Rocketbook – a paperless reusable notebook

Rocketbook review

Rocketbook exists in that segment of products and gadgets that I believe seem like a great idea, but don’t quite work for me. I’ll give you the sales pitch and then what I have a problem with, and then say it’s pretty great. Rollercoaster review. You decide for yourself.

I’ll preface this with the kind PR people of Rocketbook provided this to me, and my 3yo promptly took it and threw it behind a couch where it remained for far too long.

The sales pitch

A notebook that can be used again and again, you upload the pages to the cloud and based on what you mark at the bottom of the page different actions occur such as placing firing off an email, placing the OCR’d document in a specific cloud folder, or just emailing you a PDF of the thing.

Rocketbook review

No more pulling out a screen, worrying about having a battery die on you while taking notes, or having to type uf your handwritten notes at the end of the day.

What Paul got

I believe for most you’re going to love it or hate it. I was mostly indifferent but I got an app that scans the same page over and over and over while telling you to hold still. 8-12 pictures of the same page, stuck in some sort of repeat.

Rocketbook review

Basically I should have heard the click and immediately switched pages, but I never have been prompted and meh. Software issue or operator one that’s not addressed in December 2018, probably will be. It just kept saying hold still, scanning the page, making it larger.

What makes this Rocketbook special?

The notebook itself is pretty nice, but coming in at between $27 and $29.99 I got to wondering. Is there anything here special? I mean it’s waterproof, but you’ve got a towel and a special pen that costs about $2 a pop that you’ve got to keep up with.

There’s a QR code at the bottom of each sheet that is “P(pagenumber) V0I S00000000”. So Page 1 is “P01 V0I and” page 21 is “P21 V0I S0000000”. There are some lightly shown icons next to it for classification.

Rocketbook review
Left Rocketbook, right 5 cents and 8 seconds of “wonder if a copy works”

What happens if we just copy the $1+ Rocketbook sheet onto a piece of paper and use it? (for these purposes I am going to estimate 5 cents printing cost based on next to no required ink.

Works fine. Rocketbook app accepts it. Works with their pen or with a cheapie ballpoint I picked up.

How long to save money?

The Rocketbook is 36 pages, costs $30, so about 86 cents a page. Contrast this to 5 cents a page printed paper and we’ve got using the Rocketbook completely 17.2 times before you start saving money. About 619 pages.

Should be noted also that the Rocketbook pages are 6×8.8″ and a sheet of paper is 8.5×11″ usually. You can make your Rocketbook copy paper a full sheet getting an additional 40.7 square inches of writing surface, or 77% more writing per page.

So now our number is somewhere in the 30.4x range before we start saving money, or 1000 pages.

Then there’s the specialized pen costs, but I don’t know how long their $2 pen lasts.

It’s actually not about the money here though

They tout that it’s environmentally friendly. Mmm. I don’t know about this. Paper’s pretty cut and dry. This is a synthetic polyester that comes in a plastic envelope with a plastic wrapped cleaning rag and is delivered in a giant manilla envelope with bubble wrap inside it.

A unexpected turn

That said, it’s surprisingly the right size, feel, and durability that it needs to be. I like it. Yeah, this review turned an interesting direction.

Rocketbook review
Rocketbook review

I’m not the target audience. That’s someone who writes a lot of notes, handwriting is legible, a student, an exec, someone who needs to be able to write said notes without constant dinging, worrying about battery, looking down to make sure that they’re writing what they think they are and not “bears and windings goat right freakishly met,” etc. And someone who needs to be able to digitize those later.

This is for them, and it’s actually probably pretty great for them.

I really do like the ability to tag a page for where it needs to go. The wipe-away your mistakes.

So not for me, but probably pretty good for the student or CEO in your life.

You can grab ’em on Amazon for about $28, or maybe print your own QR codes on the bottom of a page and see how the software works for you before you buy.

Should be noted the QR codes I’m seeing produced don’t quite match the ones on Rocketbook, so may be some sort of different encoding.

Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Google+ | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts