- It's 10.3", perfect for reading PDFs like scientific papers without being too large to carry around.
- The included reader is stellar, with special modes for reading PDFs, comicbooks, etc.
- The included note-taking app is pretty good and fully featured. It integrates with the reader and there's a side-by-side mode.
- It supports every open format I've tried: PDFs, DJVU, epub, mobi and more. (Haven't tried PS.)
- I can scribble on all document types, including ebooks.
- I can install apps from the app store. In particular this means I can read my Kindle library and Wallabag feed, and...
- with Syncthing syncing is set and forget. When I download a PDF or book on my computer, I simply pick up the tablet and start reading it. Any notes I make are synced back to my laptop.
- Of course, the above is in addition to the standard E-Ink features you'd expect: It lasts for weeks on a charge, the reading experience in bright sunlight is fantastic, it's lighter than an iPad, zero eye strain, etc.
I installed only the software I need for reading and syncing, but there's a lot more you could do with it since the play store and F-droid are available. You can use it as an external monitor, for instance.
The build quality is impressive. I had it for 2 weeks, used it for about an hour daily, and set it to only poweroff after a day of inactivity.
Its battery dropped from 100% to 48% over that time. Yes, I was quite positively impressed.
However, their theft of code (which is what you do, if you do not respect the code license, eg, gpl), the fact that even a brand new model tablet was 3+ monthly Android security updates behind, and the pcaps I took showing all the phoning home, including IPs in China...
As I said, returned. Quite sad, loved the hardware.
I’d mostly want it for reading articles online and email newsletters. I could make a burner email account for this purpose.
That seems a tolerable tradeoff, as I don’t consider what I read on HN to be super sensitive. (Though others may reasonable differ there)
Maybe I can make an rss feed out of them and use goosepaper or print them to pdf.
Also how do you upload from the phone, can you print to a dropbox folder or the Remarkable phone app or some source so it is automatic?
I have the same model with insane battery life. I think your unit might have been defective.
Might it have been this?
This was a pretty thorough traffic analysis of their Max Lumi device. I think it would be pretty similar with the Note Air. I bought a Max Lumi after this as there didn't seem to be much concern.
You can watch the comparison of all the e-Ink tablets here on this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkK_HQRf6xg
Came with a case and stylus.
My major problem with basically all the BOOX devices is they're violating the GPL by not releasing their kernel/uboot sources.
The refresh rate is good enough for me but I'm not very picky so YMMV. I'll try to use it for work one of these days using ssh, so I'll report back once I've done so.
I do hope to try coding in the sun with it some time. Got it in winter though, so haven't yet.
All of this is probably to be expected, but I wanted to share because the idea of being able to run any android app is certainly part of the appeal of the device.
It is still a good device, but when comparing it to other e-ink devices on the market, I'd really consider the Google Play support to be a bit more of a novelty than something you would actually use unless you have a very specific use case and don't mind a less than stellar app experience.
It's not a great experience for a PDF with no margins and a complicated layout (like some magazines.)
I vastly prefer reading PDFs off the Note than on a computer, regardless of the paper size.
I remember looking at an e-ink reader years ago and thought it was unusable because of the weird page refresh/slow page turn.
The newer ones also have partial refresh modes that are faster still, but not quite as clean, which lets you trade speed for clarity. The fastest modes work for video (sort of) and at least the Boox have lots of configuration options e.g. different apps can refresh at different speeds, the refresh rate can vary when you start scrolling (in standard android apps that aren't optimised for e-ink, in readers you generally "page" through text) and can set it to do full refreshes after X amount of actions, or manually force a refresh.
But, as all the above probably indicates, if you have it on full quality mode, then there's a noticeable delay and flicker as it fully blacks out the screen to "clear" it and then displays the next page.
This is particularly bad for some of the color ones, as they seem to only be able to do each color layer in sequence.
Something like that would be oh so light and great/easy to carry around. And something purely used for dev doesn't need to have the ability to play videos, etc. (that would just be distracting anyway, right? =)
I know there have been a few tablet/reader-based devices that use e-ink and have the ability to run Linux, but of the ones I've seen, none of them seem to have powerful enough of a CPU (and definitely not enough RAM).
