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Livescribe Pulse Smartpen - Livescribe Pulse Smartpen

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score:


In reality, though, recording lectures or meetings without notes misses the point of the Smartpen entirely. Key to this process is the notepad, which is comprised of 100 two-sided pages of ruled digital paper. Quite aside from the things you can write and draw on their surface, each page has a set of menu controls (four directional arrows and a home key) and track controls (including record, pause, stop, position, playback speed, and volume/mute).

Under the Settings menu, you can alter recording quality, microphone sensitivity, playback latency, menu voice (yes, the pen tells you what menu section you're in for the main ones), display brightness, scroll speed, display orientation, and finally the date format.

Meanwhile, the notepad's front and back cardboard covers contain extra functionality. There are standard, scientific and financial calculators, a full QWERTY keyboard including special characters, all the settings mentioned in the previous paragraph as well as status indicators for time/date, remaining storage/battery life and software version.

Tapping any of these 'buttons' or icons worked flawlessly, regardless of speed - except for the paper keyboard, which the pen tells us (literally) is "coming soon". You see, not only is Livescribe working on further applications (for which it is unfortunately likely to charge extra), but it has released a Software Development Kit (SDK) so that everyone with enough Java knowledge can get in on the action.

A great example of the potential and possibilities is the virtual piano. It might be gimmicky, but it was undeniably cool to draw an octave (eight notes) keyboard on a piece of paper and to then be able to play real notes on it, definitely something to impress your mates with. Writing the letter 'i' beside it allows one to change the instrument, while an 'r' on the dotted paper lets you add in a background rhythm.

Another neat example is the translator, which will translate a basic set of English words you write down (including hello, goodbye, please and chocolate - everything important covered then) into Arabic, Mandarin, Spanish or Swedish, displaying the word on its OLED display while pronouncing it clearly.


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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