What we consider technology today, would have surely been considered magic a century back. Things we take for granted such as video conferencing with our loved ones, watching a live stream of a sports event being played in another part of the world or watching the movements of a baby yet-to-be-born are magical moments. The product that I’m looking at today has that somewhat similar magical aspect to it- you write words on a paper and wirelessly and almost instantly, they appear on your iPad as recognised alphabets ready for editing. Say hello to the Livescribe 3 smartpen.
The LiveScribe 3 smartpen 3 is a slightly oversized pen that, other than it’s larger size, appears very much like an ordinary pen. Expect that it has quite a few tricks up its sleeve. Powered by an infrared camera, an ARM processor and a low-power consumption Bluetooth 4.0 radio, the smartpen pairs up with your iPhone or iPad and wirelessly transmits notes you write on the included Livescribe Dot Paper.
With an estimated battery life of 14 hours between charges, the Smartpen 3 is turned on by a twisting a ring present in the middle. On the clipper you have an LED that lets you know that the pen is connected to your iOS device while the top parts pops out to reveal an integrated micro-USB port for charging. Although the pen is quite light at 34 grams, it is quite a bit larger measuring 162mm x 14.9mm which makes it slightly uncomfortable to hold- especially if you have smaller hands.
The other aspect of the package is the Livescribe Dot Paper and included with the smartpen is a fifty pack notebook included with both sides of the paper available for you to jot on, giving you a hundred sheets in essence. The A5 sized notebook is comfortable in size and to write on. You have some special tags on the top and bottom of each page that lets you enable voice recording while writing notes as well as tag, flag or star notes making organising them easy, It also works with Evernote- helpful for those that like to store their notes on the popular cloud service.
Coming to the actual usage of it, I found the Smartpen 3 to work as advertised. I paired it up with my iPad and, either my hand-writing is really clear or the Livescribe 3 smartpen does a really good job at recognising what I wrote and converting it to text. Out of the 40 words I wrote, there was just one mistake which I’d rate at pretty impressive. I was particularly impressed with Smartpen’s recognition of CAPS and symbols such as exclamation and question marks- even when I wrote them in multiples such as ????
As good as the Livescribe 3 smartpen works, the bigger question for many of us, especially the younger generation is why write when we can type. I can type much faster than writing and if I try to speed up my writing, the legibility of it decreases to an extend where even I have trouble reading. But there is a certain enjoyment, a pleasure, in writing. And I think that for creating lists or quick notes, writing gives you a little more flexibility.
If you are the type that enjoys writing, the Livescribe 3 smartpen will come as a very welcoming gadget that lets you showcase your penmanship in a time where all we do is tap away on our screens or keyboards.
The Livescribe 3 smartpen is available at tejuri for AED 829