Electronics

Neo Smartpen N2 could give Livescribe a run for its money

Neo Smartpen N2 could give Liv...
The Neo Smartpen N2 aims to take Livescribe head on
The Neo Smartpen N2 aims to take Livescribe head on
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Writing notes with the Neo Smartpen N2
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Writing notes with the Neo Smartpen N2
The tip of the Neo Smartpen N2 is designed to create a clean writing feel
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The tip of the Neo Smartpen N2 is designed to create a clean writing feel
A look at the Neo Smartpen N2
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A look at the Neo Smartpen N2
The Neo Smartpen N2 aims to take Livescribe head on
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The Neo Smartpen N2 aims to take Livescribe head on
Writing with the Neo Smartpen N2 and seeing the output on a tablet display
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Writing with the Neo Smartpen N2 and seeing the output on a tablet display
The complete line of notebooks available with the Neo Smartpen N2
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The complete line of notebooks available with the Neo Smartpen N2
The mobile app for the Neo Smartpen N2
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The mobile app for the Neo Smartpen N2
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While some people have moved to doing all of their writing on a computer, there are many situations in which a pen and paper are necessary. There are also people who simply prefer the feel of a pen in their hand to a keyboard. It’s with that in mind that the smartpen has risen to prominence. Livescribe’s Bluetooth pen was the first to really make waves, and now the Neo Smartpen N2 is aiming to give it a run for its money with slick improvements to the formula.

The place where the Neo Smartpen N2 is aiming to come out ahead of Livescribe is design. The company promises that the shape of the pen offers a more comfortable feel than most smartpens, and it claims that its pen is lighter than any other digital pen. The total weight is only 22 grams (0.78 oz) without the cap, whereas the Livescribe comes in at 34 grams (1.2 oz). Both are fairly light, but those few grams could make a difference for someone who writes often for extended periods of time.

As one would expect, the pen connects via Bluetooth, but even when a phone or tablet isn’t connected, the 120 pictures-per-second camera is able to record up to 1,000 pages of notes to the 90 MB NAND flash drive that can be synced over to another device at a later time. All of that is powered by a ARM 9 Dual Core Processor.

The creators promise that its pen can write for about five continuous hours before needing to be charged. Getting a full charge is estimated to take about 2 hours. It can turn on and off automatically, which is a convenience that can also help conserve battery.

There are three total parts to the New Smartpen N2 system: the pen itself, the special paper, and the Neo Notes app. The paper is able to record the motion of the pen, and the app is able to translate those motions into an image on a screen. It’s also able to output the notes to popular services such as Evernote or Dropbox.

The New Smartpen N2 is available now from select retailers, including Amazon. For just the pen, the price is US$169, and buyers will also need to grab some of the special paper, which will set them back anywhere from $14.90 to $21.90 for a pack of 5 notebooks. Price also varies for different sizes and styles of notebooks. The Neo Notes app is available for free on Android and iOS.

Source: Neo Smartpen N2

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4 comments
Ralf Biernacki
The "special paper" is a deal breaker for me. It's not so much the price, which is not significantly higher than normal notebooks. It's the dependency. I cannot just carry the pen and take notes; I am forced to carry around a special notebook as well, because the pen is useless without it.
As soon as somebody comes up with a smart pen that can cope with normal paper, I'll be tempted. But not yet.
On the other hand, this thing is already perfect for a student. It is a much easier and more natural way of uploading one's notes than writing with a stylus on a tablet screen, and students use dedicated notebooks anyway.
On the gripping hand, do students take notes in longhand anymore? Or am I a dinosaur for thinking they do?
QuocTran
You forgot to mention that it does not have sound feature as in the Livescribe. Without the sync of sound and written words, this product is less useful.
martinkopplow
As with the lightscribe before, I won't buy it because of the paper. I do notes, markup and sketching a lot, and I do that on all sorts of surfaces. Being forced to use special paper would limit my freedom of choice.
I'll certainly buy the first smart pen that works on normal paper or any surface of choice.
TechieAnnie
Hello, Thanks for covering this new product. I agree with QuocTran's comment: without the ability to record and sync written notes with recordings, this pen is not a contender as far as competition for LiveScribe.
With LiveScribe you also have the option to print your own paper, rather than purchase paper. Perhaps this will be possible with the NeoSmart?
I think the competitive advantage is the slimmer design but that will not be enough for me to switch to carry this product in our tech line-up at our college store tech department.