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Old 07-02-2019, 10:57 AM   #1
jcmeunier
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Post Which eReader/digital note taker should I buy?

I'm a researcher in the market for an eReader with:
- decent PDF support
- the ability to easily highlight and take lots of notes in books and articles
- the ability to sync those annotations with versions on my computer at home

Apparently, what I’m looking for is now called a “digital note taker”, I guess.

Here are my requirements (I realize compromise is inevitable! Please comment if you can!)

Primary use: Reading AND taking notes on journal articles, mostly PDFs, as well as ebooks (mostly ePub format). Some of my PDFs have actual PDF formatting (table of contents, ability to select text), but others are scanned images of books (so no selecting text... a touch screen would seem to be the only solution)

Would replace: printed copies, or reading and annotating in computer PDF software like Adobe Acrobat.

Computer: Mac

eBook software: Calibre, for example (other would be fine too)


Most important features:
- true epaper display !!! (no LCD screen tablets).
- large enough screen to view full width of a PDF without having to zoom left and right (cutting page into two or three vertical parts is fine).
- highlights and notes I can sync with my Mac, so that my annotations are there whether I'm viewing file on my eReader or on my Mac (For PDFs, I think it would be ideal if they could be saved in the PDF itself).

I think my ideal ereader would essentially be a light, epaper device that allows me to mark up my PDFs with a stylus in a similar way that I do with a pen on paper, or with mark-up tools in PDF viewers on the computer. These files would then be viewable with my notations in my PDF viewer on my computer.
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Old 07-04-2019, 03:40 AM   #2
Chregi91
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Summary of available top-devices

Hi

I'm currently in the same situation, searching for a note-taking e-ink device for work (mostly reading technical books, papers and taking some notes in meetings). I did some research on what's available and currently I'm undecided between the Boox Note Pro and the Likebook Alita. So here comes a (probably) incomplete list of devices I looked into based on https://goodereader.com, https://blog.the-ebook-reader.com and this blog:

Onyx Boox Note Pro
This device has pretty good hardware, backlighting, supports many formats and extensive pdf-functionality. Furthermore, updates are provided constantly.
What worries me a little is the glass display and the fact that the software is based on Android 6 which has known security issues and is out of date. This can pose a security threat. Furthermore, there is no SD-card slot but the 64 GB storage should be enough.

Likebook Alita
Good hardware including SD-card slot. It is unclear when it will come out and with what price tag. Apparently, the PDF support is limited (basic stuff works but I’m not sure if it supports highlighting for example. The OS is Android 6 but is supposed to be upgraded to Android 8 in autumn this year. Overall, hardware-wise it seems to be on par with the Onyx Boox Note Pro, but the functionality seems to be inferior.

Remarkable
Throughout really good reviews. However, the hardware is 2.5 years old and I think there are more advanced options. It does not have an SD-card slot. The writing should be top-notch from what I've heard. However, no backlight and apparently not that fast with PDFs. The OS is based on Linux so the functionality is limited.

Sony Digital Paper
Writing-feel is superior to most similar devices according to Good E-Reader. However, they are too expensive for what they provide (few formats supported, closed-off from everything etc.). OS is self-made (I guess it’s based on Linux)

SuperNote A5
Relatively new device with an OS based on Linux. Therefore, reduced functionality compared to Android-based devices and some software issues. Hardware is better than the Remarkable but lower than Boox Note Pro and Likebook Alita. Also, the writing experience is apparently pretty good. However, there is no backlight which is a deal-breaker for me. If you don’t care about this, it sure is good.

Wisky E-Pad
Has a Kickstarter campaign going at the moment and is supposed to ship this August. Makes a lot of promises with great hardware (including SIM-card support and SD-card slot). The OS is based on Android 7. Most reviews note that the software is still quite buggy and the battery life is poor.

Xiaomi Moaan W7
The Mooan has okay hardware and an OS based on Android 8. What really stands out is the low price. However, it is not released yet and as Xiaomi has not released a similar product before I wouldn’t expect much from the software for the first couple of months. But this remains to be seen.

