Rock­et­book Wave

A CLEVER – BUT UL­TI­MATELY FLAWED – AT­TEMPT TO BRING PEN AND PA­PER INTO THE DIG­I­TAL AGE

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - BARRY COLLINS $39.99 • www.getrock­et­book.com.au

Noth­ing – re­peat noth­ing – can re­place the im­me­di­ate tac­tile sat­is­fac­tion of scrib­bling notes with pen and pa­per. Not Ap­ple Pen­cil, not the Galaxy Note, noth­ing that in­volves a sty­lus and a slab of glass.

Rock­et­book Wave doesn’t at­tempt to re­place pen and pa­per – it is pen and pa­per. How­ever, it at­tempts to bring some of the bene ts of dig­i­tal writ­ing sys­tems by let­ting you scan your hand­writ­ten notes with a smart­phone and then wipe the book clean by giv­ing it a quick spin in the mi­crowave. Is it the prover­bial best of both worlds?

Ag­o­nis­ingly, not quite. As some­one who’s spent years and way too much dis­pos­able in­come try­ing to bring some or­der to my hand­writ­ten notes, the Rock­et­book Wave looked (if you’ll for­give the pun) good on pa­per. How­ever, a cou­ple of weeks spent jot­ting notes on its pages re­veals aws that pre­vent it from earn­ing my un­quali ed en­dorse­ment.

The rst stick­ing point is the pens you have to use. The Rock­et­book sys­tem is only com­pat­i­ble with Pi­lot’s Frix­ion pens – one comes free with the book. Jot down a phone num­ber in your book with a nearby Biro when you’re on a phone call, and that’s your page ru­ined – it can’t be erased. That said, the Frix­ion range is widely avail­able and not hideously ex­pen­sive (less than $5); you just have to re­mem­ber to keep pen and pad close by.

The pad it­self isn’t lined but marked with a feint grid of squares that aid the scan­ning process. That makes jot­ting notes slightly more awk­ward that it needs be. I’m con­stantly squint­ing to check I’m on the line, which is some­thing that doesn’t even en­ter my con­scious­ness with reg­u­lar notepads.

The scan is per­formed with the ac­com­pa­ny­ing smart­phone app (iOS and An­droid), which is im­mac­u­lately de­signed. Rock­et­book is also in­te­grated with a num­ber of well-known ser­vices, in­clud­ing Drop­box, OneNote, Google Drive, Ever­note and email. You sim­ply tick a box at the bot­tom of each page to tell it which ser­vice or ser­vices you want the scanned notes de­liv­ered to and the rest is done seam­lessly.

Files are de­liv­ered to their des­ti­na­tion as PDFs, but for­get about any­thing like OCR – you’ll have to rely on the des­ti­na­tion app (such as OneNote) to con­vert hand­writ­ing into search­able text, which has al­ways been im­per­fect in my ex­pe­ri­ence.

The scans are high res­o­lu­tion: up to 4,032 x 3,024 on my test Galaxy S7, but the de­fault res­o­lu­tion is 3,264 x 1,836. That’s per­fectly suf cient to make hand­writ­ing leg­i­ble or re­tain the de­tail of hand-drawn di­a­grams. Scans are straight­ened per­fectly, too. How­ever, the grid of squares on the page is par­tially vis­i­ble on the scanned re­sults and some of my scans were marred by blue marks, which I sus­pect is the re­sult of the scanned page get­ting damp at some point. These are note­books you need to take good care of.

Each 80-page note­book can be re-used up to ve times. The wip­ing process is straight­for­ward: pop the note­book on your mi­crowave oven’s ro­tat­ing plate, place a mug of wa­ter on top of the note­book to pre­vent the pages from char­ring, and blast the book at full power un­til the blue logo on the front of the pad dis­ap­pears. Then ip the note­book over and re­peat. The whole process takes less time than cook­ing a ready meal.

Are the pages wiped ab­so­lutely clean? Not quite. If you look closely, you can still see the un­der­ly­ing trace of what was writ­ten on the pages pre­vi­ously. How­ever, some of that’s down to in­den­ta­tions – I press quite rmly when writ­ing, so I’m scratch­ing the page as I write. And, of course, the more you re-use the books, the worse the show-through from pre­vi­ous etch­ings be­comes. It’s by no means a show-stop­per, but it

makes it even harder to see where those grid lines are when you’re writ­ing.

Then we come in­evitably to the price. The 15.2cm x 22.6cm “Ex­ec­u­tive” note­book costs $40, which makes even Mole­sk­ine note­books look like pound shop items by com­par­i­son. If you got all

ve uses out of your Rock­et­book Wave, that price ef­fec­tively tum­bles to around a ver a book, but would you get all ve uses?

Even af­ter only a fort­night in my work bag, the Rock­et­book Wave is start­ing to look tatty. It’s just a hard-bound pa­per note­book, af­ter all. And with the po­ten­tial to ruin pages with cof­fee stains, smudges or ab­sent­mind­edly jot­ting notes with the wrong type of pen, I think the chances of get­ting all the way through ve full re-uses of the book are slim.

You have to ad­mire the in­ge­nu­ity and de­sign ef­fort that’s gone into the Rock­et­book Wave. If you ab­so­lutely refuse to be parted from pen and pa­per and want some of the bene ts of digi­ti­sa­tion, it’s worth se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion.

How­ever, the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of sev­eral small aws means it won’t be re­plac­ing a reg­u­lar notepad and Biro in my of ce.

It may look like a nor­mal notepad, but don’t use a nor­mal Biro – the Rock­et­book sys­tem only picks up Pi­lot’s Frix­ion pens

Our test Rock­et­book looked tatty af­ter a fort­night’s use

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