The 2 Best Smart Pens
If you want to upgrade your note-taking and sketches, having one of the best smart pens will make turning analog into digital so much easier. These digital pens also often have built-in technology that allows them to do things ranging from recording audio to transcribing everything written to your computer or smart device.
Though they look a lot like stylus pens, there are a few important differences. While a stylus pen allows you to draw and tap directly on your device's screen, a smart pen gives you the freedom to write on paper. However, unlike most styluses, smart pens have to be connected to a computer or synced via Bluetooth to work. But if you're content with a stylus pen that will make tablets and other devices more versatile and would like to save more than $100, I've included a stylus pen at the end of this list as well.
While they don't require a device screen, digital pens usually require a specific type of paper or smart pad to function. So, when you’re shopping for smart pens, be sure to check the paper requirement. The pens I've chosen can also sync with programs like Dropbox, Evernote, or Microsoft OneNote.
Here’s my list of the best smart pens available on Amazon. These digital pens have the features and compatibility to make recording what you write and hear digitally fast and easy.
1. The Best Overall Smart Pen
The Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen does it all. This digital pen records what you write and hear with 2 gigabytes of memory to save up to 200 hours of audio recordings. A quick tap on any section of your notes will automatically replay the audio transcription. You can also quickly transfer any of your notes or audio to a Mac or PC via the included micro USB cable. There’s an option to share your notes through email or other services like Dropbox. This smart pen includes a 50-page starter notebook of Livescribe Dot Paper so you can start taking notes with it right out of the box. However, you will need to purchase additional Livescribe Dot Paper to continue using the pen. It also features two ink cartridges. Each charge can handle about five hours of writing.
What fans say: “An absolute breakthrough as far as note taking and the ability to go back and review those notes along with what was being said at the exact time you wrote something. You can quickly make a notation of whats being said [...] and go back, tap the pen at that location, and it will play the audio back from that exact point. I have not found a quicker or easier way to review important points so quickly. I can't imagine not using this pen now.”
2. The Runner-Up: A Less Expensive Pick Great For Those Who Are Always Internet-Connected
The NeoLab Convergence Smartpen M1 Bundle only has 100 megabytes of internal memory rather than Livescribe's 2 gigabytes, but if you plan on using the pen mostly around areas with internet and tapping into cloud storage, it's a great pick that's a little less money. Compatible with Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, and more, there’s also the option to share any of your notes or drawings instantly via email or social networks in multiple file-formats including text, JPEG, PDF, or SVG. It also provides six hours of writing time between charges.
It’s compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows 10 and connects via Bluetooth. Plus, the set includes a water-resistant notebook with 176 pages, half of which are ruled and the other unruled for maximum versatility.
What fans say: “This pen feels exactly like a normal pen, it’s phenomenal. After researching multiple smart pens this was by far the best that I had found. Smart pens tend to come in two types: pens with an internal sensor or pens with an external sensor placed on the top of the paper. This pen has an included sensor that accurately records your hand writing.”
Also Great: An Affordable Quality Stylus
If you’d rather save money and don't mind writing or drawing on your existing tablet or other devices, the SOCLL Active Stylus Digital Pen is a great pick. While you lose perks like writing on paper and pen-based internal storage, this stylus has a super-fine tip for accuracy when writing or drawing. It’s compatible with most touch-screen devices, including iPads, iPhones 6 Plus through X, and Samsung and Android devices. However, it’s not compatible with Windows. It has an eight-hour battery life, and there’s also an auto-off feature that activates after 30 minutes of inactivity to help save on battery life.
What fans say: “Love this stylus and love the price tag! It works great, holds a charge for a long time, and is very easy to use! Highly recommend it to anyone who wants to write on their iPad without the price tag of the Apple Pencil!”
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