Livescribe Echo smartpen
The Livescribe Echo smartpen allows users to capture audio as they write on paper thanks to a built-in recorder
- Simultaneously records audio while writing, excellent recording quality and volume, easy to use, third-party app store, pencasts
- Thicker and larger than a regular pen, cap is easily lost, software isn't the most intuitive
If you regularly take notes, the Livescribe Echo smartpen is almost a must-buy. Excellent recording capabilities, ease of use and an app store that will only grow make it a wise investment.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
A pen with a built in voice recorder, Livescribe's Echo smartpen is the second version of this digital note taking product. A successor to the still available Pulse smartpen, the Echo is a slight refresh rather than a completely new product, but an improved ergonomic design, standard headphone and USB ports and more memory make it a worthwhile addition to the smartpen family.
The Echo allows users to capture audio as they write on paper thanks to a built-in recorder. However, the real beauty of the smartpen comes when it is paired with Livescribe's proprietary dot paper — paper covered in thousands of tiny dots. These dots act as reference points so once you've finished writing and recording, you can tap the pen on any word to hear exactly what was recorded at that point in time.
The Livescribe Echo smartpen is larger than most regular pens but isn't uncomfortable to hold or write with. Improvements over its predecessor include a cap that covers the ballpoint tip (you get two in the box as you'll easily lose it if you aren't careful), a standard headphone jack, a micro-USB port rather than a proprietary USB connection and increased internal storage — up to 8GB. The Echo smartpen also has a small OLED display on its front, along with a tiny built-in microphone and external speaker. Both the microphone and speaker work surprisingly well — the Echo has no problems recording a meeting or presentation in a large room, and playing back the audio using the speaker is loud and clear.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Echo is just how easy it is to set up and use. Livescribe includes a small getting started guide in the sales package — simply turn the Echo smartpen on, adjust a few settings (including whether you're left or right handed and the time and date), and you are ready to start writing. Livescribe includes a starter dot paper notebook in the sales package and each page includes "paper relay controls" at the bottom, allowing you to tap an icon to record, pause, stop, jump to a particular position on the page/recording and bookmark any pages while writing. You can also adjust the playback speed and volume, while the front cover of the starter pad includes a calculator, and the ability to quickly adjust a range of other settings including brightness, display scroll speed and battery status.
The Livescribe Echo is ideal for any person who regularly takes notes, whether it is in meetings, classrooms or an everyday business environment. Its strength lies in that fact that you don't need to write everything down — simply write a keyword, or even draw a shape or picture and then just tap that part of the page to hear the rest of the audio recorded.
Once you've recorded audio with notes, you can then transfer the notes to your PC using the included USB dock and Livescribe software. The software isn't especially intuitive, but does a reasonable job of making your notes fully searchable, and when played back on your PC, the handwriting appears on screen as you wrote it with recorded audio playing back simultaneously. The updated software also adds password protection, and the ability to name your smartpen.
You can also create what Livescribe calls a "pencast" — basically an interactive PDF. Echo users can upload pencasts onto Livescribe's Web site and anyone using Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.3 or higher can view them. Finally, Livescribe offers a third-party application store, where developers can build apps for the smartpen platform. The store is still in its infancy but already includes a number of handy apps like currency converters and language translators.
The Livescribe Echo smartpen is available in 4GB and 8GB sizes and includes a starter dot paper notebook, microUSB cable, two ink cartridges and two smartpen caps. Extra dot paper and other accessories can be purchased from the Livescribe store. You can also print more dot paper yourself using a laser printer.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Dell U3223QE review: A winning debut for an IPS Black monitor
- 2 HP Spectre x360 16 review: The right 2-in-1 at the wrong time
- 3 GeForce Now review: You bring the games, Nvidia streams the hardware
- 4 Asus ProArt PA279CV monitor review: The go-to for content creators on a budget
- 5 Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (2022) review: The pinnacle of design
Latest News Articles
- iPod godfather shares extraordinary images of what the iPod nano might have been
- Hands-on with the original iPod: ‘Definitely’ worth $399
- Apple's Q1: Record $US18.4 billion profit, but iPhone sales are slowing
- Sony shows latest high-end Walkman
- Sydney Airport lost property auction: you'll be amazed at what some people left behind
PCW Evaluation Team
Set up is effortless.
The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.
Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
- 25 Essential Party Games On PC And Console To Play With Family And Friends
- Mesh Wi-Fi vs Traditional Routers: Which is better?
- Top 10 best Android and Apple phones for under $600
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?