Livescribe ECHO Smartpen 2GB for £69.99 from Amazon, usually £99.99

Livescribe ECHO Smartpen 2GB for £69.99 from Amazon, usually £99.99

Found 28th Nov 2011
An intelligent pen that

- Records everything you write and hear (over 200 hours audio but in my experience, more like 100 hours as I don't use minimum audio setting, so sync once a week)
- Saves and search your notes and recordings on your computer
- Easily send notes and audio to Evernote, Facebook, Desktop or mobile device

Basically something to organise your notes and the voice context (so you can listen to what was being said when you took the note). This is the cheapest I have seen this.

Overall, an amazing pen for taking notes. I use it at work but can be pretty good for schools etc. as well.

Couple of negatives though:
- You need to buy ink cartridges separately. While not overly expensive (£5 for 5), they don't last too long either. Works fine for me but if you take lots of notes, may not be the best
- If you want to convert the notes text to a non handwritten note (i.e. convert it to a word document or something), you need to pay extra for the OCR software to do so (another £20ish). Again, for me it doesn't really matter as you can save your handwritten notes and search within those, but if you want to convert it to word docs, you should know this is not the full cost.
- You need special paper for it. Actually, you need special pattern on paper for this to work. You can easily print it at home - in fact it is officially supported (…aq/?View=entry&EntryID=221) and I print mine at home, but if you want to buy it, it can be somewhat expensive. (4 A5 notepads for £15 and 4 A4 ones for £18)


Livescribes are dood pens, we have a few here. What is really clever is that it records the audio as well as your hand-writing. When you later go back to the book you wrote everything on, you click the words and the audio knows where you are and reads out from that point (assuming the Echo model has the same features as ours).

On the Livescribe forums, theres people who have made PDF's of the paper books (I also think Livescribe eventually released books printable on Postscript printers). One warning though, you cant print the PDF versions on inkjets (from memory) and each book is about 2 hours to print! The PDF's are MASSIVE.

The only issue we have with these is that the batteries are built in and not replaceable. Once they've died, your pen is useless. If you use it alot, dont expect the batteries to last much longer than a year. Maybe they've improved it since we bought ours.

Hot from me, but be aware of the battery issue.


Edited by: "Sin_of_nature" 28th Nov 2011

Original Poster

Yeah, PDFs are somewhat big if you want to print at home (about 14mb for 50 pages), but still shouldn't take couple of hours :-) Guess depends on the printer. On my Canon MG6150 it takes me about 30 minutes to print a 50 page notepad

Here is a good link for those who want home printable pdf files in various formats by the way.

More links here

Edited by: "arbitrabbit" 28th Nov 2011

I bought into the Anoto smartpens a while back, a year later they were obsolete. Why are these any different?

Original Poster


I bought into the Anoto smartpens a while back, a year later they were … I bought into the Anoto smartpens a while back, a year later they were obsolete. Why are these any different?

Good point. While no one can ever say anything with certainty, they definitely seem to be doing well. They raised about $13m in Feb 2010 but by September, they could raise another $39m shows that the company is doing relatively well. They also appear to be hiring, which is again a good sign, especially in this environment.

As for Anoto, they didn't go obsolete. Anoto simply decided to focus on the B2B segment, while Livescribe is focussing on the B2C. In fact Livescribe license a lot of the IP from Anoto.
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