Rocketbook Wave Connected Notebook Review

Rocketbook Wave Connected Notebook Review

Dec 22, 2016

For every unfortunate,unfunded concept, there is a realized dream that joins innovation to entrepreneurship. Kickstarted project Rocketbook is a perfect example… on paper.

Rocketbook melds few concepts together. In part, these concepts are, well, sexy. The item looks to be, at first glance, traditional means of taking notes; indeed, the core piece is a notepad. Then, it looks to provide extra, timely functionality by utilizing cloud connectivity via a companion app hosted on a smartdevice.

Finally, the Rocketbook has a final trick up its sleeve, one which involves microwave heat and the promise of reusability. More on that later…

The review package we received contained the Wave notebook, and a black FriXion erasable pen. The notebook “standard” sizing (8.5 in x 9.5 inches) contains 80 pages of dot-grid paper (there is also a smaller “executive” option). Each page has icons and QR codes to help with identification and storage.

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The next piece is the Rocketbook app; this app allows users to digitize the pages using the device’s camera, and to send them to email addresses and services.

Now, when it comes to reusing the notepad the system employs an interesting trick involving a mug of water and a microwave. Yes, you place the notebook in the microwave, place a mug on the notebook in just right spot and nuke it for a few minutes each on both sides.

It is definitely interesting, and it actually works. I admit to being a bit skeptical, but after less than two minutes (including flip) I had, in essence, a fresh notebook.

Sadly, it wasn’t enough time to make a pipin’ hot cup of tea. Impressive.

If I could, I’d love a more professional-looking notebook as an option, but to be fair, I wonder how, say, a leatherclad notebook would stand up to microwaving. I do love that there are two notebook sizes available, and the green factor here is invaluable.

Altogether, the 3-piece system manages to jump over gimmicky and truly be a useful tool, at $27.00 for the a notebook and pen, it doesn’t necessarily break the bank, either.

Notepad+ Review

Notepad+ Review

Aug 14, 2014

For the mobile-centric person, it helps to have a quick method of entering notes. Notepad+ looks to be a intuitive solution.

The opening interface is fairly simple, and the developer does a good job of making the app feel intuitive off the bat. After installing, the huge plus (+) sign within a larger rectangle rests to the top left of the screen, and tapping it opens the main notebook/album page. Here, one can choose to enter a note by handwriting by finger or typing entries via device keyboard. The notebook title can also be selected, along with paper style from several offered types.

The handwriting feature is great for quick entries with a minimum of prior touches, and is quite easy to note1manipulate. It allows for several different colors and line thicknesses to be used, so one can “write” with different colored “ink” too. As most hand/finger-writing tools, block lettering is probably easier to decipher than cursive. Of course, one can draw objects with this entry method as well.

One unique feature is said method of entering typed text. When the text icon is selected, the user is prompted to tap on a free part of the screen, and, when performed, an adjustable text box appears in which the typed text can be placed. For customization feens, Notepad+ covers the bases: text font and colors can be adjusted via the adjustment tools that appear above the keyboard.

A notebook or album can have multiple pages within; to enter a second page, just swipe across the page to start a second note, and so on and so forth. This is useful for blocks of ideas, or categorized groups of entries. As an added bonus, notebooks can be assigned a four digit password for privacy.

The app provides share functionality, and incorporates the expected tools: email, bluetooth, messaging and more. It gave every share possible app on our test device as an option to send with.

The app is pretty good, but this leads to my biggest gripe: the lack of sync functionality. It begs to be used across devices, and I would have loved a common repository of notes. The share functionality somewhat alleviates this concern.

As a standalone app, I works well, and feels quite worth the $1.99 asking price.

Google Keep Review

Google Keep Review

Mar 22, 2013

A lot of people — the whole wide world, seemingly — are not too happy with Google’s decision to discontinue its popular Reader application.

If Google Keep (it’s newly unveiled cloud-supported note taking app) is supposed to be a mea culpa, Google might already be back in our hearts.

Maybe.

The Android note-taking space is not sparse by any means. There are plenty of note apps, and the competition creates a very high bar. Google’s last offering, Notebook was okay, but lacked oomph. Thus, even Google needs a pretty good offering to stay abreast. Keep, I think, does that.

Simplicity, Google’s oft-repeated mantra, is clearly at work here. The interface is clean, with minimalist undertones that seemingly beg to be filled with information. The default light grays and whites combined well. Per user interface, the app allowed for dual panes or a single line of notes, and I was also able to personalize notes by switching background color.

The “simple” looks translated to the on-screen controls as well, with the developers opting for a regular entry button, a check box marker, a microphone for dictated text and a control to invoke the camera for imaged notes. In real-world tests, the entry sequences were smooth and intuitive. The audio functionality worked very well, which was key for me; many of my note entries are dictated, so accuracy is important. I liked that i could archive notes by swiping and toggle check boxes on the fly.

I think the true strength of Keep is it functionality. Google makes the app sync to Google Docs, which is a positive if you have already started using Google Docs. I love the ability to look up and access and/or edit files on the go. It worked well with my device’s share functionality; it pulled in actual text from the note into the my calendar app, instead of a link to the note url as one leading note app does. Now, I would loved to see it pull information from the app, liked entered dates, to create a true calendar entry. Street addresses entered into the app became clickable links that automatically invoked the map app; phone numbers pulled up the dialer. A resizeable widget adds to the overall appeal.

I would have loved for a filing convention of some sort, but barebones is barebones.

Time will tell if Keep will develop a following. It has plenty of upside, but the cool thing is that it seems to be so useful already.

Make Notes Out of Everything with Note Everything

Make Notes Out of Everything with Note Everything

Aug 24, 2012

I’m always wanting to find more interesting new apps for Android. Recently, I was alerted to the existence of an app called Note Everything. Its goal? To let users make notes of just about, well, everything! Need to jot something down? Use the text note functionality to note something quickly. Use paint notes to make a quick sketch. Just do a better job with drawing than amateur fresco restorers do. Record some quick thoughts with the audio note. The app can also integrate with Barcode Scanner to make notes from QR codes, and with a Google Drive (nee Docs) plugin to make notes from documents. The core app is free to use, with a Pro plugin available. Pro features include photo notes, checklists, and even encryption. Those photo notes must be kept secret from the world! Note Everything is available from Google Play, and various other plugins for the app can be found on the store as well.