Livescribe Pulse Smartpen

Save your scribbles

The system works but is a little unwieldy. The pen is large – about a third bigger than an average biro - and too big to drop into a pocket comfortably. It's also cumbersome to write with.

Livescribe Pulse Smartpen

The Smartpen has a wee OLED - and even games that'll run on it

The pen scans written words using an infrared camera that sits near the nib. It’ll only record if you write onto special paper which is populated with a matrix of tiny dots. The paper is expensive - a pack of four A4 notebooks currently costs £18 at - though there are facilities at the Livescribe website and within Livescribe Desktop for printing your own.

Each sheet of paper has a control panel along its bottom edge which you tap with the pen to issue instructions relating to voice recording such as start and stop, set bookmarks, alter playback speed, jump back and forward, mute playback, and so on.

Livescribe Pulse Smartpen

Tap on the printed 'controls' to activate commands

There is also a set of four directional arrows you tap to get through the pen’s menu system. A small 96 x 18 OLED display on the pen shows menus and settings, and the pen speaks as you move around its menus telling you where you are and what you're changing.

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