Best smartpens for a gift in 2021

Best smartpens for a gift in 2021

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Progress does not stand still. Today even such a trivial thing as a pen for writing can be high-tech. Nowadays there are a lot of similar gadgets that can make life much easier for those who would like to write more by hand, rather than typing on a computer. And such devices are called smartpens.

Smartpens are not new gadgets. However, until now they have not gained popularity with a wide audience since they remain quite an expensive accessory and not every buyer can afford them. The era of the popular smartpens was born in 2007 when Nokia introduced its first and last model SU-27W. It had only 1.3 megabytes of memory for storing records. Data transmission was done via Bluetooth or USB. It was ugly and inconvenient. A proper software was never made, as a result, this project of Nokia ceased to exist. And after that, the company itself was bought by Microsoft.

Types of smartpens

There are two types of smartpens, radically different in principle. At the heart of the first principle is the optical type of work. Such smartpens receive data with the built-in sensors and cameras directly installed into the pen. They work only in pairs with special paper on which the necessary marking is applied, the paper can be created on a conventional laser printer.

The second principle is based on the coordination type of work. Here the smartpens work in pairs with the receiver, which “catches” the movement of the pen, saves and transfers data to the smartphone.

Best smartpens in 2019

Smartpens in 2019 have changed, have become thinner, smarter and cheaper. We selected the most popular models of our time so that you could choose for a gift for your boss, colleague, spouse or a friend. Below you will find our complete smartpen review with rankings.

1) Livescribe 3 smartpen

Livescribe 3 smartpen
Livescribe 3 smartpen

The gadget is designed to write on special paper as we are accustomed to writing with an ordinary ballpoint pen from school. But at the same time, we receive a digitized text on the display of a smartphone or tablet. Once you connect with Livescribe 3 smartpen over Bluetooth and start writing or sketching something, you will really experience some magic.

Livescribe 3 smartpen works with Dot Paper from Livescribe, which can completely capture everything you write or draw. Livescribe notebooks are available in the market at competitive prices in a wide variety of sizes and styles, so that you can pick up something just for yourself.

Your Livescribe 3 smartpen, paired with Livescribe + for iOS, will immediately synchronize everything you write on paper. It will be displayed directly on your iPhone or iPad. Now your notes and diagrams will become more useful in digitized form. Now the material is better organized, translated into printed text and available for searching and editing.

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2) Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen

Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen
Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen

The smartpen has its own memory in which records are stored. When Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen is connected to a computer, the data instantly synchronizes with the cloud-based Echo Desktop service. So you can reread, edit or share notes with friends and colleagues through social networks, or by e-mail at any time.

The pen works with computers and laptops on Windows and MacOS, connecting to them using a USB cable.

With this smartpen by Livescribe, you can not only transfer handwritten text to digital notes, but you can also make audio comments to your notes. This is possible thanks to the built-in microphone.

There also is a small OLED-display. It will display information about the actions of the pen, such as the time of audio recording, as well as the date, time, battery level and so on.

Livescribe Smartpen Echo uses the most common ink cartridges.

The laconic, ergonomic design of the handle with Soft-Touch coating does not let your fingers get tired, even with the prolonged use of the handle.

An amazing amount of high technology is hidden inside the smooth case. The pen also contains an infrared camera, ARM processor, microphone and OLED display, flash memory and lithium-ion battery. All of these technologies work together so you can transfer your notes to a laptop or computer.

The amount of memory in 2 GB. It is enough for almost 200 hours of audio notes and 1000 pages with notes and sketches. But it’s important to remember that for records you can only use a special Livescribe notebook.

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3) Evach Active Stylus Digital Pen

Evach Active Stylus Digital Pen
Evach Active Stylus Digital Pen

This smartpen should be used together with the touchscreens, like the iPad’s or other tablets. It is compatible with the majority of devices equipped with the touchscreens. The smartpen is stylish and light. Its length is 14.6 cm and it weighs only 13 grams. The Evach Active Stylus Digital Pen has a 1.5 mm tip that allows you to write smoothly and draw beautiful pictures.

