Monday, July 04, 2016

**REVIEW** Boogie Board Jot 8.5

Let me start by saying that I would not have gotten this if I'd known about an upcoming birthday gift.

That is the Jot 8.5 that I picked up for $19.99 at Costco. The price was the one reason I got it, and the other reason is that I really want a digital pen/notebook system but can't decide on one. That's where my nice birthday surprise comes in. My niece and nephew are here from Arizona and a digital pen is going to be their belated gift to me. Yeah. Whoo-hoo!

Now the Jot 8.5 that came from the local Costco is still a nice tool to have. A good digital pen/notebook will be great for my detailed writing note taking on the go. The Jot is a replacement for all those scraps of paper I tend to jot quickie notes down on.

The package/labeling sort of sucks

Let's just go through the Pros and Cons I experienced at initial use.
  • Right out of the package, I could see that there would be a lot of use - and some limitations. Even for a simple note-taking tool, this would have some drawbacks if it had cost more than 20 bucks. At that price, though, it's not a bad deal.
  • The Costco set came with a bonus "Executive" stylus and a folio cover. Both those are nice, although the folio cover was tricky to attach to the board. For one thing, I almost tore off one of the two sticky strips meant to fasten the board to the folio. Instructions should have been clearer about only peeling off the thin top layer of the strips. (Or maybe I'm just too aggressive?). Also, lining the board up to the folio correctly was pesky. I had to make 2 tries and still the alignment is a bit off. 
Alignment not great, but not a disaster

  • The stylus can act as a stand for the board if you place t just so. I don't know why you'd want to "stand" the board though. It's not easy to write on in that position. Nice that the stylus fits into its own spot for storage. Neat.
  • The writing surface is super nice. My palm doesn't leave marks and both of the stylus' are smooth and feel great in the hand. I prefer the docked stylus over the executive pen which feels fatter in my grasp and writes thicker. That's purely a personal preference.

  • The eraser button is (wisely) placed at the top and out of the way from accidental erasures. Still. it would be nice if there were a locking mechanism. I saw that somewhere on either a different version of this board or another brand.
  • The instructions are lacking. And tiny. I really did have to use a magnifying glass to read them.
  • The back of the package is to entice buyers who don't read the smaller print. Glancing at the back of the package, your eyes are drawn to this: 

  • You might or might not notice the importance of the finer print just underneath:  

  • The app that is mentioned for the scanning, editing and all the rest is called Jot. You could miss the mention of it on the package. The logos for the app stores are on the right while the tiny icon for the actual app is over on the left side. I only figured out what the icon was after I found the app on my own in the Play store. 
  • Despite the super-cute name, Jot is a bit tedious to use IMO. First, I have to use the app to snap a shot of the board note, then I can share to other apps. Since I think my notes are important (hah!), I choose to save to Dropbox or OneDrive.
  • I saw some reviews from other users of the Jot app claiming that their notes were "cropped" off at the top. I haven't had that problem. You are looking at my some Jotted notes in this post so you can see what I mean.

Too stark looking!
  • You can also see that the image of the "scanned" note isn't pretty too look at. It's so stark that my eyes hurt.
  • To be fair, I have to admit that this is a pretty cool gadget for such a low price. I will be able to take some quick (and short) notes on the go, photograph them with the Jot app, save to OneDrive, Dropbox, etc, and have them to work with later.
  • Even during the "editing" of a saved.shared image, there is no way to erase. Same goes for writing on the board itself, you have to either cross out the mistake or erase the entire note.
  • The major drawback is that there is no way to edit anywhere but in the scanned image of the notes. Any editing there is done in only 2 color choices: yellow (which is hard to see), and black (which is the ink color of the original notes). At twenty dollars, I think that, for now, it's too much to ask that my handwriting converts to text the way my Galaxy Note app does. Again, though, at twenty dollars... this is an awesome little tool.
Like I said, this one came from Costco. I did see one online from Costco that was priced higher. I think the price was $24 and some change. Not sure why the in-store price was better.

I have learned from trial and error that it's much easier to save to Dropbox than to OneDrive. It's quicker with a one-step save-to in Dropbox vs OneDrive's two-step and slower process. Depends on whether or not you want to save to your cloud, I suppose.

At the twenty dollar price, I give this gadget 5 of 5stars.