What is a Smartpen?

A Livescribe smartpen is a clever tool that will help any professional, student, educator or note-taker in innumerable ways. Like any regular pen, a smartpen uses ink and paper. You take notes just as you always have, with or without doodles and diagrams. When it is turned on, a Livescribe smartpen will remember every pen stroke you make on any page in any one of your Livescribe notebooks. What is more, you may optionally activate the microphone in a smartpen to automatically synchronize what you hear to what you’re writing.


Which Smartpen is right for me?

The two types of smartpen can be distinguished by answering the following two questions:

  1. Where is the data stored?
  2. How is it transmitted?

– The Echo smartpen transmits data via an included USB cable to a free application which you download to your computer. The data you create is stored on the hard disk of your computer. The application is called “Echo Desktop” and may be obtained at any time from the manufacturer’s website. Your handwritten notes and audio can then be viewed, organized, searched and shared in a number of ways, including Evernote, Facebook, GoogleDocs, PDF and more! For an Echo smartpen, you need not have direct access to the internet, but you do need a computer to run Echo Desktop. That computer can be Windows or Mac (English or French). Where: on your computer hard disk. How: via USB cable.

– The somewhat newer Livescribe 3 (LS3) is a phenomenally useful accessory for your mobile device (such as an iPad, iPhone or Android device), but it requires such a companion device to function fully. Unlike the Echo smartpens, the Livescribe 3 smartpen does NOT have a microphone or a speaker. The Livescribe 3 is therefore much slimmer, lighter and more elegant as a writing instrument. The LS3 captures handwriting and stores it in its own memory however audio is captured using the microphone and speaker of its companion device. Handwriting data is transmitted from the LS3 via Bluetooth Smart (also known as Bluetooth 4.0) and it is viewable in real-time on the device (very cool!). Apple devices must have iOS8 (see tech specs) and Android devices must be at version 4.4.2 or higher. Handwriting from the LS3 can be synchronized to up to five mobile devices but audio is kept only in the one device which recorded it. Where: in your iOS device (recent models of iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android devices). How: via Bluetooth 4.0.

Show me a comparison table


Livescribe 3 Smartpen

Echo Smartpen


What else should I know?

What is Evernote?

Evernote.com is a cloud-based (internet-based) repository for all sorts of files (not just Livescribe content). Your handwritten notes and audio can then be viewed, organized, searched and shared in a number of ways! For a Sky smartpen, you need direct access to WiFi to upload data, but no computer is required! All three Livescribe smartpens (Echo, Sky and LS3) can push data to Evernote (but is -required- only for the Sky smartpen). Once uploaded you may access your Evernote account from almost any internet-connected device including iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows and of course any connected computer (PC, Mac, Linux or other).


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What are the differences between the Livescribe 3 "Black Edition", the "Professional Edition" and the "Moleskin Edition"?
It is first important to note that the three smartpens function identically. The important differences are the items that are also included in the box with the Professional and Moleskin versions.

In the case of the LS3 Professional Edition, the two relevant extras are: an elegant portfolio case (a value of $45) and a one-year premium subscription to Evernote (a value of C$65). The total value of the extras is thus C$ 110 and yet the Pro costs only $90 more, resulting in a savings of $20. If these two items are not of interest to you, then we recommend that you purchase the Black Edition along with such other accessories as you wish to buy.
The LS3 Black Edition was announced in January 2016, and replaces the previous "standard" edition; the Black Edition has new look-and-feel, and it behaves more like a premium writing instrument.
The LS3 Moleskin Edition includes an sumptuously elegant carrying pouch as well as a refined Moleskin-branded notebook.

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What are the differences between the 2gb Echo and the 8gb Echo?
It is first important to note that the two smartpens function identically; the 8gb does obviously have four times more memory than the 2gb. The important differences are the items that are also included in the box with the 8gb version.
The three relevant extras included in the Echo 8gb Pro Edition are: an elegant portfolio case (a value of $45), a copy of MyScript software (a value of C$33) as well as a set of earbuds (a value of C$ 31). The total value of the extras is thus C$ 109, and the difference is the value of the additional memory.
For most users, the Echo 2gb is adequate for most circumstances.

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What happened to the SKY smartpen?
The Sky smartpen was discontinued by Livescribe in 2014 and is now no longer available. The following information is provided for reference only.
The Sky smartpen is configured to transmit data over WiFi directly to your free Evernote.com account on the internet. No computer is required and notes can be taken anywhere (with or without an internet connection). Notes can however be uploaded to Evernote only when you are at a hotspot. For a Sky smartpen, you do not need a dedicated computer but you do need occasional access to WiFi and to your online Evernote account. Where: in your online Evernote account . How: via WiFi to the internet.

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Still have questions?
Please see the FAQ pages for other information!