"Good idea, miserable execution"0.5 starson by newt43
Pros: Does what it says: syncs your recordings to your handwritten notes.
Cons: Cheap rollerball writes like old bic pen. Hard to remove and replace ink cartridge. Scratching from the rollerball can be heard on recordings. Proprietary paper is low-quality but costly. Tiny, oddly-shaped cap is easy to lose. Poor build quality.
Summary: This pen is a great idea, but the execution is abysmal. The ink cartridges are of terrible quality--somewhere south of an old bic ballpoint. This matters not simply because one expects a better writing experience with a $200 pen, but because the roller ball scratches against the paper and this sound is picked up by the mic, which makes listening to recordings extremely annoying. Pen's construction is cheap-feeling (unlike its predecessor the Pulse, which had some heft to it). The pen is strangely shaped: in order to prevent it rolling off the table, they have given it an oval shape that is uncomfortable in the hand. Why they couldn't just add a clip (think old parker pen) is beyond me.
One particularly glaring example of this pen's myriad design failures: to replace an ink cartridge, you are expected to grab the tip of the roller ball with your fingers and yank it out. I cannot explain how difficult this is: the cartridge has a diameter of 1mm, and it is pretty well jammed into the slot. Get ready to break some fingernails. The old Pulse had a tool on the usb cradle that helped with this, but the Echo has no such thing. It's this kind of thoughtlessness that makes one lose confidence in a product like this very quickly.
Overall, this was a huge disappointment. I've lusted after this product for two years, but thought I'd wait until they ironed out the kinks with the Pulse. Alas, if the Echo represents the apotheosis of the smartpen, then I'll have to pass. This awkward contraption is neither an excellent pen nor an excellent recording device, and the whole is most assuredly less than the sum of its parts. It was with great relief that I returned it a mere 12 hours after having purchased it. Do not buy this product.