Pens have existed for hundreds of years and practically all of us own at least one. The problem is, they haven’t really changed to adapt with the progression of technology. We are all using more and more digital items and we want to store our documents digitally so we can copy, edit and send them to other. We can write using a normal pen and then scan that it, but that just isn't as good as handing someone a handwritten note. The answer is digital pens.

One of the most famous products comes from Livescribe, with its range of smart pens. The company's been around for a long time and the Echo Smart pen is now its second-generation product. In this article we are going to have a look at the Livescribe Echo smartpen and see whether it's worth investing in or not.

Key features

The key features of the Livescribe Echo Smartpen are:

  • Microphone to record lectures, meetings or whatever.
  • Storage of up to 16 GB (dependent on model).
  • Records the movement of your pen when using special dot matrix books.
  • Downloadable apps including dictionaries and translators.
  • Allows recording of pencasts which can be uploaded to webpages.

How does the Livescribe smartpen work?

 The pen works by having a small sensor that can pick up on patterns on the paper. It also writes using an ink cartridge similar to a small or shortened Biro pen. It can detect different pages in a notebook and can instantly tell whereabouts on the page you drawing, meaning that you don't have to synchronize the pattern every time you use it. That also means that you go back to some notes, drawing or diagram and add extra content to it.

The dot paper

The Livescribe pen uses special dot paper.  You can either by a variety of preprinted pads including college ruled notebooks, journals, mini journals, small notepads and even sticky notes. If you have certain printers you can also bring your own dot paper for free, although if you buy the paper in bulk it's not that expensive.

Livescribe connect

The pen allows you send notes to services like Evernote, Facebook, Google docs and even e-mail.  You can get additional software that allows handwritten notes to be transcribed into digital text, but like all things this probably won't work perfectly.


  •  Small device.
  • Capable of recording handwriting.
  • Application store.
  •  Audio recording to help with recording lectures.
  •  The device can be password protected.


  • The pen is quite large and some may find it difficult to hold.
  • If you use it a lot than the cost of paper and replacement nibs could add up.
  • Some universities don't allow recording, which would reduce the usefulness of this pen by a large amount.

Should you buy a Livescribe echo smart pen?

Looking at the comments on the Amazon website, certain things have been brought up as issues with the pen. Some people have stated that the pen occasionally freezes which requires a reboot, the pen may record digital lines when physical ones haven't been made, the MyScript handwriting to text software costs additional money.  The previous live scribe pen, the pulse, was not as good as this pen and the Echo is a good improvement. I recommend that you try to see one in action as I found it to be a very large pen although it is very useful.  If you already use applications such as ever note, then buying this pen will be much more useful to you as it will integrate very well with your workflow.

Have you bought a live scribe Eco Smart pen? Would you recommend it to others? Feel free to leave a comment below, and if you need to join InfoBarrel then use the link at the top of the page.