e-pens Mobile Notes review

e-pen’s Mobile Notes wants to revolutionise writing by converting your scribbled notes into editable text on your PC. Can it make good on its promises, or will the conventional pen prevail? We put it through the paces.

Price
£65

While we all love our notebooks, there are many who prefer the feeling of pen on paper. E-Pens Mobile notes hopes to give you the best of both world's by converting your written notes into editable text on your computer.

Open the well packaged box and you'll find all the components neatly laid out. There is an installation CD, two inserts for the pen itself - an ink cartridge and a stylus, for use when in mouse mode' (see later)- two extremely small batteries, and a receiver for capturing and storing your notes.

The technology itself is quite sophisticated with the pen transmitting your hand movements to a receiver that is mounted to the top of your paper. The receiver, which also acts as a storage device, translates your hand movements into digital signals that can be transferred to your computer in real time, or at a later date.

Notes, drawings, etchings, and doodles are converted into digital format by an intelligent character recognition (ICR) programme called Myscript. Once the conversion is complete, your electronically morphed handwriting can be either saved, edited, or deleted. Once on your computer, the converted notes are saved in Mobile Notes Note Manager software, and from here they can be exported into a word processor such as Microsoft Word.

Installation

Unfortunately, testing didn't go as smoothly as it could have done - the e-pen isn't Mac compatible for a start. Nevertheless, once a PC was located, we got straight back to it - albeit, rather disappointed by the device's secular platform range.

The installation process itself proved quite tiresome, and we experienced some major problems when attempting to install the Myscript and Mobile Notes software - downloads, plug-ins and a lot of patience were all required at this point.

However, the most notable annoyance is that Mobile Notes requires Internet Explorer to be set as your default web browser before you can begin doing anything. This would be all well and good if 46 per cent of PC owners didn't use either Mozilla, Safari or another browser, but unfortunately they do, which is a big design flaw that really should have been addressed during the development stages.

You will additionally require the latest version of Flash to view the tutorial videos. However, it is worth persevering with as the videos - once you get past the lo-fi production - are very informative, and take you step-by-step through everything you need to know.

In practice

On paper (excuse the pun), the idea behind Mobile Notes is brilliant, with the time saving aspects of the technology the primary advantage. For instance, you only need to make notes once, either in or out of the office, and they can then be sent directly to your word processor, removing the need for rewriting or retyping reams of notes, making it an attractive technology for professionals whose line of work involves extensive note taking.

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