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Livescribe 3 sends handwritten notes straight to your iPhone or iPad

This pen is definitely mightier than the stylus, as it gives you real-world note-taking coupled with mobile device world syncing.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
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The Livescribe 3 is a wireless ink pen that automatically syncs your handwritten notes with your iPhone or iPad.

This is totally going on my holiday wish list.

To look at the Livescribe 3, you'd hardly know it was a magic pen.
To look at the Livescribe 3, you'd hardly know it was a magic pen. Livescribe

Livescribe pens have long offered the ability to "record" your notes, but early models required manual syncing with your PC if you wanted to view them. Last year's Sky Wifi model cleverly added cloud syncing to the mix, delivering your scribbles straight to your Evernote account -- but only when connected to a Wi-Fi network.

With the Livescribe 3, everything happens locally: the pen pairs with your iPhone or iPad (sorry, Android users -- for now it's an iOS-only offering) via Bluetooth, instantly syncing to the free Livescribe+ app everything you write on special paper. From there, of course, you can share digitized notes via e-mail, SMS, AirDrop, Dropbox, Evernote, and so on.

Previous Livescribe pens could also record audio, but here that chore is handled by the app. Thankfully, these "pencasts" still keep the audio time-synced with your written notes. And without a built-in microphone, an on/off button, and a tiny screen, the Livescribe 3 looks more like a traditional business stylus and less like a Franken-pen.

The Livescribe 3 comes in two editions: Standard, which costs $149.95 and comes with a 50-page starter notebook and one black-in cartridge; and Pro, which costs $199.95 and includes a 100-page notebook, two ink cartridges, a leather portfolio, and a one-year Evernote Premium subscription (which itself is worth $45).

If that sounds a little too steep, Livescribe is currently offering 15 percent off any Livescribe pen purchase.

And while we're on the subject of saving money, you don't necessarily have to purchase Livescribe's special notebooks; you can actually print your own Livescribe-compatible sheets.

Just make sure you have a compatible device: the Livescribe 3 requires iOS 7 and a current-generation iPhone (4S or later) or iPad (3 or later). It's also compatible with the fifth-gen iPod Touch.

What do you think? Perfect tool for the business user? No good without Android support? Share your feedback in the comments.