This smartpen has a built-in battery that allows 8 hours of active use. The battery can be charged from 0 to 100% in less than 1 hour. There is a special energy saving regime, that powers off the smartpen when it is not used for half an hour.

Important: Charging input is 5V/0.2A. We do not recommend using third-party or fast chargers because they can damage the smartpen.

What is important about this smartpen is that it does not cause any resistance when using on the screen. So you do not need to apply additional pressure in comparison with the real pen.

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4) Wacom 3X KP501E2 Grip Pen

Wacom 3X KP501E2 Grip Pen
Wacom 3X KP501E2 Grip Pen

This smart pen that is able to capture the lightest touches of the screen. It has built-in controls that feel more than 2000 levels of touch. even the subtlest nuances of pressure. This allows you to have a different result from applying slightly different pressure.

The Wacom Grip Pen has a special grip made of a rubber-like material that saves your efforts for holding the pen by 40%.

An important feature of this pen is that it does not have a battery and there is no need to connect cables to it.

The smartpen has a special feature of tilt sensitivity, which allows the changes by 60° in each direction. The pen is 157 mm long and weighs only 17grams. If there is a need to erase something, the pen provides such a possibility. Wacom grip pen is compatible with the majority of Intuos and Cintiq devices.

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5) Wacom Bamboo Spark Pen

Wacom Bamboo Spark Pen
Wacom Bamboo Spark Pen

A few companies were able to come up with technology to make the smartpen comfortable, without serious limitations with the technology. One of the solutions for this task is Wacom Bamboo Spark. This smartpen does not require charging and can write on any standard size paper. At the same time, Wacom Bamboo Spark Penn requires a special notebook case for work, where the electronics that recognizes movements are located.

When other smartpens require charging, Wacom Bamboo requires to charge the cover in which the notebook is hiding. By default, the kit is sold with a cover-book for any smartphone, but you can separately purchase or choose an option with the case for a 7-8 inch tablet or even for the iPad Air 2. But by default, this option is more elegant, although the size of the notebooks is the same in all cases.

To imagine the size of the cover, imagine the iPad Air or previous models, they are quite comparable (206 x 253 x 30 mm). Perhaps, this is the biggest disadvantage of the device, as this cover has to be carried with the pen. Without the cover, the whole design loses its meaning. It weighs 535 grams (variant for the iPad – 580 grams, for other tablets – 670 grams). We can not say that it is too much, but it is also difficult to call such weight a small one. Therefore, keep in mind that for Wacom Bamboo Spark Pen it is important to have certain habits, write only in the office or at home or always carry a briefcase or bag where you will store it.

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6) Neo smartpen N2

Neo smartpen N2

Neo smartpen N2Neolab is one of the most successful start-up projects in the field of smartpens. Having started with crowdfunding, the South Korean company attracted the attention of not only ordinary users but also, one might say cult brands. Moleskine was one of them, and in 2018 it was a full-fledged bilateral partnership. Neolab has already launched two products under its own brand: the SmartPen N2 and the SmartPen M1.

Currently, the company is promoting its products in three niches: business, art, and education.


In the business segment, everything is quite simple. A pen can be considered both simply as a gift accessory and as a working tool: the main purpose here is digitizing and saving handwritten text.

The text can be saved as a page or a decrypted sheet in TXT format, and also instantly sent to the right recipients using virtually any program from the email client.

The fresh collaboration with the Moleskine brand daily diaries brand also speaks in favor of business positioning: the company has released a series of exclusive diaries for working with Neolab devices.


Everything is more or less clear with the business audience. But Neolab approaches carefully and constantly the representatives of the creative professions. In any case, the promotional materials of the company says so.

On Instagram, you can find hashtags for a number of comic book authors and funny snippets that use Neolab as a working tool. Probably, if you think about it, then those who work in Duran’s style can really help to fill their pages Facebook faster.


