Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack APX00007 Review

Review of Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack APX00007

This review is of the Livescribe 8GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack APX00007, including the Livescribe Echo 8GB smartpen, which will capture every word of a lecture, class or meeting and integrate the audio with your handwritten notes and drawings.

The Livescribe Pro Pack adds the My Script for Livescribe Handwriting software, the 3D Binaural Headset, and the Professional Journal which holds the pen and a journal that holds a couple pads of Special Livescribe dot paper.  The cost of the Livescribe 8GB Echo Smartpan with the Livescribe Pro Pack Bundle is about $28 less than the price of the 8GB Smartpen with the Pro Pack Components.

In this Review of the Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack APX-00007, I will take a look at the Livescribe Echo 8 GB Smartpen and Components You get with the Pro Pack and the issue of the value of buying the combination.

Livescribe Echo 8 GB Pro Pack APX-00007 Review

If “note takers anonymous” support group were to exist, I would be one of the first to join. This is why when I my eyes fell on that press release in the New York Times, featuring Livescribe product lines of smartpens, I grabbed my Fly Fusion digital pen (yes, another digital pen!) and started jotting down notes. The notes have grown into research, the fruit of which is this Livescribe 8GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack APX-00007 Review.

A smart pen? What’s this?

A smartpen is a digital pen that records handwritten notes and drawings, and synchronizes them, and later on, allows you to upload them to your computer. Having your notes saved on electronic media means that you will not lose them, you can organize them, search through them, and quickly find what you want, and that you can share it with others.
Livescribe has gone  one further and given us the capability to capture an audio recording as well as the text, and link notes together through their text and audio synchronization feature.
Like Fly Fusion, Livescribe pens are based on the Anoto digital pen technology. This technology incorporates DPS (Dot Positioning System to record exact pen position), with special paper and an infrared camera to capture  the written text and drawings.

A Bit About Livescribe

I discovered that the Livescribe’s CEO, a former Creative Director at Leapfrog Enterprises, took the digital pen technology, and revolutionized it by adding the voice recording and  integration features.
He started Livescribe in 2005, debuting with Livescribe Pulse smartpen in 2008. In July 2010, Livescribe introduced the subject of today’s review, the Livescribe Echo 8GB smartpen APX-00007.
Livescribe 8 GB Echo smartpen, as its predecessor the Pulse 2GB smartpen, features voice recording, and  text and drawing recording and integration.
It also provides extensive sharing and collaboration capabilities, such as shared virtual Custom notebooks on the Livescribe online webspace and pencasts, especially good for sharing, and support of email and export to Facebook and mobile phones .
The Livescribe Echo 8GB Smartpen comes with more memory than its predecessors, a sleeker design, and more advanced accessories.

For more a Good Deal on the 8GB smartpen APA00007, click here: Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen APA-00007.

My Review of the Livescribe 8GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack APX-00007

Out of the Box

The following comes with the standard Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen APA-00007:
  • Livescribe 8GB Echo Smartpen
  • Livescribe Connect Basic (Connection to Computers, Livescribe online community, Facebook, mobile Phone) and Connect Premium (Email and Google Docs)
  • Starter Dot Paper Notebook – special paper with DPS technologyInteractive
  • Getting Started Guide
  • Smartpen Tips and Tricks
  • 2 Smartpen Caps
  • 2 Ink Cartridges
  • Standard Micro USB Cable
  • Livescribe™ Desktop Software
  • 500MB of Online Pencast Storage and for sharing and collaboration
Additionally, with the 8GB Echo Pro Pack APX-00007 you get the following:
  • Smartpen Portfolio – A portfolio for storing notebook or journals with your smartpen, and credit cards
  • 3-D Recording Premium Headset for binaural recording
  • MyScript for Livescribe transcription software – The handwriting to digital text conversion software (aka. the OCR software, for the techies among you ).

