Review: Bamboo Spark smart folio

Taking notes digitally
By Ruaridh Gordon, CA Student

16 May 2016

The future is here! It’s a smart folio using a smart ballpoint pen – write in the traditional manner and it will automatically convert your notes to digital files for editing, archiving and accessing on the go.

CA Student Ruaridh Gordon, Tax Assistant with Johnston Carmichael provides a comprehensive review on how you can add Spark to your life:

The product

The bamboo spark is a "smart notebook" by Wacom, which takes paper notes and creates a digital copy, allowing the information to be stored as an image or converted automatically into text. The information can easily be sent to other devices such as an iPhone or iPad through the free app downloadable from the app store. The set-up process was very quick and easy.

Trying it out

I was interested to see whether the Bamboo Spark would be useful for notetaking and revision purposes. I prefer to take handwritten notes when in class or at a meeting, but these can be easily misplaced afterwards. I was also keen to find out to what extent the Bamboo Spark would bridge the gap between traditional and more computerised methods of notetaking. I have used it for revision purposes as well as general notetaking purposes. I found it particularly useful in a meeting situation.

The benefits

The ability to instantly email the notes to myself has been very beneficial as I can keep them all together in one email folder. The most impressive feature allows your handwritten notes to be converted instantly into text, and works fairly well if your handwriting is reasonably legible, although I encountered problems when using bullet points and diagrams.

The only negative for me have to be the small amount and limited size of the notepaper provided. This small size does however mean the device is easily portable, which, of course, is a plus.

Recommend it?

Yes, I would recommend the Bamboo. It does not take away from the simplicity of a notebook, but allows the information to be distributed and amended easily. I imagine this would be of particular use to professionals who meet with clients, as they have to spend time after the meeting typing up what was discussed.

Overall impression

I would rate the Bamboo Spark 7/10. I would have no issue taking the device into a meeting, as it appears just like an ordinary notebook or organiser, something which I wouldn’t be keen on doing with, say an iPad. There is a requirement to repurchase paper and ink, which brings the score down very slightly, but it is definitely a useful tool to have.


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