Livescribe Pulse Smartpen 2GB review
The Pulse Smartpen is a pen, but it's no ordinary pen as it records everything you do. Using a special notepad the pen stores in its memory every stroke, note, drawing and then uploads them to your Mac so you have an electronic copy of your notes. As well as being able to record all you handwritten notes the Pulse has a built-in microphone that lets you store audio. This makes it perfect for meetings, lectures and the like. It has plenty of other tricks up its sleeve too with the ability to act as a rudimentary piano and translate basic language.
The standout feature of the Pulse Smartpen is that it keeps the audio and your notes in sync. Simply put the nib of your pulse pen at any point of your notes and the corresponding audio will play through he pen's speaker. This is great for those moments where you've written something down and can't remember what on earth the context of that comment was.
The pen itself is quite chunky, but it's not too big and in use is actually very comfortable. It's not as top heavy as you might image from the design. The only downside to the pen itself is that the nib isn't retractable. This means that if you lose the case you can't keep the pen in your pocket. Hardly a major issue, but we'd have liked a retractable nib nonetheless.
The Desktop software is very good and helps you keep track of all your notes with ease. It's surprising how much more organised you can be when all your hand written notes are available on your desktop as well as your notebook. You connect the pen to your Mac with a dock and this acts as a charger too. Finding notebooks is a bit difficult if you burn through them, but you can buy them online through Amazon. If things get desperate you can print the special patterned notepaper off from any printer to make your own.
If you go to a lot of meetings or presentations the Pulse Smartpen could well be invaluable. The ability to combine the audio and your notes really is great. We showed the Smartpen to a number of fellow meeting goers and each saw the clear potential to make their lives easier. The cost of the pen and the specialist notebooks might put you off, but the increase in productivity is well worth the initial outlay.