Total Cost of Ownership for a LiveScribe Pulse Smart Pen?


YouTube video courtesy of Gear Diary/rabbidmc

I’ve been thinking about getting a pair of LiveScribe Pulse Smartpens (one for me and one for my daughter) for well over a year now after seeing not one, but three different people I know enthusiastically demonstrating it to me. I began thinking about it again after seeing not just one but two new blogger reviews appear in the past week. Two reviews of a relatively old product is somewhat rare. One is by James Kendrick (jkOnTheRun)…

Pulse Smartpen- OneNote Without the Computer

The other one is by Dan Cohen (Gear Diary)…

Review – Livescribe Pulse Smartpen

The video embedded above is also Dan’s work.

So, like the Amazon Kindle 2 issue for me (price vs. when would I use it), it comes down to the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) in relation to actual usage. Here’s what I’m looking at…

1. LiveScribe 2G Pulse Smartpen: $199.95
2. LiveScribe Single Subject Spiral Notebook 4-pack: $19.95
3. LiveScribe 4 Medium Black & 1 Fine Red Ink Refills: $5.95
4. LiveScribe Journal 2-pack: $24.95

That totals up to $250.80 and becomes $501.60 if I buy two of everything. The cost actually is a bit lower because places like Amazon sell the items at a slight discount. There is a 1GB version of the pen that has a list retail price of $149.95. However, since an app store is expected to open for the pen later this year, it seems prudent to buy the larger capacity pen. Did I mention the pen does more than simply associate audio recordings with written notes on paper? Yes, it currently performs other functions like language translation and math calculations. Look for more functionality after the app store opens.

There is one more issue: The requirement for special paper that Dan brings up in his review. This concerns me a bit too. There is a way to print your own special micro-dot paper. However, it requires a 600dpi (dots per inch) color laser printer. Given the combined initial cost of the color laser printer and recurring cost of laser toner and electricity, it might be cheaper to simply buy what looks like reasonably priced LiveScribe notebooks.

I’m giving all this a bit more thought. But, the LiveScribe Pulse Smartpen looks like a more likely purchase candidate than an Amazon Kindle 2 in my near future.

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