Livescribe Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen Hands On: Digital Note-Taking Gets a Little More Magical

Illustration for article titled Livescribe Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen Hands On: Digital Note-Taking Gets a Little More Magical

As you take notes and record audio with Livescribe's new Sky WiFi Smartpen, the device automatically uploads the data to Evernote. This is an update to the company's Echo pen. That 2010 launch digitally stored your notes onboard and transferred them via USB, but the Sky does it all wirelessly.


So how does it work? Link the pen to your Evernote account, fire up the pen, connect to Wi-Fi, and take notes using one of Livescribe's special notebooks. If you're not hooked up to the internet at the moments, your notes will sync with Evernote once you get online. Then, you can retrieve your scribbles through Evernote's smartphone apps or on your desktop.

Like the Echo, the Sky doubles as a recorder. It's so nice when reviewing your notes and wondering what the hell your own abbreviation means. With the Smartpen, just click on that section of the notes—down to the very word—and it will play what you recorded as you wrote that line. Also like the Echo, the pen requires Livescribe's proprietary journals, which come with self-explanatory little buttons at the bottom that you press as if you were using a tablet and a stylus—one for record, one to pause, control the playback, and toggle the volume.

The 2GB pen is available today for $170. A 4GB model is $200 and a professional package with a fancy folio notebook is $250. Replacement notebooks go for between $13 and $25. But most of us probably don't need a whole lot of space, considering notes are auto-pushed to Evernote to begin with. This is something I wish had existed when I was in college. I would have been a much better student.



I have been seriously considering getting this device for about a year. I held off and got an iPad 3 for my birthday (thanks, lil'bro!) I wish I could say the iPad is all I need but I have a hard time doing everything I need to do like: updating posts on my intranet course site, adding pictures to my site is not possible. Attendance is doable but clunky.

Though I teach a lot of the same classes, I do not always give students the same assignments and I sometimes forget which one I gave to whom and which class was lucky to get an assignment cancelled. Plus i have far from mastered typing using the on-screen keyboard... Ugh!

Any educators out there can give me some professional feedback on how they use this pen?