Neo N2 smartpen review

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The Neo N2 smartpen is the perfect gadget for students who prefer to view their notes on an electronic device but prefer writing with ordinary pen and paper over a stylus. It could also work well for a number of other occasions. Its size and light weight make it feel just like any ordinary pen and the metallic design makes the Neo N2 appealing to the eye and easy to grip. But from the moment the cap comes off, a whole new level of productivity begins.

Overview

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The Neo N2 connects to your Android or iOS device though a Bluetooth connection. Using numerous integrated sensors, the smartpen measures your hand strokes and syncs movement with a compatible device in real-time. All you have to do is take notes the way you normally would, and the smartpen will do the rest for you. Everything you write, draw and even shade is recorded and can be viewed later. It also works if you’re away from your compatible device using its sync up later option. Users will need to download the company’s Neo Notes application in order to pair and calibrate the smartpen initially prior to taking down notes. The app also brings many other capabilities such as personalizing your own notebooks, organizing your work, inserting images, syncing with Google Drive and Evernote services and more. Best of all, the Neo N2 supplies enough battery to get you though all your classes without the need to constantly require charging.

Design

The design of the Neo N2 is one of my favorite things about it. Even though it’s not the slimmest pen, its elegant look and metallic coating makes it easy to grip and feel good in the hand. It will turn on by itself when you begin writing and will turn off when it notices it has been sitting for a while. The smartpen is light for its slightly larger size and features an aluminum construction. However, it should be noted that a small fraction of the smartpen is constructed of plastic but it’s not where you would be holding it when writing.

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A color-changing LED is located near the top of the smartpen — opposite the tip — and lights up when charging, syncing or simply just using. A micro-USB port is at the top end of Neo N2 allowing users to charge the pen with ease. I found it to be a convenient location because the wire doesn’t get in the way and can be used when charging if you’re at a nearby outlet. The pen includes a cap to put on top of the tip just like any ordinary pen and can be placed at the opposite end so you don’t lose it. Overall, you can’t really complain about the smartpen’s design. The Neo N2’s premium materials and sleek design make it one of the most attractive of its kind.

Functionality

The more time I spent with the Neo N2, the more capabilities I found out it had. There was so much to learn about this smartpen.

The purpose of the Neo N2 is to have an easy way to display your notes all in a single place. The smartpen uses integrated sensors to record the movements you make when writing. Users will use it just as he or she uses a normal ballpoint pen. No additional learning or getting used to is required. Extra pen ink is included with the purchase of the device. Users simply switch the pen tips and it’s as easy as that. Once that runs out, more can be always be purchased from NeoLAB’s website.

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With purchases of a Neo N2 smartpen, plenty of notebooks are supplied to make sure users don’t run out of space. Each notebook features a different line scaling. For example, some have wider lines than others. In addition, the company includes some notebooks with boxes for making graphs and some plain for sketching and scribbling. Each notebook also has a different size. Small ones are great for on-the-go purposes such as making to-do lists. Others are larger for more sophisticated notes and drawings. When writing, you have the option to change the thickness of the pen as well as the color in which the notes are being displayed.

When a user writes in his or her notebook using the smartpen, it will automatically recognize which notebook you’re writing in; therefore, notes are easy to locate and well-organized in the Neo Notes app. The only downside of this is that users must use the notebooks provided. You can still use the pen for its writing capability elsewhere, but you’ll have to deal with just the paper version.

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When you begin writing, the Neo N2 will automatically turn on and begin recording. At this time, the smartpen will make a short beep sound indicating it has turned on. I found this a little annoying because many could hear it, especially if you’re in a quiet room. Hopefully the company will push out an update allowing users to mute the noise. The LED will light up a whitish color when using the smartpen.

Other than taking handwritten notes, the smartpen can also transcribe your writing into digital characters. It isn’t the most accurate in the world, but if your hand writing is fairly good, it will get the gist of it. The smartpen also lets users record and playback handwriting with its audio synced notes. Although very cool, I found myself not using it nearly as much as I wanted too. Notes can even be displayed on a large monitor or a television so long as the user has the proper equipment.

