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Old 03-14-2017, 09:47 AM   #1
openairwriter
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Epaper-ebook-reader with external-keyboard-support?

So, again I'm one of these persons looking for an e-paper-display ebook-reader able to be used as a writing device with an external Keyboard. I read the many Threads dealing with this topic, but most of the information seems to be outdated.

The purpose is to take notes or write rough drafts of scientific texts, sitting outside in the sun or being on public transport etc. Why an E-book-Reader? Because its lightweight, compact and has low energy consumption and a good readable display.

It should support the following features:

- connect to external keyboard via Bluetooth or USB-OTG
(It doesn't has to function out-of-the-box, but should work well after short adjustments)
- be able to safe text at least as .txt
- support mutated vowels (as Ä, ö, ü...)
- good usability
- low price (For ecological and "fair-trade"-reasons I would prefer second-hand-devices)
- not too old, so that there are still some programs/apps available
- perhabs it would be cool, if it would support emailing, internet-browsing and so on.

So, devices I found, are:

- Inkbook Prime, 6", 139€ new - But the Question is, if bluetooth-keyboards are really supported. Has anybody made some experiences? In a german Amazon.de-Feedback someone complains about bluetooth-Keyboard is not working.
- Onyx Boox Kepler, 6" - But I don't find a shop, where it can be bought.
- Onyx Boox M96, 9,7", 293€ new - on ereader-store you just can preorder it.

There are some others, like the Pocketbook pro 912 and Pocketbook pro 902, but in my eyes, they seem to be to old, work on linux (which is still better as other proprietary-OS) and their support of keyboards is far away from out-of-the-box. Further, there are the Onyx Boox N96 or other Highclass-devices (Sony Dpt-S1) which are far too expensive for me.

Has anybody made good experiences with one of the mentioned devices for the mentioned use-case or with another device?

Thank you and good bye,

Stephan
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Old 03-16-2017, 10:52 AM   #2
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Onyx is your safest bet for bluetooth. I have experimented a lot with a T68 and bluetooth with an external keyboard is very easy to set up and works well. IMO Onyx are the best e-ink tablets.

There is also an 8" Onyx you didn't list. Somebody is currently selling an M96 on the flea market subforum.

Last edited by Pajamaman; 03-16-2017 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 03-16-2017, 02:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Pajamaman View Post
Onyx is your safest bet for bluetooth. I have experimented a lot with a T68 and bluetooth with an external keyboard is very easy to set up and works well. IMO Onyx are the best e-ink tablets.
As I wrote in the other Thread: I find it hard to find a shop online, which delivers an Onyx device, which is not too expensive. The Kepler, which I could afford, is not available, the others, like M96 9,7" or N96 and so on are not affordable for me.

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There is also an 8" Onyx you didn't list. Somebody is currently selling an M96 on the flea market subforum.
Oh cool! Thank you for this fantastic tip! I didn't realize until now, that there's a fleamarket in this forum...

Good evening,

Stephan

Last edited by openairwriter; 03-16-2017 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 03-16-2017, 04:00 PM   #4
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Yotaphone 2.
It is a standard Android 4.4 phone that you can update to Android 5.0. I did update mine and I am very happy with it as a pocket reader. There is standard updater available from manufacturer, no hacking or rooting required.
I think that all programs and BT keyboards and suchlike should work just like on any other generic Android device.

Yotaphone 2 has 4.7 inch e-ink display on the back side. You can use dedicated e-book reading app here, or use various apps (such as clock, calendar, status indicator) built for this "always-on" display, OR mirror the main display. So you can use any app on the e-ink.
The e-ink display is not front-lit. When in poor lightning conditions you are supposed to use the 5" AMOLED on the other side.

There are last few pieces available from TinyDeal for about 130Eur. This price includes European VAT - they have it in their EU warehouse. They have been selling the YotaPhone 2 for this fire-sale price for some 6 months now and at the moment it is sold-out at the Gearbest and other Chinese servers.
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Old 03-17-2017, 07:54 AM   #5
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Yotaphone 2.
Thank you for your advise. I wonder, if the screen of the Yotaphone 2 would't be too uncomfortable because too small for writing. But I keep it in mind, because it's AMOLED-Screen allows to use it for more purposes...

If everything works well, I'll be soon the owner of the M92 offered in the flea-market, so my questions are answered for the moment...

Good bye and thank you for your help,

Stephan
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Old 03-19-2017, 02:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by openairwriter View Post
Thank you for your advise. I wonder, if the screen of the Yotaphone 2 would't be too uncomfortable because too small for writing. But I keep it in mind, because it's AMOLED-Screen allows to use it for more purposes...

If everything works well, I'll be soon the owner of the M92 offered in the flea-market, so my questions are answered for the moment...

Good bye and thank you for your help,

Stephan


I think you meant the recent M96, mentioned in our Flea Market Forum.

Goodbye. We'll see you in about 5 years, perhaps?

You don't need to be a stranger, you know.

Last edited by Dr. Drib; 03-19-2017 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 03-21-2017, 06:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dr. Drib View Post
I think you meant the recent M96, mentioned in our Flea Market Forum.
Oh, yes, I meant the M96

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Goodbye. We'll see you in about 5 years, perhaps?

