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12 Top Notepads and Apps For Electronic Note-Taking (+ Tips)

Discover the art of efficient digital note-taking with our comprehensive guide to the top tools (plus expert tips)!

By Fellow.app  •   January 10, 2024  •   8 min read

Whether you’re taking meeting notes during a daily huddle or a one-on-one meeting, note-taking can keep you organized. And from note-taking apps to electronic notebooks you can use to write and draw, there are plenty of choices for your note-taking. Below are some of the best digital notepads and note-taking apps to make your search easier. 

Digital vs. paper notes: the great debate

Studies in recent years show that the pen and paper approach to note-taking is better for remembering key points. Then on the flip side, other studies point to both forms of note-taking being effective for different reasons. For example, some people can type faster than they write. As a result, they can take more notes and immediately remember what they wrote, but they might not remember everything in the long term. 

At the end of the day, the choice comes down to what works best for you and your team. With electronic notepads, note-taking apps, and automatic meeting note tools, you can more easily share notes in real-time. Plus, they’re more flexible if you forget pen and paper. And if you use a digital notepad with a stylus, then you can “write” on your screen, giving you the best of both worlds. 

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6 best digital notepads

The following digital notepads (you might also see them called “writing tablets”) can help you take better notes. 

1Rocketbook Fusion Smart notebook

The Fusion Smart notebook from Rocketbook is a 42-page notebook with seven different page styles that can be used repeatedly with any cloud service. It comes with any Pilot Frixion pen to write with on the notebook’s pages. The writing disappears with a drop of water and an included microfiber cloth. You can use the Rocketbook app to scan, save, and share your notes.

Key features:

  • Digital scanning and sharing 
  • Reusable notebook pages 
  • Pen and paper experience for digital notes
  • Available in 9 colors, in both Letter Size (8.5 x 11) or Executive Size (6 x 8.8)

Price: You can purchase a Fusion notebook (and pen) for $39.99 on Rocketbook’s website, and the app is free for Android and iOS users.

2reMarkable 2

The reMarkable 2 is a smart reusable notebook that comes with a matte, paper-like screen, and is similar to a large-screen note-taking tablet. You can also upload documents and ebooks to it through the app, and also integrates with a Chrome extension. It is on the pricier side, so this may be for the more avid note-takers looking to splurge.

Key features:

  • 5 color options
  • Stores the equivalent of 100,000 pages
  • 8GB internal storage

Price: The reMarkable 2 tablet is $299 available on their website.

3Moleskine Smart Writing Set

The Moleskine Smart Writing Set includes a digital smart pen and a smart notebook. You can sync both devices with the Moleskine Notes app to digitally transfer, organize, and edit your notes and drawings. You can add audio recordings to your notes, and it recognizes 30 different languages. 

Key features:

  • Accessible from multiple devices
  • Sharable in different image and text formats
  • Syncs digitally with the Moleskine Notes app
  • Recognizes 30 different languages

Price: The Moleskine Smart Writing set is $279 on the website and Amazon and comes with the app.

4Boogie Board Writing Tablet

The Boogie Board Writing Tablet is a reusable notebook with a 8.5” x 11” screen size. You can write notes on the tablet, save them to your mobile device using the free Blackboard app, and then clear your screen. You can start from templates such as Dot Grid, Black, Planner, and Lines. You can use the Boogie Board for drawings and notes.  

Key features:

  • 8.5” x 11” screen
  • Save to your phone using Blackboard mobile app
  • Several templates available

Price: The Boogie Board tablet is $44.99 on Amazon, and the app is free for Android and iOS users.

5Newyes Robot Pad

The Robot Pad from Newyes is a simpler version of the Boogie Board. It essentially works the same, but you can’t save notes or sync them with other devices. Its screen is 8.5 inches, and you can lock the erase button so you don’t accidentally delete anything. It also includes magnets so you can mount it on your fridge.  

Key features:

  • 8.5-inch screen 
  • Lock the erase button to avoid deleting accidentally  
  • Includes magnets to display notes or drawings on your fridge

Price: The Newyes Robot Pad is $15.99 on Amazon. 

Newyes Robot Pad

6Jonzoo LCD Writing Tablet

The Jonzoo LCD Writing Tablet is an 11” tablet that’s lightweight and features built-in magnets and a stylus dock. You can write again and again on it, and the replaceable coin battery can last for months. The LCD panel reflects natural light, which means no glare.  

Key features:

  • Built-in magnets and stylus dock
  • Unlimited smart paper
  • Replaceable coin battery 

Price: The JONZOO LCD Writing Tablet is $15.99 on Amazon. 

6 best digital note-taking apps

If you’re looking for a note-taking app you can use on an existing tablet or smartphone, try the below options. 

1 Fellow

Fellow is a top-tier tool for all things meeting-related, including note-taking. With Fellow, you can build collaborative meeting agendas, record meeting notes, and keep your team accountable through meeting action items. So whether you’re in-person or remote or you have a hybrid work model, you can build great meeting habits such as real-time note-taking. 

You can also use Fellow’s AI Meeting Copilot to automatically record, transcribe, and summarize your meetings into easily digestible note format, making it easy to identify action items, ideas, goals, OKRs, and whatever else is on your mind. And if you’re juggling browser tabs, you can use Fellow’s integrations with other video conferencing apps to record notes in the same tab as your meeting.

