Livescribe 3 vs. Equil Jot: New Smartpens Digitize Your Notes Wirelessly
New smartpens can sync your pen-on-paper notes to your computer or mobile device. / Credit: Shutterstock

A new generation of “smartpen” devices makes it easier than ever to sync your written notes with your computer or mobile device, so you'll never misplace any crucial information jotted down during a business meeting.

This week marked the launch of both the Livescribe 3 and Equil Jot, the first smartpens that can sync your pen-on-paper notes to your iPad, iPhone or computer in real time.

The Livescribe 3 works by tracking the marks made in special Livescribe notebooks (sold separately), then recreating your notes in digital form.

Unlike older models, which required users to connect the smartpen to their laptop via USB to initiate syncing, the new Livescribe pen maintains a Bluetooth connection to do the feat wirelessly.

It is currently compatible only with iOS devices, though Android support is coming in the near future.

The Livescribe 3 starts at $149 for the pen, a 50-sheet starter notebook and one ink cartridge.

Livescribe’s device will face off against the new Equil Jot smartpen. Notably, Equil’s pen can capture notes taken on any kind of paper – even a loose napkin.

The functionality of Equil’s pen, which also syncs notes wirelessly via Bluetooth, is similar to the Livescribe 3, with one caveat. Instead of requiring the use of special paper, the Jot captures your notes with the help of a special motion-sensing receiver.

The small receiver can be clipped to the top of a notebook or simply positioned near your notebook on a flat table.

Either smartpen could be a boon to business users. Automatic syncing means you’ll never lose notes from an important business meeting. And because the notes are recreated in digital form, it’s easy to share them with collaborators or employees.

The Equil Jot costs $149 for the pen and receiver.