You don't need to be a stranger, you know.
That's not, what I wanted to say...
But, truth to be told, I will be really new to Ebook-Readers, Android devices and so on, so I don't know, if I can help somebody in this Forum and won't be looking around here very often. And I hope, not to have too many questions, so I have not to fire questions at you.

So again, good bye, see you soon,

Stephan
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Old 03-22-2017, 10:58 AM   #8
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We've just checked and BT keyboard can be paired and works with inkBOOK Prime. The keyboard on the video is Genius LuxePad 9100. It works as well with Genius LuxePad Mini.

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Old 03-24-2017, 08:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by openairwriter View Post
Oh, yes, I meant the M96



That's not, what I wanted to say...
But, truth to be told, I will be really new to Ebook-Readers, Android devices and so on, so I don't know, if I can help somebody in this Forum and won't be looking around here very often. And I hope, not to have too many questions, so I have not to fire questions at you.

So again, good bye, see you soon,

Stephan

Let us know if you have questions: We're all here to help one another.

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Old 03-24-2017, 03:10 PM   #10
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We've just checked and BT keyboard can be paired and works with inkBOOK Prime. The keyboard on the video is Genius LuxePad 9100. It works as well with Genius LuxePad Mini.

ArtaTech, if this works, presumably we could be optimistic about getting other Bluetooth keyboards to work too? (I use an old but still unmatched iGo Stowaway foldable keyboard.)

And please forgive an ignorant question - I'm completely new to Android - but how easy is it (for a non-techy!) to install text-editing apps that synch online? I'm very tempted by the inkBOOK prime, but am much more interested in using it to write with than as a reader.
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Old 03-27-2017, 10:52 AM   #11
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ArtaTech, if this works, presumably we could be optimistic about getting other Bluetooth keyboards to work too? (I use an old but still unmatched iGo Stowaway foldable keyboard.)
Yes, that would be correct. However, if possible, we would test it before buying. There are many versions of BT, even more devices and we can't possibly test them all

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And please forgive an ignorant question - I'm completely new to Android - but how easy is it (for a non-techy!) to install text-editing apps that synch online? I'm very tempted by the inkBOOK prime, but am much more interested in using it to write with than as a reader.
At the moment you woud have to download and install APK file with the software of your choice. Soon we will broaden the portfolio of apps in the dedicated Midapolis App Store.
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Old 03-28-2017, 05:42 AM   #12
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And here is the promised video with proof of external keyboard support:


The keyboard was connected through OTG cable (microUSB-USB) and that's it. We would however be cautious when connecting a keyboard with backlit keys and/or USB Hub, the power from USB port might not be sufficient.
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Old 08-15-2018, 09:04 PM   #13
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Is there still no better solution for this? I'm just looking for a way to be able to do some serious writing outside in the sun. All that really requires, it seems to me, is a more 'open' e-ink solution, with bluetooth (to attach a keyboard), wifi and the ability to run (for instance) Google Docs...
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Old 08-22-2018, 10:32 AM   #14
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I posted on the Boyue T80 thread about my solution.
The Boyue T80 Likebook Plus (same as Icarus Illumina HD) works with a bluetooth keyboard. In fact, I've paired it with a logitech k380, a generic aluminum folding keyboard I-Clever, and the Brydge Mini. Pairing is a little quirky. I find that I have to unpair all devices before I add a new one.

The Boyue runs Android 4.22, so it runs Google Drive, but not Google Docs (there appears to be a workaround, but I haven't figured out how to load the older version of Docs yet)

When I write on the Boyue/Icarus, I use Jotter Pad which synchs to Google Drive, but you're limited to txt. files on the Boyue. Kingsoft Office works on the Boyue, but I find synching with Kingsoft Office kind of frustrating (it creates a new local file instead of saving directly to the cloud). I go back and forth from Calmly Writer on my Chromebook. There are some formatting issues with .txt files. I do final on Google Docs or LIbre Office, bur going back and forth from formatted rtf docx or Google Doc to txt has some hazards.

One warning, writing seems to use a fair amount of battery on an e-reader. E-ink's battery life comes from the fact that it takes little to no power to maintain a static screen. That's great if youre reading a full page of text. If you're writing, the screen is rewriting constantly and you're running bluetooth. If you synch a lot (something I do), you're using wi-fi quite a bit.

E-ink on a 300 dpi screen tends to do screenwrites a bit slowly. It's tolerable, but there's a slight delay and it's easy to type too fast for the screen. The Alphasmart is much quicker and my guess is that it's due to lower resolution and having dedicated software o/s for it. I don't like it as a primary indoor word processor, but it's fine for outdoor or ad hoc use. I've noticed that the dedicated e-ink writing devices both use lower res screens and are on proprietary operating systems. I suspect that's no accident. btw, I use a screen rotate program to put it in landscape. There is something less distracting about an e-ink screen.

The Brydge Keyboard was built for the Ipad Mini 4, but it makes a really interesting match for the Boyue, because it's hinged and backlit. Not only can you write outdoors in sunlight. You can use it outdoors at night :} The excellent but smaller keyboard kind of slows down my typing just enough.
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