Rocketbook Everlast: Product Review

I recently bought a Rocketbook Everlast (Amazon Affiliate link) notebook through its crowdfunding campaign. It’s now available for sale as a normal product.

tl;dr I like it and think it’s pretty awesome.

Why I wanted to try it

I generally carry a notebook around. It’s a random mix of work notes, short term todo lists, long term lists, shopping lists, thoughts, and anything else I just happen to feel like writing. The todo lists are generally the worst; a list for one day isn’t useful for very long, while longer lists of things that need to happen over a longer period of time turn into a big jumble. And it’s hard to flip back through and find what I’m looking for.

I’d thought of getting a whiteboard notebook, but whiteboards are not pretty. The smooth, glossy surface is somewhat jarring, and dry erase markers are a bit thick for the tiny handwriting I favor. And every whiteboard I have experience with eventually gets hard to erase without chemical help. And the chemicals smell awful.

This notebook is different. It claimed to have a more paper-like surface and be erasable in water. And use a particular type of pen that’s, well, a real pen. That sounded promising.

Using the Notebook

The notebook did indeed live up to my expectations! Here’s a picture of how I’ve been using it:

My Page Layouts

I like to make use of colors, white space, various text sizes, and sometimes various hands to indicate meaning. You can see all of these here. Titles are useful for helping find the correct page when you’re flipping through the book, and other headers are good for scanning the page to find the right section. The dot grid keeps everything aligned and square to the page, but is mild enough to get out of the way when drawing.

Since this is a spiral bound book, it’s easy to either view one page at a time or do two page spreads. I’ve found it useful for larger concepts and projects to do a two page spread with the left hand side containing larger goals and the right hand side containing implementation details.

I like to reserve the first page for a daily to-do list, perhaps with a longer set of to-dos for a week or two at the bottom of the page.  This page will also contains any quick scribbles that I need to copy to somewhere more permanent, such as prices or event details from phone calls. This page gets erased regularly. A few pages later I keep a longer term todo list, and sometimes need to transfer items from one page to another. The erasing makes this easy to do.

The Pens and Their Ink

The only pens that work with this notebook are the Pilot FriXion line (Jet Pens review, Amazon Affiliate Link). They come in a lovely range of colors and a few different tip sizes. There is a gell pen line that makes 0.7 mm lines, and ballpoints that make 0.5 mm lines. Both types feel like gell pens, gliding smoothly over the page. The lines they leave are even and clear. With this notebook, you do have to be careful to write with light pressure so that you do not scratch up the notebook, though the scratches don’t cause trouble and are only visible if you catch the light at just the right angle.

The pens are a special type of erasable pen. They do not erase by removing material, but rather through an ingenious chemical reaction. These inks turn invisible at 140°F, and they will get up to that temperature when the erasers are rubbed against the paper. But a car in the summer can get that hot too! Luckily the reaction is reversible, and the ink will become visible again after some time in the freezer (ink must reach 14°F). This might mean that leaving your notebook in a cold car in winter will make your erased marks reappear.

The Paper Surface

The paper surface is an interesting mix of plastic and paper feel. It is definitely a plastic, but the thin sheets move and flex like paper, and the surface texture provides tooth for writing that also brings the shine down to a satin instead of a plastic gloss. It’s a pleasant surface to write on.

Erasing With Water!

This is what really sets this notebook apart. In addition to the heat-based erasing that these pens do, you can completely wipe off a page with water. It’s important to do this every now and then instead of just using the eraser because the ink will build up. Erasing is best done with a microfiber cloth and not a paper towel; I did mess up the surface texture on small area with a rough paper towel that left a shiny spot. The paper still works but it’s not as pretty.

I have wiped off small sections of a full page, particularly when I am using half of a page as a daily to-do and the bottom half as a week’s worth of to-dos and only want to update the top. This works quite well.

Occasionally I get a little bit of haze on the page after erasing. It might be that I don’t clean my erasing cloth frequently enough; it does need that. The haze is so faint I’m never sure if I’m just imagining it until I erase the blank page and see it get lighter. This has not made the affected section of paper any less useful.

The only downside to the ease of erasing with water is when the spiral bound notebook is arranged with a written-on page on the bottom, you’ll smear the page if you set it on a damp surface. Such as the ring left by condensation on a glass of cold water. I’ve done that more than once.

The Rocketbook App

There is one more feature of this notebook that I consider an interesting bonus: the app that goes with it. Did you notice that each page has a thick black border all around the page, and a QR code and a few shapes along the bottom? These are to make digitizing and uploading pages simple.

When you use the app to take a picture of a page, it uses the black border to straighten up the picture no matter what angle you took the photo from. Then it does some automatic adjustments to minimize shadows and increase contrast. The QR code in the corner encodes a page number, so that if you digitize multiple pages at once, it can put them in order and make one big pdf out of them. You can configure the app to associate various cloud services with the little pictures along the bottom of the page so that it will auto-upload to a specific folder or email address when you’ve drawn on one of the icons.

Here is the image generated from the page I photographed above. Note that I left the pen on there out of curiosity; normally you’d not want to do that.

Rocketbook-2017-07-14-booksamplr

The app works as advertised. I don’t expect to make a lot of use of this, since my main use case for the notebook is ephemera that I don’t want to archive. I expect to use it most often to share information with other people, or to convert sketches to a digital format so I can turn them into nicer digital art.

Conclusion

I like this notebook! It’s useful for the way I think; I have not had good luck with either traditional paper or electronic todo lists yet am doing quite well with this erasable one. The feel of the pens and paper is quite pleasant and more paper-like than I would have expected from anything plastic.

The app is well designed and I have not run into any bugs yet. It would be quite useful to someone who relies more on digital notes than I do. I may end up finding more uses for the digitizing since it’s so easy to do.

The only downsides are the danger of the entire notebook erasing itself if left in a hot car or undoing erasing on frigid winter days, and accidental smears or erasures when set down on a damp surface. And those are all user error, not production faults.

1 thought on “Rocketbook Everlast: Product Review

  1. Pingback: Book Template For Word – My Blog

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