The 10 Best Digital Notebooks to Keep Your Thoughts Organized

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When I first started grad school, I begrudgingly took my laptop to every class, constantly annoyed at how heavy and cumbersome it was to tote around. A few months in, I set out to find a leaner device that I could use to take notes. I ended up buying an iPad—only to quickly realize that easy access to the web and social media proved to be too much of a distraction. I also love writing on paper, since it helps me better retain information, but I also wanted the ability to quickly reorganize my notes, which I couldn’t do with a traditional notebook

So I decided to invest in a lightweight digital notebook—one that would not only provide fast access to my files on the cloud, but also keep me attentive and engaged in the classroom. I spent hours poring over all the different types of smart notebooks, which vary a great deal in terms of format and tech features. In the end, I landed on a model that checked all my boxes: The reMarkable 2 The Paper tablet

My top pick, however, might not be the best one for you. In case you’re shopping for a digital notebook and aren’t sure where to start, read on for the key factors you should consider before settling on a device:

What to Consider Before Buying the Best Digital Notebooks:

Style: Digital notebooks typically come in one of two forms—a standalone tablet that requires a smart pen or an eco-friendly spiral notebook with reusable sheets that you can digitally scan. Not sure which one you’d prefer? First decide what kind of material you want to scribble on, and then consider whether you want a black-and-white or multicolor display. Some tablets feature a matte, paper-like surface (ideal for mimicking the feeling of handwriting), while others have a smooth LCD screen (great for digital art). Also take into account whether the device supports any accessories, such as an attachable keyboard or a protective folio. 

Function: How exactly do you intend to use your smart notebook? Do you need it to take notes in school, jot down reminders at the office, annotate books, plot diagrams, or draw landscapes? And how important is it for you to be able to easily share your work, or instantly upload it to the cloud? (If your primary purpose is to quickly digitize text to send to others, be sure to choose a Bluetooth- or Wi-Fi-enabled option) Some digital notebooks also come with built-in templates—such as weekly calendars, goal maps, and to-do lists—in case you need help keeping organized. Whichever model you choose, make sure it suits your personal needs.

Storage: Does your digital notebook need to be able to store a lot of documents offline, or do you plan to upload most of your work to the cloud? Consider whether you want documents saved directly onto your device, or if you’d prefer them to live online. If you need to be able to access files without the Internet, make sure the device you buy has plenty of internal storage. 

Dimensions: Whether you’re shopping for a digital notebook with all the trimmings or searching for a simple smart pad, the size of your device should depend on two factors: how portable you need your digital notebook to be and how much writing space you need. Pay attention to the “working area” dimensions of devices, which indicate how much real estate you have to scrawl on. If you’re looking for a lightweight gadget you can hold in one hand and slip into your pocket, opt for a pint-size option. But if you need extra space to sketch out your thoughts, go for a larger model. 

Best Digital Notebook for Avid Readers

If you love to write notes while reading, Amazon’s all-in-one notebook and e-reader—one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2023—is for you. Fitted with an anti-glare, 10.2-inch Paperwhite display, the Wi-Fi-enabled device lets users scribble directly on e-books and PDFs—not to mention import and markup Microsoft Word documents, and create personal notes using a variety of brushes and templates. To boot, the tablet can last for weeks on a single charge. 

Supported Devices: Amazon Kindle App.
Dimensions: 9 x 7.7 x 0.22 inches.
Storage: 64GB.
Accessories: KindlePremium Pen.

Best Digital Notebook for All-Day Use

This intuitive little gadget will quickly digitize what you write on real paper. Compatible with A5 sheets, it features writing synchronization, document management, and offline storage (that can be fast-synced to your smartphone)—not to mention voice recording and one-click sharing. In addition, the lightweight device doubles as a drawing pad with more than 8,100 levels of pressure sensitivity. And it can provide up to 18 hours of nonstop usage—so it’ll easily get you through the day (and then some). 

Supported Devices: Bluetooth 5.0, Linux, Windows 7, macOS 10.12, Android 6.0, and iOS 11 (or later).
Dimensions: 9.49 x 7 x 0.11 inches.
Storage: Offline up to 50 pages.
Accessories: 2Huino Scribo Pens, 1 notepad, 1 tablet surface cover, 2 ballpoint refills, 1 pen nib clip, and 4 plastic pen nibs.

Best Digital Notebook for Collaborators

The iPad Pro, paired with an Apple Pencil, makes a fantastic smart notebook for teams. The versatile, user-friendly device turns handwritten notes into typed text, and can act as a flexible canvas through the Freeform app, which you can use to create diagrams and draw with a friend over FaceTime. It also lets you mark up screenshots, so you can easily share feedback with your colleagues.

