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Livescribe Pulse Smartpen review

Ardjuna Seghers



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Livescribe Pulse Smartpen
  • Livescribe Pulse Smartpen
  • Livescribe Pulse Smartpen
  • Livescribe Pulse Smartpen
  • Livescribe Pulse Smartpen
  • Livescribe Pulse Smartpen
  • Livescribe Pulse Smartpen
  • Livescribe Pulse Smartpen
  • Livescribe Pulse Smartpen


Our Score:


We recently looked at the ePens Mobile Notes, a digital pen that did away with 'digital paper', a significant advance over older devices like Logitech's io. Today, however, we're looking at the Livescribe Pulse Smartpen, which has reanimated this 'feature' as it works only with LiveScribe Dot paper.

This is because the Pulse Smartpen isn't really about converting notes into text; Livescribe doesn't even supply OCR software for this, though you can purchase software separately if you like. Instead it's primarily about archiving and linking your written notes and recordings of lectures or meetings so that when you return to them, it's much easier to recall all the information you need. In effect it's a digatal dictaphphone and notepad in one, but where the notes and audio are all synched together instead of jumbled up.

In the box you'll find the pen itself, in addition to a 100-page ruled 'digital paper' pad, a charging cradle and case for the pen, a headset, stylus nib and three spare ink nibs.

Compared to the ePens Mobile Notes, the Smartpen itself is in a different league of quality. Its thick, imposing body is made from classy, gunmetal grey anodised aluminium that not only makes it incredibly durable, but also lends a nice weight (36g) in the hand.

Its nib-holding tip is constructed using rugged matt black plastic, with glossy touches, while an OLED display adds to its impressive look and feel. Those with particularly small hands might find its bulky body less comfortable, but on the whole it looks the business and handles well, too.

A sheathe made of strong black faux-suede is also included. It fits the pen snugly, making it a far more practical proposition than the large cardboard case provided with the ePens. However, as with that peripheral, there's no space provided for extra nibs. Moreover, unlike the ePens which conveniently had its nib extractor incorporated into its cap, here it's integrated into the base. Still, this is not the problem it could have been since it's possible to remove the nibs by hand.


September 14, 2009, 6:11 am

I wish I understood from the review what this product does! So its like a pen, and you write on paper and then you can make it a digital document to pc? Confused

Michael Atkinson

September 14, 2009, 12:10 pm

It writes on paper, translates, records etc... Looks darn nifty!!! Check out a few youtubes: http://www.youtube.com/watc...


September 14, 2009, 1:14 pm

Like Kaiser I did not understand what this product does either.

A video review is a must for this product so you can understand it.


September 14, 2009, 4:49 pm

Seems a pointless product and excercise to me, I am sure better products will eclipse it.


September 14, 2009, 7:07 pm

I don't understand what this pen does either. From the review I couldn't deduce if it writes over plain paper with an ink and digitizes the movements (how can it have play and stop buttons drawn on a paper then?) or it writes over some kind of OLED display (but then how can it have 100 pages?).

What is it and what does it do, those are my questions after reading the review...

That's not a very well written review is it? :-))


September 15, 2009, 12:25 am

I think it achieves the same result as using a pen and paper along scanning it in to your pc, so it does what a 5p pen and a 50p pad and a scanner does for £150 but it just remembers when you wrote it and inserts the audio recordings in a note-recording timeline

well that's what I think it does


September 15, 2009, 5:09 am

I don't normally comment on these reviews and such but...

I assumed it did what Jay said from reading the first two paragraphs when the review first popped up and was uninterested so didn't read the rest. But I read the comments about not knowing what it did and thought "what idiots"...but upon reading the review...I, too, have no idea what it does...what on earth is the drawn piano keyboard about? what do you do to it? how can the paper make sound? Am I really reading it wrong? I'm at something of a loss...maybe we need to know what digital paper is before reading the review? I'm sort of intrigued about the whole thing now that no one knows what the hell it does.


September 15, 2009, 1:35 pm

Good lord - I hope you all can at least manage to fork the food into your mouth.

"a ballpoint pen with an embedded computer and digital audio recorder. When used with special paper, it records what it writes for later uploading to a computer, and synchronizes those notes with any audio it has recorded. This allows a user to replay portions of a recording by tapping on the notes he or she was taking at the time the recording was made. It is also possible to select which portion of a recording to replay by tapping on the relevant portion of a page on-screen, once it has been synced to the Livescribe desktop software." - Wikipedia; you might have heard of it.

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