The lowly pen moves into the digital age. Here's our roundup of 5 digital pens for note taking and drawing.
Technology becomes more and more prevalent and streamlined as time goes on. One of the more recent innovations is a new take on a very old tool: the pen. Digital pens enable users to record notes, diagrams, drawings, and text entry.
These inputs can then be transferred to a computer and used to enhance workflow. Why use a digital pen instead of just typing on your smartphone or tablet? Writing things down by hand helps you remember them more easily.
Plus, using touch screens to type can be frustrating, and some people just enjoy writing more than typing. A smartpen enables you to get the best of both worlds when it comes to handwriting and digital information storage.
It’s a great addition to your home office tech toolbox.
How do Digital Pens Work?
Digital pens typically use the same components as an optical mouse, but they’re vertically (rather than horizontally) stacked. Most digital pens track your hand movements using almost invisible pinpoints or line patterns on special paper.
Other types of digital pens read the amount of pressure applied to the paper to record what the user is writing or drawing. And other models use a tiny camera to track what you’re writing and transfer it to your smart device.
A digital pen is a great way to go paperless for storage of your notes.
Digital Pens vs. Styluses
A lot of people confuse digital pens with styluses, but they are quite different from each other. A stylus uses pressure to write or draw directly on a screen and doesn’t involve any ink. Digital pens, however, record handwriting or drawing and store the information.
You may also sync the information to a nearby computer. Some digital pens can store over 1000 pages of content, while others must be connected to a mobile device or PC to work.
5 Best Digital Pens
Neolab Convergence Neopen
The Neolab Convergence Neopen blends traditional writing with modern technology and can be used with Windows, tablets, smartphones, Android, and Apple. The Neolab Convergence Neopen converts what you write to a digital, easily viewable format for your devices.
You can automatically back up your information and share drawings. Complete with a 125-day battery life (on standby), this smartpen allows you to write for up to 1000 pages between charges. As soon as your notes are digitized, you can easily search through them, highlight important notes, and erase old ones.
- Long battery life
- Compatible with multiple systems
- Lightweight, comfortable use
- Easy to use with Windows 10 app
- Ink insert makes a clicking sound when you write
The Best Digital Pen for Drawing
Livescribe 3 smartpen Black Edition
The Livescribe 3 smartpen Black Edition uses Bluetooth Smart to connect to Android and iOS devices and syncs everything you draw or write to the Life scribe+ app. It’s a quick, simple way to transfer information from paper to your smartphone or tablet.
The Livescribe 3 smartpen works for up to 14 hours between charges. You may also use your tablet or smartphone’s microphone to record information that’s synced with what you write. As soon as you get your notes into the Live scribe+ app, you may share or send notes to your devices.
You may also play back audio, organize, and tag the information. The Livescribe 3 smartpen allows you to search handwritten notes and convert them into digital text. Use the app to write on paper and see it appear instantly on your devices.
- Accurate translation from handwritten notes
- Works well with drawing and cursive
- Easy-to-use software
- Attractive, sleek design
- Text often needs editing
- Must use Livescribe paper
- Pen is heavy
Best Budget Pick
The Livescribe Aegir Smartpen
The Livescribe Aegir Smartpen gives you a way to digitize your handwritten notes easily and weighs about the same as an ordinary pen. This device allows you to add voice clips to your notes and play them back as needed.
The Aegir smartpen enables you to write now, then sync the information later, and it stores an impressive 1,200 pages of writing. Search your handwriting for specific terms using the Livescribe+ app and use custom tags for note organization.
You can share notes in a multitude of formats (MS Word, image, PDF, and more) to cloud services like Evernote and Dropbox. This smartpen recognizes 22 different languages and allows you to transcribe in real time.
- Easy to set up and connect to Bluetooth
- Easy to transfer notes out of the app
- Chat help available on app
- Online help is outdated
- Audio recording may start slowly
Best Password-Protected Pick
The Neo smartpen N2 Digital Pen
The Neo smartpen N2 Digital Pen allows you to share and edit your notes on the go. The Neo smartpen App enables you to share files to Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, and more. You may also change font color and delete images and text using the app.
The pen has a small camera in it that sends what you write to your tablet or smartphone. The Neo smartpen N2 uses Bluetooth 4.0 LE which uses less energy and provides a high-speed connection.
You can use it to write in a variety of file formats including SVG (for Adobe Illustrator), JPEG, and PDF. The pen comes with multiple options for transcribing languages, too.
- Multiple languages available
- Low Energy Bluetooth
- Password protection
- Lightweight and ergonomic
- Low-quality ink
- Transcribes only one page at a time
Best Luxury Pick
The Moleskine Pen+
The Moleskine Pen+ is designed to be used with the Moleskine Notes App. Use it to digitally store your notes in your Moleskine Smart Notebook (sold separately). The Moleskin Pen+ uses Code technology to capture each stroke as you write or draw.
The device comes with a USB recharging fable, user manual, and a pen tip ink refill. The Moleskine Notes App transfers what you write onto the notebook page to your mobile device in a seamless fashion. You can organize, edit, search, share and notate your information.
The app can be used with both iPhone and Android. This pen can be used to record audio to add to your notes for extra detail and clarification. Use the app to save notes and upload them to Evernote or Google.
- Includes ink refill
- Apple and Android compatible
- Records audio
- Trusted brand name
- Only works with Moleskin Smart Notebooks
- Supplies are hard to find
Not long ago, you had to choose between taking notes with a pen and paper or typing onto your smart device. But now, digital pens allow you to do both. Using one of these useful tools will streamline your note-taking experience and save you lots of time.