Key features:

  • Take sharable notes directly on ideas and goals
  • AI features automatically records, transcribes and summarizes meeting notes in real-time
  • Collaborate on, write, and manage action items in real-time
  • Google Chrome and Firefox extensions allow access to your meeting notes directly from your video call or calendar event

Price: Starts at $7 per user per month

Learn more about Fellow’s plans

2GoodNotes 6

GoodNotes 6 lets you record notes, write music, and annotate PDFs. You can sync your digital notes with all your devices via iCloud. You can also create Notebooks, each of which is a separate digital notebook, so you can better organize information by category. You can also change colors of folders and customize templates. The app also features handwriting recognition and search functionality, with new technology available only on iOS.

Key features:

  • Syncs across all your devices through iCloud 
  • Marks up PDFs
  • Includes handwriting recognition
  • AI-powered features on iOS, e.g. word completion, handwriting spell check, math assistance

Price: GoodNotes6 offers a limited free plan, and you can buy the full version with a $29.99 one-time purchase.

3 Notion

Notion is similar to Google Docs for note-taking but comes with lots of extra features, customization abilities, and a sleeker user interface (UI). You can turn your meeting notes into actionable items, timelines, and visualizations in your Notion workspace. However, Notion does offer fewer integrations than other note-taking tools.

Key features:

  • Notion AI can help you take notes more efficiently 
  • A variety of keyboard shortcuts help speed up your workflows
  • Databases act as collections of pages to help you stay organized (like a filing cabinet for your notes)

Price: Notability offers free plans, with monthly plans starting at $8 per month.

4 Notability

Notability is a note-taking and annotation app with tools such as ink, highlighter, text, and audio. You can mark up documents, slides, and images and keep your notes with you at all times. You can also create a favorites toolbar so you can easily locate your most-used tools. 

Key features:

  • Annotate different forms of media 
  • Work with ink, highlighter, text, and audio
  • Save your favorite tools to locate them faster

Price: Notability offers free plans, with annual plans starting at $14.99 per year for the premium plan.

5Apple Notes

Apple Notes is one of the oldest notes apps, and is available on all Apple devices. This application allows you to create notes and then add texts, images, scanned documents, handwritten notes, and checklists. Users can also create folders to organize their notes in and use the search bar to easily find older folders/notes. Apple notes are also compatible with Siri, so iOS users are able to ask Siri to create a new note for you.

Key features:

  • Moveable toolbar
  • Handwriting and typing options 
  • Highlighter and eraser 

Price: Apple users can access Apple Notes for free for up to 5GB. You can also upgrade for $0.99/month for every 50GB added.

6LiquidText

With LiquidText, you can mark up and review documents. It’s less of a traditional note-taking app and more for importing documents into a digital workspace to edit them. The screen has a right side and a left side; the left is for the document, and the right is for notes. You can grab bits of text and move them to the right side of the screen to mark them up. You can organize your notes into groups and make connections between them. 

Key features:

  • Review and mark up documents
  • Can add multiple documents and multiple workspaces into one project
  • Divide the screen into two halves for easier markup
  • Keep track of key findings 

Price: A free LiquidText plan is available. Paid plans start at $7.99 per month or a one-time purchase of $79.99.

9 tips to take digital notes effectively

Whether you prefer pen and paper, an app, or a digital notepad, the below tips can help you take better notes.

  • Highlight the key points. You shouldn’t transcribe your meetings verbatim. Instead, highlight the most important points. It’s best to hear the information, quickly digest it, and then jot down some notes about the key takeaways. 
  • Don’t overdo it. There are times in a meeting to listen, times to speak, and times to take notes. You don’t want to get so caught up in note-taking that you miss what’s happening. 
  • Ask for clarification if you missed something. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you need someone to repeat themselves. You’re best off doing this while everyone is chatting about an important point or when there’s a pause or room for questions. 
  • Compare notes with other team members after the meeting. If you missed something during a meeting but never got to speak up, ask someone afterward. If you’re using a digital notepad or a note-taking app, you can swap notes electronically. 
  • Keep your notes organized and concise. It’s best to keep your notes short, sweet, and organized to avoid miscellaneous sticky notes all over your desk. This way, you know where you can find what you need and return to it quickly. 
  • Review your notes and copy them over when the meeting ends. After the meeting, you should review your notes, check for any mistakes, and add anything important while it’s still fresh in your mind. You can also scan and save your notes digitally if you’re using an electronic notepad or save them to the cloud with an app. 
  • What type of information do you want to collect? Identify the type of information you need to capture and consider the diverse needs of different types of note-takers. Knowing your specific needs simplifies choosing the right strategies and tools for you. If your note-taking varies across scenarios, you can try combining various methods and apps for versatility.
  • Get familiar with the tool beforehand. A key to better note-taking is thoroughly familiarizing yourself with your chosen tool before using it in a high-pressure situation. It’s easy to get dazzled by a tool’s features without fully understanding how it works. You may want to research online, watch instructional YouTube videos, or even contact customer support.
  • Choose a note-taking method or aesthetic. There are many note-taking strategies or techniques available, so it’s crucial to experiment and discover which one best aids your information retention and meets your note-taking requirements. It’s also important to personalize your notes to improve memory retention. It can help to settle on an aesthetic that appeals to you and compare whether the customization options of the different tools align with your needs.

Notes of wisdom with Fellow

When it comes to taking notes at work, the key is not just in capturing the information, but also in how you save and organize it. This is where digital notepads and note-taking apps come in handy. They help ensure you don’t miss important details, but even with these tools, keeping a thorough and accurate record can be a challenge.

That’s why a tool like Fellow can be a game-changer in the note-taking process, ensuring you never miss a detail in your notes again. The Fellow AI Meeting Copilot automatically records, transcribes, and summarizes your meetings, which means you spend less time writing and more time engaging.

Additionally, Fellow offers a variety of templates for different meeting needs, helping you streamline your note-taking process and ensure that your notes are comprehensive, organized, and useful.

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