Analog tools,  Productivity

The Rocketbook

The Rocketbook does exactly what it says it does; it provides a reusable, eraseable writing surface.

It just doesn’t do it very well, or in a way that makes me want to use it.

Rocketbooks, which come in various sizes, as well in several styles pre-printed templates for things like to do lists, or calendars or schedules, are plastic coated pages, meant to be written on, sponged off, and re-used. You must use Frixion erasable pens; these pens uses a special ink that disappears with heat (or friction which generates heat). Putting a page written on with a Frixion pen and then erased into the freezer will restore erased writing.

Current versions of the Rocketbook include pre-printed areas for you to use tokens that, when you photograph the page with your smart phone and the Rocketbook app, allow you to upload the pages to clouc servers or email, OCR, and categorize them, then wipe them clean with a damp microfiber cloth (included with the Rocketbook), to use them again.

I bought an A4 or letter-sized Rocketbook Core with dot-grid pages, and a dozen or so multi-colored Frixion pens, in addition to the black Frixion that came with the Rocketbook. I diligently tried using the Pocketbook for about six weeks. I thought The Rocketbook would be a way for me to take temporary notes, record phone messages, and similar ephemeral items.

It works, don’t get me wrong. The Rocketbook performs exactly as advertised, right up to the uploading and scanning features. It’s just neither enjoyable to use, or efficient. The plastic writing surface is slick, rather like writing on glass. It’s difficult to write quickly, and still have it be legible. Even after six weeks of almost daily use, I never got comfortable with the way it felt to write on the plastic-coated pages. Just using the included micro cloth and water to clean the pages was a little difficult, and far more time consuming than I expected. It’s actually easier, and more enjoyable, to use my iPad and Apple Pencil. It’s also more efficient.

That said, I have no doubt that other people will find Rocketbooks or their loose-leaf pages and planners, ideal.