The brilliant thing about the Livescribe 3 Smartpen is that it not only has some impressive features but it actually works almost flawlessly. We are still astonished by how well it performed during our review.
The Livescribe 3 Smartpen requires a special kind of paper called Livescribe "Dot paper" to work, which enables every scribble made to be recorded externally. This Livescribe pen also needs to be connected to the iOS device, which requires the Livescribe+ app to be installed to connect. When the app is loaded, it will automatically pair with the Smartpen if Bluetooth is enabled, with the LED indicator light flashing from green to blue to confirm successful pairing.
The Dot paper is available in 50 or 100 sheet notepads and has fewer touch controls along the bottom of each sheet than on other Livescribe models because most of the features are operated via the app, making it much more intuitive.
Now, when writing on the Dot paper with the pen, the app will sync all handwriting to digital pages in the app, which show the progress in real time as you jot down notes or even drawings. This is when the pen really comes to life, replicating everything that is written with the pen on physical paper onto a page in the app, which is then automatically sorted into sentences.
While using the main Notepad section of the app, you'll find that across the top are three options: Page, Feed and Pencast.
The Page tab offers a digital representation of what has been written on each page in your notebook, sorting each page as it is written, and knowing when you've started writing onto another.
The Feed tab holds perhaps the most impressive feature on the Smartpen, the ability to recognise and convert your handwriting into text, which you can then share via email or copy to put into a document or SMS. This is achieved by tapping one of the lines of text and swiping right across the line of script you want to convert.
This is done surprisingly accurately almost every time. However, as you'd expect, this doesn't work as well when trying to convert very messy or quickly written text, so if you want to take notes knowing that you will eventually want to convert your handwriting to text, you have to ensure that you write as neatly as possible.
Another great feature is the app's ability to record sound while you are jotting down your notes. The app syncs the sounds picked up by the iOS device's microphone and assigns them to the notes made at the time they are recorded. This is all done via the Pencast tab, which can be used to search back through your digital memos and click on certain markings to hear back the audio at the time they were written.
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