Livescribe Aegir Smartpen, effortlessly digitize your handwriting
The Aegir Smart pen delivers the traditional benefits of pen and paper combined with the power of digital notes. The pen uses Bluetooth to automatically sync data with both mobile (iOS and Android) and desktop (Windows) devices using the free live scribe+ companion app.
- Digitize your handwritten notes effortlessly. At almost the same size and weight as a ball-point pen, digitally transforming your handwriting has never been easier, or more fashionable
- Add voice to your notes. Record audio using the Livescribe+ app while you write to add voice to your notes. Playback when needed to recreate key moments
- Write now, sync later. Capture every moment – The Aegir smartpen can store up to 1,200 pages of writing and sync later with your phone
- Search for terms within your handwriting. Use the Livescribe+ app to search your handwritten notes and find what you need, when you need it. Custom tags keep your notes organized.
- Seamlessly integrate the Aegir smartpen into your life. Share notes in the format that you want (Text/PDF/image/MS Word) to the cloud service that you use (Dropbox/Google Drive/MS OneNote/Evernote). Digitize across boundaries. The Aegir smartpen can recognize 22 languages in your handwriting and digitally transcribe in real-time
Cascade book lover –
Very in-depth review below (including a Chat with LiveScribe Customer Service), but here are the basics for anyone who doesn’t want to read the whole thing. The pen performed best when used for straight handwriting to app transfer and converting text. Recording audio worked well with some caveats. All in all, I like the product and am happy with my purchase.PROS:• Initial set up, connecting to Bluetooth, and communicating with the app was a breeze• Excellent delayed transfer when pen was not connected to Bluetooth as well as realtime transfer when connected• Virtually flawless transfer of words written on the page to handwriting version on the app• Transferring written documents out of the app was very easy• App transcribed handwriting to text extremely well• Pen warns you when you’re in an unrecordable area on the page• Quick access to help via Chat on the appCONS:• Some menu choices lack information, online help outdated (as of 10/30/18)• Small notebook that comes with the pen doesn’t include all the Smart Paper controls• Difficulty quickly starting audio recording• App needed to be active to record (did not record when phone went to sleep mode)• Location of Ready/Record light makes it difficult to see while writingSETUP/USER EXPERIENCEThis is my first digital pen, so this whole process was new to me. I do have a Rocketbook Everlast notebook that has some similarities.The pen itself is very lightweight. Its texture is almost a little slippery, but I didn’t have problems with it moving in my hand. Quality pens in this price range are normally a little heavier and don’t have this kind of texture, so this was a negative for me personally. The pen felt well-balanced with the cap was off, but it was so light that it felt a little off-balance with the cap on. Another reviewer mentioned his cap didn’t click on the end of the pen securely, but mine did click on with a bit of pressure.Steps to use the pen:1. Download the app2. Power on and pair the pen3. Start writingThis was very easy and worked even when the pen was not close to the phone (iPhone X). I plugged the pen in to my computer in my home office to charge it with the cable provided, then went to the kitchen where my phone was charging to download the app. App was easy to download and came with a great little slideshow that highlighted the basics of how to use the pen. Skimmed through it quickly, thinking I could return to it later. Turned on Bluetooth, left the phone in the kitchen, went back to the office and the pen was already communicating with my phone in the other room. Couldn’t have been easier.COMMUNICATING WITH THE APPSince my pen was already communicating, I just started writing. However, if the pen isn’t already communicating but is on, it easily pairs by tapping the Smart Paper Device Pairing icon with the pen.As long as you’re connected through Bluetooth, the pen will automatically sync to the app; your handwriting appears on the screen in real time, which I thought was pretty cool.TRANSFER OF HANDWRITING/MAKING CHANGESThe pen records your writing with a tiny camera located near the tip, so the pen must be held correctly for the camera to align with your writing. I wrote five complete pages in the included mini-notebook both in print and in cursive to see how the camera and app handled things. The app transferred my handwriting flawlessly. Holding the pen correctly was intuitive.However, you can also write with Bluetooth off as long as the pen is turned on. The pen keeps what you write in memory until the next time it pairs with the app, then it transfers everything seamlessly. I tried this and found it worked very well. I didn’t need to do anything to get the text to transfer; it just went as soon as the pen paired with the app.The only hiccup came when I wrote out a long word, “preternatural,” pausing a few seconds in the middle of the word while Bluetooth was off. The pen transfers to the app in “snippets.” Every time you pause, even for a few seconds, a new snippet is created. Since I paused to be sure I was spelling “preternatural” correctly, it created a new snippet in the middle of the word and in the process, got the order