Acecad DigiMemo A402 review
We've all had pages of diligent notes rendered useless by bad handwriting or spilled coffee.
The Acecad DigiMemo promises to change all that. Underneath the plastic backing of the clipboard is a pressure sensor that picks up your handwriting and saves it in the board's 32MB of memory. 32MB might not sound like much, but AceCad reckons that's enough for 999 pages, and there's an SD card slot if you require more.
Using the pad is a pleasant surprise: you wouldn't have thought a pressure-sensitive device costing only a hundred quid could accurately detect the movements of a pen through an entire pad of paper (Acecad claims it works through 140 sheets), but it works.
There are just a few niggles. The pen is a battery-powered active model, not just a bit of plastic like a Nintendo DS stylus, which means your habit of chewing or discarding pens could get expensive. The pad also needs telling, via the buttons on the left-hand side, whenever you start a new page, otherwise it'll simply assume that you intend to draw all over your previous notes. The clip at the top of the board is a little problematic, too. Although the digitiser pen really does work well through quite thick pads of paper, the clip isn't strong enough to hold them, and we'd recommend using smaller stacks of paper if you don't want to be bending over to pick up dropped sheets. The pad is also fairly heavy.
But the DigiMemo's worth becomes clear once you plug it into a PC via USB. Our notes were rendered perfectly, and although the pad itself doesn't have any editing features, the accompanying software allows you to change the colour of selected areas of your notes, as well as making selected parts bold.
It's annoying that your notes are saved in a special file format, though: there's no option to save as a standard image file such as a BMP, for instance, so if you want to share your work you'll need to copy and paste into another program or insist that everyone in your address book installs the DigiMemo software. Compatibility with OneNote, Microsoft Office 2007's 'digital notebook', would have been a massive plus, and it's on our wish list for the DigiMemo's future development.
If all you need is a notepad that will keep your scrawls for posterity, the DigiMemo is a slightly flawed but effective option, and well worth a look if your notes keep emerging illegible from the washing machine.