Best Smart Pen 2022: The Best Tools To Maximise Productivity
By Amirah Zakiyyah
Published May 2022
Work smarter, not harder. Designed to bridge the gap between traditional writing implements and modern digital technology, smart pens translate what you've written on paper into a digital format. Digitised notes are also easier to search and organise. Armed with the best smart pen, you'll take your productivity game to the next level and make your studying, work or home life easier. Here are our favourite smartpens for writing digital notes:
Best Overall: Livescribe Symphony
The Livescribe Symphony smart pen features an ergonomic design with a solid weight to it which accommodates the Livescribe Symphony's sensor. The sensor uses micro-dots on special Livescribe notebooks and Livescribe printable dot paper to track the pen's movements and transcribe what's written into a digital version that's stored on your device.
Once paired with the intuitive Livescribe+ application, the Livescribe Symphony smart pen captures your handwriting in real-time and transforms them into editable text. Moreover, you can record audio through the app and sync it with your written work. Reviewers found the Livescribe Symphony to have a high level of accuracy when reproducing handwritten notes.
The Livescribe Symphony smart pen is said to store up to a whopping 1,200 pages before you need to sync up. Integration with Dropbox, Evernote, OneNote and Google Drive makes sharing a lot easier. This smart pen charges via USB. Once full, you're good for 10 hours of writing.
Offering a fantastic blend of ergonomic comfort, long battery life and accurate writing to digital text conversion, the Livescribe Symphony has it all.
Shop the Livescribe Symphony here.
Best for Style: Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse
With a smooth metallic body, the Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse feels like a premium product. Some reviewers find the smart pen to be on the chunkier side. This is in part due to the nib which houses the actual pen, in addition to a small camera that tracks your scribblings on the Ncode paper. The cap comes with a handy clip so you can attach it to the cover of any notebook.
The Pen+ Ellipse uses notebooks featuring Ncoded paper technology. The smart pen tracks doodles created on the notebook's surface before regurgitating all of your writings and drawings once it's connected to the Moleskine Notes app. What's more, this Ncoded paper recognises individual pages you've written on, making it easier to search by note page.
This smart pen is packed with incredible features. Other than having your work recorded in real-time and the ability to 'playback' your writings and drawings, you can also edit your notes and add audio. To top it all off, there's a transcription option so you can turn your notes into text which can be copied and pasted onto other documents. The email icon at the top right corner of each page enables you to quickly and effortlessly share your notes to your desired email app.
Features like turning sketches and diagrams into high-quality digital files that can be easily shared and the ability to edit your work afterwards come in handy if you're an artist. The Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse has up to 1,000 pages of internal storage by itself. While the smart pen lasts around four to five hours, charging time isn't excessive, thus, you can plug it into your laptop whenever you need a quick charge.
With perfect writing and drawing replication, the Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse lives up to its name of offering a quality and comfortable writing experience.
Shop the Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse here.
Best for Eco-Friendliness: Rocketbook Core
A smart notebook that lets you wipe the pages clean and endlessly reuse the pages sounds too good to be true. But, the Rocketbook Core promises it's not.
The Rocketbook Core uses papers made from polyester composite. This material works with Pilot Frixion erasable pens. You don't have to worry about smudging since the ink dries fast. Using a damp cloth, you can easily wipe the pages of part of it clean, making it a sustainable option over paper and pen since the notebook can be reused again and again.
A QR code and seven symbols are found at the bottom of each page. The Rockebook app digitises your notes by scanning pages to the cloud. After downloading and setting up the app, you can designate each of the symbols to your preferred app of choice (OneDrive, Google Drive, Evernote, OneNote, Dropbox, Slack, iCloud, Box or email) for easy automated sharing.
To add on, the app has an OCR or Optical Character Recognition feature to use your handwritten text to search your notes and name them automatically. While it lacks instant writing to text conversion, the Rocketbook Core cleverly outputs to PDF and JPEG formats for sharing convenience.
An eco-friendly choice, the Rocketbook Core lasts for as long as you need while having extras like scanning, digitising and organising your handwritten notes.
Shop the Rocketbook Core here.
Best User Experience: Neo Smartpen M1+
Compatible with N Notebooks made with Neo Smartpen's proprietary Ncode, Neo offers a range of notebooks for you to use with the Neo Smartpen M1+. From regular lined to blank notebooks and yearly planners to the unique Daily Action Planner, there's something for everyone.
Each page in the N Notebook is uniquely coded to identify which page, location and notebook you're using. This information is recorded and stored within the pen which can then be synced with the Neo Studio app, allowing you to store digital records across iOS, Android and Windows devices.
The Neo Studio App has plenty of features. Firstly, there's the multi-language transcription where you can go from physical ink to digital text in over 30 languages. Next, there are basic editing tools such as changing your brush stroke, highlights, changing the text colour and even editing the text with your finger or stylus. An eraser tool comes in handy to remove unnecessary text from the digital copy.
The Neo Smartpen M1+ can store up to 1000 pages of offline content. When the pen is synced to the app, anything handwritten will be converted into a digital copy in real-time. What's cool is that every N Notebook is saved to a separate folder whereas individual pages are saved as a PDF file that can be stored within the Neo Studio app or on platforms like Evernote, Adobe, OneDrive or Google Drive.
This pen uses a universal D1-sized refill that you can buy from most stationery stores or online shops in different colours and point widths. The refills are also extremely easy to remove and install - all you do is grab the pen tip, pull it out, and insert a brand new refill.
Overall, the Neo Smartpen M1+ provides the best user experience with a friendly Neo Studio app, a good selection of notebooks and refill accessibility.
Shop the Neo Smartpen M1+ here.
Best Alternative: NewYes SyncPen2
Need something that writes like a pen and also works on multiple surfaces? The NewYes SyncPen2 is the one for you.
Constructed out of metal with a subtle weight added, writing with the NewYes SyncPen 2 feels natural. The SyncPen2 can be used on a 10-inch LCD and a notebook that comes included with purchase. Writing on the LCD pad gives the experience of working on a tablet with a stylus. Apart from taking audio notes, you can also access icons for quick sharing and vary the colour being displayed.
The notebook comes with a bookmark to keep tabs on your pages. Regardless of whether you're using the LCD pad or notebook, you get excellent writing accuracy on both mediums.
Other features we adore are the intuitive power on and off when you remove and put back the pen's cap, Bluetooth 5.0 for fast data transfers and the compatible app which allows for further editing. In addition to highlighting and erasing, you can even insert images. Moreover, the app can scan writing from a regular pen to be added to your digitised notes and convert them so they're easily searchable.
On a single charge, the NewYes SyncPen2 has a battery life of around eight hours. While it's not as impressive, the SyncPen 2 does offer a fast charge. This means a quick 15 minutes of top-up will get a few more hours of use.
A great choice of tablet and paper-based writing, the addition of recognising normal handwriting makes the NewYes SyncPen 2 a fantastic alternative to the other smart pens on our list.
Shop the NewYes SyncPen 2 here.
A good investment piece, smartpens are perfect for anyone who loves the tactile experience of writing while having the benefit of digitalising their notes. Whether you're a student who attends lectures, or an artist looking to digitise their sketches, there are plenty of options at varying price points available in the market.
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