IRISNotes Executive 2 review
IRISNotes Executive 2 is a digital pen that converts handwritten text from pen and paper digitally to edit via PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Aimed essentially at business users, it also makes sense for anyone studying or driven by bouts of creativity. The package consists of a digital pen with traditional ink, receiver, which sits at the top of your writing area, and cables for connecting to computer or iOS device. The actual pen has a nicely weighted, quality feel about it and comes with a small pouch for pen and accessories for safe passage on your travels.
The process of writing and drawing is simple, aided by the fact that you don't need any specialist ink, paper stock or rigid, uniformed way of making your mark. Once done, and IRIS estimates you can store up to 100 A4 pages on the device, the process of converting your text requires hooking up the receiver to either computer or iPad via USB or Apple 30-pin to USB. A free iOS app IRISNotes HD aids the process of converting text for your desired word processing package.
The IRIS OCR software did a fair job of converting our notes into text that didn't need much further editing. Correcting text has been one of the frustrations of using alternative voice recognition software, which for good or bad IRIS doesn't support here. It isn't perfect, no solution currently is, but as long as you don't have the spidery scrawl of a doctor you should be pleasantly surprised.
Despite being impressed by the OCR capabilities, the idea of converting hand written notes to your iPad via a receiver already feels a little antiquated and touch fiddly. It's also worth noting that for left handers the receiver needs to be moved to a position that isn't blocked by the bulk of your hand, which will likely require a bit of experimenting. IRISNotes 2 is offered in two configurations - Express 2 at around £99, and Executive 2 at around £149. The latter adds support for Apple's iOS devices and Mac computers, amongst a range of extras that offers better value for money despite the higher price.
IRIS faces solid competition here from Livescribe, Wacom and potentially others in the move to a paperless, rather digitised, world. IRISNotes Executive 2 is, however, a worthy addition, one that is simple and effective as long as you make the effort to use it regularly. Support for PC, Mac and iPad particularly, along with iPhone and iPod touch, adds value to a package here that has potential uses beyond the business world.