Cam Note satisfies my need for scribbling notes and keeps them digital at the same time [Review]

Often times you find accessories that try to replace the old-school physical way of achieving tasks. For instance: calendar, clock and to-do list apps. The only problem is, there is a generation of us who are still more comfortable writing our notes and lists down on physical paper. It’s not that we don’t want to have the convenience of storing all our notes, events and reminders on one device. It’s the fact that writing with a pen on paper is simpler than trying to type a list on a cramped virtual QWERTY keyboard.

When the iPad was released, various companies have tried to solve this modern first world problem by releasing a stylus. But personally, I still find scribbling with a stylus on a touchscreen a little unnatural. Something about it just doesn’t feel right. So, what’s the solution? Scribbling on a pad and taking a photo with your camera? Believe me, I’ve done that. The issue there is that you need to make sure lighting and angle is right in the first place, otherwise, your photo will be blurry and unclear.

So, what if there was a solution to both issues? Writing on physical paper, and still having a perfectly legible digital copy on your smartphone? That’s precisely where Cam Note comes in. Granted, it may be aimed at a small market of 25-40 year olds who’re still more comfortable making notes on paper. But still, the opportunity is there. And I know that market exists. I am one of them.

If I’m completely honest, when I first heard of Cam Note I was mainly interested because of the name. I had no idea what it did, or what it was for. I just thought it’d be really cool to have a notepad with my name on it. But, I was in for a surprise. It’s perfect for me. Maybe they named it specifically for me? Probably not. But, I can dream.

Cam Note is a smartphone scannable notepad available in two sizes: A5 and A7. They’re priced at £2.49 ($4) and £3.99 ($6.50) for the A7 Jotter and A5 Notepad respectively. On the surface, it looks like a regular notepad. It has faintly lined pages, but with a dark turquoise border all the way around the writing area. It’s the border that distinguishes it from other, regular notepads.

Once you’ve purchased the notepad, you download the Cam Note iPhone app. Each notepad has a QR code on the inside of the front cover leading to the mobile site, giving access to download links for the app on Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store. Once downloaded, you can scribble your notes on the pad, then snap a photo using the app. The app, somehow transforms the page into a digital file as if you’d just scanned it. Seemingly from any angle too. You don’t have to be directly above it for to work its magic. Just make sure the page and border are in full view.  You can even crop the image and change contrast levels if you need to. Handily, the app also has built in support for DropBox, Evernote and Google Drive, so all your files can be uploaded to whichever service you use frequently automatically.

Are there any negatives? Sure. But I didn’t find many. It feels a little long winded for a productivity solution. It doesn’t take any less time than typing up a note on the Notes app, or using Reminders with Siri. I also had some issues with Evernote auto uploading. It could be that I’m really impatient. But, I don’t like have to stare at a blank screen for too long without any progress information.

Although it may not be the speediest solution on the market, it satisfied my need for holding a pen and scribbling notes on paper, while also giving me the ability to access it from my iPhone, iPad and Mac thanks to DropBox compatibility. If you love writing your notes, and not typing, you could do a heck of a lot worse than buying a Cam Note or two. To check it out in more depth, head on over to the Cam Note web store.

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  • Robert John

    I love this app so much my friends think I’m a fan! It’s just soooooooooo useful! If you write, or take pics of notes or illustrations (for Photoshop or wireframes) ike I do, this is just amazing!!!