Best Digital Pen Reviews 2018

For many years, the only option for recording notes was by using a Dictaphone. And, converting those notes into a digital format meant typing them into your computer. Fortunately, with the emergence of hi-tech digital pens, that’s no longer the case. Today, you can use a digital pen to handwrite your notes or sketch on any surface while the pen automatically digitizes the content and transfers it to your mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. We’ve ventured far and wide to bring you five pens from five of the best digital pen brands you can rely on.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Connectivity
Compatibility
Battery
Size
Storage
Our Top Choice
NeoLAB Convergence Smartpen N2
NeoLAB Convergence deals in creating solutions for writing on a notebook with a traditional ballpoint pen, then transferring it into digital storage.
Exclusive application, ‘Neo Notes.’ No need for complicated settings. Easy on your hand. Variety of file choices. Ability to write and draw in several thicknesses and colors.
Requires a special paper. Does not capture light strokes.
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Android 4.4.2+/iOS 7.1+/iPhone 5+
5 hours continuous usage
6.8 x 1.4 x 4.1’’/ 0.8 ounces
Up to 1000 pages
Best Value
IRISNotes 3 Rechargeable Digital Pen
I.R.I.S. Inc products enable companies and institutions to edit, scan and share digital files.
Capable of saving up to 100 A4 pages. Gives you a maximum of 10 hours continuous writing. Uses standard paper and ink.
Handwriting recognition not so impressive.
Bluetooth
iOS, Android
10 hours continuous usage
3 x 0.5 x 1.1’’/1 ounces
Up to 100 A4 pages
Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen
Having won several innovation awards, Livescribe is a pioneer in the design and manufacture of smartpens, enabling users to search, capture and share their handwritten notes on digital devices.
Infrared camera on its tip. Microphone to capture your lectures or meetings. Records everything without missing a word. Ergonomic design.
Can only function with Livescribe’s special dot paper. A bit expensive.
Micro-USB cable
Windows, Mac OS X 10.8.5 & up
13 hours continuous usage
8.5 x 2.5 x 6.8’’/15.2 ounces
200hrs audio/1000s pages of notes
Luidia Inc Equil Smartpen 2
Luidia, Inc. believes in personal commitment coupled with true engagement to everything they do. The immense love for their work can be seen in the products they produce.
Compatible with iOS,Mac, Android, and Windows devices. Ability to “toss” your note-taking online. Has a sleek charging case, allowing you to carry it wherever you go. Two-year manufacturer warranty.
This pen is triangular in shape and might not be very comfortable in your hand.
Bluetooth
iOS, Android, Mac, PC
8 hours
6.5 x 2 x 8.5’’/13.6 ounces
4 GB memory
Smarson Bluetooth Digital Smartpen
Smarssen™ brightens homes across the globe with their innovative smart home automation devices at competitive prices.
Comes with a receiver that clips at the top of the paper. Includes LED indicator that displays battery status. No need for special paper. Up to 10 hours writing time.
Can only be used with the Smarssen app.
Bluetooth
iOS and Android devices
10 hours
7.4 x 1.9 x 3.4’’/7.2 ounces
Not specified

(Updated )
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Watch Our Digital Pen Review

How Do I Choose the Best Digital Pen?

We all understand how frustrating it is to write down useful information on a piece of paper, only to lose it five minutes later. But what if you had a way of ensuring that everything you write down is captured and stored electronically? That’s now possible with digital pens, and students can no longer get away with the lame excuse of "the dog ate my homework" to evade assignments. Digital pens are battery-operated writing or scanning tools that can electronically capture and store your handwritten notes, drawings, or blocks of text on your computer or mobile device like smartphone or tablet.

Almost everything is going digital around us, and writing should be no exception. Even if you’re still fond of styling your notes with a good old fountain pen, digital pens come in a wide array of styles to suit your specific needs. They often work in conjunction with interactive papers to generate a digitally handwritten document with the option of editing whenever you want.