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I found that the battery life of the Neo N2 smartpen was enough to make it through the typical day of classes, with very little time left over. If you’re constantly taking notes down all day like me, you might want to charge this often to ensure it doesn’t die during the middle of a class or lecture. I found myself getting around two full days on a single charge with fairly high usage, meaning the smartpen hardly ever turned off. But if you daydream in class, and the smartpen recognizes it has been sitting for a while, it will send off a beep prior to shutting down and save you some extra life. I found standby on the Neo N2 to be very good.

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Charging the smartpen will take anywhere from sixty to ninety minutes when going from 0% to 100% depending on your source. It includes a standard USB to micro-USB cable for charging via your computer or laptop. No wall adapter comes included. When charging is in progress, the LED indicator will light up red and the same beeping noise will go off so you know it’s connected. Included manuals help initially pair the smartpen to your device and gives some useful tips.

Neo Notes App

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Inside the Neo Notes app you’ll find a bevy of options that make the Neo N2 even better. When you open up the app for the first time, he or she is prompted with instructions on how to pair the smartpen. Once that has completed that, you will have full access to the app’s features. The top right corner displays a small icon of a pen tip that when clicked, its battery life and unused memory space. Swiping from the right edge of the display will give you access to all the features the app has to offer along with the settings.

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The Notebook section is where you’ll see all the notes you have taken. You notes are organized into the notebook in which you have written inside. Users can customize the look of the cover by tapping on the information icon in the top right corner. Users can change the notebook cover to one of the included backgrounds or an image from their gallery. You could also add tags, check how many pages are used and their amount of recorded data. The date it was created appears at the top along with the name of the notebook, which can be changed by simply pressing down on the title.

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Other features include a built-in calendar that keeps track of the changes you made, where they were made and when you made them. This can be seen by clicking on the date of the month in which you want to view.

Tags help users search for certain topics and pages. This can be helpful when trying to find the notes taken down on a particular topic so that there is no need to dig through pages of notes. Users can go about this by simply searching a term in the search box under tags and/or note search.

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One of the best things about the Neo N2 smartpen is its great integration with popular services such as Google Drive an Evernote. Using the manager in the settings, you can export your pages or even a full length notebook into PDF’s. Users will have the option to set them to upload automatically over Wi-Fi in order to view them across all their favorite devices, anywhere, anytime. Sharing has also been made easy. Users have the option to save their notes on the original paper type they wrote it on, with a white background or even a transparent background. Sending is as easy as picking a page, selecting an app to share with and sending it off. You’ll also have the option to select the format in which you want to send it. Choices include PNG (image file), PDF, text file and SVG files.

In settings, users can enable or disable notifications, choose from 14 supported languages and more. The company provides a button on the bottom in which you can contact for support including a web chat option for quick help. The ‘News & Tips’ section shows the current status of updates, tips and tricks and other helpful information. The company is very good about rolling out updates to ensure their customers get the best experience possible.

Closing

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After spending time with the Neo N2 smartpen, I believe it’s a worthy update. However, I think it’s for a small crowd of people considering that not many are willing to adapt this type of learning just yet. It works well for the capabilities it has but does hiccup from time-to-time. I found that sometimes when pressing lightly, the line wasn’t recorded in the app but was visible on paper. Sometimes the smartpen doesn’t turn on automatically and requires you to push the button. I also experienced some connection issues after first connecting with my phone, but after playing around with it for some time I can usually get it to work without an issue. On the other hand, the Neo Notes app has so much to offer. Its customization options, useful tools and key settings make the Neo N2 one of the most adaptable smartpens to a user’s preferences I have ever seen. The beautiful design is one of the best out there, being very portable to bring just about anywhere.

This smartpen comes in two color options: titan black and silver white. It’s compatible with Android devices running version 4.1.2 and higher so long as it has Bluetooth 2.1 or newer. It also works with iOS 7.1 or higher. Pricing runs between $ 150-$ 200 depending on where you look and ongoing promotions. The bottom line is, even though the company is not that well-known, don’t get turned off by it, nor any cons I have mentioned. The experience and simplicity for portraying as well as sharing notes alone is like no other and worth taking a look. With a few small software tweaks, I believe the Neo N2 smartpen will set the mark for others to follow and will make a great gift for smarties time come the holiday season.

[Neo Smartpen] [Amazon]

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