Smartpen Comparison Matrix

Should I Buy a Livescribe Pulse or Echo?

Livescribe offers two major product lines: the Pulse and the Echo. If you’re shopping for a smartpen, how do you choose between them? How do you choose between the various Echo models? I have included a Smartpen Comparison Matrix to represent Livescribe smartpen functionality. To demonstrate the Livescribe smartpen features, I have included a neat video that presents the basic functionality of Livescribe Pulse and Echo Smartpens.

The award-winning Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen is featured in this video by my friend web designer and copywriter Scott Foster.  Scott owns a Pulse Smartpen as I do.  This video shows how much Scott believes in the Livescribe smartpens and how highly he rates their value.  He presents a clear demonstration of the Livescribe smartpens’ easy-to-use transcription functionality, allowing you to record everything you write and draw, edit the recordings, and convert the handwriting to digital text.  The Killer App, though, most people believe, is the voice recording feature, rather than the handwriting recording and transcription.   Here is Scott’s video*.


The Livescribe 2 GB Pulse: A Closer Look by Scott Foster



In addition to the features described in the video, all the Pulse and Echo pens are digital voice recorders that can capture every word of a speech, lecture, conversation or tutoring session. The audio recordings are very clearly indexed to synchronize with your written notes, a groundbreaking feature allowing easy access to playback from any point in the recording and the ability to update the recording and maintain synchronization.  All Pulse and Echo smartpens share these amazing feature sets.

To compare the model differences in functionality, features and storage, check out my handy side-by-side Smartpen Comparison Matrix below or on the following page.

Scott Foster’s video copyright at Need an Article,

Which Livescribe Smartpen should I buy; how should I choose?

Check out the Smartpen Comparison Matrix:

To help you make that decision, I’ve put together this quick-reference chart to help you see the similarities and differences between the two models. As you can see, both models share the same functionality and essentially similar features. The main differences involve price, memory capacity, audio capability and applications:

Livescribe Pulse and Echo Compared at a Glance
Pulse Echo 2, 4, 8GB
User Features
Digital notetaking X X
Voice recording X X
Drawing recording X X
Audio integration X X
Audio control X X
* Pause X X
* Replay X X
* Forward/rewind to keyword X X
* Speed control X X
* Volume control X X
* Search and replay X X
File exporting to PC or Mac computer X X
File sharing via pencast, Livescribe website X X
File sharing via Internet, mobile phone X X
Printing on dot paper X X
Technical Features
Internal memory storage 2 GB 2 GB
500 MB online storage X X
Livescribe Desktop software (download) X X
Audio jack 2.5 mm 3.5 mm
Rechargeable Battery 5 hours 5 hours
Security PIN Code PIN Code
Overall Rating
Reliability Excellent Excellent
Customer Support Excellent Excellent
Smartpen with link to Amazon* Pulse 2GB Livescribe 2 GB Pulse SmartpenEcho 2 GB Livescribe 2 GB Echo Smartpen Starter Pack APA00009 Echo 4 GB Livescribe 4 GB Echo Smartpen
Echo 8 GB Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen
Echo 8 GB
















The highlighting above spotlights some of the major differences between models:

  • Price: The Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen APA00003 currently offered for $179.95 (with free shipping). (NOTE: The current model Echo equivalent to the Pulse  is the Livescribe Echo 2 GB Smartpen Starter Pack APA00009currently offered for $96.95.
  • Price:The  Livescribe Echo 4 GB Smartpen APA00006 model is currently $127; 8GB $177 and 8GB Smartpen $239.87 (on Amazon, both with  free shipping) . (NOTE: Prices current as of Aug 31, 2011.)
  • Memory Capability: The Echo offers extra memory storage capability. The Pulse’s 2 GB of memory translates into almost 200 hours of audio and written content. The Echo offers 2GB, 4GB and 8 GB of memory, up to 64,000 pages of notes or audio.
  • Audio Capability: The Echo offers extra audio capability. The Pulse comes with a Pulse 3D Recording Headset that supports monaural recording for sounds coming mainly from one direction, like in a classroom or meeting room, and a 2.5 mm audio jack for the earbuds for extending the sound input point farther from the pen. For $29.99 with free shipping from Amazon), the Echo is capable of adding your own headset or earbuds or the Echo 3D Recording Earbuds with filtering capability, which support binaural recording of sounds coming from multiple directions, like in a very large conference hall. All Echo models come with a 3.5 mm audio jack. An adaptor can be purchased and used with the Pulse APA-00003 2.5 mm audio jack to support use of the Echo 3D Recording Earbuds, extending the sound input point to a farther from the pen.

So when is the Echo worth the extra cost? Here are some situations where it might make sense to pay a little more for the extra value:

  • If you record a large amount of written notes or audio daily and don’t want to transfer your notes to a computer to clear storage space often or consistently.
  • If you are a college student or business professional who wants an easy way to store and send emails to team mates, friends, family and colleagues, buy a Livescribe 4GB or 8GB Smartpen because the new Premium Connect capability is included
  • If you need extra storage because you travel frequently and may forget to transfer your notes to a computer.
  • If you will be recording in environments where you need to record sounds coming from multiple directions, such as large conference rooms and need the binaural headset (the Pulse comes with a 2.5 audio jack; the Echo with a 3.5)
  • If you are interested in the business-oriented applications only available for Echo such as Paper Tablet. Recent new announcements have been for the Echo; the new Connect Premium comes with the Livescribe 4 GB and 8GB models, perhaps showing a pattern since the Livescribe 2 GB Pulse is more than 3 years old.

If you fall into one of these categories or similar situations, you may find the more expensive Echo models worth the extra cost.

At less than $97 , the new APA-00009 Livescribe Echo 2 GB Smartpen offers great value will still serve a student’s needs.

The Livescribe 2GB Pulse includes the earbuds.  For the functionality of the pen for that price, the features, this is a great pen for students or for the rest of us that do not need to take many notes (Remember you can transfer note daily or regularly to the computer, making storage a non-issue).  All the Livescribe Pulse and Echo pens are supported with the same Livescribe Desktop software, the same ability to share.

The new Livescribe Echo 2GB Smartpen entry, the Starter Pack APA-00009, costs $96.95.  This is an excellent model for a high school student who probably does not need email capability for a pen; most students these days have phones.  The student can sit near the front of the class and may not need a headset or he or she might use an Ipod or Ipad headset; the 3.5 audio jack supports the binaural headset.  The Connect Premium can be purchased for $14.95.

For Special Price on Echo 2GB Smartpenn Click Here: Livescribe 2 GB Echo Smartpen Starter Pack (APA-00009)

These prices were effective end-August and will be updated weekly.

For college students and business professionals, if you anticipate taking lots of notes, the Livescribe 4 GB Echo Smartpen and Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen offer the most functionality, storage and benefits for the price:

The Livescribe 8GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack APX-00007, bundles  MyScript, Earbuds and Journal  with the 8GB Smartpen for $237 while  the 8GB Echo smartpen APA00007 costs $177.99.

For More details about the 8GB Pro Pack Click Here:
Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack (APX-00007)

The popular Livescribe Echo 4 GB Smartpen APA-00007 2nd in popularity on Amazon Electronics is now $127.00, offering the best price for functionality for the Livescribe Echo Digital Voice Recorder.

Comments are closed.