Besides capturing digital notes and sketches, digital pens are extremely user-friendly. You can use them in much the same way as you write with conventional pens, such as a tactical pen, but with the added assurance that you’ll have a backup of what you’ve written. It also comes in handy when working in extreme environments. For instance, when you’re outdoors in adverse weather conditions such as cold or heat, it can be difficult to hold your tablet and stylus pen. A digital pen provides a more convenient way of capturing and storing information without carrying bulky equipment. Since it’s a simple, compact pen, it also minimizes distractions that come with using a PC or cellphone, hence, allowing you to focus on the task at hand.

When used in a classroom, digital pens offer true versatility through their transcription, recording, and syncing capabilities. Consider a student suffering from dyslexia, for instance. The professor may talk too fast during a lecture, in a quest to cover as much content as possible. With a digital pen, struggling students will have the option of recording and listening to lectures at a later time, and syncing the audio with the handwritten notes stored on the pen’s internal memory or computer.

With these advantages, let’s go through some key features to look for in a digital pen before you dive into our top picks.
Price
The best digital pen saves you some typing and helps you draw pictures and sign documents. They are not all the same, and neither are the prices. With a budget of between around $80 and $180, you can grab yourself a good-quality digital pen that will give your fingers and wrists a break from typing. The price depends on the various features incorporated into the design, like Bluetooth file transfer and internal memory capacity. Although you’ll find cheaper digital pens out there, we don’t recommend them to our viewers for obvious quality concerns.
Features
When choosing the best digital pen, you’ll want to consider the accuracy level, compatibility with other devices, and the ease of set up. Here are the features to look for:
  • Writing Accuracy – The accuracy is determined by how close the handwritten notes compare to the digitized version. Look out for extra lines and incorrect strokes not occasioned by poor penmanship. Incorrect lines inserted by some pen models can significantly hurt the writing accuracy. In general, pens with built-in cameras offer the best accuracy, while models with transceivers offer the least accuracy.
  • Compatibility – Before you choose a digital pen, check if it’s going to be compatible with your device’s operating system. Some pens can work with desktops and laptops, while others can work with smartphones and tablets. A universal model that works with both PCs and tablets is an ideal choice for graphic designers who work on screens of various sizes. You can either use Bluetooth or USB cables to connect a digital pen to your device. Additionally, some pens only use dot paper type, while others are compatible with any kind of paper.
  • Additional Features – Aside from the pen’s key functions, what are the extra features that add to its performance? Look out for graphic editing programs like Illustrator CS3 and Adobe Photoshop for multifunctional editing experience. Some digital pens can reduce pictures to layers, which can be helpful for designers looking to draw and work at the same time.
Construction and Design
Digital pens use different technologies to digitize your handwritten notes. The first category uses a built-in camera on the tip of the pen and writes on a specifically marked paper. The second category uses a small transceiver clipped to the top of a piece of paper, which records the pen’s movement relative to the transmitter. The last category uses a special writing pad and operates by recording the pen’s strokes through the paper.

Since most digital pens are much heavier than ordinary pens, it’s important to consider comfort levels when writing. If you’re planning to take a lot of notes with the pen, you need a firm and comfortable grip. Apart from the comfort, not all digital pens are built with equal functionalities.

For instance, most smart pens feature app interfaces that offer better functionality across various platforms. Consider models with mobile apps for Android and desktop apps for Mac and PC. The apps should be easy to use and allow for audio recording and editing of digitized notes. In fact, some models come with desktop software that offers extra functionalities, including translating notes into other languages or transforming your handwritten notes into digital text.
Performance and Ease of Use
The Apple pencil on iPad Pro offers great accuracy and functionality, as compared to technologies that digitize physical pen and paper, but it may not be ideal for every situation. For example, taking notes in a college lecture or sharing handwritten meeting notes make digital pens a smart buying decision. This doesn’t mean you can get perfect results with sloppy penmanship. Digitizing may not do you any favors and you’ll basically get out what you put in.

