The Echo Smartpen is the latest addition to my gadget arsenal – small enough to carry routinely and genuinely useful as opposed to a gimmick.
If you haven’t seen one, it’s a pen with a built-in microphone and 8Gb of memory – that’s enough to store around 800 hours of recorded audio.
Scribble notes as you listen to a speech or during an interview and then, by clicking on the keywords or phrases you’ve jotted down, the audio jumps to that point in the recording. Notes and audio can be transferred to a computer using a USB connector.
It’s perfect if your shorthand’s a bit rusty or if you want to quickly refer back to something and there are even apps to download to extend its capabilities.
On the downside, the audio quality isn’t good enough for broadcast and the pen does require a special dot paper notebook, which is expensive as notebooks go, though it is possible to make dot paper copies using a laser printer.
- Review: Livescribe Echo smartpen (gadling.com)
- Holiday Tech Gadgets Gift Guide – Five Not So Obvious Suggestions (blogcritics.org)