IT’S undeniable that the world is steadily and constantly changing every day to accommodate new inventions that seem to make everything a tad simpler. And a good chunk of these changes has been brought about by technology. For instance, who would have ever thought that technology would reach the heights it has of late; I mean, Smartpens?
Back in the day when the Neantherdal ( or was it the Ramapithecus/Cro-magnon? ) man got the idea to etch images of his hunts or express his creativity on a wall using stone, the concept of writing was hatched. And little did he know that his idea of literature would one day evolve to modern-day 21st-century heights. Funny. History lessons aside.
Through time, people have used feathers for writing, and recently modern pens and pencils. The latest member of this family is the Smartpen. There is some form of satisfaction, so to speak, that comes with writing notes down with a pen and a piece of paper.
Even in this new era of tablets and smartphones, the old fashioned way seems to be what is embedded deep into people’s lifestyles. However, imagine a pen that can give you that feeling and keep your handwriting while keeping up with the Smartphone and tablets.Best Smart Pen 2017 - Top 10 Smartpens that are Revolutionizing the Written-word Arena Click To Tweet
The Smartpen recreates the notes you take on a notepad in digital form. Moreover, if you are taking notes in a lecture or meeting, the Smartpen enables your phone to make audio recordings as well for later reference.
You can share the notes online with friends, a faster way to share notes as opposed to scanning them or giving out your book. This means you can still use the old fashioned method and seamlessly fit in with the new world. Here are some of the best Smartpens on the market currently.
Top 10 – Best Smart Pens 2017
1. The Mobile Notes Pro Digital Pen
The Mobile Notes Pro Digital Pen is among one of the best Bluetooth enabled Smartpens there is at the present. Many Smartpens do not have the Bluetooth feature; having this feature makes the Mobile Notes Pro Digital Pen a special type of pen.
Imagine a pen that can convert your handwriting into texts on your mobile device and your computer. This pen can not only do that, but it also enables easy sharing and storage as well.
The Mobile Notes Pro Digital Pen uses infrared and ultrasound technology to send messages to and from its sensors, entrenched on the pen’s tip. This communication is enabled by a positional receiver that clips to the top of any standard-sized piece of paper.
The pen and the receiver then create a digital page that recreates your writing in the form of a vector image. This technology allows you to write on any surface. Unlike some Smartpens, with this pen, you do not need a particular piece of paper.
However, to be able to scribble on any surface, you need to be a very careful writer. Bumping the sensor while writing distorts your inscription; also, you should hold the pen in a way that its tip does not get in the way of the positional receiver; otherwise, your writing will not be recorded on the digital page.
The best thing about this pen for social media lovers is that it replaces your digital keyboard by enabling you to write directly in a message or email.
2. Livescribe 3
There have been versions of the Livescribe Smartpen before Livescribe 3 as you can obviously tell.
However, none of them come close to the Livescribe 3. First and foremost, this pen is limited to some devices.
If you own an iPad 3, iPad mini 2 with Retina, iOS 7, iPhone 4S, iPod touch 5th generation or an iPad mini, you are among the few that can guess to experience this fantastic pen.
The Livescribe 3 also uses Bluetooth technology.
The Livescribe 3 has a ballpoint nib on one ends that can write on any piece of paper just like any other pen when its Smartpen feature is switched off.
On the other end of the pen is a cap that you can take off to reveal a micro-USB charging port.
This pen uses Livescribe branded ink cartridges or analogous carbon-free ink ones that have the same size and specifications to digitalize your written notes.
What’s better, it feels like a standard pen in your hand.
To use this pen, you will need dotted propriety paper manufactured by Livescribe, the company that makes the Smartpen.
Like I said earlier, this pen has class attached to it in every way possible. Probably, one of those pens you get from your insurance company after years of being a loyal client.
All jokes aside, though, the Livescribe 3 is famed to be the best Smartpen when it comes to accurate handwriting conversion.
Moreover, it syncs quickly, and it’s clean, and intuitive App enables easy note sharing, making it one of the best, if not the best, Smartpen on the market.
3. Pulse Smartpen
This pen, just like the Livescribe 3, is manufactured by Livescribe.
Although it came before the Livescribe 3, it still is an excellent Smartpen. Envisage a pen that has a microphone and a recording device, and it can duplicate your notes digitally as well as share them.
That pen is the Pulse Smartpen.
