Livescribe 4 GB Echo Smartpen
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- VERY IMPORTANT: Before charging your Echo smartpen, download and install the Echo Desktop software from the livescribe website. Please contact the manufacturer / seller / Amaon customer care for more details with this regard
- Smartpen with 4 GB of memory, redesigned with anti-roll body and rubberized smaller grip ; Capture thousands of pages of notes and over 800 hours of audio (recording time varies by audio quality setting)
- Share notes and recordings privately or online with 500 MB of free storage
- MicroUSB connector lets you transfer notes and audio to your Mac or PC
- Standard 3.5mm audio jack for use with your favorite earbuds
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This next generation smartpen has all the same features as the award-winning Pulse Pen, plus a few really impressive new ones. Livescribe Echo comes with more available memory to record lectures, meetings & more, and simultaneously links your written notes to your audio giving you up to 800 hours of interactive notes. In addition to the new ergonomic design and roll-proof rubberized tip it also now offers password protection and will even let you use the pen to "draw" right onto your computer screen!
Take the stress out of tests and meetings with an Echo smartpen from Livescribe. Record everything you hear, say and write, while linking your audio recordings to your notes. Quickly replay audio from your Livescribe paper, a computer, or a mobile device--all with a simple tap on your handwritten notes. It's never been easier to take notes and stay organized.
Record and Play Back
Smartpens record everything you write and hear so you'll never miss a word. Replay your meetings or lectures simply by tapping on your notes1.
Save, Search and Organize
Livescribe Desktop saves your notes and recordings to your computer for fast, easy access to what's important. Search for words within your notes and find what you need fast.
Send and Share with Livescribe Connect
Easily send notes and audio to people and destinations such as Email2, Google Docs2, Facebook, Microsoft OneNote, Google Sites2, MyLivescribe, your mobile device or your computer3--all from your paper or Livescribe Desktop.
4 GB of Memory: More Space for Recordings and Notes
When digitizing your notes and audio you'll need storage space; with 4 GB of memory, your smartpen has it. An 4 GB smartpen can hold over 800 hours of audio* or 128,000 pages of notes.
Included Smartpen Applications
Your Echo smartpen comes loaded with applications ready to work right out of the box:
Livescribe Connect Premium: Easily send and share notes and audio to Email, Google Docs, Facebook, Microsoft OneNote, Google Sites, MyLivescribe, your mobile device or your computer
Quick Record: record audio without using dot paper with just a press of a button
Quick Calc: Write an addition, subtraction, multiplication or division problem on dot paper and get the answer on your smartpen screen
Launch Line: launch your favorite app by writing its name
Password: protect your recorded paper replay sessions with a 4-digit number
System Utilities: multiple language support, time, date, storage info, and battery charge
Livescribe Dot Paper
Livescribe dot paper uses regular paper printed with a unique pattern of tiny microdots. This tiny pattern works a lot like a GPS system for your smartpen. It allows a smartpen to capture everything it writes or draws on dot paper.
Livescribe smartpens only work with Livescribe Dot Paper, so there's a variety of dot paper sizes and types available: College-ruled Notebooks, Lined Journals, Blank Journals, Mini Journals, A5-sized Notebooks, Grid Notebooks, Flip Notepads, and Sticky Notes. You can even print your own dot paper for free from within Livescribe Desktop on many printers.
What's in the Box?
Livescribe Echo Smartpen with 4 GB of memory, Livescribe Connect Premium (includes Connect Basic plus additional connectors for Email, Google Docs and Google Sites), Livescribe Desktop software for Mac or Windows, 500 MB of personal online storage, starter dot paper notebook, Micro USB cable, interactive Getting Started guide, Smartpen Tips and Tricks guide, 2 smartpen caps, 2 ink cartridges.
- Windows XP 32-bit SP2 or higher, or Windows Vista 32 or 64-bit, or Windows 7
- Intel Mac with Mac OS X 10.5.5 or higher
- 600MHz CPU or higher
- 300 MB minimum free disk space
- Available USB 2.0 port
- Livescribe Desktop 2.7 for Windows or Mac OS
- Smartpen firmware version 2.7 or later
- Internet connection
*Actual recording time varies by audio quality setting.
