Device Review: Neo N2 Smartpen with Neo Notes App by Neo Smartpen - Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services
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Device Review: Neo N2 Smartpen with Neo Notes App by Neo Smartpen


Reviewed on September 29th, 2016

By: Katina Sokol, SLP, ATP




The Neo Smartpen N2 with Neo Notes app is a slick, light weight pen that records handwritten data and syncs electronically to Neo Notes and Evernote apps. This product has potential clinical applications for polytrauma veterans with mild to moderate cognitive deficits who are returning to work and/or school.


Military veterans with mild-to moderately impaired attention, memory, organization, planning and self-monitoring, secondary to medical, psychiatric and/or psychological disorders, could benefit from use of this device. Specifically, motivated veterans who are actively pursuing or currently participating in work and/or school. Clinicians assessing veterans should consider a full clinical profile when determining if this product is clinically indicated. Veterans with documented, current (<1year), objective assessments in addition to functional need for device to be successful in a vocational and/or scholastic setting, is necessary prior to issuing device. Veterans should have adequate fine motor abilities to write with device and own a personal tablet or smart device (android or iOS).


Veterans without cognitive impairments and/or without a functional need for use of device are not appropriate candidates. Additionally, one limitation and consideration when issuing this device is that the ability to record audio requires the paired tablet or phone to be present. For veterans returning to jobsites with security restrictions that limit or restrict personal tablets or smart devices, this might not be the best option.

Unlike the Livescribe pen, the Neo Smartpen does not have the ability to record multiple hours of audio data and link recording to simultaneous writing. Another contraindication is that if during the evaluation or subsequent training sessions it is determined that the veteran is unable to maintain the device or use it effectively with training, another option should be considered. Lastly, the Neo Smartpen requires the use of an electronic device, which will not be provided through the VA, so ensure that the Veteran has a personal device that is compatible.


Criteria for Evaluation of Assistive Technology Device

Affordability: This device and the necessary notebooks are reasonably priced and affordable. The price of this commercially available product and accessories are listed below:

-Neo pen: $169

-College notebooks (6 pack): $28

-Idea pads (5 pack): $21

-Evernote app: Basic = free (60 MB of new uploads per month, sync across 2 devices), Plus = $35/yr (1 GB of new uploads per month, sync across all devices), Premium = $70/yr (10 GB of new uploads per month sync across all devices)

Cost saving option: If a veteran has a personal printer that can print out an A4 page, then Neo notes paper can be printed out.

Compatibility: Neo N2 is quickly and easily paired with a device in 3 clearly communicated steps through Bluetooth. The Neo N2 Smartpen is compatible with android 4.1.2 or higher and iOS 8.1. Handwritten notes can easily and instantly be sent electronically as a text, email, to a personal social media site, to Evernote (auto sync option available). Notes can be sent as PDF, image, and text files.

Consumer Repairability:

The creators of Neo Smartpen have a website with technical support questions and answers organized into the following categories: registering the pen, power, writing, app and pen. There is a search option located in the technical support section as well as a way to contact the 'support team' via email.

Dependability: During the 8 months I spent using this device and learning about this device, I had zero issues with its use in a variety of settings that include the following, outside in the sun, during meetings, at home and while traveling.

Durability: This device required charging for 30-60 minutes every 2-3 days with frequent use, ~4-7 hours per day.

Ease of Assembly: No assembly required, compact packaging, includes extra ink cartridge (zebra), charging wire and very slim user guide.

Ease of Maintenance: The Neo Smartpen is easily maintained. It should stay dry and away from extreme temperatures and young children. The charging wire is not universal, so it is recommended that the white charging wire be labeled to minimize confusing with other device wires.

Effectiveness: The potential clinical applications for this device to enhance veteran's success with community reintegration are significant. There are several features of this device that can assist with organization and recall; such as, editing and tagging features within the Neo notes app. For example, a veteran who has handwritten a grocery list and electronically sync to his paired device, can edit the note from his device and add items directly to the electronic on his device at a later time. This feature provides flexibility and minimizes opportunities to lose handwritten notes. Additionally, all notes can be tagged with a customized tag to assist with organizing and locating items quickly. Notes within the app can be edited easily; portions of notes removed, highlighted with variety of colors, pen stroke colors can be changed from black to a variety of colors for quick visual recognition and improved recall. The Neo Smartpen ability to capture detailed, skilled drawings is superior to the Livescribe Smartpen, and may be a better option for veterans who are artists, designers or engineers who draw design ideas and/or schematics. Legibly handwritten notes can be transcribed into text and translated into a large variety of other languages. Information can be written and displayed in real time to co-workers or classmates for meetings or projects or brainstorming and then quickly emailed to group. Additionally, writing information can strengthening encoding information and recalling in future.

Flexibility: Flexibility and ease of use are significant strengths for this device. Veterans can choose to have an electronic device with them or not when using this pen, which can be beneficial for minimizing the distracting features of electronic devices. Notes can be set up to automatically synch so that veterans can view their notes from any device paired with the pen; which can pair with multiple devices that meet specifications listed in compatibility portion of review. This product works seamlessly with Evernote, social media, email and multiple other applications. Notes can easily be emailed from the Neo notebooks, without the paired electronic device present, by simply drawing a check mark on top of a small symbol of an envelope in the corner of the neo notebook page.

Learnability: This device is easy to set up. It does need to be fully charged prior to pairing, and ensure that the Bluetooth feature of the veteran's electronic device is on. Overview information and features of this device and app can be covered in one session. Recommend 2-4 follow up training sessions to establish and address SMART goals that focus on the veteran independently and effectively using the prescribed device in a variety of applicable settings.

Operability: Operating the Neo pen requires fine motor ability to push and sustain hold for 1-3 seconds. Operating commands and menus within the app are quick without delay and require light touch for selection.

Personal Acceptability: This device is attractive and commercially available.

Physical Comfort: The Neo N2 pen has an ergonomic design that is shaped to compliment a natural, writing hand position. It is light weight and smooth.

Portability: This device is a little larger than a standard ink pen and is easily transported.

Securability: The high portability of this device results in lower physical security. However, for notes in electronic device, Veterans have the option to password protect notes.

Supplier Repairability: Not applicable. Technical support is available; however, damaged devices would need to be replaced with new.







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