of my text mixed up. The transfer somehow got the last half of the word first, then inserted the following line of text, then put “pre” on the next line by itself (see photo). I wrote several more pages, but this was the only time I had this problem.I think the snippets feature would be very valuable for taking brief notes, but if you’re journaling or writing out full pages and pause every now and then, it does break things up a lot. It’s not a huge issue, however, because snippets are only visible in the Feeds tab and you can merge them easily. On the Page tab, you can see your entire page as written.I experimented with a few things while writing and transferring, including getting close to the side and bottom edges of the paper. The pen handled the sides of the paper very well, but you cannot write all the way to the very bottom edge of the paper. If you get too close to the edge, the pen will beep and some text may be cut off. I appreciated the warning, which worked well.A couple of times I stopped writing long enough that the pen disconnected from the app. To reconnect, you tap the Device Pairing icon on the Smart Paper. Although this didn’t work on the first try every time, it did work after a couple of tries. I’m assuming there may be a learning curve here on how exactly to hold the pen while tapping the icon so I didn’t consider this a big detraction, especially since the pen automatically transfers even if you can’t get it connected right away.There was one time that I couldn’t get it to connect at all. I contacted Customer Support through Chat and they told me how to reset it (this didn’t take long but did involve shutting down every app on my iPhone) and re-pairing.CUSTOMER SUPPORT/DOCUMENTATIONIn addition to transferring handwritten words to the app, you can convert your handwriting to text. Unfortunately, instructions on how to do this aren’t included in the written instructions provided with the pen, and the feature wasn’t readily apparent on the app menu, either. But I knew it could be done because I’d seen it mentioned in the slideshow when the app first downloaded. I looked online for instructions on how to do this, but the only thing I could find was some outdated information about a third-party app that’s no longer used for the Livescribe 3.Finally, I found the Help menu in the app. It’s not intuitive to find, as it’s halfway down the “Settings” page. There was an option for Chat, so I tried that.When I first connected to Chat, I got a message that said the team would reply “as soon as possible,” “here or by email.” This was vague and not very reassuring; however, I could see that there were two reps online, so I decided to wait. After a few minutes, a rep came online. I told him I was having trouble locating the instructions to convert writing to text and asked if he could tell me where those instructions were. I also asked if there was a way to access the introduction that popped up when I first connected to the app. After a little back and forth, he told me how to transcribe.His explanation was easy to understand and worked, although it didn’t answer either of my original questions on where to locate the instructions. I asked about that again, and the rep sent me a link to the same Quick Start Guide that was provided with the pen – the one that did NOT include instructions on how to convert handwriting. I asked again about accessing the intro, but only got a reply that the link he sent provided an introduction and a guide. Which was true, but it didn’t include any of the information I asked about.When I pointed this out, the rep confirmed that the link didn’t include the information about transcription, then he sent me more detailed instructions. He also sent a copy of our conversation to my email, but never answered my question about how to access the slideshow again. In the process of writing this review, I went back and reviewed the Settings menu and found a Show Tutorial link. The slideshow is there, and it contains instructions on how to transcribe handwriting to text. I also found a link to Livescribe Support in the Settings menu; unfortunately, that link takes you to support for the Livescribe 3 rather than the Aegir.I used the Chat function three more times over 2 days for other questions, and each time I got a live, helpful person within a few minutes. One of the reps did mention they don’t recommend using Chat through the mobile device, as it creates multiple cases when the web browser closes.TRANSCRIBING HANDWRITING TO TEXTTranscribing handwriting to text was very easy. You just go to the Feeds tab, then left swipe on the handwriting snippet you want to convert. You can select multiple snippets at once and convert all of them at the same time. I was very surprised at how well the app converted my handwritten words to text. I only saw a couple of errors in 5 pages of writing. The Livescribe app performed this task significantly better than trying to do this with the Rocketbook Everlast. You can edit the transcription, but I didn’t so it could be seen in the review.Line breaks stay as written. Since I was writing in the small 3×5 notebook, the result was that my converted text had the look of poetry. This might be less of an issue if you’re writing in a wider notebook. Some apps handle this differently. My Rocketbook Everlast, for instance, doesn’t insert line breaks at all. I like the way the Aegir handles line breaks better even with the multiple snippets.The app even corrected words that were