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Old 12-10-2023, 01:43 AM   #1
HarryEngineer
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Lightbulb which ereader for writing overlaying pdf / epub

I'm trying to research the best ereader for my needs but the market is so big nowadays its overwhelming.

Some of the ones that seem best suited are Remarkable 2, supernote, quaderno, mooink pro2, onyx ultra, however I assume there are other options.

Are there any upcoming readers on the horizon for release?

What are the most common formats these days aside from PDF's?

Lastly, to you guys who already own and write alot, what are good features you recommend to me which I may not have even thought of?


My current criteria :

Need
1. size 10" - 13.3"
2. handwriting overlayed on document.
3. great organization of handwritten notes and highlights
4. ability to export highlights and notes.
5. some form of external storage - microsd or usb, etc
6. no app/proprietary software needed to add documents / ebooks - IE just drag / drop files to the ereader via wired connection to a windows / linux pc or load via the external storage device.
7. nice handwriting accuracy and feel.

Not needed but would like
1. backlight
2. many formats
3. make audio notes
4. audio jack
5. plays mp3 audiobooks
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Old 12-10-2023, 12:23 PM   #2
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1. The reMarkable (227 dpi and 10.3″) is over hyped. Network USB sideloading or WiFi to "cloud" and basically PDF plus a drawing pad. No onboard writing to text. I gave mine away. Only about 6G byte storage. The remarkable & remarkable 2 only differ much in construction (2 has slightly more RAM and CPU, and is thinner, but slippier writing surface and removes buttons). The exact same FW versions/GUI features. Only PDF natively. No SD card slot. It's quite old. A S/H original reMarkable is nicer if you want to sketch and have page buttons. Uses Wacom EMR stylus. The worst 10″ approx eink. No Metadata, only filesystem.

2. The Kindle Scribe (approx 10.2″ 300 dpi) is a walled garden. You can make FXL KFX, but it's awkward. You are meant to send PDFs to Amazon, download direct to Scribe, then send Annotated version to email (goes via Amazon) to your PC. No SD Card, but 32G or 64G. Uses Wacom EMR stylus. No native epub. You "Send to Kindle" (Amazon converts to KFX). Only MTP access on USB, though that's better than reMarkable. No Calibre Series or Collections, though you can somewhat manage ebooks on it. Must be registered to Amazon to use it at all. Can't reverse a FW update without Jailbreak & current version may have no jailbreak.

3. Kobo Elipsa, Elipsa2 (10.3″ 227 dpi). It lets you copy PDFs on/off and "write" on them. An epub is better annotated using BT keyboard or touchscreen keyboard and then that can be exported direct of via Calibre (two methods). Need never connect to Kobo after registration (which can use fake email and no payment), though even in "SideloadedMode=true" the WiFi can still be used to update writing resources and dictionaries. No Jailbreak needed to go back on FW (The links on this 3rd party page are to Kobo https://pgaskin.net/KoboStuff/kobofirmware.html ) or install some 3rd party SW. However I only used it to check PDF layout and not even that since I got a better 23″ 4K PC screen. I was so impressed with the Advanced Notebooks that I bought the 8″ Sage (300 dpi) even though I already had 7″ Libra. Both use the NTrig/MS surface type Pen (cheap 3rd party ones without the BT OneNote work). MS did use Wacom, but Ntrig isso much better that MS bought them. It does need an AAAA cell, but these last nearly 10x longer than charge in an Apple Pencil. About 1 to 8 months (5+ year shelf life) depending on use and can be got for 60c. I only proof, annotate and write on the Sage now. These 3 Kobo models do true conversion of handwriting to shapes, check-boxes, formula and computer text with docx export. Complete management with Calibre. All have 32 G memory and the Sage hase page turn buttons.

4. Various 9.7″ models. Avoid as they are only 150dpi.

5. Quaderno was originally the same HW as the Sony DPT. The reMarkable is a like a bad copy of the Sony DPT series. The Quaderno seems to have better FW. However it's aimed at Corporate Digital Paper market like the Sony was. Very expensive.

