There are many tablet devices on the market today that either boast accurate handwriting recognition or allow you to store a digital copy of what you write on screen with Tablet PCs, PDA devices and Smartphones. Having experienced using all of these methods of storing or recognising written text, I was curious about the DigiMemo A402 from a company called Acecad who develop a clipboard type product that on the surface of it, doesn’t look all that high tech, but take a closer look and you will realise that it’s so much more than just a clipboard.
The DigiMemo is naturally heavier than your typical clipboard, weighing in at 660g but carrying it around with you, working with it on your lap, it’s a comfortable fit that isn’t that much bigger than the A4 pad that is clipped on to it. Internally there is 32MB of flash storage, which is expandable by SD cards storing up to 999 pages per card. A file of hand-written notes takes up about 400KB of space depending on how complex and how full each page is. I’ve had a page of notes come in at 100KB.
The four AAA batteries that the main unit is powered up on will last about 80 hours, which is about a month’s usage.
Without a digital surface to actually write on, the great thing about the DigiMemo is the fact that you are still writing on bona-fide real genuine paper so you get an instant hard copy without having to print anything. So how does it capture your writing in to a digital format? The digital pen that looks and works like a normal pen with normal ink has a built in sensor that is powered using a cell battery that can work for up to 14 months.
After you’re reading for the next page simply start a fresh sheet and press the down button on the control panel towards the left hand side.
Using the included software, you can transfer and read the files that have been created. With the bundled software you can make corrections to the hand written text that has been captured by the pad. The results are very good with my tests reproducing an exact replica of what I put down on paper with ink. It’s like a scanned image or better yet, it delivers the same result as having a Tablet PC.
To transfer the files from the DigiMemo you either remove the SD card from the slot if you’re using one or connect it to your computer using the supplied USB cable. Once recognised and installed using an XP machine, two external storage devices were present in My Computer. One of them is the internal memory and the second is the SD card slot. To make a copy of these files was as simple as dragging and dropping in to a directory on my local hard drive.
At just under Â£100, this works out to be a very expensive clipboard but considering the cost of a Tablet PC, which is about ten times as much as the Acecad A402 then this might be the perfect solution for your office or studies. The flawless capture and excellent battery life that this tablet-like device delivers is great at capturing all of your hand written notes straight in to a digital format without the need for scanning or printing. It’s a seamless solution to your digital capturing needs whether it be conference notes, meeting minutes, lecture notes or a rough draft of your next novel.
This simple to use device does what it says on the box with 32MB of onboard memory and expandable via the SD card there’s more than enough storage than you’re ever going to need and the battery life at 80 hours for the main unit and 14 months for the pen you’re going to run out of things to write about before the batteries run flat on this device.