on 8 December 2011
Have been using for nearly 2 months and I am stunned. I ordered this with high expectations and as is normal with these kinds of gadgets I then expected that the initial excitement would be subsided by a fatal flaw in the product and then end up chucking it into the bottom of the draw.
However, I was amazed when I first started using it and 8 weeks on I am still amazed and I use it every working day.
Firstly, let me explain my situation. I work from home, I spend my life in a home office on conference calls and am in a fairly new technical lead role, where I have to digest much new and complex information. I previously had a little Dictaphone which was very inefficient, to replay important parts of calls. This pen does so much more.
The Echo Pen allows me to record every single call and as I write every word is saved. If I want to replay part of the conversation I just place my pen on the words I wrote and the pen replays that exact part of the conversation. Even better when I plug the pen into the computer all the notes/audio are transferred and you can then search through your handwriting for key words. This is exactly what I have been looking for. It now means I can decipher all the technical gobbledegook quickly and in my own time and ensure I have captured everything correctly.
I have since bought the 4 Live-scribe journal (80 sheets) and additional ink re-fill, which so far i haven't had to replace and still using the original. Yesterday I was getting worried I was getting close to the 2GB limit of audio on the pen, and then found you can easily remove older audio from the pen to free up space, but it retains it on the computer.
Only issues I have is that you may be disappointed which what arrives in the box. You basically get just a few scraps of paper, which is fine for scribing a few notes and getting used to the pen. I ordered the journal notepads straight away. Also I occasionally it gives an error when transferring the audio, but is fixed by doing a reset on the pen and the data does not get lost. Also, the paper does appear to be expensive but after 2 months, I'm only on page 40 out of 160 on the first out of 4 journals which cost less than £20.
But there is so much more this pen can do, which I haven't covered because I have no immediate need, such as the pen-casts, where you draw a diagram /idea (for example) on the paper and give a commentary as you draw it. You can then upload that page as a pen-cast which I think is in the form of an adobe PDF file which you can email out and your friends...again, just amazing. I'm very impressed and am not someone who is easy to please.
on 26 May 2011
I bought this pen & some digital note pads (following a recommendation from a business contact) for my very dyslexic daughter, as I thought it might help her at University.
Well - it turned out to be a huge/outstanding success and exceeded all my expectations and hers as well. It was really easy to set up and link in with her Apple Laptop and she's also bought & downloaded other linked voice transcription software to support it.
Her University (Sussex) were very supportive (once they understood what it was all about) and she now has permission from all her lecturers to use the pen in their lectures and tutorials - greatly assisting her, as one of the big problems she faced was comprehensive & coherent note taking.
The script-to-text conversion software and the voice-to-text software were also of great assistance, dramatically cutting down the extended time taken by her to transcribe her notes.
All in all a brilliant concept - and the digital notepads were easily orderable (via Amazon) at a not unreasonable price.
Known now as "that singing pen" by all her Uni friends ... as it has a music writing & playback facility as well ... I'm about to order one for myself, as I've struggled with business note taking for 30+ years myself. Thoroughly recommended & a total bargin.
First off, the answer is no - you can't play Angry Birds on the Livescribe. If you are still reading then you will this to be an interesting piece of technology - and it's not just a gimmick.
The instructions were fairly simple to follow with regards to set-up of the pen. The genius is that the instruction booklet requires you to use the pen - you tap on an icon and the pen tells you what to do next. Definitely a few 'wow' moments as you find out all that the livescribe does!
Some of it is a little gimmicky - like the fact that you can draw 9 joined up lines on a piece of the special paper and then when you tap in each line it plays a different note like a piano. Can't imagine when you might use that - but it will impress some friends maybe!
However, the main use of the Livescribe will be during lectures, team meetings or one-to-one meetings like for interviews, coaching sessions, counselling sessions and so on. Here it beats both dictaphone and ipad. And here's why:
With the Livescribe, you write your notes down on the piece of paper, while you record what the person is saying. So let's take a journalist as an example.
You sit down with your pad of LIvescribe paper, you press record (which is on the paper) and you make notes as the person speaks. This way you have both a written copy of your notes as well as the voice. But what makes Livescribe genius is that you can then go back home, and if you tap say at the top of the third paragraph of your notes, the voice recording jumps to exactly that section! That way, you don't have keep pressing forwards and backwards on a dictaphone to try and find the exact quote or section. And you aren't scrolling up down on your ipad trying to remember where you wrote what... it is all there neatly and magically together.
