Moleskine's Smart Writing Set transforms pen and paper notes into digital files

Moleskine's latest digital-paper combination, the Smart Writing Set, has the style of a tablet and the convenience of digital manipulation.

Paper may never go away, but there are a slew of digital notebook alternatives that make managing notes more convenient, such as Evernote, OneNote, and Google Keep. To keep pace with its virtual rivals, legendary notebook maker Moleskine is adding yet another digital-physical hybrid to its Moleskine+ collection, which already includes “digital enhanced objects” such as the Livescribe 3 Smartpen Moleskine bundle and the Evernote Smart Notebook.

On Wednesday, the company announced a new electronic pen and paper notebook combination called the Moleskine Smart Writing Set. When paired with a companion mobile app for Android and iOS, the Smart Writing Set can transcribe your notes made on paper to digital formats. The company says it currently does not have any plans to create a universal Windows app to transfer notes directly to a Windows 10 device.

moleskine sws 08

The centerpiece of the Smart Writing Set is the pen, called Pen+, created by Neo Smartpen, a company that also sells digital pens under its own brand. Similar to the Livescribe 3 smartpen, Pen+ includes an infrared camera that records your movements on paper and sends them to the accompanying mobile app via Bluetooth. Notes can be beamed to the app in real time or up to 1,000 pages of data can be stored inside the pen for later transfer. The system even allows for editing of notes on physical paper.

The pen is only half the equation, however. The set's specially-designed paper notebook, called a “paper tablet,” is also mandatory since it includes a grid that the pen uses to record your notes in digital form.

moleskine sws papertablet

As this is Moleskine, the notebook has a unique style with paper pages designed by noted Italian industrial designer Giulio Iacchetti. Moleskine calls the notebook a “paper tablet,” because the pages inside have large, rounded edges, which are reminiscent of a tablet when you look at in profile.

Once your notes are inside the app, you can share them in a variety of different file formats, such as text, PDF, image, and SVG. You'll also find various features and advantages you’d expect from digitizing your notes, including sharing, copying, text highlighting, and tagging for easier searching.

Each paper page also has some “digital integration” thanks to an envelope icon that, when checked, automatically attaches your note to a new email message on your device.

Why this matters: Moleskine’s latest paper-digital combination comes just after Microsoft made a big deal about digital inking features headed to Windows 10 this summer. In fact, Microsoft’s Bryan Roper said the company wants Windows 10’s digital inking to offer the “naturalness and speed of pen and paper with the power of a PC.” Moleskine’s system won’t offer fancy features like Cortana and Maps digital ink integration. Nevertheless, for pure transfer of notes and sketches the Smart Writing Set may be preferable to writing on a Windows 10 device since it includes, you know, actual paper.

Pricing

moleskine sws 07

The new Moleskine Smart Writing Set is available now, but if you were expecting a bargain look away. The Paper Tablet and Pen+ will set you back $200 (the app is free). Most of that cost is for the pen, however, as supplementary paper tablets are just $30.

You can buy the Smart Writing Set on Moleskine’s site, Moleskine shops, and other select retail outlets worldwide.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags gadgetsink

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?