6. Onyx. People that have them, like them. I don't know much.


Your criteria
Quote:
Need
1. size 10" - 13.3"
2. handwriting overlayed on document.
3. great organization of handwritten notes and highlights
4. ability to export highlights and notes.
5. some form of external storage - microsd or usb, etc
6. no app/proprietary software needed to add documents / ebooks - IE just drag / drop files to the ereader via wired connection to a windows / linux pc or load via the external storage device.
7. nice handwriting accuracy and feel.
1. Bigger than 10.3″ has lower resolution, expensive and heavy.
2. Only good for PDFs. Really if YOU are generating content, better to annotate with real text on an epub 8″, not 10″+ PDF. Because then you can copy back into a text editor. I've been proof/annotating for 10 years on eink, first on Kindle files and then on epub on Kobo. PDF is madness. I'd only mark up formatting/layout mistakes. Proofing writing is docx to epub2, copy back annotations (which have highlight, chapter & location) and use in Notepad++ or KATE in a window beside wordprocessor file.
3. Those are separate. But you can interconnect handwritten advanced notes (converted on the ereader unlike reMarkable/Scribe) to epub highlights & short notes and pop between the two via gesture.
4. Kobo has best support for that, with or without calibre and without a service (reMarkable, Scribe and others need an Internet service).
5. Almost nothing has an SD card slot now, and only Android tablets can easily use USB storage. The 32 G Byte on Sage, Elipsa or Scribe is about 18,000 epubs or equivalents. Thousands of PDFs (or Amazon equivalent). The remarkable (either version) has less than 6 G Byte free and no SD card slot. Some Pocketbook models might have an SD card slot, or older Onyx. Or some Meebook.
6. Kobo uses USB Mass Storage, so is simple for Mac, Windows or Linux (any application or file manager). The reMarkable is USB Networking. It needs a Web browser and only one file at a time and make folders on the device GUI. The Scribe and most of the others use USB MTP, (only one connection in Mac or Linux, Winodows adds a device layer to multiplex). MTP files go about as quick, but the directory is very slow (listing files in a Folder). Calibre does have MTP support as well as Mass Storage.
7. People are opinionated about this. Some prefer Wacom (but it might be battery hatred). I've used two kinds of Wacom, Ntrig (MS / Kobo) and Apple Pencil. I prefer Kobo/MS type pen, 2nd is Apple Pencil on an iPad, next worst is any Wacom. The original reMarkable has textured plastic but reMarkable2 is shiny glass.

I've also played with a Newton (a fail) and Palm OS graffitti. Also used Wacom on Lenovo X201 tablet/PC (terrible).

The Kobo conversion to text is similar to iPad Nebo (using same software!) which also works on some Android tablets with Digitisers. It's the best I've ever used, but ONLY in the Advanced Notebooks. Writing on a PDF just adds a layer of handwriting.

The hand rejection works better on Apple Pencil or MS NTrig (Kobo Pen) than Wacom (Scribe or reMarkable or Lenovo X201 laptop), which can tend to also move cursor before you press on the screen!

Not needed?
Quote:
1. backlight
2. many formats
3. make audio notes
4. audio jack
5. plays mp3 audiobooks
1. Scribe & Kobo & Onyx have backlights. Larger than 10.3″ seem either to have no light or poor evenness.
2. You only need epub & PDF. Calibre sorts all else. Scribe needs Amazon's Send to Kindle. The reMarkable "converts" epub to PDF, it's a PDF & sketch tablet. Amazon publishing for reflowable ebooks recommends epub upload (docx is second best). I convert html, text, rtf, doc, azw, docx, odt, mobi, prc, etc to epub (sometimes via odt & docx). PDF is an endpoint I use as received, or I create only for POD.
3. Make audio notes on your phone.
4. Some ereaders do have or had a 3.5mm jack, or BT or both. It's pointless compared to your phone (which will do as good battery life on audio playback with screen, WiFi and BT off). I do have a 7.8″ android eink with 3.5mm jack & BT as well as ancient Kindle K3 and DXG; pointless. I even added files and USB audio stick to Kindle PW3 to test. The Kobo models will only easily play BT Kobo Audiobooks, ditto, the Scribe (Only Audible titles easily).

I researched the Scribe a lot when it came out as it has 300 dpi (Amazon claim 10.2″ screen), but the more I learned the less I wanted it.

I looked at the 13.x″ models over the years. Too expensive, heavy and limited. I won't buy one unless it's current 10.3″ price, more than 230 dpi and similar enough to a Kobo to use.

