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27 Reviews
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244 of 245 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool gadget that's also useful
I watched countless YouTube video reviews of this gadget before buying one and thought I'd write one for Amazon.

Look and Feel

It's a lot lighter than I was expecting - about the weight of a decent fountain pen. It is fatter than a normal pen but I have large hands so it feels quite good to write with. I've also noticed that the onboard microphone...
Published on 5 Oct 2009 by S. Robinson

versus
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Its works very well but .....
I had this pen for Christmas ... after 4 days of messing about setting it up it all works fine and does what it says extreemly well. I am happy with the product but the reason for the 3 stars is because of the set up and help.

The software needed downloading for install .... fine but the pens firmware (actual software in the pen) also needed updating and on my...
Published on 1 Jan 2010 by David Jukes


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244 of 245 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool gadget that's also useful, 5 Oct 2009
By 
S. Robinson (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen (Personal Computers)
I watched countless YouTube video reviews of this gadget before buying one and thought I'd write one for Amazon.

Look and Feel

It's a lot lighter than I was expecting - about the weight of a decent fountain pen. It is fatter than a normal pen but I have large hands so it feels quite good to write with. I've also noticed that the onboard microphone does not pick up the nib scratching on the paper, as other reviewers have noted. This could be due to a firmware upgrade I guess.
It has no clip so there is a tendency for it to role away from you when you put it down. This could be expensive if you let it roll off the desk and it breaks.

Memory Usage

The pen comes with 2GB of storage but you don't get all of it for your own usage. Without doing anything with the pen you lose 129.50MB to System files, 46.90MB for Applications and 30.74MB to Files. That leaves you with 1.80GB. This shouldn't be a problem but I thought it worth mentioning.

Error 3 - File Limit - I read on the internet that the pen has a limitation of 400 sound files. This probably isn't an issue for students that record long lectures but for me, recording shorter interviews with clients, this might be a problem. The only solution offered by Livescribe it to delete some of your files. Hopefully they will provide some kind of firmware update to fix this in the future.

Firmware Updates

Before you connect the pen to your computer you should download the desktop software from the U.S. website (not available from the UK distributer website).
The first time you dock the pen in the USB cradle it will ask you to download firmware updates. I did this as a matter of course as I guessed there would be bug fixes involved. When you start this procedure you might want to go and make a cup of coffee as it takes quite a while. It downloads the updates first then copies them to the pen.

USB Docking Station

Not as weighty as I had expected but it does have rubber feet so it doesn't slide around on the desk. It's magnetised and the pen snaps nicely into place when you dock it and doesn't fall out. They've supplied a hole to help you take out the ink cartridge but I haven't needed to use it because it's easy enough to remove them with your finger and thumb. I guess it's useful if you don't want to get ink on your fingers.

OCR

The pen does not have any Optical Character Recognition software included. This would be useful for converting your hand-written notes into text for copying into documents. You can download some third party software ($29.95) for this and the reviews are good, but I haven't done this yet.

Pen Case

Livescribe have downgraded this case and it no longer has the little window so you can see if the pen has turned on accidentally. Nor does it have the pocket on the back for spare ink refills. I think both of these downgrades are sad. Firstly, because it is all too easy to turn the pen on by mistake - it only takes a short tap to turn it on and it doesn't seem to go to sleep automatically. Secondly, I now have to find somewhere to store the spare ink cartridges so I have one when needed.

Lanyard

This is no longer included in the pack. I guess nobody was geeky enough to wear the pen around their neck so they dropped it.

Headphones

I don't really get on with the supplied headphones. The `bud' type headphones never stay in my ears so if I ever use them I'll probably rest them on the table or hang them around my neck. The only real benefit I have found with them is that they record in stereo, which is a bit of a gimmick in my book for this kind of gadget.

Price

I decided to buy from Amazon for 2 reasons. Firstly, Amazon has never let me down and I ordered the pen on Saturday and it arrived Monday morning. Secondly, the price on the UK distributer's website was a penny more BEFORE they added VAT onto it and you don't get any extras for ordering from them.
It's the same story with the consumables (paper and ink) but they do have a larger selection than Amazon, including A4 size pads.

