notebook sightings: CamNote

Sometime ago, I was contacted by CamNote about doing a review of their notebook / app combination, designed to “digitise your handwritten notes and and make them easily available wherever you go.

It was a pleasant surprise and I was eager to do it, considering that no one had sent me stuff to review before. However, things did not work out as planned, and neither the notebooks nor the review came about.  I still am happy that they bothered to contact me, as I am just a hobby blogger without any regular postings.

The company is still doing well (I assume) and the notebooks (from what I see from their website) are quite beautiful so I thought it would be nice to just talk a little about them.

Cover artThe main product is the Camnote smartphone app (free to download on Google Play and App Store) that allows you to capture your handwritten notes with your smartphone camera. The app then detects, crops and enhances your handwritten notes, and a tagging system and an internal database allows you to organise your notes and make them easily searchable.  You can also sync up with Evernote, which I did not do, but you can read more in this review.

CamNote - scannable notes - screenshotThe Camnote app is able to automatically differentiate, to a certain degree, the notes written on your paper (important) and background (unimportant) and you can then choose to crop away any unnecessary information in the pictures, so you only concentrate on digitising and organising your notes.  I did try out the app for a while after being contacted. However, I do not have many activities (personal or job-related) that required digitising of handwritten notes, so I did not make full use of it.

The app can be used with any kind of paper, but the company does produce notebooks that are specially designed to pair with the app. The notebook is available in 2 sizes, an A7 jotter (top-edge spiral-bound like a reporter’s notebook) and an A5 notepad (spiral-bound on the left).

From what I can see from the product gallery, both notebooks come with crisp white pages, with a border in a gorgeous shade of blue on all edges.  I think this blue border is what optimises pairing with the Camnote app as it makes it easy for either the app and yourself to detect and crop away unnecessary background images after you have snapped a picture of your notes.

The notebooks seem quite premium. Both come with double-sided 100gsm ‘premium quality‘ paper, 60 sheets in the A7 jotter, 100 sheets in the A5.  The pages are blank and white, except for the blue borders and the Camnote logo at the top. The front and back covers seem to be hardback and ‘pure, matt laminated’, so it should feel quite good and smooth in the hands.

The A7 costs £ 3.49 and the A5 £ 4.99, which to me is not particularly cheap, considering a 192-paged pocket-size Evernote Moleskine costs S$20 on Fishpond Singapore.  Camnote does ship to Singapore, but the A5 notebook would end up costing me a whopping S$25.   As mentioned before, I do not have many note-taking activities that require a lot of digitising, and even though I have a lot of notes stored in my Evernote account, I personally still prefer flipping through actual paper.

The CamNote app and notebooks would probably be a good acquisition for people living in the UK (the company is based in London) who are looking for choices other than Evernote Moleskines.





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