I've used Sony (3 models), Kindle (6 models), iRiver, Nook, reMarkable, Kindle, Kobo (7 models), 4.7″ eink, Boyue Mars 7.8″ android eink and various other things. Four other people in the family now also have the Sage 8″, which is a perfect size for epubs and notes. The Kindle 9.7″ 150 dpi DXG, reMarkable and Elipsa (same 10.3″ 227 dpi screen) are too heavy.
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Old 12-10-2023, 05:51 PM   #3
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Quote, many thanks for such detailed reply!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post

2. The Kindle Scribe (approx 10.2″ 300 dpi) is a walled garden. You can make FXL KFX, ...You are meant to send PDFs to Amazon, download direct to Scribe, then send Annotated version to email (goes via Amazon) to your PC.
...You "Send to Kindle" (Amazon converts to KFX).
Therefore Amazon is forcibly being nosey and wants to know everything you are reading/writing, likely parsing it through chatgpt and other AI to see if theres any new content it can steal for its own benefit.

Its a spying operation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
3. Kobo Elipsa, Elipsa2 (10.3″ 227 dpi). It lets you copy PDFs on/off and "write" on them. An epub is better annotated using BT keyboard or touchscreen keyboard and then that can be exported direct of via Calibre (two methods).
1) What is Calibre? some sort of software for handwritten notes? im assuming its a tool for organizing the notes you make? if not, does something like that exist?
2) Do any of these convert human handwriting to text?
3) One of the features often praised in the remarkable 2 seems to be highlighting auto-levelling, is this commonplace on other devices or unique to remarkable 2


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
Both use the NTrig/MS surface type Pen (cheap 3rd party ones without the BT OneNote work). MS did use Wacom, but Ntrig isso much better that MS bought them. It does need an AAAA cell, but these last nearly 10x longer than charge in an Apple Pencil. About 1 to 8 months (5+ year shelf life) depending on use and can be got for 60c. I only proof, annotate and write on the Sage now. These 3 Kobo models do true conversion of handwriting to shapes, check-boxes, formula and computer text with docx export. Complete management with Calibre. All have 32 G memory and the Sage hase page turn buttons.
1)By MS, do you mean Microsoft?

2)Are all ereader pens operate via bluetooth? Any form of internet update is likely to send all your creative content back to the manufacturer & the third parties that pay them for targeted advertising.

3) do any of the 3 kobo models feature hardwired keyboard and audio jack/notes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
5. Quaderno was originally the same HW as the Sony DPT. The reMarkable is a like a bad copy of the Sony DPT series. The Quaderno seems to have better FW. However it's aimed at Corporate Digital Paper market like the Sony was. Very expensive.
Putting costs aside, what do you think of the new sony devices licensed to mooink


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
1. Bigger than 10.3″ has lower resolution, expensive and heavy.
2. Only good for PDFs. Really if YOU are generating content, better to annotate with real text on an epub 8″, not 10″+ PDF. Because then you can copy back into a text editor. I've been proof/annotating for 10 years on eink, first on Kindle files and then on epub on Kobo. PDF is madness. I'd only mark up formatting/layout mistakes.
1) How about epub on a 10"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
Proofing writing is docx to epub2, copy back annotations (which have highlight, chapter & location) and use in Notepad++ or KATE in a window beside wordprocessor file.
3. Those are separate. But you can interconnect handwritten advanced notes (converted on the ereader unlike reMarkable/Scribe) to epub highlights & short notes and pop between the two via gesture.


4. Kobo has best support for that, with or without calibre and without a service (reMarkable, Scribe and others need an Internet service).
so I can export my notes via wired connection to windows / linux / mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
6. Kobo uses USB Mass Storage, so is simple for Mac, Windows or Linux (any application or file manager). T
Lenovo X201 tablet/PC (terrible).
Anything Lenovo is pure trash in comparison to competitors. i gave up completely on that brand.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
The Kobo conversion to text is similar to iPad Nebo (using same software!) which also works on some Android tablets with Digitisers. It's the best I've ever used, but ONLY in the Advanced Notebooks. Writing on a PDF just adds a layer of handwriting.
And no ereaders to convert automatically the handwriting to text? I thought I read some do that.

