Best Digital Pens

Review & Comparison, Last Update June 20, 2017
Nowadays, people have a lot of digital gadgets but they still make notes using a common pen and paper which may be easily lost. Our review suggests a list of most popular digital pens for regular use and easy reach. These pens are handy and extremely convenient! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
CONNECTION TYPE
OPERATING SYSTEM
PAPER TYPE
ADDITIONAL OPTIONS
PACKAGING
BATTERY
 
PROS
Internal storage is enough to keep hundreds of pages with sketches. Inkling uses ultrasound and infrared technologies of data transmission. Device charging is carried out in a comfortable case.
CONS
A recording system may miss some lines (if they were drawn in a rush).
OUR VERDICT
This digital pen will become handy for artists who love drawing wherever they are. Use graphic design program to edit your sketches and enjoy the results!
detailed parameters
CONNECTION TYPE
USB port
OPERATING SYSTEM
Windows, Mac OS X
PAPER TYPE
Any paper up to A4
ADDITIONAL OPTIONS
Ability to work with layers, Can export sketches to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator CS3 (+), Autodesk SketchBook Pro or SketchBook Designer (2011+) apps, 2 GB of internal storage
PACKAGING
Inkling receiver, Inkling charging case, USB cable, 4 cartridges, Inkling Sketch Manager app, Quick start guide, Electronic user manual
BATTERY
Pen - up to 15 hours, Inkling receiver - up to 8 hours
PROS
Using Livescribe smartpen feels just like using a premium-level pen. There is a built-in microphone for a voice recording and a protective case for a comfortable carrying.
CONS
On receiving incoming calls, the recording stops and a pen has to be restarted.
OUR VERDICT
This digital pen can exchange all vital information between your smartphone or tablet via a wireless connection so that you can edit digitalized texts by using a unique and accurate stylus.
detailed parameters
CONNECTION TYPE
Bluetooth
OPERATING SYSTEM
Android, iOS
PAPER TYPE
Special paper up to A4
ADDITIONAL OPTIONS
Free Lifescribe+ app (can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play), ability to use the pen both as a pen and stylus; Bluetooth Smart Technology helps reduce energy consumption
PACKAGING
100-sheet dot paper journal, Leather smartpen portfolio, Evernote premium subscription, microUSB charging cable, Integrated stylus cap, Two ink cartridges, Owner's manual
BATTERY
Up to 14 hours
PROS
Livescribe Echo has 96x18 OLED display for you to see the features, a clock feature, and a built-in speaker for audio signals.
CONS
There is no case for transportation.
OUR VERDICT
The given model will save all your texts, and a built-in recorder will help you store your lectures or meetings in an audio format.
detailed parameters
CONNECTION TYPE
USB port
OPERATING SYSTEM
Windows, Mac OS
PAPER TYPE
Special paper up to A4
ADDITIONAL OPTIONS
2 GB of internal storage, Built-in ARM 9 microprocessor, Piano function, Language settings, Voice recorder
PACKAGING
50-sheet dot paper notebook, Echo Desktop software for Mac or Windows (download), User guide, microUSB cable, 2 ink cartridges, Smartpen cap
BATTERY
Pen - up to 12 hours, Recorder - up to 6 hours
PROS
This model of Neo smartpen has an aluminum core! Also, its 11.8 mm-thick body provides a comfortable grip and the ability to transmit data to Adobe Creative Suite and Dropbox.
CONS
A relatively short working time.
OUR VERDICT
The model offers a full set of useful functions and provides simplicity of work when dealing with texts due to the transcription to 15 languages.
detailed parameters
CONNECTION TYPE
Bluetooth
OPERATING SYSTEM
Android, iOS
PAPER TYPE
Special paper up to A4
ADDITIONAL OPTIONS
Up to 1,000 sheets of A4 to store internally, Auto on/off function, Text conversion, Calendar and page search, My library function
PACKAGING
Special notebook, Ink refill, microUSB charging cable, User guide
BATTERY
5-8 hours
PROS
A stylish design of this smartpen resembles a common pen and simplifies its use. The USB receiver has a display for function depiction.
CONS
The Bluetooth working distance is 1 meter only.
OUR VERDICT
This digital pen is compatible with several smartphone operating systems, thus, it provides more ways for further data processing.
detailed parameters
CONNECTION TYPE
Bluetooth
OPERATING SYSTEM
BlackBerry, Android, Windows
PAPER TYPE
Any paper up to A4
ADDITIONAL OPTIONS
Ability to save up to 100 A4 sheets, Instant sending of digital notes
PACKAGING
USB charging cable, USB receiver, User guide, Storage case, Ink refill
BATTERY
Pen - up to 30 hours, USB receiver - up to 8 hours

What is a Digital Pen

A digital pen is a gadget, using which you can write texts, draw sketches, sometimes record voice messages, and keep all this information on output devices with an option to copy it to other gadgets such as smartphones or tablets. After data digitizing, it can be sent to your computer for further editing. Some digital pens are designed to work in a wireless mode so that the written information could be exchanged in a real time. Even if a pen doesn't support a wireless connection, it still has a storage from where the data can be transformed between computers and gadgets.