Conclusion

It is expensive (I paid 129.99) but the benefits I have gained in my job outweigh this, as I have to take notes all the time and usually forget to write everything down and this records the whole conversation so I can play it back and fill in the gaps in my notes. I would suggest asking your customers if they mind being recorded before you use it, just in case they object.

Bottom line - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Its works very well but ....., 1 Jan 2010
By 
David Jukes - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen (Personal Computers)
I had this pen for Christmas ... after 4 days of messing about setting it up it all works fine and does what it says extreemly well. I am happy with the product but the reason for the 3 stars is because of the set up and help.

The software needed downloading for install .... fine but the pens firmware (actual software in the pen) also needed updating and on my system (Vista 64 bit) it said it had done this but it hadn't (you can check the firmware version on the pen). In fact it was not clear it needed to be done at all. The help documentation in pdf is confusing as few of the help guides are 'self contained' instructions. You are sent from page to page on one topic and get confused easily. The installation requirements are NOT clear and tab blindness (you don't automatically see the correct tabs) makes it difficult.

Once I'd played about and found the software to download (found how from a users blog not the Livescribe site) it worked on the paper that came with the pen. When I went to use 'new' paper pads they would not upload. This took a simple hard reset of the pen by holding the pen button in for 10 secs .... fine you may say, but no help on this from the official website, I had to solve this by searching other user blogs. This was just my experience and the frustration of setting it up. Now it is all working the pen is actually very very good and I like it. I did want to throw it through the window when setting up though.
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77 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal Concept, 14 Sep 2009
By 
lyesbkz (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen (Personal Computers)
Initially, when I purchased this product to try something new, I wasn't sure how useful it would be or how often I would use it. However, having owned it now for a few months, it has turned out to be one of the most valuable purchases I have ever made - I carry it with me at most times and make a lot of use of the Smartpen on a daily basis.

Being a student, this pen comes in remarkably useful - using it to take notes in lectures is no more difficult than using traditional pen and paper. And transferring all of the notes to my laptop has meant that if there is a lecture I cannot completely remember, I can very easily refresh my memory at any time!

The pen itself is sleek and not noticeably heavier than a traditional pen. I very quickly became used to holding and using the Livescribe Pulse Smartpen. And the dot paper quickly looks and feels like normal writing paper too. I would recommend the 2GB version for students, as this will hold probably about the right number of lectures before needing to archive the content from the pen itself.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Totaly disappointed, 23 Feb 2010
By 
Emmanouil Kouroupakis "RovaNET" (Athens, Greece) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen (Personal Computers)
I purchased this pen for business use and I was really happy when I opened the box and made it functional within minutes. The notes search facility worked fine also (write a keyword then search for it).
But suddenly the pen started having sync problems with my PC and after 20 days and exchange many emails with Livescribe support the problem was never solved. After that the support disappeared (probably they were confused with their product also). Also when you export the notes as PDF you will not be able to open this PDF file. Be serious gentlemen, we don't need other useless gadgets but reliable products.
A big A++ to Amazon who accepted to fully refund the purchase
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great product, 26 Oct 2009
This review is from: Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen (Personal Computers)
What a great idea. You simply take notes whilst you're talking to people and then you can refer back to them to remember the exact details of the conversation.
It's a must-have for anybody who gathers feedback & requirements.

The tutorial took 15-30 minutes to complete and even though it looks complicated it couldn't be easier.

The only drawback (hence 4 stars instead of 5) is the high cost and availability of accesories. Basic items like pen refils and extra pads (both of which are necessary) are expensive. The UK supplier also seems to have only 50% of the supplies that the US have.

Apart from this, it's one of the best gadgets I've bought for a long while.
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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great tool that just does the business, 8 Aug 2009
By 
Alec Cormack (London UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen (Personal Computers)
Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen (APA-00002)
When I first saw this on the makers website I had my credit card out half way through the online demo. I did wonder if it would join many other 'must have' items in the bin of 'Oh Well, nice idea' but no, 9 months later I still use it everyday, not just the pen and paper but the recording was well. I don't reference the recordings that often but it has proved to be very useful when needed.