1. Scribe & Kobo & Onyx have backlights. Larger than 10.3″ seem either to have no light or poor evenness.
[/quote]

In your experience, Are there any benefits to not having a backlight at all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
2. You only need epub & PDF. Calibre sorts all else. Scribe needs Amazon's Send to Kindle. The reMarkable "converts" epub to PDF, it's a PDF & sketch tablet. Amazon publishing for reflowable ebooks recommends epub upload (docx is second best). I convert html, text, rtf, doc, azw, docx, odt, mobi, prc, etc to epub (sometimes via odt & docx). PDF is an endpoint I use as received, or I create only for POD.
Thanks, I wont be using any amazon device due to the forced spying.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
3. Make audio notes on your phone.
I will leave it on the table, but id rather keep all work on the ereader if possible.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
4. Some ereaders do have or had a 3.5mm jack, or BT or both. It's pointless compared to your phone (which will do as good battery life on audio playback with screen, WiFi and BT off). I do have a 7.8″ android eink with 3.5mm jack & BT as well as ancient Kindle K3 and DXG; pointless. I even added files and USB audio stick to Kindle PW3 to test. The Kobo models will only easily play BT Kobo Audiobooks, ditto, the Scribe (Only Audible titles easily).

I looked at the 13.x″ models over the years. Too expensive, heavy and limited. I won't buy one unless it's current 10.3″ price, more than 230 dpi and similar enough to a Kobo to use.

I've used Sony (3 models), Kindle (6 models), iRiver, Nook, reMarkable, Kindle, Kobo (7 models), 4.7″ eink, Boyue Mars 7.8″ android eink and various other things. Four other people in the family now also have the Sage 8″, which is a perfect size for epubs and notes. The Kindle 9.7″ 150 dpi DXG, reMarkable and Elipsa (same 10.3″ 227 dpi screen) are too heavy.
If costs and weight wasnt an issue, which 10.3" and 13.3" would you use?

The latest 13.3" mooink pro 2 weighs 268g

the kobo sage 8" weighing 208g
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Old 12-10-2023, 07:43 PM   #4
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Quoth, You can ignore my question re handwriting to text conversion, I see its answered already in your first post.

Also, What operating system does the Kobo Range use?
I cant seem to find this on the official kobo website.
Many use Android 11

Last edited by HarryEngineer; 12-10-2023 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 12-10-2023, 07:51 PM   #5
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I do need 10" or above, so the sage 8" out of the quesiton.

But the eclipse is seeming to look the most attractive.

Also I got the mooink Pro 2 weight wrong above, its actually 361g
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Old 12-10-2023, 08:35 PM   #6
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The Kobo ereaders use Linux as their operating system.

As for Android versions? Current Android based ereader seem to vary from 4.2 to 11 though one out of China is claiming Android 12.
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Old 12-10-2023, 08:55 PM   #7
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do features like handwriting conversion on the kobo work offline?
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Old 12-10-2023, 10:18 PM   #8
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In my limited tests, my Sage was able to convert handwriting to text while offline. It seems rather fond of updating handwriting recognition rather often when I sync.
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Old 12-11-2023, 12:22 AM   #9
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You may also wish to look at the Supernote A5X. Kobo devices use active pens with batteries, and their writing latency is very slow, which some people may find annoying. Not only does the Supernote use a passive pen, but you can also get one with a ceramic nib that never spends and thus never needs replacing.
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Old 12-11-2023, 06:25 AM   #10
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The Onyx Boox devices can do all that. There's a Note Air 3 in black and white coming this month, according to a Boox representative on Reddit. The Note Air 3C and Tab Ultra C Pro both have Android 12 and a Kaleido 3 screen (i.e. colour e-ink). They have relatively poor battery life for e-ink devices, but really good performance.

Supernote could be an option and they are planning to release their new devices in the near future.

I recommend My Deep Guide on Youtube for an overview of these devices and how they perform.
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Old 12-11-2023, 09:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryEngineer View Post
do features like handwriting conversion on the kobo work offline?
Indeed apart from some Apps on iPad and Android (models with digitizers) the Kobo Sage & Elipsa are the only eink models with on the device / offline conversion that I know. The reMarkable web page is misleading. They use a server on the Internet, as does Scribe.
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Old 12-11-2023, 10:04 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post
You may also wish to look at the Supernote A5X. Kobo devices use active pens with batteries, and their writing latency is very slow, which some people may find annoying. Not only does the Supernote use a passive pen, but you can also get one with a ceramic nib that never spends and thus never needs replacing.
Totally misleading! The latency is not slow on the Kobo and all serious devices use active pens. Both kinds of Wacom pen are powered by the host digitiser and the battery life of the Kobo pen (or 3rd party versions) is huge. The Kobo Sage is faster than the Wacom on reMarkable or on Lenovo X201 touch screen laptop/tablet. The Elipsa is a little slower than the Sage, but still superior to the three Wacom systems I tried. The Apple Pencil (rechargable so much shorter life than AAAA cell in Kobo/MS*) on an iPad using Nebo app is also superior to all 3 Wacom tested (Bamboo, X201 and reMarkable).