If you are used to working with graphic tablets, we recommend you to have a look at Stylus Pens which will help improve the accuracy of inserted data and make a working process much more comfortable.

What Features to Compare

Compatibility

If you plan to buy a digital pen, first thing first, consider whether it's going to be compatible with your operating system. Some pens are compatible with tablets and smartphones while others can work with laptops and PCs. These are the key aspects of being aware of and find a pen to meet your daily needs. A universal digital pen compatible with tablets and PCs is an ideal option for graphic designers who work on screens of a different size. To pair a pen with a gadget, you can use either a USB cable or Bluetooth. Most digital pens have internal storage too, thereby giving you an option to access the recorded data later on. A lot of smartpens can be used with a dot type of paper only. This type of paper is notable for its unusual structure. At the same time, some other pens are compatible with all. If you don't want to be limited in options, the latter option is for you.

Additional Features

Except for pen's key functions, make sure to check on additional features that add to its performance and ease of use.

  • Popular graphic editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CS3, which are considered to be multifunctional and highly effective, will help you make almost any change you need.
  • Some smartpens can reduce pictures to layers. This feature will come in handy for designers who often need to draw and work on the go.
  • There are also universal pens that can be used as styluses too. Such pens have a special cap on the top compatible with sensor displays.
  • To be able to store your notes, texts, and sketches, almost every digital pen has internal memory which is usually equivalent to several GBs. As a rule, such amount of storage is enough to store up to a few hundred sheets of texts and sketches.
  • If you make notes every day, you can use the Evernote application in order not to forget about the most important.
  • Consider a battery life too, for it determines the duration of a pen's working time which can last from 5 to 30 hours.

What Is in a Set

We are almost sure having a single pen isn't enough for proper work. That's why most manufacturers of smart pens supply their products with different accessories to ensure maximum comfort during use. The pen usually comes with a manual on reading which you'll quickly learn its functions. Most pens are shipped with additional refill cartridges so that a user have a spare one at hand to refill the pen on time (when used frequently). Digital pens come packed with USB cables and transportation cases. If you want to save and extend the life of your pen, carrying it in a case is important. And convenient too. 

...Read more ...Read less
Review of Wacom MDP123 Inkling Digital Sketch Pen

Wacom MDP123 Inkling Digital Sketch Pen

Wacom MDP123 Inkling Digital Sketch Pen

Universal Soldier

A digital pen of a new generation produced by Wacom company is compatible with Windows and Mac X operating systems. Nowadays, there are a lot of compilation and image processing programs to help discover the functions of a smart pen to the full extent. Wacom company specializes in gadgets for graphic design and they understand the needs of their customers. As a result, the company produces the products people really need. We would like to draw your attention to the fact that this digital pen manages well both difficult tasks like animated cartoons and simple sketches if a drawing is just a hobby for you. To draw a sketch you can use any standard paper of A7 to A4 formats. But a prominent feature of this pen is an option to send the data to a PC through the receiver for the further processing.

Review of Wacom MDP123 Inkling Digital Sketch Pen

Artists Will Appreciate

This pen will definitely become an irreplaceable tool for graphic designers due to its ability to reduce sketches to layers. This allows using it for editing in major graphic programs like Photoshop with enhanced convenience. Linked to a computer, you can draw in Photoshop as easily as you'd do it using a tablet stylus. A pressure-sensing technology helps control the functions of the pen, including its size, angle, and color in a tick. This smart pen also allows you to transmit your sketches to Illustrator CS3 (+), Autodesk SketchBook Pro, or SketchBook Designer, thus, giving you a wider range of editing possibilities. 2 GBs of internal memory is enough to store a pretty big number of sheets with sketches, so if you aren't within a close reach to a computer to send them in an instant, you'll always have a chance to do so later on.