If you interview, have meetings, learn then it's for you. I can now often leave my laptop at home and work with the smartpen, a pad and my iPhone.

Nice that Amazon are selling it and lets hope they will carry the full range as the postage is quite expensive sourcing them elsewhere.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Battery Issues, 16 Dec 2009
This review is from: Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen (Personal Computers)
Fantastic gadget and works very well - when it works.

Returned 2 of these to Amazon - both with a battery fault. Pen works fine for a week or 2 then 'for no reason' the battery stops holding its charge. Charge over night only to find that after 5 minutes the battery dies. Emailed LiveScribe support and no response (other than automated email)

My advice - wait 'till they sort out the quality.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't do it, 22 Dec 2009
By 
Willy Banks (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen (Personal Computers)
This is the second review I've ever written. First I wrote today today about the Aiptek SlimTablet 600, so awesome, I had to write something.

As the Aiptek is good, the Livescribe Smartpen is bad.

I take a lot of notes in my job, attend a lot of meetings. The Livescribe Smartpen seemed ideal, and for the first two weeks it was. Brilliant

First one I had the battery died after 2 weeks. Second one (impressive Amazon returns policy had replacement to me within days) died after two days of use, constantly rebooting.

No help from Livescribe regarding either. Now have spare ink and journals that are pretty much pointless.

Also remember, you cannot synch between different laptops or between pens unless you upload your docs to their website. Surely some IPR laws being transgressed there. Also lack of third-party apps at present. Oh, paper is expensive too, and ink cartridges only last 80 pages each.

If they fix the battery problems and add some more useful business related apps (todo lists, email, onenote linkage etc) they're really onto a winner.

Until they do, do yourself a favour, don't.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, but useful for some tasks., 2 Dec 2009
This review is from: Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen (Personal Computers)
Good for lecture use, Microphone in Lecture Hall mode works well and the speaker is understandable. While indexing the voice recording from the written notes works well I found I generally wrote a note several seconds after something had been said (If I was able to write the note before hearing the speaker I would not need to be sitting there) - this meant I had to work back through the voice recording, but it still worked.

There are issues with the Data Protection Act; if you use the pen to record anything that may contain Personal Information (such as a performance appraisal or redundancy meeting). The pen is neither encrypted or password protected, so the information is readily accessible to anyone who finds it. The paper notes would also be covered by the Data Protection Act, simply beacuse they are also being processed by computer. Within a secure office this MAY not be an issue. I've raised this issue with Livescribe but they have not responded.

The requirement to use the pre-printed stationery does limit the flexibility and portability significantly - you can't just drop the pen in your pocket. I seem to have settled upon a large format boot as a desk jotter/journal and a more portable bound A5 notebook for carrying around. The small flip notepads fit in the pocket, but are just too small to write more than a few words on each page.

I've had one crash which completely lost 2 hours worth of meeting recordings and electronic notes - but at least I had the paper copy still. The forum did have posts that covered the topic, and after about 24 hours I did get some support via email, but there was no solution to recover the notes.

The handwritting recognition trial wasn't up to working out my handwritting, but that may have been the lack of familiar words (and grammar and sentances). The built in search facility was more succesful in finding words within my notes, but manual searching through pages is still often neccessary.

Overall I like the device, it takes the flexibility of pen and paper and adds an electronic record that can easily be filed away for future reference. The livescribe pen is not suitable for all tasks, but to some it brings useful functionality.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Pen and Concept o Watch the Battery Life, 15 Mar 2010
By 
T. Akinjide-Obonyo "Thulane" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen (Personal Computers)
I bought the Smart Pen and had a chance to test it through a 5 day seminar in London.

The first thing I have to point out is the battery life. The battery on this pen will only go for about 5 hours. This may be enough time for some peope buy you have to remember that small portable electronics need to go for at least 18 hours of more with continuous use.

I found that when it came to the evening sessions of the seminar the pen was flat. I could no longer use it. Another major problem I had was the ink catridges. They do not last. In fact I went through 3 of them in only 2 days of continuous writing.

Recommendation, buy as many as you can. I would buy the 10 packs of black if I were you. they really do not last or go the distance. Beside these 2 insights, the pen is great and I am looking at making products using the pen.
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