Mooink Pro
Hardware seems to be okay but there is no SD-card slot and the battery seems pretty small. There is not much information out yet as it is not released yet. Pre-ordering will start mid-July 2019 with various prices based on when you order it, starting as low as 333$.

I hope this helps.
Cheers Chris
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Old 07-05-2019, 04:36 PM   #3
jcmeunier
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Thank you very much, Chregi 91 !

I actually ordered the Likebook Mimas on Thursday morning.

The Alita is not only more expensive, but also it is glass, so from what I understand, you probably want to avoid it too.

It seems to me that the Mimas has exactly everything I need. I use pdf AND ePub, I love using Android so I can use Evernote, Google Keep...

It really seems to be perfect for me. Will get it on Wednesday. If you want some personal feedback on it, don't hesitate to write me in a few weeks' time ;-)
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:39 AM   #4
Philippe D.
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Hi all,

I have two devices of this kind, that I use for a purpose similar to the OP's: reading PDF articles, sometimes annotating them, taking notes.

I have both a Remarkable and a Onyx Max 2. I also recently bought a Onyx Note Pro, but not for me - my wife wanted to be able to read and annotate PDFs, but the light on the Note Pro (there is none in the Max 2 or the Remarkable) made her choose it instead of the larger Max 2 (almost full A4 format) or the Remarkable, which is really very pleasant to write on.

The Onyx devices use Android - not a new version, but it does mean you can install any compatible Android app if it works correctly on an e-ink display. Writing on them is OK, but really not as comfortable as on the Remarkable, whose surface is textured just right for that - I've been using mine for note taking and writing down things, instead of a paper notebook, for almost two years, and I'm very pleased with it.

Hardware capabilities are important (how reactive the device will be), but the software is equally important - especially with a "closed" device where you cannot easily install third party programs, like the Remarkable. On this, software quality is improving, with new features being introduced - some of which, to be honest, I think should have been available from the start, such as the possibility to add/remove pages inside a notebook, or copy/pasting parts of a page to another page or another document (these are supposed to arrive in the new update - I can't wait).

On all these devices, battery life is good, but nowhere near as good as on a standard ereader. The precise touch display and more powerful CPU certainly drain the battery more quickly. I need to charge them every 2-3 days if I use them regularly.
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Old 07-10-2019, 04:10 PM   #5
Chregi91
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Hi Philippe

Thanks a lot for your insights! That helps a lot. I will wait for another month or so anyway to see how the market develops (especially considering Likebook Alita). For me the main goal is to be able to read technical books and papers on which I can take notes. Note taking during meetings etc. will probably occur but I won't write extensively on the device.

Can you tell a little more about the software on the Onyx Devices (available functionality for PDFs, update cycles, etc.)? And can you tell me how the writing is compared to taking notes on devices with regular glass LCD displays (iPad, Microsoft Surface and the like)?

Thanks in advance
Chris
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:33 AM   #6
Bob Willis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chregi91 View Post
Hi Philippe

Can you tell a little more about the software on the Onyx Devices (available functionality for PDFs, update cycles, etc.)? And can you tell me how the writing is compared to taking notes on devices with regular glass LCD displays (iPad, Microsoft Surface and the like)?

Thanks in advance
Chris
I owned a Boox Note for more than one year, and it worked well for note taking and reading books on them. You could make highlight, annotation, use dictionary, crop pages and do other things on PDFs. Onyx Boox will provide updates every 3-4 months. I also owned an iPad, and the writing experience on Boox Note will be more paper-like compared with iPad.
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:43 AM   #7
Marinolino
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Willis View Post
I owned a Boox Note for more than one year, and it worked well for note taking and reading books on them. You could make highlight, annotation, use dictionary, crop pages and do other things on PDFs. Onyx Boox will provide updates every 3-4 months. I also owned an iPad, and the writing experience on Boox Note will be more paper-like compared with iPad.
Paperlike screen protectors for paper-like iPads.

https://paperlike.com

Last edited by Marinolino; 07-11-2019 at 10:50 AM.
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