Anyone who knows me will know that I can be quite unorganised. It’s a trait of mine that I’m not proud of because it makes life harder than it needs to be sometimes. I’m always running late, doing everything at last minute, forgetting appointments. I have to have everything written down, otherwise I haven’t got a clue what’s going on. Particularly now that I’m a parent, and I have to remember PE kits, school projects, the family shopping list.
Now, I’m a technology lover, and I would be lost without my phone. But, I’m still lover of paper. I find myself switching between the two quite often, which can get confusing. Sometimes I make a calendar entry on my phone, other times it’s marked in my diary. Sometimes I make notes on an app, other time I scribble them in to one of my many notepads. I’m sure you can see where the confusion can come in.
Honestly though, when it comes to some things, you just can’t beat good old fashioned pen and paper. I like the feeling of the pen as it moves across the page. I have dozens of journals and notepads filled with all sorts of writing, memos and doodles. The only issue is, I write something down and then forget about it, or can’t remember which of my many notepads I wrote it in. Because you know, I’m unorganised.
When we were contacted to ask if we would like to try the Wacom Bamboo Spark to see how it could fit in to family life, I jumped at the chance. If there’s something out there that can help my organise my thoughts a bit better, I’m all over it!
I suppose I should start by telling you what the Bamboo Spark is. Basically, it’s a smart notebook that lets you take notes with pen and paper, and transfers them to your phone or tablet. Perfect for people like me who love pen and paper but want to work digitally. Using a special ‘smart pen’ and any A5 notepad, you can make notes and then send them via bluetooth to your device. If you don’t have your device, you can store up to 100 pages on the Bamboo until you can sync.
The Bamboo Spark comes in three styles: one with a gadget pocket, one with a tablet pocket, and one with a snap case for iPad Air 2. We received the Smart Folio with gadget pocket.
So, how did we use the Bamboo Spark in our everyday family life? Well to begin, I got stuck right in with our shopping list. I have a terrible habit for writing my list and then forgetting to bring it when I go shopping. I never forget my phone though, and so being able to sync my written list to my phone was going to be quite handy for me.
The pen writes well. I was worried it was going to be scratchy, but it was actually very smooth. You do have to use the special pen provided, which means buying the special refills. You do get three included and they are supposed to last around three months of moderate note taking, so not too bad. The only small issue I had with the pen is that the lid kept falling off the top when I was writing, but that’s not a big deal.
When you write on the note pad, a pressure sensitive pad below captures your strokes and stores them on the device. Other reviews warned that moving the paper pad slightly during drawing would mess things up, but I found the paper to stay in place quite well. When I was finished writing my shopping list I pressed the button on the side to save the work. I then used the app on my phone to sync the shopping list so I could have it with me whenever I needed.
We found the Bamboo pretty helpful with homework too. Each week the kids have to practice their spellings, which usually end up on sheets all paper all over. Now, they can write their spellings on the notepad and sync it to their pads where they can they revise the spelling whenever they need to. We no longer have a huge pile of selling sheets on the desk!
Of course, it doesn’t all have to be work! Caitlin is a keen artist and loves to practice her drawing skills. Fascinated with this new gadget, she wanted an excuse to use it after the homework was finished. So when the hard work is done, there is still fun to be had. She did some doodles then transferred them to her pad, and she thought this was amazing.
The Bamboo Spark captured her drawing surprisingly well. There were a couple of pen strokes that were missed but nothing you would really notice. Using this for doodling means the kids can keep their drawings without all of the paper, which keeps mum happy too.
The only problem I have had while trying the device is that I struggled to connect to the cloud with the app on my phone. I sometimes got an error message and would have to close the app and try again. Maybe something I’m doing wrong, I’m not sure. Despite the issue, the rest of the app still works well. It’s really handy being able to save the pages as a pdf too, as it lets me email things to my husband easily.
All in all it’s a nifty little device. Well suited to paper lovers who want to keep up with technology. It’s great for minimising scribbles in random pads android fun for the kids.
Find it now on amazon*:
We were sent a Wacom Bamboo Spark free of charge in return for an honest review. All opinions are our own.
*I make a commission for purchases made through the Amazon link.