1Livescribe paper required--don't record without permission
2These connectors are available only with Livescribe Connect Premium
3Mobile device access requires Pencast Player App or Flash-enabled web browser
Top Customer Reviews
The pen works well to its stated function, at least for me. I use the pen now and then, and have recorded in the presence of hundreds of clients. The pen works well with my Livescribe desktop application on my PC. The PDF pencast application is a major plus, and I have used it many times to provide secure copies to clients.
4GB is more than most people need before a download. I recomend the 2GB product.
What problems have I encountered?
I have noticed the scratchiness in the recording reported by others. It usually isn't overwhelming of my voice, but might be for recording the voices of people around me. It has not been a limiting problem for me. It is my perception scratchiness is louder on the smaller notepads than for the notebooks.
As reported by others, the display is dimming quite a bit. It is not gone yet, and it is initially brighter when I first turn on the pen. I am not sure how much longer the display will last. I am careful with the pen, and try to turn it off quickly after use to preserve the display.
The cap that protects the writing point is easy to lose.
Be careful with 3rd party pen refills. I have found them to be unpredictable in quality and lifetime. The refills from Livescribe work better, but are more pricey.
When saving to a PDF Pencast file, the Save Dialog box does not necessarily rise to be the top window. After searching, I often find it as the bottom window. This programming glitch needs to be addressed.
I have encountered one super major problem. I often have to record many clients, simultaneously, but on separate pages of the same notebook. I need to provide separate copies to clients for their page content. Unfortunately, the voice/page-content on one page can't be separated (as PDF pencasts) from the voice/page-content on another page unless one turns off recording for one page before starting for another. This is tedious to do when having to jump back and forth between different conversations. Livescribe desktop needs to be modified to fully isolate the content of one page from another (when making PDF Pencasts for each page), if needed, regardless of whether they were recorded in the same continuous session. It is probably easy to program this, and I think Livescribe should undertake the task. It will improve the utility of their product.
Now my commentary about Livescribe:
I haven't used the SKY product, but I have seen many complaints. I could not use the SKY product because it forces content to Evernote, and I would not be permitted to deposit information of clients on a 3rd party server. I was warned by other Livescribe users to avoid SKY for this reason. If they hadn't warned me, I might have purchased the SKY. What troubles me is that I think many people who purchase the SKY are not well enough informed. I really think Livescribe needs to be more explicit in explaining the difference between the ECHO and SKY. Also, they need to state that the PDF pencast is not available for the SKY, and at the same time, explain that some people really value the PDF Pencast. I should also point out the ECHO has some useful dedicated applications available to it that are not available to the SKY.
Even though Livescribe provides 500MB of free access to Evernote for the SKY, with more storage space being available as a cost based service, 500MB would be quickly filled by a moderate to heavy pen user. So, 500MB is really not enough for many (if not all) users; you likely would have to quickly start paying to store your information.
I recommend that Livescribe provide PC desktop access to the SKY so that Evernote does not have to be used.
Bottom line: My ECHO meets my needs. Purchasers of the SKY need to be wary of its limitations. Evernote might be fine for some people, but from the many confused and unhappy reviews, it is clear that many purchasers didn't know that they were getting locked into Evernote. Frankly, Livescribe would have likely gotten better reviews and had happier customers if they more clearly defined what their different products CANNOT do.
I believe Livescribe has done themselves no favors by not enabling the SKY to directly store to the user's PC. It would have helped Livescribe (and its customers) immensely if the SKY could do everything the ECHO could do, AND, additionally, wifi connect to Evernote, as well as blue-tooth or wifi connect to one's PC. I would've purchased the SKY under that circumstance, and I would likely be regularly upgrading my pen with each advance of added flexibility. However, I can say that after my ECHO fails, I may not purchase another pen from Livescribe if I have to choose between functionalities and deliberate dysfunctionalities of the different products. It would be nice to have wifi (or blue-tooth), if it went directly to my PC laptop, and not to Evernote on a 3rd party computer.