First Impressions of the 8GB Smartpen

Having spent a good portion of my time taking notes, I experienced this personal relationship that develops between one and one’s pen. Any other pen doesn’t just cut it; it has to feel your own. I suspect that many of you avid note takers feel the same about your pens as I do. Hence, It was paramount to test the Echo smartpen for this particular vibe, which is a mixture of aestheticism, comfortability, and familiarity.
I have to say, Echo exceeded my expectations. It is simply beautiful. The new design and all black body made it both modern and elegant at the same time. The contrasting blue light on its screen bestowed an endearing glow on the Echo digital pen.
The new rubber grip makes it a little more comfortable to hold than the Pulse (and much more comfortable than the Fly Fusion). The anti-roll design means that the Livescribe Echo is not likely to roll off your desk.
Words flow out of the pen smoothly, thanks to the decent quality ink, and to the light, balanced weight of the pen. Like the Pulse, it does not feel much different than a regular pen, and that was the check-in-the-box for me.
One of the first things I did was to add my name. The pen uses the customized name as its default screen display. In environments where there is more than one pen, this can prove a useful feature to avoid confusion and mix-ups. However, I added my name because it personalized the pen –  and just because I could.
Pretty as it may be, the pen still had to convince me of its capability to do more than look good on my desk. So, let us move on to what it can actually do.

Livescribe 8GB Echo Smartpen in action

Audio Recording and Integration

The audio integration feature puts a Livescribe pen on a different level than all the other digital pens currently on the market. Not only does the Livescribe  Echo 8 GB Smartpen record voice, it also preserves the link between text and audio.
The pen remembers which note was taken with which recorded voice clip. This link remains even after uploading the content into the computer.
On the pen, you can replay a recorded audio by tapping on the note taken at the time of the audio recording. The pen also allows you to go back and forth through your audio clips and find the part you are looking for in seconds.
Pen and Online Storage and Searching
You can store your integrated notes on your smartpen or transfer them to the personal online storage, Livescribe Desktop for archiving, searching and updating and onto CDs and other media,or to PDF files.

Sharing and Collaboration

Audio text integration also allows you to develop pencasts and publish them. Pencasts are audiovisual clips that you can capture with your pen and upload on Livescribe web space.
You get free 500MB of web space on Livescribe website to publish  your webcasts. The space is adequate for uploading dozens of pencasts, and you can manage space by archiving old pen casts to make room for new ones.

Organization and Management on the Livescribe Desktop

You can  create custom notebooks based on your recorded notes and audio, dragging and dropping recordings from one notebook to a virtual notebook that may contain recordings from multiple notebooks.

The original content from the source notebook(s) is retained using links from the Custom Notebook.  You can then simultaneously share and update the notebook with your study group, management, or work team.

Storage Capacity and Battery

8GB  of memory for a smart pen is relatively giant, especially when compared with the memory capacity of competing pens. Livescribe Echo 8 GB Smartpen APA-00007 has twice as much memory as the next highest digital pen in terms of memory.
8GB memory is enough to record 800 hours of text and audio. That is a whole academic year worth of lectures, or all the meetings, conferences and conventions that you can possibly attend in a whole year.
But all the memory in the world amount to nothing, if the pen’s battery could not last the distance.
Fortunately, the Livescribe 8 GB Echo smartpen’s battery life lasts for about 8 hours of note taking and voice recording, not counting standby hours – more than enough for an academic or business day. (If you take more than 8 hours of notes every day, you have more to worry about than the battery life!)  If the battery needs recharging, the USB cable can be easily connected to your computer to accomplish this task.
The ability to recharge using the USB cable is particularly useful for business professionals who travel a lot as a part of their job. In an office environment, where you get time between meetings to plug the pen into your laptop or computer, this is hardly an issue.
Searching capabilities

With such a huge amount of information, it is vital for the pen to offer advanced searching capabilities that enables you to quickly find what you are looking for in the virtual heap of notes and audio. On this, the pen gets a full mark.
On the Livescribe Echo 8  GB Smartpen APA-00007,  search couldn’t be easier and more innovative. From the pen itself, all you need to do to search for audio is tap the note that you have taken at the time of recording with your pen. And if you can’t find it or want to search for multiple occurrences, just write down the word on paper and press search. The pen will bring you all the text that contains the keyword, with links to the audio as well.
On the computer, the desktop software offers a search box, from which you can search by keyword; it will promptly bring up the relevant uploaded content and the associated audio files.

Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen From Pen to PC

A Livescribe Echo smartpen connects to computers and laptops via a standard micro USB link. It uses the link to recharge and to interface with Livescribe desktop software.
The desktop software is easily installed and setup. It is compatible with both PC and Mac. The same goes for the Myscript for Livescribe Handwriting conversion software.

What is added in the Livescribe 8GB Echo Pro Pack APX-00007?

My Script Handwriting Conversion software

The Livescribe Pro Pack includes handwriting to text conversion software:  MyScript Handwritng for Livescribe.   The MyScript software is easily installed and setup, compatible with both PC and Mac.
The software takes your handwritten notes and converts them to digital text, facilitating better searching and sharing via email, blogs, or any other electronic media.

Audio Quality of 3D Binaural Headset is Superior

The Livescribe Pro Pack includes a 3D recording headset  designed for recording where voices may come from multiple directions.  Using the 3.5mm audio jack, this stereo headset is designed for isolating sounds to be recorded in large meetings and conferences.  Background noises disappear.

Making the most of Livescribe 8GB Echo Smartpen

The pen offers some nifty applications, some educational , some business oriented; some free and some for a fee. Here are the applications I found particularly useful (Check Livescribe app store for the full list)
  • American Heritage 70,000 words English Dictionary: It enables you to find the meaning of the word by either tapping on it, or writing it down. It comes with audio support, so that you can listen to the pronunciation of the word you looked up instantaneously.
  • English/Spanish-Spanish/English 40,000 word Dictionary: This one truly impressed me – as it allows you to tap a written word or write it on paper in English, and it gives you the translated word in Spanish and definition and vice versa. It also comes with an audio capability for the pronunciation.  The audio playback feature allows you to replay the translated word to ensure correct pronunciation.
  • Travel Apps: Not as elabororate as the aforementioned Spanish translator app. Multiple travel apps are available to download on Livescribe website.  These apps allow you to write sentences in English and translate them to the selected language.  This is particularly useful with cabs in foreign countries.

Firm support

When it comes to support, and based on the reviews, Livescribe seems to be getting it spot-on. Most of the reviews – all of them actually – have nothing but praise for Livescribe customer support function and performance.
So if I need it, I know that the included 1 year warranty is worth the paper it is written on.

Who is it for

Students

Students will find Livescribe Echo 8 GB smartpen a reliable companion in their academic journey. College student in particular will find it helpful, considering the nature of college education. With Livescribe 8 GB Echo smartpen:
  • Students will not miss a word in their lessons or lectures.
  • High achieving students will treasure this voice recording  capability as it enables them to record, break down, and replay ideas at any time.
  • Academically challenged students, or those who miss classes because of illness or student engagements, such as athlete students, will see the pen as an opportunity to maintain their education standards and their grades under rather challenging conditions.
  • English Language Learners who have difficulty following a presentation and need translation and slow playback or academically challenged students will find these audio controls immensely helpful.
  • The pen can also enhance the standard of education for children with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, ADD, ADHD or learning difficulties.
The advanced searching will cut down study time, and give student more time to focus on understanding and studying and less time organizing and indexing notes.
The collaboration features allows students to create virtual notebooks, an invaluable resource for sharing notes. This is particularly useful in cases such as remote study groups and homeschooling.
Language packs, especially the English dictionary and the Spanish pack, are invaluable for foreign and ESL students. They will also find the audio control capability of utmost use. The advanced audio controls enables students  to play back a recording or a part of a recording at a slower or faster pace, as well as pausing, skipping, rewinding and fast forwarding audio.
It allows teachers and parents to record lessons on the pen, which the students can then use to learn at their own pace. It also allows them to repeat the lesson as often as they wish, resulting in increasing their understanding and their confidence at the same time.

