Gadgets for humans

Review: Royole’s RoWrite Smart Writing Pad is an upgrade on the ink pen

Royole today announced the launch of its RoWrite Smart Writing Pad to North American consumers. The device, perhaps a bit of a solution looking for a problem, lets you combine the experience of using a pen on paper with the reality that all of our information is on our phones now.

The RoWrite is a digital notepad that allows you to use a special ink pen to write on actual paper. Everything you write is transmitted, in real-time, to an app, available on iOS and Android. You can change brushes and colors in the app, and while your ink is black and the actual writing on the real paper doesn’t change, it’s an intuitive way to produce digital images.

Credit: Nicole Gray

Images produced with the app can be saved in JPEG, PDF, or PNG. And you can even export a clip of the entire drawing from start to finish in MP4 format.

It comes in a sturdy portfolio boasting a flat black colored cloth material construction and a smattering of convenient pockets. It feels well-made and, aesthetically, it’s quite pleasing to the eye. More importantly: the design is thin and unobtrusive, which is something anyone looking for a product like this will probably consider important.

I really enjoyed the RoWrite Smart Writing Pad. It’s a device that’s a little hard to see a need for at first, but after using one I can definitely see this product being one of those “oh my god, I’ve been looking for something exactly like this” things that only people who need one truly get.

First off, there’s no learning curve. It’s got a power button, and two option buttons. Just about everything you’re going to do with the device you’ll do in your phone app. From the app you can swap brushes, change colors, and share images.

Credit: Nicole Gray

It uses a standard USB charging cable (included), and requires the RoWrite pen (also included). The pen is a hybrid ink/digital writing device featuring 2,048 pressure points of sensitivity. The ink part of the hybrid comes in the form of a ball-point pen which takes standard refills.

The pen feels fine, it’s perhaps a bit heavy due to the inclusion of a disposable battery, but otherwise writing in ink is the same experience I remember from many years ago when I last did so. I found myself wishing the ball-point design was better – it’s a great digital pen and the transfer from the pad to my phone is perfect, but I’m sort of a pen snob and I never cared too much for ball-point pens.

Credit: Nicole Gray

Still, it gets the job done. And I liked having the option of turning my finished notes into a real paper airplane while still keeping them in digital format.

In today’s modern digital society there’s an argument to be made that this kind of device brings with it a certain air of vintage coolness. I can definitely see this being the sort of gift you buy a grad so they can get well-wishes from all their friends in a format they can hang on their dorm room walls and Instagram.

If your mad skills at drawing epic charts cannot be replicated on a tablet screen, or your poetry can only be unlocked through the sensation of putting pen to paper, your device has arrived. You can get yours on Amazon for $129.99.

Sometimes we publish sponsored reviews. This isn’t one of them. When we like a product we say so, and when we don’t we say that too. 

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Published May 21, 2018 — 21:28 UTC

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