Writes on paper but captures your notes and drawings digitally

IT’S undeniable that the world is steadily and constantly changing every day to accommodate new inventions that seem to make everything a tad simpler. And a good chunk of these changes has been brought about by technology.

Even in this new era of tablets and smartphones, the old fashioned way seems to be what is embedded deep into people’s lifestyles. However, imagine a pen that can give you that feeling and keep your handwriting while keeping up with the Smartphone and tablets.

You can share the notes online with friends, a faster way to share notes as opposed to scanning them or giving out your book. This means you can still use the old fashioned method and seamlessly fit in with the new world.  Here are one of the best Smartpens on the market currently.

Livescribe 3

There have been versions of the Livescribe Smartpen before Livescribe 3 as you can obviously tell.

However, none of them come close to the Livescribe 3. First and foremost, this pen is limited to some devices.

If you own an iPad 3, iPad mini 2 with Retina, iOS 7, iPhone 4S, iPod touch 5th generation or an iPad mini, you are among the few that can guess to experience this fantastic pen.

The Livescribe 3 also uses Bluetooth technology.

The Livescribe 3 has a ballpoint nib on one ends that can write on any piece of paper just like any other pen when its Smartpen feature is switched off.

On the other end of the pen is a cap that you can take off to reveal a micro-USB charging port.

This pen uses Livescribe branded ink cartridges or analogous carbon-free ink ones that have the same size and specifications to digitalize your written notes.

What’s better, it feels like a standard pen in your hand.

To use this pen, you will need dotted propriety paper manufactured by Livescribe, the company that makes the Smartpen.

Like I said earlier, this pen has class attached to it in every way possible. Probably, one of those pens you get from your insurance company after years of being a loyal client.

Moreover, it syncs quickly, and it’s clean, and intuitive App enables easy note sharing, making it one of the best, if not the best, Smartpen on the market.

How does it work?

A camera in the end of the pen recognises tiny dot patterns on the pages of special Livescribe paper to track motion. It means it won’t work on any old paper, although as a pen it obviously does, but Livescribe-compatible paper is available in various forms, notepads and Moleskine books, or you can print your own using a laser printer.

The notes are synced to the Livescribe+ app on Android or iOS smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, but the pen works and records notes just fine on its own, meaning you don’t have to have it connected to your smartphone all the time to work.

Captured notes can be output line-by-line as images, as an image of the page or as a PDF and shared via any app or service you have installed on your smartphone or tablet.

The app also has a trick up its sleeve in the form of so-called Pencasts: audio recordings bound to your pen strokes. The app records sound via the smartphone or tablet’s built-in microphone, or an external mic plugged into the headphones socket. The app is not able to record phone calls made on the device running the app, but can use a pick-up microphone to record from another phone.

Audio is then timestamped to your handwriting, meaning that you can playback precisely what was being recorded at the time you wrote a particular word just by tapping on it. It makes transcribing interviews or meeting notes so much faster by getting to the right point in the recording instantly. It’s fantastic.

Pencasts can be played back using the app or via a PDF with the audio embedded within it. To do so you need to load the PDF into Livescribe’s Player – a web app – which is a bit of a faff, but it means anyone can play back a shared PDF even if they don’t own a Livescribe pen.

Livescribe also does handwriting recognition. Its success depends on how bad your handwriting is. It will recognise mine pretty accurately when I concentrate and write neatly. However, it starts to struggle as my handwriting scrawls when writing at speed, which I normally am when interviewing someone.


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