The only real passive pen systems use a resistive screen which cuts brightness and is poor resolution. I doubt anyone uses them now. They were 1980s to 2008 approx.

[* there are also 3rd party pens without the BT magic button for OneNote etc on Surface for MS Surface that work on Kobo and are rechargeable for disposable battery haters.]

Last edited by Quoth; 12-11-2023 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 12-11-2023, 11:35 AM   #13
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You may also wish to look at the Supernote A5X. Kobo devices use active pens with batteries, and their writing latency is very slow, which some people may find annoying. Not only does the Supernote use a passive pen, but you can also get one with a ceramic nib that never spends and thus never needs replacing.
The supernote A5 is £550, doesnt have a backlight
The eclipsa 2E £300, has a backlight

superno : PDF, EPUB, WORD, TXT, CBZ, XPS, FB2, PNG, JPG
eclipsa2 : PDF, EPUB, EPUB3, TXT, CBZ, CBR, FlePub, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, HTML


+ If I can keep my privacy by changing a few batteries here and there, then thats the only option.

According to many tech-savy bloggers with ereaders, many of these devices are connecting back to the manufacturer uploading all your content, which is no doubt sold on to third parties aswell.

Your creative thoughts are being stolen
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Old 12-11-2023, 01:09 PM   #14
Quoth
the rook, bossing Never.
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You only need epub and PDF (for things you get in PDF, or to proof layout for POD). Calibre will convert anything other than PDF to epub, and azw3, docx, mobi, txt etc are pretty good to perfect depending on source. Then an epub can be edited.
Images are better embedded in an ePub with CSS setting size as a percent of screen width or height.

The AAAA cells can last 6 months of use, one in a drawer can last 10 years and if you are really stingy you can get six almost AAAA out of a cheap alkaline 9v 6LR61 pack (some PP3 packs use layer cells, but they are really 6F22) The nub in cells in side a pack is the -Ve, keep the strip on the flat + end to make a nub for +.

I've registered Kobos with real (unique) and fake email. In nearly 8 years no emails till I used the real one to buy a book from Kobo (only the receipt). Kobo is a Japanese owned (Rakuten) Canadian company. Not Silicon Valley or China!

People overstate the battery issue. MS actually used the host powered Wacom on the first two Surface Tablets and the NTrig pen is so much better they bought the company. Kobo seems to be using the same pen. It's pressure sensitive and two buttons. Most makes use different nibs, which are meant to wear so as to not damage screen, but after over a year I've not needed to change a nib. I've used 3 makes of pen inc the official Kobo on one Elipsa and 5 off Sage (4 with other family members).

Native mobi and txt is terrible on Kobo, and mobi is terrible on everything except Kindle. It's very very limited HTML3 with inline styles, so converting to epub2 with Calibre and if needed, clean up a bit in editor. Even for Kindle: mobi -> epub2 (clean up) -> azw3 is best.

The Sage is 8″ 1440 x 1920 (300 dpi) and very much lighter than Elipsa. Claims of poor battery life only apply compared to Kindle PW3 or Kobo Libra. It's totally adequate battery and charges often in 45 to 50 minutes.

The Elipsa (2) is 10.3″ 1404x1872 (227 dpi) and heavy. I've not used notes on it since getting the Sage and only occasionally checked layout of PDFs for POD. Most 3rd party PDFs are readable on the Sage, which is higher resolution. Both can crop the white space margins on PDFs.
I seriously considered the Kindle Scribe, later, due to the 300 dpi, but it's essentially unusable without "sharing" everything to Amazon and it needs fixed layout KFX to annotate PDFs and has no native writing conversion. A walled garden worse than an iPad, which you can natively annotate PDFs (paid version of Nebo, which Kobo uses) or use an Advanced notebook with local conversion to text (Free version of Nebo).
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Old 12-11-2023, 04:36 PM   #15
Aleron Ives
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Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
Totally misleading!
I trust Voja's objective latency tests over your assertions. The Elipsa clocks in at 93 ms, and the Sage is at 84 ms, which are among the slowest devices on the entire market. The Supernote A5/6X and the Remarkable 2 are all below 25 ms and are thus among the fastest devices. I grabbed this particular screenshot from the Boox Tab X review on MyDeepGuide.
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