Livescribe Symphony overview

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1 minute overview

Coming across vaguely reminiscent of a gadget that James Bond might have utilized decades ago, the Livescribe Symphony is not the initially smartpen by any implies with Livescribe amongst numerous corporations vying to make a wonderful smartpen for customers.

On the other hand, it is a single of the couple of that appear to basically reside up to their promises. Truly operating incredibly effectively, the Livescribe Symphony is an appealingly priced selection – if of course pricier than typical a pen and paper. If you are keen to make your note taking a small far more powerful, this is a excellent option.

It appears just like a common pen, albeit a small chunkier, and it operates a lot like a single. Exactly where it differs is that it has a camera pointed down at the nib so that it is in a position to record every little thing your pen writes just before transmitting a digital version of the benefits to an accompanying app. At its simplest, it is ‘just’ a typical pen but that ruins the point if you are prepared to commit the £119.99/$109.99 value tag that comes with it.

To get the most out of it, you will will need specially dotted paper also, with the Livescribe Symphony coming with a modest notepad. But ideally, it is worth spending £24.99 on the executive journal pack so you have some devoted paper prepared for the job. It really is feasible to print your personal out through the Livescribe web page but if you are going to the expense of purchasing a smartpen, it tends to make sense to also chip in for a good journal to use alongside it.

(Image credit: Future)

Setup is fairly very simple. Just plug the Livescribe Symphony into a energy supply so it powers on for the initially time then download the app to pair it up with. We located the initially technique did not function but the Livescribe app gives several techniques to pair up and the second technique worked incredibly immediately. Crucially, when you do run into an challenge, there normally appears to be an option that implies you quickly get items operating.

As soon as the app and smartpen are paired up, you can start writing. It really is just as very simple and apparent as writing like standard. The only distinction is that if the Livescribe Symphony app is subsequent to you, you can see it seem on screen. The app and pen recognises when you are working with distinctive notebooks which is a wonderful touch if you like to retain function and pleasure separate. The only downside is that seeing your handwriting seem on screen might quickly remind you that it is not as fairly searching as it might have as soon as been, but we’re ok to skip vanity.

As soon as the info is on screen, you can select to use the app’s OCR function to switch it more than to text or you can leave it as handwriting. It really is also feasible to share the content material with several common solutions like Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive and OneNote.

You can record audio clips also even though this is dependent on your phone’s microphone as the Livescribe Symphony does not have a single constructed-in, in contrast to earlier Livescribe models that automatically synced text with recorded audio. It really is a beneficial bonus but, eventually, you are almost certainly taking into consideration this pen for its writing capabilities rather than something else.

(Image credit: Future)

It operates remarkably effectively at selecting up your words speedily. The only true challenge we came across was occasional pairing problems. At times, just after a although of not working with it, we’d return to the Livescribe Symphony and uncover that we necessary to repair the pen with our telephone. It typically wasn’t a major challenge but as soon as in a although, a challenging reboot/placing the lid on the pen for a couple of seconds was required to get every little thing operating smoothly once more.

General even though, we had been fairly impressed with the Livescribe Symphony. It could not be great and we have slight reservations upon the will need to invest in ink refills and (ideally) devoted paper, but as this device appears most effective for note taking rather than essay writing, this should not be an challenge also normally.

Value and availability

The Livescribe Symphony is priced at £119.99/$109.99 but you will will need to issue in extra operating expenses. Ink refills expense £9.99/$9.99 for a pack of eight and notebooks expense from £8.99/$eight.99.

The paper is not essential as it is feasible to print out the expected microdot paper through the Livescribe web page but it does support a lot. It really is far far more easy to invest in a notebook or journal and use that to create in than deal with the hassle of printing your personal. Just bear in thoughts the added expense when budgeting accordingly.


The Livescribe Symphony appears like a typical pen. It really is a somewhat chunky searching fountain pen but it nevertheless appears rather attractive and it is uncomplicated adequate to grip onto, even with modest hands and fingers.

(Image credit: Future)

Pull the pen lid off and you will notice its fine nib appears like a far more higher-finish pen than a very simple ballpoint pen. That is reflected in how it writes. It glides across the paper effectively, not scratching at all, and feeling comfy to use.

The other finish of the pen is devoted to the USB connector. It really is not the prettiest searching point but you will barely notice it in action, specially when you location the pen lid on that side. In the end, although you know this is a smartpen, you will not be punished with the sensation of carrying an oversized clever device when in the boardroom or taking notes in class.


