Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse
A writing experience like no other
$179 From Moleskine, moleskine.com Needs iOS 8.1 or later
When is a pen not a pen? When it’s a Pen+. This is a pen which sees what you’re writing, and where you’re writing it, and beams it to your iPhone as you scribble.
The Pen+ Ellipse is Moleskine’s refined version of the original Pen+, slightly slimmed down and more matte, with pressure sensitivity built in. It has a rather short replaceable cartridge, with much of the body reserved for its 300 mA battery.
The Pen+ writes exceptionally well — you can sketch anywhere with it, but to actually use the interactive features you need one of Moleskine’s special notebooks, which include a microscopic and barely visible dot pattern, read by the tiny sensor integrated next to the nib of the pen. That pattern is so unique that the Moleskine Notes app knows exactly where you’ve written, down to the location on the page of the notebook.
With the app open, you can write and record audio at the same time, and later play back the audio and see your notes appear as you wrote them. If your phone’s away, the Pen+ stores a fair amount of writing, uploading it to the app automatically.
You can then edit the notes: add color, scribble your own digital-only notes on top and export them as a PDF, a PNG, or vector graphic image in SVG format. If your handwriting’s any good, the app will transcribe it.
It’s not perfect. The instructions in the app have been, “interestingly” translated into English. It’s also pricey. But it works so well that you’ll find ways to justify using it.
the bottom line. An effective if pricey sketching tool.
Moleskine’s notebooks are, of course, brilliant — but only Moleskine+ Paper Tablets are compatible with Pen+.