So yes. This has, I think a limited audience but is a fantastic piece of technology that is best for students, team meetings, one-to-one meetings of various sorts.
This is a light tidy looking pen that is designed like a usb with a little display and one button on so you can record voice and playback, make notes ,transfer them to the computer and more.
Unfortunately I was quite disappointed with the product, the pen seems reasonable enough quality, not especially well made but not bad, what I liked was the theory of what it could do, and it was good to see a note come up on the screen of the computer but really it was hard to understand how to get it to work and it turns out if you want your handwritten notes to go into print type text then you have to buy more software.
there are a lot of phones or mp3 players that do voice recording so that is covered for a lot of people but the note thing was a bit of a faff as you get given a few sheets of the special paper you have to use, and I hoped it was for normal paper, you can print more paper but only on some printers of good quality?
It was hard to find what the pen could do - the website helped, but it seemed it could do so much and yet it took ages to work out the basics so not very impressed there. There is also replacement ink to buy for the pen, I think with the price it sells for it should have everything you want and clearer instructions. I gave it the 3 stars based on what it can do, not what i would find myself using day to day.
on 17 July 2011
Well, decided to upgrade to the Echo 2Gb from the Pulse 2Gb after much soul searching about putting the funds towards an iPad instead - the 2Gb is fine for me as I'll sync to my PC at least once a week. Reasoned that the precision of taking notes on an iPad appears still to be someway off and involves too many compromises, so stuck with a smart pen. The only reason for the upgrade was I wanted both the smart pen note taking features combined with the tablet feature which is only available with the Echo, more to come on that.
The Echo us more comfortable to hold and is lighter than the Pulse, the Pulse feeling fatter and less natural. The display looks a little bigger on the Pulse and because of this is a little less discrete. The standard USB adapter on the Echo is more convenient than the old cradle but does mean that you have to be careful where you rest the pen whilst charging to make sure it doesn't get damaged.
The pen appears to function as well as the Pulse, with no noticeable improvement of degradation.
The use of the pen as a tablet pointer is however limited in comparison to dedicated devices I've used such as the Papershow products Papershow Starter Kit . The purpose of these types of applications are that they allowing you to annotate presentations and run whiteboard sessions during web conferences, something I've begun to do more off. The precision of the Livescribe tablet app is just about acceptable but it does appear to sometimes put lines where I've not drawn and not put lines where I have drawn them on the paper. I'm a little disappointed in this but will still use it over starting up my old Windows XP Tablet PC which takes for ever for get started.
In summary if you think you'd get value from having your notes always available and don't want the hassle of a scanner and want more precision than the current iPad offerings, the Livescribe is a good choice especially if you want to record the commentary. If you're main use is to run web conferences and you don't want to invest in tablet PC and want the precision of pen then I'd look at Papershow. If like me you want both and don't want to carry both Livescribe and Papershow around with you then my current thinking is comprise and go with the Livescribe.
on 28 September 2012
Although i got a few funny looks in my first week of lectures, this pen has actually won a lot of people over. In my lectures, there are people taking notes on Ipads, notepads, laptops, netbooks and me with this. Nobody has the same interactive playback as i do, and all are little jealous!
In an Equine Anatomy and Physiology lecture, when my tutor talks at about 300mph, i just draw a basic diagram of what i know we'll be doing, then as he goes through areas, i set to record, wait to see where he'll point to next, say the skull, and tap a dot on the paper. Following this, i just put particular words that will bring back the memories. Later, when i am at home, I connect to the livescribe desktop and tap on the dot i put earlier in the day, and the audio comes straight from my laptop - "the maxilla is the upper part of an equine skull encompassing the nasal cavity and various air spaces for nerve endings" ect...
It's invaluable to me. I then store all of my note page on my laptop, on microsoft onenote in seperate areas (just like you would in a ringbinder file, then save it all to The Cloud. Et viola, notes i can access anywhere, and interactive lecture playback at home.
So far, i see no flaws. I mute it in lectures so there isn't any awkward noises from it, and record away. It still manages perfectly clear audio play back even at the far end of a lecture theatre.
I have a 2gb pen and the battery is incredible. I haven't charged it properly since i got it. The odd ten minutes seems to keep it up. The memory sounds small but fits a massive amount in, especially if you occasionally delete unwanted files from the device.