not complete on the handwriting transfer. For instance, on one page, I wrote the word “ferocity” too low on the page, so the lower half of the F didn’t transfer. However, when I converted to text, the word “ferocity” was correct despite missing half the letter in the handwritten version.In the app, your original handwriting “shows through” the converted text as if the page has been turned over (see photo). This is a cool feature because it reminds you that you can swipe back and forth between converted text and handwriting and both will still be there. However, when you send the converted text out of the app, it transfers as just text.RECORDING AUDIOThe Aegir records audio (“Pencasts”) via the app. There is no recorder on the pen, so unlike recording your writing (which can be transferred later), you must be connected to Bluetooth to record. Your phone also needs to be within recording distance of whatever you’re listening to.I found this was a little easier said than done. Several times I tapped the Record icon and nothing happened. This may have just been due to a learning curve of tapping with the pen in the correct position; I’m not sure. I was always able to eventually get it to record. My pen also didn’t record if my phone had gone to Sleep mode; I had to wake it back up again. This could be problematic if you’re trying to record something quickly, like if you’re in the middle of a lecture and need more explanation for later.Theoretically you should be able to tell when you’re recording because the Ready light on the pen turns red during audio recording. In practice, however, the location of the Ready light makes this difficult to see while you’re writing since it’s located between your fingers. It would be nice if Livescribe moved the Ready light higher up so it’s easily visible while writing, both for audio and for general purposes so you can always see if you’re connected to Bluetooth or not. The app also shows a red Recording bar, which is helpful.After being transferred to the app, Pencasts are easily located. On full page view, the text is green wherever there’s a recording. Tapping on the green text plays the recording (see photo). Individual recordings are also accessible from the main menu, the Feeds tab, and from a separate Pencasts tab. Although I’m pretty sure I saw Pencasts in my Pencast tab at first, by the time I wrote this review my Pencasts tab was greyed out so I couldn’t access them that way. However, they were still accessible from the main menu and from the Page and Feeds tabs. You can also add voice recordings directly in the app after the fact.ADDING PHOTOS AND TEXTYou can easily add photos to your handwritten or transcribed material by tapping the paper clip in the Feeds menu. The photos are inserted at the bottom of the text. I couldn’t figure out a way to insert them anywhere else, such as between snippets, for example.TAGS/COLLECTIONS/LIVESCRIBE PDFsThe Quick Start Guide indicates tags can be made while writing; however, the notebook supplied with the pen did not have the tags icon included on the Smart Paper. According to the Tutorial, adding tags can also be done in the Actions menu. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the Actions menu, so I didn’t test this feature.There are also menu options for Collections and Livescribe PDFs. I didn’t test these features because tapping on them brought up blank screens with no explanations and there was no mention of how to use them in the QuickStart Menu or the Tutorial.TRANSFERING FILESYou can transfer files to Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive and OneNote. These can all be pre-configured in Settings. There are also 3 “Quick Send” cloud service shortcuts that you can configure in Setup. You can also “share” individual snippets in the Files tab via email or message, and you can print snippets directly from the app. I emailed a snippet and it worked without a hitch.My biggest complaints with the Aegir were the difficulties in initially getting the smart icons to work, which I hope resolves itself with some practice, and the lack of instructions in the app and online, which I *really* hope they fix quickly. In the first 48 hours that I had this pen, I connected with Chat 4 different times because of the lack of clarity, and I still have a few questions. This is a new product, so hopefully some changes are on the way. But overall, I thought the pen worked very well and I’m pleased with my purchase.
This pen does not work out of the box. Support is not helpful. Have to jump threw a hundred hoops just to get it to pair. Sending it back! After wasting hours with someone from Livescribe who knew nothing about the pen and refused to escalate, I got it to work by myself but it only worked a short time. Very frustrating mostly because you cannot escalate support. You get one guy and he doesn’t really help you at all. The pen will not stay syncd and is difficult to sync back. The support person told me he was adding my serial number to get an updated firmware but he never did it and it never worked. POOR POOR SERVICE. I’m going to look for a different brand.Update: so I spent an entire day working with Livescribe and it was one issue after another. They did not fix the problem and I ended up returning the pen. HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE…I wasted an entire day for nothing. The pen has many issues. Syncing is one, support is another, tags don’t work, the pen rattles. Taking my business elsewhere.