Supported Devices: MacOS, Wifi, and Cellular.
Dimensions: 11.04 x 8.46 x 0.25 inches.
Storage: 128GB.
Accessories: Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard.

Best Eco-Friendly Digital Notebook

If you want to preserve the feeling of handwriting in a traditional notebook but want to cut down on your paper waste, this one’s for you. The soft-cover book has seven templates (including a weekly planner, monthly calendar, and to-do list), which are printed on specially coated sheets that you can easily erase with water, so you can keep reusing pages. Just write, scan, erase, and repeat! 

Supported Devices: Rocketbook App via Android and iOS.
Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches.
Storage: 42 pages.
Accessories: Pilot FriXion pen and microfiber cloth.

Most Versatile Digital Notebook

This Android-powered, electronic-ink tablet lets users store files, read documents in up to 24 digital formats, markup audio recordings, and subscribe to their favorite RSS feeds—plus, navigate two tabs at the same time on a split screen. Featuring a 16-megapixel rear camera for precision document scanning, it has a matte black-and-white display enhanced with Boox’s Super Refresh Technology, which makes it easy on the eyes.

Supported Devices: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Android, microSD, USB-C, and Boox Assistant app.
Dimensions: 7.3 x 8.9 x 0.26 inches.
Storage: 4GB + 128GB.
Accessories: Boox stylus.

Best Digital Notebook for Students

Declutter your school bag with the help of this ultra-thin tablet, perfect for staying organized in class. Designed to emulate the feel of writing on paper, it allows you to convert your handwritten notes into typed text and send them via email. And you can store all your e-books, PDFs, and personal documents in one place—without the distraction of social media notifications constantly popping up in the background.  

Supported Devices: Linux.
Dimensions: 9.69 x 7.4 x 0.19 inches
Storage: Unlimited cloud storage with subscription.
Accessories: 9 Marker replacement tips, USB-A to USB-C cable.

Best Digital Notebook for Business Professionals

This all-in-one e-ink tablet is packed with all the capabilities you need for the office—from organizing files with headers and turning handwritten text into Word documents, to connecting notes with links and syncing files to the cloud. The Kindle-integrated device also lets you save excerpts, trim PDFs, and create custom fonts and templates. Plus it can connect to a Bluetooth keyboard, in case you ever get tired of using a pen.

Supported Devices: Wifi, Bluetooth, USB, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Supernote Cloud.
Dimensions: 7 x 9.65 inches, 10.3-inch display.
Storage: 2GB RAM plus 32GB.
Accessories: None (pen sold separately).

Best Compact Digital Notebook 

The smaller version of Boogie Board’s lightweight tablet readily fits in most backpacks and purses, making it perfect for jotting down ideas on the go. Instantly organize and upload your notes to the cloud with the companion app, and use the end of the Blackboard smart pen to wipe out small mistakes with the precision of a pencil eraser. 

Supported Devices: Boogie Board Blackboard app for iOS and Android.
Dimensions: 5.5 x 7.25 inches.
Storage: Compatible with Dropbox, Google Drive, EverNote, and Microsoft OneNote
Accessories: Blackboard smart pen.

best Digital Notebook for Drawing

Great for gifting, this slender set includes a tablet featuring with Wacom’s multi-touch surface, programmable express keys, radial menus and pen side-switches—plus the Pro Pen 2  that enables users to quickly digitize handwritten text and, more specifically, illustrations. It’s definitely ideal for for professionals in the art world (think painter, editors, illustrators, and more), along with those that value both speed and style.

Supported Devices: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Wacom Intuos Pro, Wacom Cintiq, and Wacom MobileStudio Pro.
Dimensions: 16.8 × 11.2 × 0.3 inches.
Storage: 250GB.
Accessories: Wacom Pro Pen slim, Wacom Paper Clip, Wacom Finetip Pen, Wacom Ballpoint Pen, Pen Nibs, Refills, Wacom Soft Case Large, Wacom Texture Sheets (all sold separately).

Best Waterproof Digital Notebook

If you love writing by the pool or on the beach (or even in the tub), this hybrid e-reader and digital notebook is a smart investment. Fully submersible for 60 minutes in water up to 6 feet deep, the Wi-Fi-enabled device—which goes easy on the eyes with adjustable brightness, blue-light control, and dark mode—features a built-in Bluetooth chip that lets you listen to audiobooks while you scribble. Upload and scrawl all over your ebooks and PDFs, and seamlessly export the notebooks you create to Dropbox and Google Drive. (One important thing to note: The device doesn’t come with the Kobo Stylus, so you’ll have to buy it separately.)

Supported Devices: Dropbox and Google Drive. 
Dimensions: ‎6.32 x 7.13 x 0.3 inches.
Storage: 32GB.
Accessories: None.

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