Since the launch of the Pulse in 2008, Livescribe has continued to improve upon its paper-based smartpen technology in subsequent models. The Echo in 2010 brought a rounder shape and micro-USB connectivity and Wi-Fi connectivity was incorporated in the Sky in 2012. The latest addition to the line is the Livescribe 3, which boasts Bluetooth connectivity and iOS device support through a companion app.

The first thing you notice about the Livescribe 3 is that, more so than the previous models, the "smarts" are extremely well camouflaged so that is looks very much like a sleek, high-quality ballpoint pen.

Like all Livescribe smartpens, the Livescribe 3 works in combination with special dot paper to capture everything written via an integrated infrared camera. Through a Bluetooth connection to an iOS device running the Livescribe+ mobile app, the Livescribe 3 allows everything written to be instantly transferred to a connected iOS device's display. If not connected to an iOS device at the time of writing, notes will be stored in the pen's flash memory and transferred to the app when it is opened.

Once transferred to the iOS device, the handwritten notes can be transformed into tasks, reminders, calendar events, new contacts, etc. Images and text notes can also be added, while audio captured from the iOS device's microphone can be used to create "pencasts" that synchronize recorded audio with the handwritten notes within the app. PDFs of the notes can be shared through Airdrop, Mail, Messages, Evernote and Dropbox.

In keeping with the tablet and smartphone compatibility, the Livescribe 3 pen also features a capacitive stylus cap for touchscreen interaction. It connects to compatible iOS devices via Bluetooth Smart technology, which helps reduce energy consumption and gives the pen 14 hours of continuous writing between charges of the lithium-ion battery.

Recharging is via the included micro USB charging cable, with the standard black and chrome Livescribe 3 pen also coming bundled with a 50-sheet starter book of dot paper and a black tungsten carbide medium-tip ink cartridge. The black and dark chrome Pro Edition smartpen comes with a leather smartpen folio, 100-sheet hardbound dot paper journal, an additional ink cartridge and a one-year subscription to Evernote Premium.

The Livescribe 3 is priced at US$149.95, while the Pro Edition sells for $199.95. The Livescribe+ mobile app is available as a free download from the App Store. The smartpen is compatible with iPhone 4S or later, third-generation or later iPad, iPad Mini, and the fifth-generation iPod touch or newer.

Product page: Livescribe

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