A companion of intellectuals and traveling writers for almost two centuries, Moleskine is no small black notebook like any other. Over the years, it has become a veritable institution for all lovers of words and culture. From Ernest Hemingway to Pablo Picasso, his ambassadors have made Moleskine a legend. Despite the digitization of writing and literature with the advent of the Internet in our society, Moleskine has found new functions in its small notebook: diary, sketchbook, travel notebook … Until today offering hui, a smart health connected version.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgbVvqhZ1v4 (/ embed)
The collaboration between NeoLAB Convergence, for the smart health connected pen, Giulio Iacchetti, for the notebook Paper Tablet, and Moleskin have made it possible to set up this brand new smart health connected notebook. We spent a few days with it, and our impression is pretty good.
Mark : Moleskin
Model: Smart Writing Set
Category: smart health connected stationery
Price: 229 euros
Compatibility: iOS (and Android, in a way)
Availability: Available on the brand's website for pre-order
Tested: Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPad
Buy Moleskine Smart Writing Set:
What you will learn
Unboxing of the Moleskine Smart Writing Set
First good point: even if it releases a smart health smart health connected object packed with technology, Moleskine does not forget the primary use of its product, namely a writing kit. The Smart Writing Set remains fairly sober, content witha simple cardboard box, opening like a box and housing the different elements of the set.
The user therefore finds the Paper Tablet (a dotted notebook with NeoLAB's NCode technology, believe that we will come back to this later), smart pen, Pen + (still from NeoLAB), a USB / micro USB charging cable, a refill ink and an instructions for use, not always very clear alas. As usual, the brand also slipped a small notebook summarizing the story of Moleskine. The packaging therefore has no originality compared to the traditional codes of the brand, which is no worse.
Design and ergonomics of the Moleskine Smart Writing Set
The innovation of Moleskine Smart Writing Set does not only reside in his pen, which we will detail later, but also in his notebook. Physically, nothing distinguishes it from the usual notebooks of the brand, except that it is dotted (not checkered: dotted). In reality, hidden under these strange leaves is NCode technology, developed by NeoLAB. A name that you often find during this Review, since this Australian company is closely linked to the Moleskine Smart Writing Review. The reason : behind its smart health connected pen hides that of NeoLAB, the Neo Smartpen. The design is essentially identical: it presents an infrared camera on the mine side, and on the other a micro-USB port.
Interaction level, the smart health connected pen remains simple and only embeds two elements. First, a button which will be used to switch the device on and off; secondly, an indicator light which will be used to display the battery level and the color of the line.
This on-board technology explains why, despite its appearance similar to traditional models, the device is at this heavy point. However, writing with it is not particularly troublesome. The instructions clearly state that it is necessary to raise your wrist and respect a certain writing angle so as not to interfere with the sensors, but at no time did we encounter any problem at this level. Without particularly applying ourselves.
In short, overall the design of the Smart Writing Set remains fairly close to the brand's tradition. A good point. After all, if we buy Moleskin, it is to have Moleskin.
Moleskine Smart Writing Set app
It’s at the application level that things get complicated. Firstly because the box and the leaflet both display contradictory information, announcing that the pen is compatible at the same time iOS and Android but thatan app only exists on Apple devices. In fact, no matter how much you search on Google Play, you will not find any trace of the Moleskine Notes App. We had to contact the Moleskine press service for the answer: for Android users, you will have to go through the NeoNotes app (still from NeoLAB for the Neo Smartpen). Yes, it's a bit complicated.
In fact, NeoNotes automatically recognizes the smart health connected pen, after which it becomes possible to switch to the Moleskine Notes App interface. We do not have no particular problem with synchronization : just keep the button pressed for 3 seconds and keep it close to your device for it to be detected.
The application is both simple and complex. Just write to be automatically taken to Notepad, where we can watch the live transcription of what we write. A rudimentary tool palette accompanies this screen, allowing you to change the size and color of the line (on the application only, please note). In addition, various actions are made possible via a scrolling menu:
- Transcribe your fly paws into text (which will be selectable and copyable) according to the language of your choice. A really useful feature, especially since the character recognition is really amazing.
- Assign a label to your page, so that you can sort your writings / drawings.