Business professionals

For business professionals, the pen fits in any part of their business that involves listening to a presentation, brainstorming, discussion , appraisals, goal setting, writing, integrating images, formulas,  and drawing pie charts whilst talking, listening, or even thinking aloud.
A digital smartpen is an invaluable companion in meetings and conventions. It reduces the time and concentration needed for taking minutes and writing notes, giving you more time to focus and engage on the meeting subject.
In conferences and convention, it allows you to record everything for you to later replay at your own pace, ensuring you don’t miss anything in what is, by nature, a distracting environment.
Interviews, especially for HR professionals, are another place where the pen can prove vital as it keeps track of conversations and can dramatically cut down the time taken writing and compiling notes.
The pen is also useful to business professionals whose job includes floor walking such as doctors, nurses, inspectors, psychiatrists, engineers, and others.
The ability of the pen to convert handwritten notes to text could save a substantial amount of time every day. Many note takers tend to re-write what they originally wrote on paper on the computer either to log it, clarify or summarize or to email it.
Collaboration functions such as recording integrated pencasts and creating virtual notebooks could help teams whose members are not present or in different locations.
Confidential and sensitive information can find a safe haven in the pen, as it could be secured using a 4 digit pin code.
Unlike paper, the pen keeps information hidden from prying eyes. As a practice, I tend to print my own DPS paper – yes you can print your own.   I write anything of a confidential nature using the pen, and then shortly after that I shred the paper, knowing that the information is safely saved into my pen, and cannot be accessed by anyone but me.

Review Summary: What is not so great about the Livescribe 8GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack APX-00007?

  • Some users, complained about My Script for Livescribe not being included with pen purchase .
  • many, including me, complained about the pen cap falling, liable to get lost; although, credit to Livescribe, they send you two pen anyway. Still, I think they should have got that right first time. The pen cap keeps the ink from drying.

Value for money

The Current Price ( $178.47 for the Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack, APX-00007, in Amazon) could also put off many suitors. The 8GB Echo Pen APA00007 is 150.46; the Echo Pro Pack APA-000007 $178.47.  Believe that?
The Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen is only about $28 cheaper than the Echo pen with Livescribe Pro Pack.
Components of the Livescribe 8GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack APA-00007:

1. MyScript for Livescribe handwriting conversion software, $30.

2. the 3D recording headset – which is a stereo headset designed for isolating sounds to be recorded in large meetings and conferences- $30.

3. the Professional portfolio which has a pen holder, pocket for business cards and a journal size notebook, $25.

If you do the math, you will find a saving of a little more than $60 with the Livescribe Echo 8GB Pro Pack, APX-00007, a great savings.
Consider the following:
  • You can use your own headphones, as Livescribe Echo comes with 3.5 audio jack.
  • The included Professional Portfolio may not be for everybody. Many prefer  8.5 x 11 notepad; this Portfolio has a pen holder and a couple card holders as well as 2 5 X8 pads The Portfolio can fit in jacket pocket or purse. The savings give you this for free for trips.

The final verdict

The Livescribe 8GB Echo smartpen itself is an intelligent and valuable companion; now you get the Livescribe Echo 8GB Pro Pack APX-00007 for only  a little more than $60 more than the 8GB smartpen.

APX00007 Makes a great gift!

Review Recommendation:  Livescribe Echo 8GB Smartpen Pro Pack APX-00007 makes a great gift, especially for business professional, than a personal purchase since it really is a high quality bundle offering tons of capability.
If you are a student, a business professional, or buying a gift for either, you should go for it. It will probably be the best buy you made in a long time. A student will use the pen everyday in an often noisy environment.  How long will it take for the student to cover costs five days a week?  Think of the impact the Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack APX-00007 will have on the student’s grades!

For details on this GREAT Amazon deal,  Click Here: Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack (APX-00007)

I hope that the Livescribe 8GB Echo Smartpen Pro Pack APX00007 Review has been a help!

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