Best SmartPens for 2015

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Just because technology can be inconvenient and sometimes banned, it doesn’t mean you should go back to the old fashioned pen and paper.

It doesn’t matter if you go to school, if you’re a college student, a journalist or basically anything else – computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones are indispensable to your everyday activities.

Pen and paper – even though still as reliable as ever – are not as popular.

And it makes perfect sense – typing is much faster than writing, availability is spread over different platforms, and editing, sharing and archiving is easier, faster and cleaner.

However, these machines and apps also have their downside: laptops are inconvenient if you’re on the go, typing on a smartphone can be a pain in the neck, and some colleges have even banned the use of smartphones and tablets during lectures and exams.

Digital pens take best from both worlds: they still have real ink, and you can write on real paper. The pen listens and records sounds around you, and everything you write can easily be digitized.

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Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen Pro

Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen Pro

Livescribe’s 8GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack is the most expensive of the four, with prices going up to 289 USD. However, it’s the most complete product: it comes equipped with 8GB of memory, in-ear headset, Livescribe Connect Premium (connectors for Email, Google Sites and Google Docs), Livescribe Desktop software for Mac or Windows, MyScript for Livescribe, Smartpen Portfolio, 500 MB of online storage, starter dot paper notebook, Micro USB cable, an interactive Getting Started guide, Smartpen Tips and Tricks guide, two Smartpen caps and two ink cartridges.

What I like most about this product is the fact that you can quick record with just a press of a button, as well as protect your recordings with a four digit password.

Livescribe 4 GB Echo Smartpen

Livescribe’s 4 GB Echo Smartpen

Livescribe’s 4 GB Echo Smartpen has all the commodities of the 8GB version, besides the obvious cut in the storage and the lack of earbuds. However, it also has a cut in the price. If 290 dollars weighs too heavy on your budget, the 4GB version can be bought for 160 USD. With 4GB of storage you can capture over 800 hours of audio (depending on the audio quality settings).

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Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen

Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen

The cheapest of the Livescribes is the Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen. Like other Echo Smartpens, it records sound, sends notes and audio recordings to computers and other devices, as well as apps like Facebook, Evernote and Microsoft OneNote. It also has the “point and play” technology, which allows you to selectively listen to a part of the recording, by touching a word in your notes. And with a price of 120 dollars and less, it’s the cheapest one.


Samsung Electronics Slate PC Digitizer Pen

Samsung Electronics Slate PC Digitizer Pen

The Samsung Electronics Slate PC Digitizer Pen should not be confused with other smartpens, as it has no ink and cannot write on real paper. It’s a stylus designed to work on tablets and Wacom Penabled devices, such as the Galaxy Note or the Thinkpad Tablet. With dimensions of 7.4 x 2 x 0.7 inches it’s a nice, slim looking pen. The most convenient part is the eraser located on the top of the pen. Instead of having to spend time pressing the erase button, erasing, and then switching to writing back again, which can be a real nuisance sometimes, with the Digitizer Pen flipping it around to the eraser will do just fine. If you’re the kind of person that dislikes paper, and would rather work with displays of any kind, this 40 USD stylus will most likely be your number one choice. However be careful, this pen works with Wacom technology – it won’t work on “classic smartphones” such as the Galaxy S4.

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