Digital Trend: The Best Smart Pens For 2020


Most of us don’t carry notebooks with us anymore as life turns more and more digital. Sometimes, though, it’s much easier to take notes by hand instead of trying to type out everything you need. Smartpens help bridge the gap between digital and analog by letting you turn your device into a notebook. This list of pens are compatible with most note taking apps and will help you get your ideas down on (digital) paper.

Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook and Pen

This reusable notebook — which works seamlessly with the Pilot Frixion Pen — offers an environmentally friendly way to jot down notes and doodles and transmit them to Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Box, OneNote, Slack, iCloud, and even email via the free Rocketbook app for iOS and Android. Just wipe the 32-page dotted grid notebook clean with a damp cloth. It takes about 15 seconds for ink from any Pilot Frixion pen, marker, or highlighter to dry for it to bond to the Rocketbook pages. Artificial intelligence facilitates Rocketbook’s smart titles, smart search, and email transcription for easier labeling and searching of notes. The package includes one Rocketbook Core 8.5 x 11-inch notebook, one Pilot Frixion Pen, and a microfiber cleaning cloth. It comes in eight vibrant colors.


Livescribe Echo Smartpen

Livescribe is a famous name in the smart pen arena, and the Echo has all the elements you may need. It records what you write, replays meetings and lectures with a tap, and saves all notes and audio recordings to your computer in conjunction with free companion software for Mac and Windows. With 2GB of memory on the device, it can store over 200 hours of audio or thousands of pages of notes. The special Livescribe dot paper, which is required for the pen to work, is regular paper printed with a unique pattern of microdots that function as a GPS system, allowing the pen to capture what you write. It comes in various sizes and styles to suit your needs: College-ruled notebooks, lined journals, blank journals, mini journals, and more. You can even print your own dot paper for free from within the Echo Desktop on your printer. The package includes a 50-page starter notebook, two ink cartridges, a micro USB cable, and a cap.

Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse

The Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse Smart Writing Set includes the pen and paper tablet with encoded paper in a dotted layout designed with code technology that works with the pen to facilitate the capture of your strokes. The companion app — for both iOS and Android — transfers your notebook scribbles to your device, digitizing your analog notes and allowing you to notate, share, search, edit, and organize your notes. You can record audio to sync with your notes and diagrams and save as a PDF or upload to Google or Evernote. It comes with a USB recharging cable, one pen tip ink refill, and a user manual.

Wacom Bamboo Folio Smartpad Digital Notebook

With the Wacom Bamboo Folio, you’re working with the pen and paper you’re used to — except this pen and paper converts what you write or draw into a digital, shareable file as you write. The maximum notepad thickness is about 80 pages. When you’re done, just tap a button and Bamboo Folio saves everything. The free Wacom Inkspace app converts your handwritten notes to text and lets you export it into JPG, PNG, PDF, SVG, or WILL files. An optional upgrade gives you access to the free Inkspace cloud service that converts your notes to text, tags your ideas on paper, or exports them as documents. You can use it to sync your material in the cloud and forward it to Dropbox, Evernote, and OneNote. You need a Bluetooth-enabled iOS or Android smartphone or tablet with the Wacom Inkspace app.


Neo Smartpen N2

The Neo Smartpen N2 digitizes your notes with an internal camera that captures your handwriting and converts it to digital documents when the pen syncs via the Neo Notes app. The companion app is compatible with Evernote, Google Drive Manager, OneNote, and Creative Cloud. Its dual-core ARM9 processor records more than 120 frames per second and calculates up to 256 levels of pressure. The digital pen has 90MB of internal storage so you can transfer handwritten data, though it’s best to finish using the pen before transferring data. You can export both text and drawings to social media. The Neo Smartpen uses a Standard D1-Type pen tip, and you can replace it with refills.

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