Review: Moleskine Smart Notebook vs Whitelines Link (by Tap! Magazine)

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So, what’s better: a digital notebook or a real notebook? Actually, it’s neither; it’s a real notebook you can easily digitise

The iPad is a great notebook for sketching and scribbling down ideas, so long as you add the right app. Tap!’s favourite is Noteshelf, which feels great, lets you create custom paper templates and has lots of clever features that help it behave in a way that’s similar to – if not better than – a paper notebook. But just because we love the iPad doesn’t mean we don’t also love the tactile pleasure of a good real notebook, and happily, with these two here, you can blur the line between physical and virtual; both pair with an app to let you digitise pages.

The notebook on the left above is the result of a collaboration between Evernote, the company that makes the organisation platform many swear by, and Moleskine, which makes a wide range of hard-backed  notebooks beloved of artists, writers and hipsters. The notebook itself is predictably lovely, since it’s just a standard Moleskine with a pretty, organisation-y design debossed onto the front cover.

Snap a page with the Evernote app, and it’s uploaded to your Evernote database, ready to be filed, tagged, shared and so on. Evernote can even read your handwriting, making it possible to search your handwritten notes. Well, we can’t guarantee it can read your handwriting, but it coped well with ours during testing.

You get a code in the back of the book for a three-month membership to Evernote Premium (worth £12), which, among other things, increases the monthly amount you can upload to 1GB and lets you take notebooks offline – great for travelling.All that’s fine as far as it goes. But the Whitelines system is much smarter – and you can upload straight to Evernote from its app too, so you can still take advantage of handwriting detection and so on. It’s clever for two reaso

ns. One is the ‘whitelines’ idea; rather than having a white page with lines printed in black, Whitelines pages are printed so that it appears like there are white lines drawn on a light grey page. This makes your writing and drawing really stand out, is restful to look at and means written characters, say, are more distinguishable from the background – which also means OCR (optical character recognition) systems can understand them better.

The other reason is smarter still. The LINK notebooks can sense where the page is. So, even if you’re photographing in a rush, it can snap it to being perfectly straight. What’s more, it automatically removes the background so all you get is your notes and drawings on a clean white background. And it does all that quickly and automatically – it even presses the shutter automatically when you hover over a page and it senses a good lock. The app itself is much less rich than Evernote, but offers basic sorting and sharing. Sadly the only Whitelines products currently LINK enabled are squared and lined A4 and A5 soft-cover wire-bound ones.

Evernote Smart Notebook is so much less clever than the Whitelines system that, even though its products are much harder to find and limited to paper-backed notebooks, we’re now committed Whitelines fans.


Tap! Verdict

Evernote Smart Notebook
“The notebook is as nice as any Moleskine, but despite clever OCR, the app doesn’t add much.”

Whitelines LINK
“The automatically sensed, de-skewed and cleaned up page scans are really clever.”


See the article here!


Discussion 4 Comments

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  1. Shahram Khorsand

    Great blog and I agree 100% with your conclusion. I have tested the other notebooks as well. The iphone app works great and does exactly what you expect. I am happy that they haven’t bloated it with unnecessary features.
    Evernote is great at what it does. Moleskine has its history and feel of quality. However, if you want to get your notes beautifully and quickly into Evernote, whitelines is the best choice.

    • Johanna

      Thank you and we’re glad that you agree on Whitelines Link delivering as promised.

  2. Vincent

    Thanks for the review.
    I’m going to be on the lookout for these now and give them a shot.
    I can’t say your review/comparison was very fair though. By looking at how you listed the prices, it makes it seem like they’re meant to be directly compared. The truth though, is that Moleskine’s books also have 3 times as many pages as the standard Whitelines Link.

    • Johanna

      Thank you for commenting!
      You are correct in that Evernote Moleskines have more pages. We have tried to focus on the best user experience. Not to heavy to be carried around, Format, bindings and pricing that allows for extensive usage and sharing. Bit foremost an outstanding Linkingexperience. If you do go ahead and try the Whitelines Link, it would be interesting to hear your reflections.
      /the Whtelines Team

      Evernote Moleskine smart notebook:
      sizes: 3.5 x 5.5 5 x 8.25
      pages: 192 240
      Price: $24.95 $29,95 Prices fm

      Whitelines Link:
      sizes: 5.8 x 8.3 8.3 x 11.7
      pages: 140 140
      price: 59SEK($8,84) 69SEK ($10,34) Prices fm