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.

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