Some digital pens can double as styluses. They come with a special cap placed on the top and can be compatible with various sensor displays, so you can effortlessly write or sketch on your tablet or smartphone screen with no need for an extra stylus pen.

To store your digitized notes, almost every digital pen comes with internal memory in the range of GBs. Consider models with adequate memory capacity to store several hundreds of pages of text before you transfer them to other devices.

Battery life is also crucial in a digital pen. Most pens have rechargeable batteries that last between 5 and 30 hours. Additionally, check for a user manual and additional refill cartridges to ensure maximum comfort during use. Transportation cases and USB cables should also be part of the package.

What is the Best Digital Pen?

A good smart pen should be easy to set up, offer spot-on accuracy, and be easy to grip and affordable. Some models even offer audio-recording capability, so you don’t have to get out your smartphone during lectures. You can also listen to synced audio with your notes on the smart pen or on your computer. Now that you’re adequately informed on what to look for in a digital pen, what are you waiting for? It’s time to pick a model that suits your style and budget, and enjoy hassle-free writing and sketching.
Our Top Choice
The NeoLAB Convergence Smartpen N2 comes with an exclusive application, ‘Neo Notes,’ that automatically syncs your notes on paper to iOS and Android smart devices, making them easy to save, organize, and share. Want to get writing immediately? Buy the NeoLAB N Professional Notebook which works seamlessly with the N2 Smartpen.
NeoLAB Convergence Smartpen N2 - Available in 2 Colors & with Notebooks

NeoLAB Convergence Digital Pen N2 – Silver White


Features
NeoLAB Convergence has been continuously creating nCode technology digital information on paper. This technology is the connection between the analog (writing on a notebook with a traditional ballpoint pen), and the digital, where the writing is kept in digital storage. Other than digital pens, the company also deals in index card filing products, notebooks and writing pads, computer mice and memo and scratch pads.

Handwritten digitized notes are easy to organize, save, share, and search, or they can be transcribed into digital text in 15 different languages. While it is designed to write exactly like a traditional pen, the NeoLAB Convergence Smartpen N2 focuses all its energy on giving you a seamless transition from the experience of writing with a conventional pen. Available in two colors – silver white and titan black, this pen is thin, well balanced, and pressure sensitive, making it easy to write with. It is an excellent starter pen for people who are new to smatpens! It is a simple plug and play; just charge it and then download the app and follow the commands on the screen. Start writing in your notebook and your data will start transferring immediately, but remember you can only use the compatible Neo notebooks.

You can save and share your notes using Google Drive or Evernote. The Google Drive Manager enables you to upload your content to Google Drive, which you can download to the Neo Notes application in various devices. You can also upload your notes to third party apps such as Dropbox and Adobe Creative Suite in different file formats including PDF, JPEG, PNG, and SVG.

Here are more features that come with the NeoLAB Convergence Smartpen N2:
  • Ergonomically-designed, 11.8mm-thick aluminum body looks sleek and offers the same grip and feel as a traditional pen.
  • The pressure recognition feature makes the pen turn on automatically when it touches the paper.
  • Ability to store up to 1000 pages
  • Compatible with Android (4.4.2+), iOS (7.1+, and iPhone 5+)
  • Works only with Neo Notebooks.
  • Connects through Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Low Energy).
  • Measuring 6.14 inches long and 0.46 inches thick, and weighing 0.77 ounces only, the NeoLAB Convergence Smartpen N2 is the size of a normal pen and the lightest electronic gadget that you will ever carry.
  • The stainless steel and aluminum body makes this pen scratch and impact resistant.
Best Value
Capable of saving up to 100 A4 pages, the IRISNotes 3 Digital Pen digitalizes your handwritten notes, while still maintaining the simplicity of a traditional pen by using standard paper and ink. Want to save some bucks by getting a less advanced model? Check out the IRISNotes 2 Executive Digital Pen Scanner for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
IRISNotes 3 Rechargeable Digital Smart Pen - Available in 2 Styles

