Published on September 11th, 2014 | by Greg0
Livescribe Sky: A Wireless Smartpen To Record Everything
The truth about paper is that it’s archaic, old-fashioned, and even antiquated. It’s also critical, and continues to be an essential part of the world. Whether you’re jotting down notes in class, doodling the next famous logo, or writing down an important address, it’s easy to lose them into the ether. After having one too many napkins with phone numbers and and ideas gone missing, we started looking into smartpens.
The Livescribe Sky is one of the latest models from the company that has released several versions over the years. We’ve checked out many of them, and they’ve continued to improve in every way, from battery life to their ease of use. And while many of the basics are the same- you’ll still need special paper, and built into the pen are a camera and microphone- the new feature is one we’ve been waiting for. No more connecting the pen to your computer manually each time; the Sky can wirelessly handle that for you. The ergonomics and size of the Livescribe might continue to be an issue for those with smaller hands; but we found this one classy and it was comfortable for most people.
As before, the system enables the capture of handwritten notes as well as linked audio files. But the major difference is in how you save and pull up your notes. The only option here is to sync with Evernote, allowing you to pull up your diagrams or graphs from any computer, anywhere. There’s still storage onboard the pen (2GB as tested), so you’ll have plenty of space to record days of material (and a battery life of more than a week of use). And that special paper we referred to is printed with small, nearly invisible dots to help the pen locate and remember everything- and though the kit only includes 50 pages of paper, you can now print your own. You’ll still need to remember to carry it around- the system won’t work without it really.
You probably won’t miss the hassle of docking or carrying around cables- but you might, depending on how you use your Sky. Setting up a connection initially isn’t too troublesome, but is certainly harder than, say, on a regular laptop. And if you tend to travel around, you’ll need to remember to connect to new networks each time. The Sky can seem like magic at the best of time, as you can quickly search your handwritten recipes or grocery lists weeks later- as long as Evernote’s optical character recognition works, which we had some mixed results with. Plus, the playback software isn’t quite friendly- it gets the job done, but the interface can be a bit awkward. Finally, a note on audio: the internal mic will capture the sound of your scribbling, but we liked the 3.5mm port- you can plug in a headset, even those from a smartphone, and utilize an external mic for better results. Altogether, the Livescribe Sky is the best smartpen yet, freeing you from the shackles of docks and preserving your notes for eternal posterity. Available now, online and in stores, for around $125.