Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro Edition – reviewed

Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro Edition

Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro Edition

If there’s one process that has held its own in the transition to a digital world, it’s taking notes with the humble pen and paper. For those who have swapped dead trees for tablets, one consistent bugbear of typing notes is the (lack of) speed at which you get your words on ‘page’ – even without the frustration of an over-enthusiastic autocorrect. The Livescribe 3 could be the remedy. You use a smartpen – linked by Bluetooth to iPhone or iPad – to write or draw in a journal containing special refillable ‘dot paper’ and your scribbles instantly appear on the device. The free Livescribe app can then keep your notes in handwritten form or convert them to editable text. An audio function can even ‘speak’ your notes. So far so good: but what did these members of the Director reader panel make of the Livescribe 3?

Jo Haigh, Chief executive, fds Director Services
“When I unpacked the Livescribe 3, I felt a bit daunted at yet another piece of technology, but it was up and running in minutes. As company rainmaker I go from meeting to meeting, sitting on six boards, plus four as chair, as well my own board as chief executive. I am constantly taking notes. I used the Livescribe 3 for taking board-meeting notes and it read my writing perfectly. The downside? It’s yet another piece of equipment to carry, buying special paper will be annoying, and I am bound to lose the pen charger and spare nib. The upsides are it looks great, and feels more professional and personal than typing in a meeting. You can also draw pictures and I am a great drawer when writing notes. I’ll definitely use the Livescribe 3 again.”
Jo Haigh is a member of IoD Yorkshire

Rachel Wang, Director, Chocolate Films
“My first impression was it looks and feels like a professional and well-designed pen. It’s even sparked conversation with clients, who liked the look without knowing what else it does. One of the most important parts of my job is meeting clients to understand both the practical and creative requirements of every shoot. I last used the Livescribe 3 in a meeting with a client who was looking for a series of online videos that explain some fairly complex ideas. Immediately after the meeting, I uploaded and tweaked the notes and sent them directly to my team as text. I can’t think of any downsides to the Livescribe 3. It’s a great asset and I’ll definitely be using it again.”
Rachel Wang is a member of IoD London

Adam Gordon, Managing director, Social Media Search
“The Livescribe 3 looks fantastic. The packaging is high quality and the pen feels heavy, as you’d expect from a premium product. The moleskin notepad is elegant. Set-up was extremely easy and the Livescribe 3 translated my slightly messy handwriting into text perfectly. The pen ran dry a couple of times when I was talking and not writing – it was quite frustrating to forcibly scribble on a piece of paper to get the ink going again. I would like to see the Livescribe 3 paired with my BlackBerry to save me lugging an iPad everywhere. I’m not sure I’d use the voice note function but I will use the Livescribe 3 for meetings from now on. It’s beautiful, fun to use and, although this might seem superficial, it’s super cool.”
Adam Gordon is a member of IoD Scotland

Tech specs
Price £169.99
Compatibility Bluetooth (with iOS 7 or newer)/iPhone 4s or newer/iPad 3rd generation or newer (including iPad Mini)/iPod 5th generation or newer
Materials Matte black plastic with chrome tip and tungsten-carbide ballpoint ink cartridge
Length 16.2cm
Width 1.49cm
Accessories Leather smartpen portfolio, extra ink cartridge, Livescribe journal (100 sheets), micro USB charging cable and a one-year subscription to Evernote Premium software

For more information on the Livescribe 3, visit

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About author

Richard Dunnett

Richard Dunnett

Richard Dunnett is an associate editor who writes about entrepreneurs, SMEs, FTSE 100 corporations, technology, manufacturing, media and sustainability.

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