- Record voice memos.
- Consult the “history” of your tracks.
- Share the page in the format of your choice.
- Edit the content, via an additional toolbar such as selection windows or the highlighter.
Obviously, there are also other features like the activities calendar, a search tool or various settings (to configure your email, language, sharing options, etc.). To be perfectly honest, we must also postpone some problems encountered while using the application, such as untimely freezes or closings.
Using the Moleskine Smart Writing Set
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-bdmV43roQ (/ embed)
Despite the application, it is useful to specify that the smart health connected pen Moleskine is not dependent on its application to function. Once it has been synchronized with a smartphone or tablet, the Pen + can use its built-in memory to save more than 1,000 pages before transferring the data to the application. In addition, if you want to quickly keep a copy of your writings, you can email you a copy of your page in court by simply pressing the small envelope in the corner of the page.
Besides, even if the instructions say that it is necessary to hold the pen in a certain way (an angle between – 20 degrees and + 40 degrees relative to the vertical axis), we have always written without paying attention to it and have never encountered any problems. The weight of the device is quickly forgotten, which makes its use rather intuitive and lets us take advantage of its other features.
Once on the notepad, the tool palette is relatively easy and quick to use, which allows you to change colors without losing too much time (the indicator light even changes color depending on the one you have selected, to help you remember it). However, this can only be done with the phone open next to you, which is not necessarily possible all day long. Besides, it's quite easy to sort your notes in several notebooks or to attach precise labels to them so that you can easily find them later.
In summary, the Pen + is fairly easy to use and proves damn effective, even if the application has dropped us several times. So a halftone victory.
Moleskine facing the competition
This is where comes the angry point. smart health connected pens are nothing new. We already know the Equil Smartpen 2, the Livescribe Smartpen 3, the digital pen by Staedler or the Lifetrons Business Note Writer. These products are often less practical than the Pen +, since most require a sensor to be attached to the sheet (with the notable exception of the Smartpen 3, similar to the Pen + but almost € 70 cheaper). Indeed, the price range of these products often fluctuate between 70 € and 170 €, while the Moleskine Smart Writing Set tops out at… 229 €
Because it's good in terms of price that Moleskine stands out. And if we have passed over its most obvious competitor, the Neo Smartpen, it is precisely for that: the smart health connected pen of Moleskine is in fact only a Neo Smartpen N2, as displayed on the box, the manual or the pen itself. A smart health connected pen with the same design, the same NCode technology and the same mobile application, and available for… 170 €.
So, not difficult to understand the positioning of Moleskine compared to its competitors. The Smart Writing Pen should not be bought because it is effective, but because it is a Moleskine.
Value for money of the Moleskine Smart Writing Set
There was no way we could appreciate the value for money of this Moleskine smart health connected Writing Kit. Not when you know that it is only a Neo SmartPen N2 at "only" 170 € (which is already expensive compared to other similar products). Moleskine's Smart Writing Set sells for around € 229, to which you will need to add € 30 of book to buy regularly, since it can only be used on the famous Paper Tablets.
A quick calculation tells us that of the € 229 spent on the purchase of the Moleskine writing kit, just under 75% is used to pay for equipment and technology. The additional 25% (about 30 €) only buys the brand name. Clearly…
- The legendary brand design
- Utilisation facility
- A very complete application (special mention for the transcription function)
- An aberrant quality / price ratio
- No real dedicated application on Android
(Review) Moleskine Smart Writing Set: the luxury smart health connected pen
Reviewed by Jérémy Pirotte
Design and ergonomics: As a luxury item, it's not surprising to discover a refined design, like the rest of the Moleskine range.
Application : Difficult to judge. The pen is Android compatible but only has an application on iOS, which turns out to be pretty damn good apart from a few freezes and bugs. Meh.
Features: A range of varied and easily accessible tools, good independence from the telephone and an obvious nomadic character.
Use and handling: No complaints. The Pen + is used like an ordinary pen and we have never encountered any problems with its use.
Value for money: The Pen + is just a Neo Smartpen to which the Moleskine logo has been added. Buy a Smartpen directly, save your money.
AB SMART HEALTH REVIEW