Smartpens are the new major trend that has the business world fired up. They’re still rather young, but their capabilities are already vast and they’re still growing.
Most smartpens basically convert your handwritten notes into computer files for easier review. Precisely what each smartpen is capable of doing, however, varies greatly.
IOGEAR Mobile Digital Scribe
This smartpen was the first on the scene. Because of that, it doesn’t have all of the features that you may find in a newer model.
It captures and stores everything you write and doesn’t require a special notepad or piece of paper. This makes it particularly easy to upload your notes to your computer. If you already have the Mobile Digital Scribe attached to your computer it will automatically transfer any text and drawings directly to the screen.
Logitech IO2 Digital Pen
The Logitech IO2 Digital Pen is also a more simple model, like the IOGEAR version. It lets you save your notes in a variety of different file types and formats.
You are then able to search your notes for keywords and phrases by date, file name or file type. This makes it much easier to scan your notes for specifics of a meeting or conversation. One of the inconveniences of this smartpen is that you cannot simply write on any surface – you must use Post-Its or a digital notebook made specifically for smartpens.
The Livescribe Echo is undoubtedly the most advanced of all the smartpens. It allows you to not just record your handwritten notes, but audio as well. It then permits you to save those audio files in a number of different formats.
The coolest feature that you’ll find on the Echo is the Pencast capability. A Pencast allows you to play back the audio and synchronize it with your notes, making it much less complicated to keep a detailed record of your thoughts without writing down everything. Apple has also built a free app that allows for easy sharing and replaying.
All of these pens are great for their own reasons and they can really help you become more efficient in the office. You’ll never be required to remember the minute details of a meeting again.
If you’d like to take a look at a review of the Livescribe Echo, check out this Inc. article.