I would recommend this pen for thorough writing in particular and important meetings. It is one of those pens that will not let you down when it comes to recreating the moment when you were at that meeting.
The Pulse Smartpen contains special ink, a small OLED screen at the pen’s base, which shows the features menu, and a camera at its tip. It sounds like a pen from a James Bond movie doesn’t it?
I wouldn’t be surprised if it has been used in a movie or two; if not, maybe it is because it lacked a laser feature.
Who needs lasers when you can use coded paper, which uses internet mark-up language to keep track of where written content is located exactly on a page?
You can also use a specially designed tablet, the Anoto tablet to write on with this pen.
The best thing about using this tablet is when it comes to transcribing the written notes or researching for specific points.
With this technology, all you have to do is tap a keyword on the tablet and the audio that was recorded at that time will play.
It sure does beat the cycle of playing, pausing, rewinding and forwarding an audio recorder doesn’t it?
Be sure to notify other members of the meeting that your pen is recording the processions, though, if in doubt of the meeting’s confidentiality. However, you can always mute the microphone.
The Pulse Smartpen is easy to use and can be found on the Livescribe website.
4. The Wacom Inkling Digital Sketch Pen
The Inkling Digital Sketch Pen from Wacom is one of those pens that look like a significant electronic device after unwrapping it.
Well, for a fact, it is; but the packaging alone will tell you that this Smartpen is among the best there is.
However, the Inkling Digital Sketch Pen is strictly designed for drawing.
While this may put off the writers, it uses regular paper so even if you do it for fun, it will be more fun having a digital sketch as opposed to one on paper.
The Inkling Digital Sketch Pen uses Infrared technology to transcribe your sketches.
The Smartpen also has up to 2 GB in storage, so you don’t have to worry about space for new images.
For those who prefer large papers, this pen is not ideal for you as it requires a small-sized paper to give the best quality work.
A large paper may lead to losing or weakening the Infrared signal, thereby providing you below second-rate work.
Standard size sketchbooks are perfect for this pen.
After drawing, you use the USB cable to offload your sketches into a computer where you can save and bring them into Sketchbook Pro, Illustrator or Photoshop.
So guess what, if you are not an excellent sketch artist, you can use some technology to better your sketches. However, for the serious artists, it’s all in the ink, not on the computer.
The only disappointing thing about this pen is that it has no wireless connection and handwriting recognition.
However, it compensates for the former in its 2 GB storage and the letter in, well, being a sketch pen, not one that takes notes.
5. Livescribe Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen
Now this is one serious Smartpen to have. It is the type of smart pen you keep close at all times for obvious reasons; like its price, from $ 149 up to $ 400 depending on the Smartpen’s storage capacity.
Who in their right minds would love a pen that can record over 200 hours of audio and capture thousands of pages of notes? This Smartpen is another from Livescribe at the forefront of the constantly evolving methods of writing.
The Livescribe Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen uses a SuperSPARC processor with 2 GB of RAM to write and record everything you hear together or separately. Just like some other Smartpens, tapping anywhere on the notes enables audio replay from that moment in time.
This Smartpen syncs with almost any device but the ideal device for it is the Livescribe edition of Evernote. Moreover, it can wirelessly and automatically transfer your recorded notes and audios into your device for backup and playback at any given time.
This pen allows you to draw graphs and diagrams as well, unlike many other Smartpens in the market that focus on sketching, writing or in few cases both. The Smartpen comes with a free Livescribe plan for Evernote, two ink cartridges, Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen basics guide, micro-USB cable, 2 Smartpen caps, and a starter dot paper notebook with 50 sheets.
6. Echo Smartpen
This is yet another Smartpen from Livescribe. The Echo Smartpen is also arguably one of the cheapest Smartpens in the market. Cheap is not a word that you would hear from the lips of any real tech lover because they do understand that the best tech always has a price on it. Despite the low price that may make some people dispense it as a less efficient Smartpen, the Echo Smartpen continues to impress with impressive features and cutting edge technology.
Unlike some other Smartpens, the Echo Smartpen does not sync your notes wirelessly to a mobile device. Instead, it allows you to upload a digital version of those notes to your PC or Mac computer using a USB cable. As a business owner or a business person, it is vital to share your notes or any other information from at least one computer. This unchanging contact information familiarizes your clients with one direct avenue to contact you and, helps in building a solid connection between you and them as well.
