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I've looked this up more than once, and have received this as the translation:

"Попутно отметим, что ..."

I really like how it sounds, but it appears to be a little too formal for general conversation, no? Is it possible to get away with it without sounding pretentious (i.e. like a smartass)? Thanks!

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I think, right here the translation may depend on style because there isn't a one-size-fits-all phrase for that in Russian. In some contexts "(И )кстати" is the best choice, in more formal "К слову", "Также/Попутно отметим (заметим), что " or "В качестве информации к размышлению" will suit more. I feel that in conversation "Кстати"/ "И кстати", "К слову", "Между прочим" are the best variants. When going informal you may also play with "Ну/Да, и ещё ..." (And, OK, also blah-blah-blah) – Shady_arc Jul 8 '14 at 0:19

It's difficult to be certain without a context, but one way is to say между прочим:

Графиня... сводила разговоры на любовь и между прочим рассказывала про своего близкого соседа, помещика Хвощинского... (И. Бунин, Грамматика любви)

Another option is кстати:

Тогда вы всю жизнь сидите в дворницкой, а я пойду за стульями. Кстати, первый стул над нашей головой. (И. Ильф, Е. Петров, Двенадцать стульев)

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"Попутно отметим" is definitely too formal for general conversation. As Aleks G pointed out, it's difficult to find a good translation without context. Just to add another variant: "к слову".

...южанин родом, я полюбил бедную петербургскую природу, белые весенние ночи, которые - к слову сказать - ничем не хуже наших пресловутых украинских ночей... (В.Гаршин, Петербургские письма)

I have to disagree with Garshin here, although I also love the white nights :)

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