It is amazing to see how much pens have evolved since the introduction of the ball point pen. They now write better, faster and come with smart capabilities. The Neo Smartpen and the Livescribe are excellent smartpens that are a bit pricey, but come with enough features to make them must-have devices. The Livescribe comes with recording capabilities to help you record your lectures, an OLED display to give you a quick visual status indication and a whopping 2GB of storage while the Neo comes with an impressive design, Bluetooth capabilities and a simple, minimalistic dot display. Which one beats the other? We compare the two smart pens against each other and help you make a judgment as to which pen is best for you.

Alternatively, just skip to either the Neo Smartpen or the Livescribe on Amazon

Table of Contents

Quick Comparison Table Neo Smartpen vs Livescribe

Neo Smartpen N2Livescribe Echo
ImageNeo Smartpen vs LivescribeNeo Smartpen vs Livescribe
Storage capacity90 MB internal storage2GB internal storage
Replaceable ink cartridge?YesYes
CompatibilityNeo Notes, Evernote, Google Drive Manager, OneNote, and Creative Cloud.Echo Desktop software for Mac or Windows
Application usedMobile App for iOS or AndroidDesktop app for Mac or Windows
Need special paper?NoYes – Livescribe Dot Paper
Design6.14 x 0.43 x 0.43 inches / 3.53 ounces8.5 x 2.5 x 6.8 inches / 1.28 ounces
Recording capabilitiesNo – it uses your smartphoneYes
Tap to replay audioNoYes
DisplayDot displayOLED display
Record iconsNoYes
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

Key Similarities between the Neo Smartpen and the Livescribe

  • Replaceable ink cartridge
  • Typical Use

Key Differences between the Neo Smartpen and the Livescribe

  • Paper used
  • Bluetooth
  • Design
  • Recording capabilities
  • Application used
  • Compatiblitity
  • Mobile application
  • Speaker

A Comprehensive Comparison between the Neo Smartpen and the Livescribe

1                    Replaceable Ink Cartridge

Writing technology has existed for several millennia. In the early days, the people who existed at that time would use blood to make their drawings on caves. These drawings were their form of writing and they depicted their day to day lives. A few thousands of years later, writing was invented. Man would engrave his writings in clay tablets or stone tablets. Technology evolved and man eventually started to use papyrus reeds and quills. He would dip the quill into the ink tank and when the ink would run out, this tank would be refilled. This technology was copied by many of the writing and printing mechanisms that were later developed as they all had a refillable “tank.” This tank is commonly known as a cartridge and most printing devices have refillable cartridges. The Neo Smartpen and the Livescribe are no different. They allow for you to use refillable cartridges.

2                    Typical Use

When you go to an academic institution such as a primary school, high school, college or university, you will soon realize that you need a place to write your notes and a pen to write the notes. One may argue that the latest developments in technology have resulted in us living in a “paperless society” but after spending an hour in such academic institutions, you will quickly see that we have not reached that stage yet. The Neo Smartpen and the Livescribe are both used for writing notes and they take advantage of their unique features to help make the note taking process quick and easy.

3                    Storage Capacity

The Livescribe Echo is equipped with more storage capacity than the Neo Smartpen N2. As you probably know, storage is a critical component of any electronic system. This is because data that is processed by the central processing unit needs to be stored in a storage device in order for it to be used at a later date. The Neo Smartpen N2 comes with up to 2GB of internal storage. The manufacturer claims that this will allow you to store up to 200 hours of audio, depending on the audio quality settings chosen.

4                    Compatibility

The advances in technology have given rise to cloud computing. In cloud computing, one is able to store data in servers that are accessible from any part of the world as long as you enter the right credentials and if you have a reliable internet connection. This has given rise to a lot of cloud applications designed to keep you productive. The Neo Smartpen N2 is compatible with more platforms than the Livescribe. The Neo Smartpen allows you to use the native Neo Notes app together with Evernote, Google Drive Manager, OneNote, and Creative Cloud. The Livescribe Echo, however, only allows you to use the Echo desktop software for Mac or Windows.

5                    Application

The Neo Smartpen and the Livescribe use different applications. The Neo Smartpen appears is more relevant to modern users than the Livescribe. This is because it comes with a mobile application. The majority of people on the planet use mobile devices. This means that they are more likely to choose a device with mobile application support than they would if a device had no mobile application support. The Livescribe only supports desktop computers.

6                    Paper

The Neo Smarpen N2 is compatible with more types of paper and writing material than the Livescribe Echo. The Livescribe Echo is only compatible with “Livescribe Dot Paper.” This is a special type of paper is regular paper printed with a unique pattern of tiny microdots that act like a GPS system for your smartpen. This allows your smartpen to capture everything it writes on that dot paper. The Neo Smartpen, however, can be used on the special paper mentioned above, on paper, on transparent film, on an LCD screen or print by laser printers that support post script printing. This makes it great for home or office use.

7                    Connection Interface

The Neo Smartpen and the Livescribe have different connection interfaces. The Neo Smartpen supports  Bluetooth connectivity. It is equipped with the advanced Bluetooth 4.0 technology. This allows you to connect your pen to your mobile phone wirelessly. The Livescribe comes with a wired connection interface. It allows you to connect it to your computer using the USB interface.