The downside to this Smartpen is that you have to connect it regularly to your device as it does not sync automatically. Additionally, it does not automatically save your data to the cloud either so you have to do it manually. However, the Echo Smartpen also has audio recording that can be played back in real time by highlighting words from the saved digital version of your notes.
Considering the things this Smartpen can do, I say the price is pretty low for a Smartpen. There are Smartpens in the market that do less yet cost more; the Echo Smartpen is an inexpensive device that will give you value for your money, and guess what, it won’t even take much of it.
7. Neo Smartpen N2
I bet you have encountered one of those simple looking triangular shaped pens with caps that have clips to attach to your shirt or coat.
This shape is the same one that this amazing Smartpen has. Despite the fact that it is slightly longer and wider than a typical pen, it is among the few Smartpens that would pass for an ordinary pen if not properly scrutinised.
This shape also enables this Smartpen to sit comfortably on your hand making it very easy to use.
The N2 uses a dual-core processor and works best within the nCode professional notebook.
The Neo Smartpen N2 is also Bluetooth enabled, thereby making it easy for you to beam notes to your device at your convenience or in real-time.
The Neo Smartpen also records audios and can also render your notes in whichever color you please.
I recall a pen I used a long time ago that had multiple colors, all I had to do is slide a button down to chose the color I wanted.
The Neo Smartpen N2 gives you the advantage over many Smartpens by giving you the ability to write notes in various colors.
This, in turn, helps in easier reading as you can use different colors for different topics, subtopics or even keywords.
The Neo Smartpen N2 is among the first of its kind to have a transcription feature.
The downside to the Neo Smartpen N2 is, if you need to print your work you will have to print out ‘Nencoded’ pages; also you will need to use Neo’s propriety paper.
Otherwise, the writing will not sync with the App.
8. Equil Jot
The Equil Jot Smartpen, just like the Livescribe 3 and the Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen has wireless connectivity enabled by Bluetooth.
Now you may be thinking that it sits back and follows these other seemingly superior Smartpen’s moves, but, it is also among the very few Smartpen’s that can write on any form of paper, even a napkin.
This is the type of pen that will digitally save that number from that beautiful girl you met at the coffee shop. You do not need to carry the napkin around with you or whip out your phone to save the number.
However, there is one thing you need always to carry with you if you are to use this pen, the pen’s motion-sensing receiver.
This device is what gives the Equil Jot Smartpen the ability to write on any form of paper. Before you start writing, clip this receiver at the top of the page you are writing on.
After doing so, you can write away whatever you wish to, and the pen will save it, and you can retrieve it anytime you want to.
Moreover, you can place the sensor near the top of your notepad, on a flat surface if you wish to write on your notepad.
If this pen stands out for something, it is versatility. However, it requires more time to set up as opposed to other Smartpens and requires you always to carry another receiver.
Additionally, if anything, say your hand, blocks the path of the pen and the receiver, your notes may not be correctly recorded.
The Smartpen also lacks audio-recording but makes up for it with effective capturing, saving, and sharing of notes written o any surface.
9. HP Pro Slate 12
I’m sure all this talk about Smartpens has generated a few questions in your head.
Like, what if there was a Smartpen with a consequent tablet or iPad? That would make the writing way easier for professional writers, simplify meetings, and reduce time wasted syncing and setting up Smartpens by a huge margin.
There already is a Smartpen like that; this pen is the HP Pro Slate 12. This Smartpen is merely a pen, but also a whole tablet system.
The HP Pro Slate 12 comes as a package; it has a duet pen that can be used both as a Smartpen as well as a stylus, and a 12-inch touchscreen device. Just like some other Smartpens, the HP Pro Slate 12 can digitalize content written on an ordinary piece of paper.
The Smartpen produces ink just like a typical pen when writing on the piece of paper and the Pro Slate 12 digitalizes the writing in real-time. Using Smartpens requires a steady hand and often, a flat surface; this is to enable the Smartpen to capture correctly every detail for effective digitalization.
However, the HP Pro Slate 12 is relatively slow as compared to other Smartpens. It may also be quite expensive with one device going for $ 350, but the brighter side of this deal is you get to keep a fully functional tablet as well. Since they were made for each other, the tablet is highly responsive to the duet pen. For any writer, this reduces any risk of error and ensures that you do not keep on rewriting the same text over and over again for it to be accurately digitalized.
