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.

However, in our tests we found that the device is far from 100 per cent effective at converting handwriting into electronic text format it turned out to be actually more like 60 per cent. This means that once you have text exported from the receiver/storage unit, you have to spend time, correcting mistakes where letters have become lost or changed in conversion.

In terms of functionality, the device has two modes. One is Connected - for real-time work, either in the office, or when you can connect directly to your PC. The second is Mobile, for when you can't get to a PC, and your notes are stored in the receiver/storage unit for uploading at a later point.

When in connected mode, the pen can work in two ways: pen mode or mouse mode. Pen mode is meant to let you capture in real time, and mouse mode makes the pen act like a mouse To swap between the two modes, you simply tap the pen twice near the receiver/storage unit, enabling you in theory to have the best of both worlds.

In practice, this wasn't the case - the pen would not switch between modes, no matter how many times we tapped it near the receiver/storage unit. So, while connected, we could only use the device in mouse mode, meaning we couldn't do extensive testing of Mobile Notes real-time performance.

Furthermore, the pen mode proved very hard to control as the pen is not a good substitute a conventional mouse. Put simply, it's excessively sensitive, and is very time consuming.

Fortunately, in mobile mode the device really comes into its own. Throughout testing we tried a number of different handwriting styles, and while Mobile Notes conversion isn't 100 per cent accurate, it's still impressive. Once some of the flaws are ironed out we can definitely see the potential.

As an application simply for note taking, where 100 per cent accuracy isn't always an absolute necessity, Mobile Notes is an extremely useful tool, particularly since you can edit the text once it has been uploaded to your PC.

Also, the storage/receiver unit is very portable, being roughly the size of a USB stick, which attaches to the top of your paper. This portability, combined with Mobile Notes ability to convert your saved notes into text on your computer is certainly a strong point, eradicating the need for re-writing, which will inevitably save time for some professionals. However, overall this is not enough to save the device, unfortunately, with the issues we had meaning that the cons exceed the pros.

Verdict

While the e-pen is a very promising piece of technology with some clearly interesting applications for professionals, it’s still very much a work in progress. While we can see its potential we feel that the glitches need to be ironed out and the steep learning curve flattened before it can become a mainstream business product.

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