A few words about education. Now, in principle, education is becoming digital: starting with electronic diaries, mandatory presentations, gradual equipping of classrooms with tablets, etc. However, it is still difficult to imagine that smartpens will come into use everywhere.

We can assume that rich students will buy such a pen to someone with nice handwriting to receive digital copy of the notes later. But this is not really about education, but rather about cheating.

As for the video tutorials, which can be regarded as education, the problem is probably not so voluminous, and the tasks are too different to solve in such ways. Neolab itself also participates in educational activities, but only in the local market. For example, one of the applications, Word Soupe, was created for teaching Korean children English. Further localization is not planned yet.

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7) Winner: Livescribe Aegir Smartpen

Livescribe Aegir Smartpen
Livescribe Aegir Smartpen

This model from Livescrive has an artistic and original design. It looks great compared to other pretty simple black smartpens. At the same time it can perform the same functions: digitize your handwritten notes effortlessly. This smartpen is very light and weight as a ball-point pen. With it, you can record audio using the Livescribe+ app while you write to add voice to your notes. This smartpen can store up to 1,200 pages of writing and sync later with your phone. Another awesome feature is the ability to search within your handwritten notes.

You can share notes in any popular digital format: Text/PDF/image/ to almost any cloud service. The Aegir smartpen can recognize 22 languages in your handwriting and digitally transcribe them in real-time.

By our point of view, this is the most advanced smartpen on the market with a great balance between price and quality.

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Smartpens FAQ

How to select the best smartpen?

First of all, you need to decide with the functions that you need from a smartpen. Should it be a supplement for graphics devices or an independent gadget to digitalize your notes? After this, you should consider your budget and limit range of models to several options. Lastly, you must make sure that the pen is compatible with the platforms you use (Android, iOS, MacOS, Windows etc.).

What types of smartpens are there?

We can name a couple of smartpens types: independent digital pens and supplements to other devices. The first type will help you to digitalize your notes and writing. The second type usually works as an addition to other devices, like graphical tabs, touch-monitors, and other gadgets.

How much does a smart pen cost?

The prices of smartpens usually range between 100 and 300 US dollars. But buying a smartpen you have to consider not only its price but also the price of supplements. For example, some of the pens require special paper to write on and it will cost additional money. Others can write on any surface and in the long run, will be cheaper.

Are smartpens worth it?

This is a debatable question since smartpens are not widespread gadgets compared to smartphones or fitness trackers. But smartpens will be definitely handy for people working in several professions. First of all art related people, and digital artists will appreciate the functionality of smartpens, especially those working with graphical tablets. On the other side secretaries and people that need to take notes often and then transfer them in the digital form will love smartpens.

How do smartpens work?

Depending on the functions that a smartpen performs it can use a built-in camera and microphone that records all movements of the pen and surrounding sounds. After this, with the help of special apps and Bluetooth connection, it transfers the data to the smartphone, computer or a tablet. Another type of smartpens that are used with graphical tablets contains special materials that allow cooperation with the devices and creating content.

What do smartpens do?

Smartpens allow digitalizing content that you write with them and also recording words that are being pronounced in the moment of writing. After recording, you can transfer the data to the computer or gadgets or simply tap particular words on the paper and the smartpen will replay the voice that was recorded in the moment of writing this word. Other smartpens simply allow using graphical tablets and transfer your drawings directly to the computer for further digitalization.

What are smartpens?

Smartpens are digital gadgets that allow you recording audio and writing for further digitalization, reproducing and storage. Smartpens also allow digitalization of the content that was drawn on a graphical tablet.


So as you can see there are numerous devices that can be called a smart pen but have different functions and can perform different actions. Some of them can digitalize your notes and graphs but others serve as supplements for graphics tablets. Depending on the type of person you want to present a smartpen: a physical pen addict or an artist that want to digitalize her drawings we recommend you to go with the Livescribe or Neolab devices in the first case and Wacom in the second.

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