IRISNotes Digital Pen 459007 – IRISNotes 3


Features
Founded in 1986, I.R.I.S. Inc has always been a leader in mobile scanning and optical character recognition technologies. The company specializes in building products and software that help businesses improve productivity in scanning and converting documents. I.R.I.S. Inc was founded in Belgium, but has offices in U.S.A. (Florida), France, Germany, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Whether in lessons, meetings, or just at home, the IRISNotes 3 Digital Pen will convert your content into editable digital text. This pen lets you capture drawings and notes anywhere, without the need for a computer. The best part is that it recognizes any handwriting (30 languages), whether isolated characters or cursive handwritten text, and digitizes it accurately. With this pen, you will no longer waste time transcribing notes onto the computer, and your notes will be stored in the receiver memory, in either note or ink format, ready to be edited, stored, and shared. You will also be able to transfer your digital content to your preferred text editor (notepad, outlook, and word).

The IRISNotes 3 Digital Pen uses any standard paper with ordinary ink, refill available through the I.R.I.S site. Here are more features that come with this digital pen:
  • USB-rechargeable, built-in battery with a maximum 10 hours of continuous writing
  • Notepad able to store a maximum of 100 A4/letter-size pages, and operates via infrared.
  • Bluetooth connectivity for easier transfer of notes to a mobile device, either iOS or Android
Please note that you can also choose the IRISNotes 3 Air version of this pen that lets you draw and write on photos taken with your smartphone, iPad, tablet, and iPhone.
The Livescribe Echo Smartpen has a tiny infrared camera on its tip, which takes photographs of your paper every second, ensuring that all your notes are captured and converted into the digital version. Willing to pay a little bit more for Bluetooth connectivity? Check out the Livescribe 3 Smartpen Black Edition, which also comes with 14 hours of continuous writing per single charge.
Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen - Available with Accessories

Livescribe Digital Pen APX-00008 – Pen Only


Features
Livescribe was established in 2007 and has its headquarters in Oakland, California. The company designs and manufactures smartpens, enabling users to capture, search, store, and share handwritten content on digital devices. Their smartpens include the Livescribe 3 and the Echo Smartpen, with each having its own complementary software.

Do you find yourself lugging a notepad or a voice recorder to interviews, lectures, or presentations? Well, you will now have the convenience of consolidating everything into one pen that can brilliantly sync your handwritten notes with audio, or vice versa.

The Livescribe Echo Smartpen comes as a ballpoint pen with an infrared camera inside its tip, and a microphone incorporated into the barrel. These three elements combine to give you a pen that electronically records handwriting and sound, concurrently. The recordings are then saved directly to the internal memory of the pen and can be recapped through the pen’s internal speaker or moved to any PC or Mac using the Livescribe desktop software, where you can organize, review or share your data.

Here are more features that come with the Echo Smartpen:
  • Ability to replay your lectures by simply tapping on the notes
  • Comes with 2GB Echo Smartpen, 50-page starter notebook, Echo basics guide, Echo desktop software for Windows and Mac, one smartpen cap, and two ink cartridges.
  • Works on Livescribe paper.
  • Available in four style options: pen only, pen with headset, pen with notebook, and pen with ink refill.
Compatible with iOS,Mac, Android, and Windows devices, the Luidia, Inc. Equil Smartpen 2 comes with a sleek charging case, allowing you to carry it wherever you go. Looking for an interactive whiteboarding device instead? We recommend the Luidia eBeam Edge Plus Wireless Interactive Whiteboarding Device, which gives you a capture area of about 16 x 5 feet.
Luidia Inc Equil Smartpen 2 with Charging Case

Luidia Inc Digital Pen IPBT-210-(B)


Features
Luidia, Inc. is known for creating smart tools for everyday surfaces. It was founded in 2003 and has since focused on providing innovative solutions for various industries such as education, consumer markets, and business. This is a truly global company that is headquartered in Silicon Valley to strategically serve their clients across the world. Their technological advances in digital writing have seen the development of smart pens that keep users connected to the world and seamlessly share, organize, and edit their writing and sketches with ease.

