Transferring data from the sensor to your PC is very simple. Just connect it using the provided cable through the sensor’s mini-USB connector, open Note Manager, and press the upload button. You can then choose to view, save, send or edit the pen session, or you can choose to convert it to text using Vision Objects’ multilingual MyScript Notes.
Interestingly, MyScript Notes is a newer version of the same third-party intelligent character recognition (ICR) software that came bundled with Logitech’s io Pen back in the day, and it’s easy to see why since it does an excellent job. As long as you write in a straight line (lined paper is recommended) and with a modicum of clarity, MyScript Notes picks up most words accurately (check out Page 4 for a sample sequence).
Between a colleague and myself with completely different handwriting styles, Vision Objects’ software managed an accuracy rate of about 90 per cent. Better yet, you can train the software to improve recognition using MyScript Trainer, which sets up a unique profile for each user.
Another nifty feature of the e-Pens Mobile Notes Digital Pen is that it can be used as a mouse when the dongle is connected to a PC – this is called Connected mode. Switching between mouse and pen while Connected can be achieved in several ways, but the simplest is just to tap with the pen close to the sensor’s front, at which the pen icon on the LCD screen will change to a mouse icon.
In mouse mode (where you’ll probably want to use the plastic stylus nib), you hover the pen over a surface to move your pointer, use the rocker switch or tap to left-click, and tap and hold to right-click. It’s a pretty good alternative to a mouse and it will work on any surface (including mirrors) as long as nothing comes between it and the sensor. Heck, you can even use it in the air if you stay within the sensor’s flat plane and use the rocker switch to click.
Of course you can also drag the nib around to draw lines, so this digital pen makes for an interesting alternative to a tablet. Its lack of pressure or tilt sensitivity means it’s not for serious designers and artists, but for anyone who wants to experiment or for those who can’t afford a tablet it might be just the thing.
In terms of value for money, the portable e-Pens Mobile Notes Digital Pen doesn’t seem too expensive at £72.44. Though the likes of NEWLink appear to be offering the same hardware for around £40, this doesn’t include a full version of Vision Objects’ MyScript Notes which is worth at least £30 retail.
Technology has moved on since the days when digital pens required ‘digital paper’ and e-Pens’ Mobile Notes Digital Pen is a fine example. It’s not for everyone, but if you still write a lot of handwritten notes or want to doodle without the expense and weight of a tablet, e-Pens’ device is worth considering.