IRISNotes Executive 2 is a digital pen that converts handwritten text from pen and paper digitally to edit via Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Aimed essentially at business users, it also may apeal to anyone studying or driven by bouts of creativity. 

See: reviews of computer keyboards and mice.

The package consists of a digital pen with traditional ink, a receiver (which sits at the top of your writing area) and cables for connecting to computer or iOS device. 

The actual pen has a nicely weighted, quality feel about it and comes with a small pouch for pen and accessories for safe passage on your travels. 

The process of writing and drawing is simple, aided by the fact that you don't need any specialist ink, paper stock or rigid, uniformed way of making your mark. 

Once done – and IRIS estimates you can store up to 100 A4 pages on the device – the process of converting your text requires hooking up the receiver to a computer, or to iPad via Apple’s 30-pin to USB adaptor. 

A free iOS app IRISNotes HD ( aids the process of converting text for your desired word processing package. 

The IRIS optical character recognition (OCR) software did a fair job of converting our notes into text, and this didn't need much further editing. It isn't perfect but as long as you don't have the spidery scrawl of a doctor you may be pleasantly surprised by the system’s accuracy. 

We were impressed by the OCR capabilities, yet the idea of converting hand written notes to your iPad via a special receiver already feels a little antiquated and a touch fiddly.

It's also worth noting that for left-handers the receiver needs to be moved to a position that isn't blocked by the bulk of your hand, which will likely require some experimentation. 

IRISNotes 2 is offered in two configurations – Express 2 at around £99, and Executive 2 at around £149. 

The latter is required to support Apple's iOS devices and Mac computers, plus a range of extras that can make this version actually better value for money despite the higher price.

IRISNotes Executive 2: Specs

  • Compatible with Windows XP or later
  • Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or later
  • iPad, requires iOS 4.1 or later
  • Compatible with Windows XP or later
  • Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or later
  • iPad, requires iOS 4.1 or later


IRIS faces solid competition here from Livescribe, Wacom and potentially others in the move to a paperless, rather digitised, world. IRISNotes Executive 2 is, however, a worthy addition, one that is simple and effective as long as you make the effort to use it regularly. Support for PC, Mac and iPad particularly, along with iPhone and iPod touch, adds value to a package here that has potential uses beyond the business world.

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