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Mobile Digital Scribe Review

Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued.

Our Verdict

Great price for product that provides fundamental features.

For

  • Accurately records hand-written notes and converts to text.

Against

  • How you hold your hand could affect pen's performance.
Image 1 of 4

This image shows an individual drawing an image with the Mobile Digital Scribe on a piece of paper.

This image shows an individual drawing an image with the Mobile Digital Scribe on a piece of paper.
Image 2 of 4

This image shows the external sensor of the Mobile Digital Scribe getting plugged into the mini-USB port. The device attaches to the top of a sheet of paper during a note taking session.

This image shows the external sensor of the Mobile Digital Scribe getting plugged into the mini-USB port. The device attaches to the top of a sheet of paper during a note taking session.
Image 3 of 4

This image shows handwriting being converted to text with the optical character recognition function of the Mobile Digital Scribe.

This image shows handwriting being converted to text with the optical character recognition function of the Mobile Digital Scribe.
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This image shows a man using the Mobile Digital Scribe pen while the external sensor is connected to the computer. His pen strokes appear on the screen in real time.

This image shows a man using the Mobile Digital Scribe pen while the external sensor is connected to the computer. His pen strokes appear on the screen in real time.

Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.

IOGEAR's Mobile Digital Scribe combines ultrasound and infrared technologies in its digital pen. It uses sophisticated algorithms to provide accurate tracking and positioning of the pen. Unlike other digital pens we reviewed, it allows you to write on any surface.

The technology includes an ergonomic pen with a companion sensor device that mounts to the page where you are writing. It didn't include all the bells and whistles of the Echo Smartpen, but of the three products that used a separate sensor device, we felt this pen performed the best.

Using this pen is as straightforward as the included instruction booklet and electronic user manual describe. The device is what it says it is. The page range for writing is an A4-sized margin, 8.27 x 11.69 inches, which is basically the writing area on an 8.5 x 11-inch piece of paper. Everything we wrote was captured and transmitted easily to the companion desktop software. In addition, we were able to convert hand-written notes to text with simply the click of a button.

This pen comes with a USB charger/port that syncs your sensor device with your computer. It also includes companion desktop software, electronic user manual, and the MyScribe optical character recognition (OCR) program. The product also comes with a nice carrying case for the pen, sensor device and USB cable.

MyScribe, which is about 85 percent accurate, converts your hand-written notes to text, which can then be transferred to MS Word or into the body of an email by just a simple copy and paste.

In mobile mode, the sensor device can store up to 50 pages before syncing with your computer. But the product also allows you to write connected to your computer, where you can see your note-taking progress in real time. Syncing to the companion desktop software is automatic when you plug in the USB port. You can also set the pen to be used as a mouse.

We found that transitioning from one page to the next was a breeze with this product. The sensor actually knew when you dismounted from one page and mounted to another. This factor made the pen less disruptive to the note taking process.

How you hold your hand when you write could affect the digital pen's performance. Your hand cannot be placed between the pen and the sensor when you write. In addition, you cannot hold the pen at the tip but must hold it along the side, as sensors around the tip of the pen need to communicate with the sensor.

Although you have the option of placing the sensor device on the left corner, right corner or top middle of your paper, for best results, we recommend the top middle. In addition, you must mount the device on a single sheet of paper, so we would recommend using a spiral-bound notebook instead of a top-bound legal pad.

The device seems to transmit your handwriting less clearly at the bottom of the page, but the OCR converter can still read your handwriting the same from the top of the page to the bottom. Just as with any OCR converters, it reads your notes from left to right, so we recommend not writing in two columns or doodling in the margin.

We found the accompanying quick-start instruction booklet somewhat technical in appearance, but directions for using the sensor device and pen were straightforward, and the how-to illustrations were helpful.

Setup recommends initially charging your sensor device before use, although you can use it plugged in to your computer right away.

The companion software is compatible with Windows XP and Vista. IOGEAR provides a phone number, email address and an online support resource on their website, including frequently asked questions, an online form and troubleshooting guides.

Overall, we were very impressed with IOGEAR's Mobile Digital Scribe. It has an excellent price for what you get, and we recommend this digital pen if you are looking for one that just provides the fundamentals.