Christopher M. Schwartz –
UPDATE: I spent time with the Livescribe Help line today and I am so frustrated. I have been told that to get my pen to work I have to find a Windows computer or a Android phone. In short I can’t update my firmware on my Macbook Pro, iPad or iPhone. WOW, I like the pen so much that I am trying to do just that without having to spend a fortune in buying Windows or some other program to make this work. However, Livescribe, YOU HAVE FAILED ON THIS RELEASE! I will keep this updated, but if I have to return the pen I am dropping this down to one star for their lack of foresight!FIRST VERSIONFirst, let me say that I have had the Livescribe Echo, the Livescribe 3 and now this one. I received the pen and it paired rather simply and worked with my older notepads (Black Lined Journal and 3-Subject Notebook) and that was were it stopped working correctly. I should note that all of this happened in the middle of an all-day training session, where I felt like I spent more time fighting with the pen than I did taking notes.First, after I shut it down and then reopened it would not reconnect with my phone. After about 10 minutes I got it to re-connect, but each time I put the cap on and it goes to sleep it does not want to re-connect with my app (yes the app is up to date). The one time I got it to re-connect it said the battery was at a 64% after only being used for about 3-4 hours and then after that all I got for the rest of the day was a red blinking light and no connection or recording of any kind. When I got hope I put it on the charger all night and got it to reconnect to show that the memory was at 0% and the batter was at 100%. Then I shut it down and now I can’t get it to re-connect with the app on my phone.I have read reviews about an Firmware update, but not on how to get the update since my phone and pen won’t connect. I will work on this for the next few days and then the pen is going back for a refund and replacement. I am hopeful that the next one will be better.I am very disappointed in the quality of the pen software, but I love the feel of this pen as it is not as heavy and bulky as the other Livescribe pens I have owned and still have in my possession.
James E Harper –
I like the small size. Having some trouble getting BT to connect. Randomly stops recording sound during recording session. I am marginally disappointed. I will keep experimenting. I used my Livescribe Wi-Fi for three years so I am an experienced user. Liked it but the one was too big and drew attention then people were nervous. Would love the function of the Wi-Fi version in the smaller pen.
Great technology, bad production, the pen feels cheap and the plastic is, well, cheap. the cover of the pen is loose and does not fit the back. The technology works, the words come to the screen as you are writing. Converting your handwriting to a text is not working, thou they think it does, well it does not, you can get the text converted, however, the software sorts the text by the time you wrote it. SOOO if you write a word, and you cross it an hour later, you cross through line comes by itself at the end of the document, so you end up with loads of dots and lines at the end of the document and there is no way to put them back even if you have a few hours to spare to tailor your document. I think the company is capable to f-it-up. great technology, not mature yet. not very optimistic that they are capable or serious about fixing these issues. I pray to be wrong in this case. They tried to brush me off few times, but finally, they started to listen and thanked me for my input, then when I followed up, they said your issue is with a manager, it is not my issue it is your software issue I am trying to give you my feedback. The manager was sorta saying will fix it, don’t know when. Don’t call us, you will see the fix online. that was 2 weeks ago. not sure I will hold my breath. the good news is that it works perfectly if you need just a PDF, which you can do by scanning your notebook and save $100. your choice.6/20 They released a new revision of the windows application. Same Sh..tuff. The new release did not address the issue despite the promise. As expected, called them, brushed me off, Saying: we don’t know when. We are working on it, b l a a h b l a aa h. I am returning the pen. I think I can use it but I don’t think I can handle dealing with BS. My prayers were not answered 🙂 🙂
Tadashi Arai –
I have been using Echo smart pen, and Pulse smart pen before. My Echo smart pen cannot show up information on its EL display, which is a known issue I could not get replacement service because I was outside of US. Anyway, I need a new one to replace my inconvenient pen.I would replace my Echo pen to this new one, but I found it cannot replace everything. First of all, my old pen data was stored and managed in Echo desktop (former Livescribe desktop) on Windows instead of Livescrive+ app for new pen. I need to keep those two application to refer old pen data. Second, this new pen cannot record, hold and playback the audio data by itself. Without microphone, the pen depends on companion device (paired smartphone or PC) to record the audio. The pen itself can record only pen stroke plus additional timing data to synchronize the audio on external device. This is somewhat degradation from previous pen products, and it lost advantages from the other similar digital pen products.However, even those negative factor, this smart pen is still attractive and convenient with light, simple and smart feel of use. I highly recommend this product rather than the other similar pen products.The set came with an A5 Lined Journal 1 notebook (gray covered), but I had been using A5 Grid notebook with old Echo pen. I switched use Aegir pen from middle of the book without problem. Both pen strokes were detected by Livescrive+ app.
It is not perfect. But it does everything the manufacturer says it will do. Notes in the note pad, every time. I use it for my “daily notes”. It is preserved forever. (I don’t cross out my “completed tasks” with the SMART PEN, I use a red pen. That way the original is still pristine to read in the future. The only problem is I shell out $90 for a pen and it has a 5 cent ink cartridge. You can’t really buy better ones anywhere. They could have tried a little harder. I am happy to pay through the nose to get a good one.