AMAZON is culpable with the confusion between the ECHO and SKY products by merging the reviews for all. I have suggested to Livescribe, in other comments, that they request that the ECHO and SKY reviews are separated, but that hasn't happened.
My fundamental strategic recommendation to Livescribe is to ensure that each successive new innovative product is capable of doing everything that could be done by earlier products. This is the successful Apple model of development. This is what customers want to see. What they don't want are new products where features are disabled from products they have previously used. Am I wasting my effort with this recommendation? Maybe. It appears to me the company would rather coerce customers into a subscription service, rather than concentrate on innovation and improvement.
So, 4 stars for my Livescribe ECHO pen. 1-2 stars for the Livescribe company. Overall, 2.5-3 stars.
Read reviews carefully so you understand what you are getting.
I just yesterday received an email from Livescribe indicating that they intend to replace the Adobe PDF Pencast file with their own "LIvescribe PDF" file. If I understand correctly, this file may not play the audio through the ADOBE Reader(?), but it will provide a separate MP4 file of the audio. If this is correct, then, unlike the ADOBE Reader enabled PDF Pencast, one presumes the audio of this MP4 might not play synchronized with the pen strokes of the ADOBE Reader, and the synchronized utility of the PDF Pencast will be lost? Again, not sure if I have interpreted this correctly. Perhaps Brian, the representative of Livescribe, who patrolls these reviews, can clarify if the ADOBE Reader PDF Pencast will effectively be lost for future versions of the ECHO? If the ADOBE Reader PDF Pencast is lost, then I will be compelled to abandon Livescribe after my ECHO fails. My clients rely on the synchronized audio/pen-strokes of the ADOBE Reader version of the PDF Pencast.
Livescribe came out with the Pulse, and then an improvement, the ECHO, developing an ardently enthusiastic customer base. After that, they have been struggling with product developments that often don't meet the needs of their original Pulse/Echo customers. I realize they are trying to forge new market directions, and anticipate technology evolutions, but as one other reviewer pointed out, more often than not, they seem to be trying to lead their customers into accepting a product Livescribe wants to make, rather than have their customers lead them into manufacturing what the customers really need.
The audio playback sometimes no longer activates when I touch the page where I have written/recorded. I sometimes have to jam the pen down multiple times, and can't necessarily always get the audio portion I am seeking. I presume the internal switch audio activation may have failed or is wearing out? Don't know. I can still download the entire content to my computer and still create pencast PDF files. The pen has become less reliable for me, and I am getting closer to stop using it entirely. I will not replace the pen when I stop using it.
I always update my reviews if anything new comes up, and will do also for this review, if need be.
Now I'm in a bind. I still have families and clients who want to use the pen and want to know what I recommend. I also love the functionality of this tool and it is a valuable piece of equipment for my students with dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, TBI, and memory problems, but how can I recommend such an expensive tool knowing it will be taking up space in a landfill 1 year later?
I have tried to work with customer service on this issue. The last time I connected with them, 1 year ago, they offered nothing to help repair or replace the pen. I loved the product while it was working correctly. I want to love it now because I used it so frequently, but it's just too frustrating to use. I am most disappointed in Livescribe, as they are aware of this problem, but do not support their users in any way, shape or form. You think they'd have improved this by now, but maybe it's just a way to keep faithful users coming back to buy the latest and greatest.
We have two of these pens in my household. My daughter's pen works fine and is very useful to her. On my pen, the OLED display dimmed and stop working and the warranty has not expired yet, but the company is giving me the runaround. With a dead display, you can't tell if the pen is even on or not, let alone the date, time and many other details. I contacted the company and even though this is a known problem, they keep asking me to do things to troubleshoot the problem. They had me reset the pen, then they had me download a program to my computer and reload the firmware. Why? They know what the problem is, it's documented!
This is an expensive electronic item and if the company refuses to honor their warranty, then I just threw my money away. Very disappointed.
Considering this device's price range and the fact that there are display technologies available that are entirely reliable, I feel that Livescribe made a bad call in the pen's design, and that their customers should not have to bear the cost of their design mistakes.
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