8                    Recording Capabilities

The Livescribe is equipped with better recording capabilities than the Neo Smartpen. The Livescribe allows you to record your lectures, meetings through the use of the inbuilt recording microphone. This captures all of the details in the environment that you are in, making it easy to hear everyone speaking. The Neo Smartpen is different. In order for you to gain access to the recording capabilities, you first need to activate Bluetooth. After that, you pair it with your mobile phone. After pairing it with your mobile phone, you then use your mobile phone to do the recording. This can be seen as an inconvenience as you will need to use two devices to accomplish a task that a single device is supposed to do.

9                    Additional Features

The Neo Smartpen does not come with an inbuilt speaker. This is a feature present in the Livescribe. It allows you to hear your notes quite clearly. It also comes with a special feature that utilizes this speaker feature. This feature is called the “Tap to replay audio” feature. In this feature, you use take the pen to a certain part where you have notes written. It replays the audio that it recorded at that very moment. How cool is that? The Neo Smartpen does not have that feature. The Livescribe also comes with a better design. It is lighter than the Neo Smartpen which will make it much more comfortable to write with for long periods of time. It also comes with a small OLED display which makes it look like a futuristic device straight out of a Sci-Fi movie. The Neo Smartpen has a dot display. This is a series of tiny LEDs that are used to give visual indications.

Our Pick

We found this to be quite tough. On one hand, we had a device that is better suited for mobile devices but lacked all the special features. On the other hand, we had a device which had everything except a dedicated mobile application and wide compatibility. We eventually decided to go with the Livescribe Echo. This is because it comes with an impressive amount of storage, it comes with a gorgeous design and it comes with the super futuristic “Tap to replay audio” feature.

Why Do You Need a Smartpen?


Smartpens allow for you to get a digital copy of what you write. This is much easier than writing your notes using a traditional gel pen, taking your phone and scanning all the notes. They come with dedicated applications which make the process of making a digital copy of your notes quick and easy.


Have you had situations in which you are writing your notes and the lecturer pronounces the word in a special way and you forget it soon after the lecture? The smart pens allow for you to record the audio together with the text so that you can hear all the audio that was recorded.


Smartpens are eye candy. They are designed to be a conversation starter. If you are someone who likes having fancy gadgets and gizmos then this is the perfect device for you. In addition, it makes for a very good Christmas gift!

Factors to Consider When Choosing between the Neo Smartpen and theLivescribe

1                    Compatibility

If you are someone who wants to use several platforms such as Evernote, OneNote, Creative Cloud and Google Drive Manager, you are better off with the Neo Smartpen. This is because it supports all of these SaaS products unlike the Livescribe Echo which is mainly compatible with the Echo Desktop software package.

2                    Device

The Neo Smartpen and the Livescribe were made to be used with different computer platforms. The Neo Smartpen is best suited for those who mainly use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The Livescribe is the better option if you mainly use desktop computers and laptops.

3                    Weight

This is an important feature to consider when deciding between the two devices. In general, the lighter a pen is, the more comfortable it is. The Livescribe comes at a much lighter weight than the Neo Smartpen. This means that if you are a student who expects to write a ton of notes during your semester, then you may find the Livescribe to be a better option.

4                    Paper

The Neo Smartpen and the Livescribe are able to be used on different writing materials. The Livescribe was designed to be used exclusively on Livescribe Dot Paper. The Neo Smartpen was made to be compatible with a wide variety of writing materials. These include smart paper like the Livescribe Dot Paper, traditional paper, on transparent film and even on LCD screens.

5                    Design

The Neo Smartpen and the Livescribe come in different designs. The Livescribe was made to look like a futuristic device straight from an Avengers movie. It has a gorgeous OLED display and it is just aesthetically pleasing. The Neo Smartpen does not look too bad but it is clearly outshined by its rival in this regard.

6                    Additional Features

The Neo Smartpen and the Livescribe have different additional features. The Neo Smartpen allows you to record the audio through the use of your mobile application which some may find convenient. The Livescribe allows you to tap the text that you would have written on the Livescribe Dot Paper to replay the audio. The audio is then played through the inbuilt speaker. If you want to replay the audio in a library, then fear not. The device comes with an audio jack that you can use to plug your headphones into. All this makes us strongly suggest that you give the Livescribe a try.

Neo Smartpen vs Livescribe FAQs

Can I Convert Handwriting to Text?

Yes you can. You just need to download the right applications for each pen and get ready to make your friends get blown away.

What Happens When They Run out of Ink?

Well that is no problem at all! You just need to purchase a new cartridge. You can easily pull out the old cartridge and replace it.

Do the Pens Record Audio?

Yes they do.

Can you Use the Pen with an iPad?

As long as it runs a supported version of iOS.

Can I use my PC?

Yes you can. Both pens support the use of PCs, with the Livescribe being the better option for use with a PC.


In this article, we explored the similarities and differences that exist between the Neo Smartpen and the Livescribe. After much deliberation, we declared the winner to be the Livescribe. This is because it comes with more internal storage, a better and more modern looking design as well as the amazing “Tap to replay audio” feature.

We included a comprehensive list of features to consider when choosing between the two smartpens. This will help you to choose which smartpen will best suit your needs for your particular application. Check out the best smartpen, the Livescribe on Amazon.