable when laid flat owing to four small rubberized discs at its rear end that ensure stability.
The Remarkable two comes with a free 12-month subscription to Connect Remarkable, offering unlimited cloud storage and other special features. After that period ends, a monthly payment of $2.99 must be made to maintain it, although it shouldn’t be an obstacle in most situations. It makes an ideal solution for note-takers seeking digital notes without needing all the capabilities of laptop or mobile device platforms.
3. Kindle Scribe
Amazon’s Kindle Scribe is an e-book device explicitly created for note-taking. Featuring a 10.2-inch display with 300ppi pixel density and 35 LED front lights, this 10.2-inch device comes equipped with an included Basic Pen and 16GB of storage – supporting audiobooks from Audible while also being capable of storing PDFs for annotation purposes. There’s a Wi-Fi antenna, a USB-C port for charging files or transfer, and Bluetooth to pair headphones wirelessly.
At its debut in late 2022, we reviewed the Kindle Scribe as a solid but not exceptional product. Unfortunately, its user interface was laggy and discordant with what the manufacturer claimed would be “this being for professionals and students.” Luckily, subsequent software updates have greatly improved it since.
New features in Kindle include a quick-access carousel that displays cover art and information for recently added books, including notes and documents. In addition, its homepage lists recent books with your directives in an alphabetized list with pen icons for easy viewing. Unfortunately, neither Google Drive nor Dropbox support are offered but files can still be sent using Microsoft Word; text notes will be saved into My Clippings notebook for easy export, while handwritten notes will be stored as image files.
The Kindle Scribe offers the best writing experience of all e-readers, though it still can’t replace an actual notebook. The surface is slightly rougher than ordinary tablet glass and responds well to styli. Plus, this device offers unique haptic feedback options that vibrate when you press down on its screen – providing a more tactile feeling than you’ll get on an iPad. Unfortunately, however, its slow refresh rate prevents it from entirely replacing paper notebooks – it takes several seconds before its screen comes back into focus after you erase something on the net!
4. Rocketbook Mini
Rocketbook notebooks allow you to digitize paper notes and doodles by scanning them with an app and saving them online – this enables you to easily access them from any device and share them with friends. Furthermore, these reusable notebooks can last years by wiping their pages clean!
The Rocketbook Mini is a pocket-sized version of its larger brother, the Rocketbook Core. It fits into any shirt or pant pocket comfortably and features 48 pages that can be reused multiple times. Perfect for those seeking a reusable notebook without breaking the bank!
Though smaller than other models, the Rocketbook Mini still packs several features that make it ideal for note-taking and planning. You can use any pen to write or sketch on its particular erasable pages that look like portable whiteboards – and then scan those pages using your smartphone to save digital copies and sync with any cloud-accessible app.
Although the Rocketbook can be beneficial, not everyone should opt for its fully digital experience. Drying time may take longer and fade more rapidly under intense heat conditions. If you prefer more traditional notebooks that don’t break the bank as easily, consider Amazon Kindle Scribe as an alternative.
5. Acer Iconia One
Acer’s budget-priced Iconia One may look worn but still provides enough power for most uses. Running Android 7.0, its HD screen provides ample viewing pleasure while the enhanced touchscreen sensitivity enables precise writing, drawing, and sketching experiences.
The 10.1-inch IPS screen boasts a resolution of 1280×720 pixels, which is lower than most competing models (including Lenovo’s Tab S8) but still sufficient. Unfortunately, colors and contrast may fluctuate at extreme angles.
Like its competitors, the Iconia One features an Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core processor with a 1.33GHz Turbo rate for optimal performance in this class of tablet computers. Furthermore, this model has 1GB RAM and features a 2-megapixel front camera.
Storage on the Iconia One is quite generous at 32GB; you can expand via microSD for additional space. There’s also a headphone jack, micro-USB port, and power button on its right edge for convenience.
This tablet’s front and rear cameras may not be among the best available, but they still outshone what would typically be found on some ultra-budget tablets. Furthermore, both front and rear cameras support HD video playback mode.
Iconia One’s 1.3-megapixel rear camera is suitable for video chats but less impressive when taking photos; its focus speed lags behind other comparable tablets. Furthermore, navigation speed is considerably slower than some rival devices in its class; still fast enough to handle most daily tasks and relatively energy efficient at consuming only 0.1 watts on standby and 3.3 when idle, though not quite as energy-efficient as some rival products.