Avid note takers listen up! If you prefer to take your notes on paper instead of typing them out on pixels, the Echo Smartpen from Livescribe may be your dream come true. It’s been on the market for quite awhile already, but it’s still worth mentioning because I haven’t yet run into anyone in the real world who has heard of it yet, much less used one.
Essentially, the Echo Smartpen lets you record a note session (could be words, doodles, etc.) by drawing them on special paper (a starter notebook is included in your purchase and you can even print your own dot paper to use) and stores your notes digitally as a “pencast” which is viewable as a replay on a synced computer. What’s even cooler than that is that the pen also records audio. Say you’re in a meeting and you took a note while someone was talking and you want to hear what was being said at the exact moment you wrote a specific sentence–simply tap on that word and the audio will begin playing back from that point forward. I wish I had one of these when I was a student!
All notes become searchable on your computer and thus stored indefinitely. Integration with Evernote is an awesome feature (read my recent article on how I use Evernote) and the pen’s usefulness can be extended through a number of additional apps as well. One that stands out is an app that converts your legible text into text you can edit on a computer.
A 4GB Echo Smartpen starts at $149.95 and is available online or at a number of local retailers (including the Apple store where I purchased mine).