Wednesday November 25, 2015

Livescribe 3 - Moleskine edition

(Disclaimer: I volunteered to be part of an Early Access program for the Livescribe 3 smartpen Moleskine Edition. I received the Livescribe product for free in return for my review. My opinions and comments, however, are entirely my own and were not previously vetted by anyone at Livescribe.)

I should start by saying that this is my first experience with Livescribe pens or with Moleskine notebooks, although I have heard quite a bit about both products before. I have been intrigued by the Livescribe pen for several years, but wasn't convinced that I wanted to carry a special, bulky pen and pad of dotted paper with me.

The Livescribe 3 Moleskine Edition changes the parameters. First, the pen seems very... pen like. It's fat -- a little over half an inch in diameter, but nevertheless sleek in design. I could wish it tapered just a bit more at the front half; my hands are on the small side. I would also prefer a gel ink to a standard ball point; my hand starts to cramp faster using a ballpoint pen. Other than that, I don't really have any complaints about the design.

There's a textured collar around the middle of the pen. Give it a twist and the ballpoint pen tip emerges while the pen powers on. The only obvious "smart" aspect is the LED in the clip -- blue for connected, blinking green for ready to pair, yellow for low battery, red for recording. In all, it's a nice design.

The paper really surprised me. At first glance, it's a typical Moleskine notebook, albeit with a few printed icons at the top and bottom of each page. I know someone with an older edition of the Livescribe and I was expecting to see dots. The dots are there, but they're so small and unobtrusive that I had to hold the pages 2 inches from my nose to see them. They certainly don't get in the way while writing.

The selling point of the Livescrbe 3 smartpen is Bluetooth connectivity. It pairs easily with either iOS or Android devices; I have one of each and the pen paired smartly with both. According to the Guide, you can pair up to four mobile devices with one Livescribe 3 smartpen at a time. That should be good enough for most people.

The only issue I had with pairing my second device was that I had been slightly misled by the near-invisibility of the dots in the Moleskine notebook. I expected to be able to tap the Device Pairing icon in the Guide! Once I realized I needed to tap the icon in the notebook, my pen paired happily with my iPad.

Watching my writing magically appear in the app, one page at a time, was a fun experience. The entire page appears at once, with my handwriting perfectly carpeted in miniature. There are no obvious jagged spots or skips; the strokes are clear, and the result is far better than I would expect if I were writing directly on my mobile device with a stylus. (Although, speaking of a stylus, Livescrbe includes a stylus nub that fits on the end of the Livescribe 3 smartpen!)

Which brings me to my last point -- what's in the box! The Livescribe 3 smartpen Moleskine Edition contains several special treats. First, you'll notice a Moleskine "tool belt", which is designed to fit snugly over the front cover of the notebook (not around the entire notebook as I first thought). The tool belt can carry the smartpen, your mobile device, business cards, or whatever seems right for you.  

Next, you'll notice a small sticker, labeled "Tap Here to Archive", wrapped around the front edge of the notebook. I think this should have been labeled "Tap Here to Start". The archive button registers a new notebook with the smartpen. Be sure to perform this registration before starting your next notebook.

Finally, use care while unboxing the product. I almost missed a small, "hidden compartment" at the bottom of the box. This compartment contains the stylus tip (mentioned previously), a micro USB charging cable, and 8 replacement pen tips!

 Over all, I've been quite pleased with the Livescribe 3 Moleskine edition. It looks and feels like a solid pen and pretty notebook, but adds the delightful feature of sending my notes directly to my mobile phone or tablet. Livescribe has also included a coupon good for a free year of Evernote Premium service (although, personally, I would prefer Dropbox support).

Be sure to download the free LiveScribe+ app for iOS or Android. Android devices also require the free LivescribeLink app to maintain the Bluetooth connection.


The Pen The "Tool belt"
The Pen The tool belt

Don't Miss the Hidden Compartment!
The hidden compartment Hidden compartment exposed

Livescribe 3 - Moleskine edition ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 25 Nov, 11:05 Pacific | «e»

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