Wacom MDP123 Inkling Digital Sketch Pen in the use

A Great Addition

To learn how to use the pen, the manufacturer provides a detailed manual with a step-by-step guide. But actually, this isn’t as complicated as it may seem at first glance. The pen is supplied with a receiver to gather information on sketches and allow for work with a standard type of paper. A peculiar thing about this pen is that the moment the receiver is being disconnected, it creates a new layer. A new layer can be created by a user too. You only need to push a button on the receiver. The set also includes four additional ink cartridges and a transportation case. With the original set of the kind, the pen will last for a few months for sure without additional spendings on refilling. While the case will not only protect the coating but also let you charge the pen.  

Detailed review of Wacom MDP123 Inkling Digital Sketch Pen

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To deal with animated pictures, you can buy the professional program Manga Studio EX 5 which will help you create your own world of animation.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Using Wacom Inkling
Wacom MDP123 Inkling Digital Sketch Pen
Wacom MDP123 Inkling Digital Sketch Pen
 
Review of Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro Edition

Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro Edition

Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro Edition

Portable Helper

Today, this is the third generation of smartpens produced by Livescribe (the Swedish company that manufactures their products according to the patented Anoto technology and has become a pioneer in the production of digital pens). A pen by Livescribe has been designed to meet the needs of a wide audience and suit customers’ everyday tasks. Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro is compatible with Android and iOS; this makes it suitable for a versatile use with most portable gadgets. To exchange the data, the pen supports Bluetooth 4.0. Contrary to pens that ought to be connected via a USB cable only, using Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro allows customers to share their files and sketches with other users via various apps and websites online. Our findings have shown that this pen is most popular among those users who look for a pen to be able to digitize their information. The only thing you should be ready for while using this pen is to learn how to write on a dot type of paper (the paper that consists of numerous black dots unseen for a human eye but sensed by infrared rays).

Review of Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro Edition

Two-in-One

At first sight, it seems that the Livescribe digital pen is a usual pen designed for making regular notes and digitizing them. However, there are a few things that surely differ it from the others. As for the first one - it can be used as a stylus too! Thanks to a special cap on a tip, it is possible to work with graphic designer applications on a smartphone or tablet screen. But what we like best about it is a voice recording option. What if you don't have paper at hand but urgently need to make a note? Write down your message by voicing it aloud. Despite the number of functions this pen supports, it doesn't run flat too quick. Thanks to the energy-saving Bluetooth Smart technology, the battery life can be extended by times. 

Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro Edition in the use

Taking Care of You

On buying this digital pen, you also get a 100-sheet notebook for your everyday notes, from where further they can be sent to your smartphone. This notebook can also be used as a pen holder to keep your pen and ‘paper’ always in one place. The pen comes with four ink cartridges, so you don’t need to buy more right away and can use it for some time before they all run out of ink. This is handy for those customers who need to use the pen quite often. The pen is packed with a micro USB cable for users to be able to pair the pen with any other device equipped with a USB port and charge it on time. All in all, everything is well-thought to ensure convenience of use. However, if you do encounter any issue with the pen, make sure to look up into a user guide (provided in a box).

Detailed review of Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro Edition

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If you are going to use your digital pen every day, you can purchase a special case with a metal grip which will let you carry the device in an inner pocket of your jacket, for example.

 

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


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Livescribe 3 Smartpen review: Android & iOS smart pen, finally!
Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro Edition
Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro Edition
 
Review of Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen

Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen

Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen

An Eye for Detail

To have all necessary information in a digital format and have a chance to share it with others, you’ll need to connect to your tablet or PC via a USB cable. This smart pen is compatible with Windows and Mac OS, so it’ll be easy to transmit the information almost to any laptop or computer. All texts and pictures you create are saved in the pen's memory with the help of special paper and a small camera located near the pen’s tip. As the camera is able to distinguish up to 70 shots per second, you can be sure that your images will be clear both in the internal memory of a pen and on your computer.

Review of Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen

Ideal for Work and Leisure

Except for main functions usually performed by a digital pen, this model has some additional options which will please you a lot. There are 2 GBs of internal memory, enough for keeping your texts and sketches until you transmit them to your computer. However, if you think that this amount of memory isn’t sufficient, you can choose a pen with 8 GBs of internal memory available in a company’s shop. A built-in microprocessor guarantees a smooth and quick operation of the pen. It's also possible to record notes and then listen to them from the built-in speaker. An option to connect headphones makes the use of this pen even more convenient. And if you want to have a break at work or just entertain yourself, you can download a special application that imitates piano keys and allows playing and listening to music through the speaker. The manufacturer has also created several interfaces with different languages so that you could use the gadget in the most convenient way.

Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen in the use

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To prolong durability of a digital pen we would also recommend you to purchase a special protective case, using which you'll be able to carry your pen along with the other additional accessories.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


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Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen
Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen
 
Review of Neo smartpen N2

Neo smartpen N2

Neo smartpen N2

Fast Access to Information

In order to make notes, a digital pen shouldn’t be always connected to smart gadgets - you can write down necessary information whenever you like. Everything you’ve written down is going to be saved in the internal memory which can store up to 1,000 sheets of a handwritten text. If you are afraid that you might lose the necessary information among the huge number of notes, there is a function to solve this problem. All you need to do is create some tags linked to the important pages; this way the search will be easy and quick. You can perform all these operations on smart gadgets compatible with iOS and Android operating systems via a Bluetooth connection.

Review of Neo smartpen N2

Your Personal Assistant

Evernote application will become your personal assistant while working with Neo Smartpen N2. This app is designed specifically for keeping notes made in the form of both handwritten and digital texts, a picture, or a voice record. Moreover, the notes may consist of several files. You can also sync this pen with Google Drive via the Neo Notes app and keep all your information in a cloud storage. In addition, the pen is smart enough to transcribe your texts into 15 languages.

Neo smartpen N2 in the use

Advice

If you want to edit the text on your smart gadget, you need to download a special application from either Google Play, or AppStore.

Did You Know That…?

This smart pen won the Design Award 2015 on the international forum among 4700 other gadgets from 53 countries all around the world. This award is an evident proof that this pen is easy and comfortable to use. The pen is sensitive to the pressure and there is enough ink to make plenty of notes. In comparison to its rivals, the N2 smart pen is thinner and more balanced.

Neo smartpen N2 application

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To make everyday notes, you may need a hardcover professional notebook which is fully compatible with Neo smarten N2.

Additional Info

User Manual


VIDEO
Neo smartpen N2 - Tutorial / Chinese Simplified vr
Neo smartpen N2
Neo smartpen N2
 
Review of IRIS NOTES 1 for Smartphones

IRIS NOTES 1 for Smartphones

IRIS NOTES 1 for Smartphones

Back to History

IRIS company, which was created in 1986, is a leader in the field of the optical character and intelligent document recognition. During 30 years, the company has done a lot of research and improved its products gradually to meet the requirements of modern society. The technologies developed by IRIS help manage electronic documents and information flow successfully. The digital pens aren’t the only sphere the company works in - it also produces various types of scanners.

Review of IRIS NOTES 1 for Smartphones

Keep It Simple

The digital pen of IRIS company has a design very similar to a usual ball-point pen. To make the process of writing comfortable and establish a way for users to write more, the lower part of the pen is narrower than its body. You can use any paper type while writing. However, don’t forget to connect the receiver to record all the information which you’ll be able to transmit to your computer later on. By the way, the pen is compatible with Blackberry, Android, and Windows OS, and it helps broaden a range of possible use.

IRIS NOTES 1 for Smartphones in the use

Advice

The pen can write on any paper type, however, the size can’t be bigger than A4. Otherwise, the receiver won’t catch the information. You also should keep the receiver in the same position while writing or else the data may be missed or miswritten. Don’t make notes on rough surfaces as well.

Close at Hand

The manufacturer has taken care that you could easily reach your pen whenever you need it. That’s why there is a special grip so you can hold the pen even on your clothes, for example, in your pocket. Moreover, the pen together with all additional goods is kept in a case where each detail has its own place. It also helps you transport the device comfortably without a fear and risk to damage it.  

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Pen scanner will become a wonderful addition, as it is able to recognize up to 1,000 characters per second and works with 55 languages. 

Additional Info

User Manual


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IRISnotes 1 0 for Smartphones ! You write, it shares! JT
IRIS NOTES 1 for Smartphones
IRIS NOTES 1 for Smartphones
 

Sources:

1. Chris Woodford, How Do Digital Pens Work?Explain That Stuff. October 15, 2015.

2. Search Mobile Computing, TechTarget.

3. Interesting New Products and Inventions: Phree Smartpen Can Take Digital Notes Anywhere, Idea Connection. May 26, 2015.

4. Wacom Inkling Review, Engadget

5. 10 Things No Graphic Designer Should be Without, Creative Blog. March 11, 2016.

6. Digital Pen, Wikipedia.

7. Sharon Profis, Take Better Notes With the Echo Smartpen, CNET. August 10, 2012.