Write and draw naturally with the Equil Smartpen 2 and let your ideas flow in a meaningful way. You can choose from a range of pen tips and colors that suit your style. Additionally, add photos and texts to digitally enhance your notes. With this marvelous pen, you can seamlessly save, title, tag, and organize your notes, making it easier to search and find content.

The Equil digital pen comes with a handwriting recognition feature that transforms your handwritten notes into editable texts that you can email to your teams or even convert the text for easy readability.

Here are more features of the Luidia Equil Smartpen 2:
  • Works on all devices, hence, freeing you from your notebook. You can make sketches or notes on any paper surface and easily transfer them to the cloud.
  • Easily share your notes and ideas via email and other apps.
  • Sync your notes with other devices, making them accessible throughout.
  • It’s ultra-portable, so you can take notes on the go and transfer them to your devices like computer, smartphone, or tablet.
  • The pen and receiver are designed with a built-in memory of 4 GB to store your notes when not connected to any device.
  • Rechargeable batteries allow you to write seamlessly for up to eight hours.
  • Note streaming feature that allows you to highlight key ideas on the go and insert images and texts, while allowing contributions from other participants remotely.
  • Free Equil apps that you can download to your smartphone, computer, or tablet for real-time capture, sharing, and editing of notes.
The Smarson Bluetooth Smartpen comes with a receiver that clips at the top of the paper you are writing on, detects the smartpen, and transmits whatever you are writing in real time via Bluetooth. Looking to light your space with a smart light bulb? Check out the Smarson Bluetooth LED App Controlled Smart Light Bulb, compatible with iOS and Android.
Smarson Bluetooth Digital Smartpen for iOS and Android Devices

Smarson Digital Pen 6462395


Features
Smarssen™ has always embraced the culture of innovation by designing high-quality electronics that make your everyday life more fulfilling, easier, and happier. Their high-tech smart home automation gadgets are designed through a close collaboration with the manufacturers, cutting out the middle man. This ensures that the end user gets premium quality products at affordable prices.

Transform your handwritten notes into a digital file using the Smarson Bluetooth Smartpen. You can also store your notes digitally and then save and share with anyone. Its Bluetooth technology feature, through a receiver clipped to the top of the sheet of paper, will detect pen writings and transmit them in real time to other connected devices through the Bluetooth network.

This pen offers maximum compatibility, through an app that syncs and stores your notes on Bluetooth-enabled smartphones, tablets, and Android and iOS devices. The LED indicator light on the base of the digital pen signals battery status – charging mode is signaled by a quick flashing red light, full charge is shown by a constant light, while low battery is indicated by a slow flashing light.

Here are some extra features of the Smarson Bluetooth Smartpen:
  • Long-lasting receiver battery that lasts for up to 10 hours, with the pen lasting for 60 hours
  • It comes with a receiver charging cable with dual port (mini and micro USB), two sets of standard metal refill, as well as a clip for easy maintenance.

Get the Best Digital Pen of 2018!

Pens have been useful tools since the ancient days. Ancient scribes began with rudimentary reed pens when writing on parchment papers. About 3,000 years later, the digital pen was invented and the technology has extended to other uses besides writing notes. Digital pens can be used for data and signature capturing, mapping, pre-printed form completion, and document management. Hopefully, we’ve helped you find the best digital pen to capture your notes, sketches and doodles. These brands also offer other fabulous options of digital pens that you can check out as well.

Our Top Choice
NeoLAB Convergence Smartpen N2
Best Value
IRISNotes 3 Rechargeable Digital Pen
Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen
Luidia Inc Equil Smartpen 2
Smarson Bluetooth Digital Smartpen