I don't use any of the apps that are available, just because i dont need them at all. Cheaper notepads would be lovely but they last a while so it's not an issue. Ink also is generous, no issues here.
All in all, very happy with my purchase and many of my uni friends are planning on getting one too!
on 1 June 2011
Pen appears to work as advertised, however build quality isn't brilliant (the plastics don't all match up properly at the joins, the cap doesn't quite go on completely, etc), and unlike the 4GB and 8GB versions there is no rubberised grip (and the plastic is smooth and slippery). Not sure that the rubberised grip and a couple GB of memory is worth another £50 or so however.
Overall a good product, let down by ergonomics.
Just a quick update:
After one month of use, I wouldn't be without this pen (hence upgraded from 3 stars to 4).
Other than the grip, the only other gripe is the ink...not the smoothest for writing, and the cartridges don't last very long (only about 50 pages of writing).
on 21 April 2014
I had my eye on this expensive, but highly rated smartpen for over a year. I then became convinced that this pen would make my busy day full of meetings much easier, since I would have all my notes digitally recorded and organised.
The first week using the pen was a delight. Although being bulky and getting all sorts of questions about it, it seemed sturdy and easy to use. I started taking my notes in a more organised way, hoping to review and adjust them later.
Then my first disappointment started. The notes were not transformed into text, unless I bought another piece of software - the pen had been already expensive enough, but if I wanted it to serve to its purpose I had to buy something else? What use do I have for notes in a format that I cannot edit? I can search for words and the software matches relatively well what I am searching for to what I previously wrote, but not having it in proper text format is rather disappointing.
Then, out of nowhere, everytime I connected the pen to my laptop to download the notes, the LiveScribe Desktop would give me an error saying that there was a problem and for me to check a KB article, etc, etc, etc. Basically I had to disconnect the pen and try again a couple of times. Really annoying behaviour.
I kept using the pen anyway as the functionality to search for handwritten notes had some (albeit small) value. After about 3-4 months the battery life started to decline significantly. Initially I used to charge it every 3-4 days and suddenly the battery life was lasting less than a day - making the pen less useful as I found myself time and time again without my notes being recorded since the battery had died and I hadn't noticed it.
Over the last month or so, the display is busted. Some 30% of the pixels are dead and the brightness, when set at 100% is as weak as 10% when I bought the pen.
Last but not least, the battery just gave in. The battery never gets full, it only shows an exclamation mark instead and each charge, even if overnight, lasts less than one hour.
This pen was the worst investment I've ever made.
Pen going to the bin.
Very impressed with this pen; it's a pen with 2gb memory! Cool! Gadget heaven- surely?
Well, yes , AND no. It records what is being said whilst you write, and records that as well. At any stage afterwards, tap what you have wrote, and it plays back what was being said at that time.
But then, after using it, I have found 2 shortfalls (hence the 4 stars);
1) You HAVE to use the grid paper it comes with. No big wow, but I can't use it for the reason I got it- that is, work forms and meetings (where my notes need to be on specific forms)
2) If I can't use it for then, when can I use it? Little/ no scope otherwise.
It's a great tool, if it is right for you in your word. College lectures, etc- it would be brilliant. If not (like me), then it's a pen. A top heavy pen with technology which you would never use.
So think about it before you get it; if it could be beneficial- then your on to a winner.
on 8 February 2012
I love love love this pen! If you hate sitting at the computer to take notes with a book in one hand and the other hand attempting one-handed typing, then this pen is for you. I am so happy that I can actually take notes on paper with ink and file those notes but then plug the pen into the USB point on my laptop and upload the notes. It's a great note-taking system for a doctoral student; it also allows me to enjoy having physical notes that I can flick through but also the comfort of knowing that they are all backed up electronically (without the hassle of scanning them).
The search facility on this software is amazing too. It can search your handwritten notes for a word of your choice. You might also choose to pay another small sum (about £20, I think) to buy software which allows you to convert your handwriting to text. At a guess, I would say the accuracy on this software is about 80%, which is not bad and it would not take me long to make the necessary edits. The only downside here is that this extra software was not included with this pen: I would have thought everyone would be likely to want the facility to convert to text.
I haven't used the audio function on the pen so can't give any feedback about that. But, overall, this pen has revolutionised my note-taking and back-up systems. If you are contemplating buying it, I would say to go for it!