Setup is relatively simple with the Livescribe Symphony. We merely plugged it into a energy supply then switched more than to the iOS app to sync up. Its syncing approach is not like with usual Bluetooth devices as you have to do it through the devoted app, but it is intuitive adequate and tells you precisely what to do. A backup sync technique has you holding your finger to the pen tip which is a bit uncomfortable but you really should be fine with the standard technique of tapping on the ‘device pairing’ icon on your notebook or pad of paper.

(Image credit: Future)

We necessary to re-sync a couple of occasions through use as the connection was sometimes lost just after not working with the Livescribe Symphony for a quick time, but this wasn’t also fiddly. Crucially, we did not shed any info as the Livescribe Symphony promises to be in a position to retailer a whopping 1,200 A4 pages of content material without the need of needing to sync up. That is arguably exactly where the Livescribe Symphony operates most effective – with the thought that you never will need the app incredibly normally.

In a commonly 21st century way, the pen necessary a firmware update when we initially synced up but it only took a couple of minutes and we can not see this occurring incredibly normally.

As soon as set up, you can get on with writing as if working with a typical and standard pen. It really is no far more complex than writing in the standard manner with the Livescribe Symphony app undertaking the challenging function for you.

Characteristics and app efficiency

A great deal of the Livescribe Symphony’s characteristics are tied into how the Livescribe app operates. As virtually ordinary as it sounds, the Livescribe Symphony itself merely just operates like a pen. It really is not till you sync it up to the app that you can see exactly where the magic occurs.

(Image credit: Future)

For instance, the Livescribe app rather smartly divides up content material according to which notebook you utilized to create in. We tested it across the bundled in notebook along with a chunkier lined journal, and located the app and pen properly divided items up according to the distinctive notebooks utilized as effectively as person pages involved.

If you are attempting to be far more organised or you merely want separate notebooks for separate projects, this is immensely beneficial. Also, it is merely rather fancy that the pen is in a position to recognize items so effectively.

If you’d rather view items according to every little thing the pen has recorded, you can normally tap the Feed button and view the text en masse saving you the will need to bear in mind which notebook contained which info.

(Image credit: Future)

When you have written anything up, you can merely double tap the resulting piece of text and the Livescribe app will use OCR to convert it to text. We located it was relatively correct even with our dodgy scrawling handwriting but if you do come across an error, you can conveniently right it your self.

With every single piece of text, you can also add tags or produce reminders tied to it lending the Livescribe Symphony completely to producing buying or to-do lists so a lot far more powerful than just before, permitting you to conveniently search by way of your notes.

There is a fair quantity of flexibility right here with the Livescribe Symphony even in a position to choose up drawings in numerous situations, not that this really should be viewed as a replacement for a graphics tablet by any implies.

Becoming in a position to record audio through the app is a beneficial bonus but it is not precisely a dealbreaker. If the Livescribe Symphony had a constructed-in microphone, that would be a distinctive matter but we reckon the audio recording characteristics are far more there to supplement what you are writing, rather than as a important function.

(Image credit: Future)

Similarly, the Livescribe Symphony is in a position to choose up handwriting recognition in 27 languages, but you will will need to switch in between them rather than have the app choose items up on the fly and convert accordingly. Nevertheless, it is a good selection to have.

Really should I invest in the Livescribe Symphony

Obtain it if…

You enjoy the tactile knowledge of writing
We all commit a lot of our time these days typing but if you miss writing, this is the most effective of each worlds. You can get pleasure from writing once more although nevertheless becoming in a position to conveniently move that info across to important cloud solutions.

You want an uncomplicated way to gather notes
If you are an avid notetaker or journal writer, the Livescribe Symphony enables you to continue to do this although also possessing a permanent record of what you create rather than relying solely on a physical item.

You will need to create notes normally for function
Frequently scrawl down notes in meetings and can not form rather? This is wonderful for these moments when you will need to merely create down a couple of words to be reminded of anything important later on, and the pencast/dictaphone style function backs that up if your telephone is nearby.

Do not invest in it if…

You never create incredibly normally
It could sound apparent but if you merely never like writing, this will not convert you. Stick to typing frantically on your telephone or laptop through meetings.

You will need a dictaphone
Becoming in a position to record voice messages is beneficial but it depends on your telephone becoming present. This is not a replacement for a complete device with a constructed-in microphone.

You are on a price range
We never feel you will will need ink refills also normally, or far more paper also often, but it is anything to take into account. This is not a a single-time only buy. It really is like purchasing a printer and you will will need to replenish stock from time to time.

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