The Best Smart Pens for 2021


As everyday life moves further and further into a digital realm dominated by smartphones and tablets, few of us need to tote notebooks and pens around anymore. But many of us still want to and do. That’s because it’s often much easier to take notes by hand, instead of typing out everything you want to record. Smart pens help bridge the gap between digital and analog by letting you turn your device into a notebook.

Some of these tech-based implements record spoken presentations and sync them with notes written on special paper. They are especially useful for students, who can record whatever the teacher says and then replay portions of special interest later. They can remove the time-consuming task of transcribing whole presentations by facilitating access to any part of a lecture with a tap. Digitized notes are easy to store, organize, search, and share.

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The smart pens on this list are compatible with most note-taking apps and will help you get your ideas or class notes down on (digital) paper.

Livescribe Aegir Smartpen

Livescribe Aegir Smartpen

The Livescribe Aegir Smartpen lets you do more with your notes and sketches than merely putting pen to paper — though you can do that, too. The Aegir lets you record everything you write, draw, or hear and digitizes it automatically from the special Livescribe paper you use it with. In conjunction with the Livescribe+ app, you can record audio to add sound to your notes. This system lets you search for and access handwritten notes from your iOS or Android device or desktop Windows or Mac computers and share resulting documents as text, PDF, image, or Word docs. It automatically syncs with the cloud via Dropbox, Google Drive, OneNote, or Evernote. Tags help keep your notes organized.

The Slate 2+ Pencil & Paper Graphic Tablet

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So here’s an intriguing concept: You can use your own implements and writing or sketchpad paper for note-taking or drawing on the Slate tablet while relying on a small removable ring that fits over your pen or pencil circumference to help digitize your work. The Slate 2+ Graphic Tablet connects to your tablet, smartphone, or computer, letting you immediately view your output. The related Imagink app, which gives you all sorts of pencils, felt-tips, and airbrushes, assists with your creations. Via the unit’s graphic tablet mode, you can use the Slate with popular desktop drawing software from Adobe and others and then share and export your creations in a variety of formats, including PNG, JPEG, MP4, PSD, and SVG.

Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook and Pen

RocketBook Smart Notebook and Pen

This reusable notebook — which works seamlessly with the Pilot Frixion Pen — offers an environmentally friendly way to jot down notes and doodles and transmit them to Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Box, OneNote, Slack, iCloud, and even email via the free Rocketbook app for iOS and Android. Just wipe the 32-page dotted grid notebook clean with a damp cloth. It takes about 15 seconds for ink from any Pilot Frixion pen, marker, or highlighter to dry for it to bond to the Rocketbook pages. Artificial intelligence facilitates Rocketbook’s smart titles, smart search, and email transcription for easier labeling and searching of notes. The Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook and Pen package includes one Rocketbook Core 8.5 x 11-inch notebook, one Pilot Frixion Pen, and a microfiber cleaning cloth. It comes in eight vibrant colors.

Livescribe Echo Smartpen

Livescribe Echo Smartpen

Livescribe is a famous name in the smart pen arena, and the Echo has all the elements you may need. It records what you write, replays meetings and lectures with a tap, and saves all notes and audio recordings to your computer in conjunction with free companion software for Mac and Windows. With 2GB of memory on the device, it can store over 200 hours of audio or thousands of pages of notes. The special Livescribe dot paper, which is required for the pen to work, is regular paper printed with a unique pattern of microdots that function as a GPS system, allowing the pen to capture what you write. The Livescribe Echo Smartpen comes in various sizes and styles to suit your needs: College-ruled notebooks, lined journals, blank journals, mini journals, and more. You can even print your own dot paper for free from within the Echo Desktop on your printer. The package includes a 50-page starter notebook, two ink cartridges, a micro USB cable, and a cap.

Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse

Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse

The Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse Smart Writing Set includes the pen and paper tablet with encoded paper in a dotted layout designed with code technology that works with the pen to facilitate the capture of your strokes. The companion app — for both iOS and Android — transfers your notebook scribbles to your device, digitizing your analog notes and allowing you to notate, share, search, edit, and organize your notes. You can record audio to sync with your notes and diagrams and save as a PDF or upload to Google or Evernote. It comes with a USB recharging cable, one pen tip ink refill, and a user manual.

Wacom Bamboo Folio Smartpad Digital Notebook

Wacom Bamboo Folio Smartpad Digital NotebookWith the Wacom Bamboo Folio, you’re working with the pen and paper you’re used to — except this pen and paper converts what you write or draw into a digital, shareable file as you write. The maximum notepad thickness is about 80 pages. When you’re finished writing, just tap a button and Bamboo Folio saves everything. The free Wacom Inkspace app converts your handwritten notes to text and lets you export them into JPG, PNG, PDF, SVG, or WILL files. An optional upgrade gives you access to the free Inkspace cloud service that converts your notes to text, tags your ideas on paper, or exports them as documents. You can use it to sync your material in the cloud and forward it to Dropbox, Evernote, and OneNote. The Wacom Inkspace app works with Bluetooth-enabled iOS or Android devices.

Neo Smartpen N2

Neo Smartpen N2

When you sync it with the Neo Notes app, the Neo Smartpen N2 uses a built-in camera to convert your handwriting to digital space. The app works with Evernote, Google Drive Manager, OneNote, and Creative Cloud. The pen has a dual-core ARM9 processor that can capture over 120 frames per second and can calculate a maximum of 256 levels of pressure. You can use the pen’s 90 MB storage space to save and send your handwritten notes, although we suggest you don’t transfer data while you’re actively using the pen. You can send text and drawings to social media as well. This smartpen features a refillable Standard D1-Type pen tip.

NewYes Smartpen

NewYes Smartpen

The NewYes smartpen’s internal camera can capture all your notes while recognizing up to 1,024 levels of pressure. It uses Bluetooth 4.2 to transfer data, guaranteeing straightforward and safe wireless transmission. This model features eight hours of writing capacity, so you’ll have plenty of room for your notes. Its corresponding app features handwriting recognition and even produces editable text from your handwriting, allowing you to search for handwritten keywords. The app has a voice memo feature that connects audio to your notes. It allows you to flip through your presentations and lectures with its handy Playback button. You can save your notes in an album or as a PDF, as well as sharing them over social media and email. The package comes with a notebook, a refill, and a USB charger, and the app works with iOS and Android.

Livescribe 3 Smartpen Black Edition

Livescribe 3 Smartpen Black Edition

You can smoothly convert handwritten notes to your digital device using the Livescribe 3. Its corresponding free Livescribe+ app works with iOS and Android and uses Bluetooth smart technology to sync your notes and sketches. The pen has an internal memory that stores your notes and uses a high-speed infrared camera along with your device’s microphone to sync audio while you work. After your notes are in the app, you can organize, tag, playback audio, and send notes to various devices. Livescribe dot paper features a pattern of small dots that function with the pen’s infrared camera, letting it nail down the location of all your notes and sketches. Livescribe notebooks are available in several paper types, bindings, and sizes. All of these varieties feature controls and tags that assist the pen in communicating with the app. When fully charged, the notebooks have a battery life of 14 hours.

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