Livescribe Smartpens: Ultimate Writing Utensils?

Students are prone to keeping up with the latest technology, especially when it comes to taking notes in their classes. Traditional notebooks pile up and can oftentimes become out of hand. Students are then dependent on digital organizing, using their laptops, tablets, and sometimes even their smart phones to jot down class notes. But what happens when instructors ban or restrict technology use in the classroom? This is where Livescribe Smartpens come in handy.  The Echo, Sky, and newly released 3 Smartpen are able to capture notes and create a digital copy.

The first of the bunch is the Echo Smartpen. This pen is able to capture notes as well as audio. By simply tapping on notes, the Echo plays back the audio that complemented them. Create digital versions of notes by transferring files via USB to Livescribe’s desktop app.

The second option is the Sky Wifi Smartpen. This pen features all of Echo’s capabilities, but instead of using a desktop app, it utilizes Evernote. When connected to wifi, Sky automatically stores notes into Evernote’s cloud where you can play back notes exactly how they were recorded.

Livescribe’s 3 Smartpen is the most current pen. It is compatible will all iOS devices (Android versions will be coming out this summer). Unlike the Echo and Sky, this pen is designed to feel more like…well a pen! Twisting the barrel retracts the pen as well as turns it on. The pen works hand in hand with the Livescribe+ mobile app and shares notes via Bluetooth in order to save battery life. Instead of recording audio directly from the pen, the 3 records from the iOS device for a clearer quality.

All in all, these pens are great for students to play back class lectures that go hand in hand with notes, conduct interviews for projects, or simply jot down audio reminders. The only thing that is unattractive about these smartpens is the price, with the Echo starting at $120 and the 3 Smartpen going up to $200- yikes! Is it worth it? Maybe, we’d recommend waiting until smartpens become more popular and prices drop. Read reviews on the Echo and Sky from PC Magazine to learn more.