10. Equil Smartpen 2
As demonstrated, Smartpens are the new pens. Soon, they may be introduced to a majority of the public, and they will spearhead the evolution from pens to Smartpens. This assessment is emphasized by the fact that; the Smartpens just keep covering every aspect a pen can, only better. The Equil Smartpen 2 is one pen that covers all an ordinary pen can do and more. This Smartpen functions not only as a pen for taking notes but as one that can sketch too.
This feature is enabled by the Smartpens ability to work with two separate Apps; the Equil Note, and the Equil sketch. Writing is very different as opposed to drawing with both the regular pen as well as the Smartpen. There are things to consider while sketching, like the surface of the paper and the tip of your pen. For this reason, most ordinary pens that are used for writing are not used for sketching, and vice versa.
The packaging of the pen and the items it comes along with is a triangular roll up that makes carrying the receiver around easy. Moreover, you can write on any piece of paper with this pen, and it will accurately digitalize your work. This Smartpen is also compatible with Evernote, thereby making sharing your notes and sketches easier.
Recent Smart Pen Additions
11. The Stylograph Smartpen
Much like most Livescribes, the Stylograph can magically turn paper scribbles into digital files while almost maintaining the initial handwriting and scale. It too sports a micro camera (120 frames per second) that captures the hand and pen movements and tries to translate them as perfectly as possible onto the app.
It can handle images too, thanks to the built-in dual-core ARM processor and enough space to hold up to 1,000 pages.
The pen uses Bluetooth LE 4.0 to connect with your phone and can support real time view of the notes and images as they are recorded.
You can then store the information in the phone or convert it to SVG, PNG or PDF format and archive it or send it to online storage via email.
Of interest is that you really don’t have to save the notes in handwritten form; you can use the app’s built-in functionality to transfer them into digital word texts. Supported languages include English, French and German.
What you may not like about the Stylograph is the fact that it works only with a dedicated paper meaning you must have that specific notebook with you to use the pen. You are offered a free notebook with your new £300 pen but will have to obtain additional ones for around £20.
- Captures notes live
- Transforms notes into word text
- Needs special writing pads
12.Wacom Bamboo Spark Review
The latest product of Japanese tablet and stylus manufacturer Wacom is something to look out for if you’re a fan of smartpens.
It beats a great deal of current best sellers including some of its Wacom predecessors with the ability to track pen strokes on ordinary paper.
Okay, it’s not exactly that smart (as you must place the paper on a special pad that is provided with the pen) but at least you don’t have to keep replacing the writing paper.
Its iOS and Android compatible app unfortunately doesn’t display notes in real time (takes a few seconds) but the app makes up for that by letting you replay your notes line by line and undo strokes that weren’t translated correctly.
That is not to say you’re going to have to deal with too much of editing though. The pen is almost as accurate as the exemplary Livescribe 3 as long as you avoid bumping your paper or pad.
The app can store up to 100 pages of notes, which you’re most likely not going to fill in one session of writing.
You can then transfer them to Wacom’s cloud storage whence you can obtain them as PDFs or share them to Evernote and Dropbox.
- Works on regular paper
- Comfortable to use
- Must place paper on special pad
- Needs clip to hold paper in place on the pad
13.IRISNotes 2 Executive
IRISNotes 2 Executive is a product of software company I.R.I.S, that fairly ranks as an above average effort from the makers of the IRISNotes 1.
Unlike its predecessor, its app is compatible with both iOS and Android and has been hugely upgraded to make it perfect for data entry streamlining.
It uses the same stroke-tracking technology as most pens in this list but uses a sensor instead of a micro camera to record strokes.
It has the rare facility to turn handwritten notes into digital text, which makes it great for business as it cuts down the hassle of having to manually type recorded data into a computer.
Also, it can be used on ordinary paper, which once again shows why it is the ultimate go-to for business purposes.
The pen’s biggest downside is that its sensor is positioned in a place where you would easily interfere with the tracking.
You will be forced to not put your index finger in its natural position, which may make writing for long periods quite uncomfortable.
What’s more, the pen is not directly compatible with its mobile app due to lack of Bluetooth connectivity.
You have to transfer the data from your PC.
- Converts notes into digital text
- Doesn’t require special paper
- Fairly affordable
- No Bluetooth connectivity
- Stroke tracking easily interruptible