Livescribe 3 Smartpen Review
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Livescribe 3 Smartpen Review

Our Review by Jeff Scott on April 17th, 2014
Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar ::
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The Livescribe 3 pen is something that I initially dismissed. I just didn’t think there was a way it would work as well as it was shown. Turns out I was 100% wrong. It’s magic.

Made by: Livescribe
Price: $149.99 for Livescribe 3

Hardware/iOS Integration Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Usability Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Reuse Value Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Build Quality Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar

Bottom Line: The Livescribe 3 pen is something that I initially dismissed. I just didn’t think there was a way it would work as well as it was shown. Turns out I was 100% wrong. It’s magic.

Highly Recommended.

The Livescribe 3 is a Bluetooth enabled pen with a little infrared camera in the front that tracks what is written and stores that as a sort of digital ink. That ink can then be dictated to an iPad/iPhone with the free Livescribe+ app and a Bluetooth enabled iOS device. What results is nothing short of amazing.

Once the writing/drawing/doodle/whatever that has been written on the special notebook and has been transferred to the iOS device, then the real magic starts. Whole pages or just sections can be emailed, transferred to Evernote, turned into calendar events or reminders, etc. And if the handwriting is legible (i.e. better then mine), any written words will also be converted to text for easy searching and emailing.

Another really good feature of the device is the audio recording feature. When recording audio, it will be synced to the written word/drawing. The written words are magically time stamped as written to match up with the audio that’s being recorded. So during playback, touching a word will skip the playback to what was being recorded when that word was written. Great to quickly scrub to a particular section in a recorded interview or lecture.

There are some concerns with the Livescribe system though. For one thing the system only works when using special notebooks. These notebooks have tiny, nearly invisible dots printed on the pages that allow the IR camera in the tip to track where the pen is and what is written. It’s core to the way the whole system works and is a requirement. Too bad, really. But it’s just how it is.

The pen is also a bit larger than a normal pen. The barrel is slightly wider than even a large ball point pen. Easy enough to get used to, but it may be a concern for those with smaller hands. Small negatives aside, the Livescribe 3 pen is pretty amazing and something I look forward to adding to my mobile arsenal.

It’s hard to believe, but Livescribe 3 is magic in both theory and in execution.

Highly Recommended.

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