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Echo Smartpen Review

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  • Price
  • Build Quality
  • Design & Ergonomics
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  • Performance

Livescribe 4GB Echo Smartpen Details

The Livescribe Echo Smartpen brand comes in a variety of memory sizes and the 4GB of memory version is marketed as storing up to 64,000 pages of notes or 400 hours of audio. Please note that the 4GB version does not include the Smartpen Portfolio, 3-D Recording Premium Headset or MyScript for Livescribe Software (handwriting to digital text convertor) that comes with the 8GB Echo Propack version. However, it is possible to try a 30 day free trial of the text recognition app, but it will cost around $30 to use beyond this period.

Dimensions of  Livescribe Echo Smartpen

  • Length: 6.22 inch or 158 mm.
  • Width: 0.78 inche or 19.7 mm at top; 0.45 inch or 11.5 mm at tip.
  • Weight: 1.3 ounce or 36 grams without cap.
Livescribe 4GB Echo Smartpen Review | Dimensions

Livescribe 4GB Echo Smartpen Review | Dimensions

 

Real world comparision:

  • Physical size. The Smartpen is about the size of MontBlanc’s largest fountain pen.
  • File sizes. The size of the files produced are relative to the size of the notebook paper you use i.e. writing on 8.5″ x 11″ notebook paper will produce bigger files than on 5.8″ x 8.3″ paper.
    • If you were to record a 1 hour voice recorded meeting or take notes for that period of time you can expect to produce a file of around 10 – 12 MB.
    • Alternatively, 100 pages of notes and 7 hours of audio will use around or slightly less than 1GB of memory on the pen.
  • Battery Life.
    • In writing mode only, the Echo Smartpen could be used for several hours a day for several days before the need for recharging.
    • In audio recording mode, the Smartpen seemed to operate for about 5-7 hours. Recharging the Echo Smartpen appeared to take 1-2 hours.
  • Ink cartridge. We found that an ink cartridge lasted around 50 – 60 pages for condensed notes and up to 90-100 pages for notes mixed with annotations on A5 sized paper.

Functionality of Livescribe 4GB Echo Smartpen

The writing side of the Livescribe 4 GB Echo Smartpen works by using an built-in high speed infrared camera (70+ images/sec) in conjunction with an array of microdots on the paper that act as a dot positioning system. The paper in these notebooks looks just like any other regular paper to the naked eye, but upon closer examination you can observe a minuscule pattern on all the pages. This pattern is recognized by the infrared camera in the pen, and this forms a reference grid for the pen to recognize and record what is being written.

The audio side is activated by using a command on the dot paper and the Smartpen then records like any digital recorder. The embedded microphone records in mono; binaural or stereo recording requires the use of the 3-D Premium Recording Headset (also referred to as Echo 3D Recording Headset or Earbuds) that are sold separately in the 4GB version. The settings for recording quality are Low, Medium (default), High and the microphone sensitivity options are Lecture Hall vs Conference Room. The Smartpen comes with an embedded speaker and furthermore, the unit has a standard 3.5mm audio jack at the top of the pen that can be used with accessories such as headphones and earbuds.

Livescribe 4GB Echo Smartpen Review | Echo 3D Recording Earbuds

Livescribe 4GB Echo Smartpen Review | Echo 3D Recording Earbuds

There are numerous accessories available such as:

  • Deluxe Carrying Case.
  • Echo 3-D Recording headset.
  • Handbound Journals, Large Notebooks, A4 Notebooks, A5 Notebooks, Paper Blanks Mini Journal, 3″ x 5″ Flip Pad.
  • Replacement Echo Smartpen Caps and Ink Cartridges.
  • Smartpen Portfolio Case.
  • Stylus.
  • Universal Leather Case.
  • Universal USB AC Wall Adapter.

Additional functionality comes in the form of:

  •  The ability to launch a favorite app by simply writing its name.
  •  Basic calculation with a readout on the Echo Smartpen screen.
  •  Data info, support for various languages and the ability password protect recorded sessions with a 4 digit number.

Upgrading to the latest version of ‘Livescribe Desktop’ is recommended in order to access a range of Apps($0 – $14.99), for example:

  • Education e.g. Amino Acids, Lowest Terms, SpellingMe.
  • Entertainment e.g. CodeBreaker.
  • Games e.g. Blackjack,Hangman, Helicopter, Sudoku, Video Poker.
  • Music e.g. Classical Music Snippets, Guitar.
  • Productivity e.g. Measure.
  • Reference e.g.U.S. Presidents, German Travel Phrases, French Travel Phrases.
  • Utility e.g. Stopwatch.

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