And then the e paper panel costs a bunch so what would be a $1000 laptop becomes $4000 and is strictly worse for the vast majority of users.
Of course I remember how difficult was to properly illuminate my notebooks when I was a kid. I guess I'd end up with two lamps on my sides and they are difficult to move as easily as a laptop.
For dynamic content, eg ls -la, scrolling through a file, watching to a video, doing a video call, it's no contest.
Professor Michael Young, Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey C. Hall won a Nobel Prize for research in this area in 2017.
"If you are a night owl, you might be better off with a tablet, but if you are a daytime reader who prefers reading outside in the Sun, then a reflective e-reader or a physical book is a better option.
Other than that, there is no difference between the two screens."
That's not actually true. I have glasses explicitly to prevent eye-strain for when I'm working on the computer, even when it is an IPS/retina display with 2X pixel scaling. However I don't need glasses at all when reading books on a kindle or kobo.
P.S I'm not affiliated in any way
Personally, I'm very sensitive to light and get frequent debilitating headaches. Blue light filter changes very little for me. Making the whole screen just red with something like flux (together with my glasses that also block blue light) might help around 5-10%, but the migraine still comes full force (maybe 10-15m later).
However, there do seem to be no studies proving efficacy, indeed.
I would guess it's the opposite--because I'm extremely sensitive to light in general, I'd think if blue-light filters were effective, they'd be even more effective on me, which they aren't.
> Also, flux is aimed at sleep regulation
People seem to equate "less blue light" with "better" and yet when I make my screen dark orange/red, it does nothing.
Also note that I said something like Flux.
Last but not least, my glasses also have blue-light filter in them. So I'm reducing blue light with both HW and SW and it has very minuscule effect on me, personally.
Of course, it's anecdotal experience and nothing more. But I get an eye twitch when I see stuff like "blue filter is a game changer". Sounds like placebo to me.
IMO, this is fundamentally a niche object. But that nicheness means that if it did exist, it would have several options without worrying about pissing off the mainstream.
#1 on that list is that you don't need to seamlessly emulate an LCD screen with an e-ink screen - instead of having a single multiplexed screen, have 2-3 80-char-wide separate e-ink screens and have text on each of them.
This has two advantages: one, it's cheaper because e-ink screen costs scale geometrically with size, not linearly. And two, AIUI partial-refresh doesn't work well when you're literally refreshing a third or half of your screen, but two completely independent screens can obviously refresh independently of each other. I'm assuming partial refreshes are faster due to taking a smaller absolute number of pixels, and not due to being a smaller proportion of the screen, so e.g. a quarter of a 4" screen will refresh the same speed as a full 2" screen refresh but faster than a full 4" screen refresh.
Ideally, you'd want to split the e-ink screen into as many smaller screens as possible anywhere it makes sense (and design the UI in hardware), simply to reduce costs.
Sadly, large cheap single screens have made the concept of software controlled UIs so obvious that people don't even consider the alternative.
with this latest release (Raspberry PI alternative board which supports eink): https://www.makeuseof.com/quartz64-e-ink-sbc/
and this solar powered, power first open source (eink) laptop project:
Dasung's 13" external e-ink display costs $1200.
Boox's 10" e-reader costs $500.
I can't imagine there are enough people willing to trade color and syntax highlighting for that crisp e-paper goodness on their $3000 13" development machine.
I personally went a step further and used my boox nova 3 and a BT keyboard  directly to ssh into my workstation for a while.
Though I agree, an eink based laptop in a X1 or MBA form factor would be amazing, just for the battery life alone.
 Logitech K480, comes with integrated tablet holder
I have both, and.I have used it on both and found the experience great. Much preferred to pocket style save for later.
If an online article is too long for me to get throug, and I want to, I will always send to a device.
Could you please share the source? I’ve got a Boox Note air and would love to have this.
There is the print to Boox chrome extension, but I usually get good results with the send2boox website, where you just paste in URL, and.they process it.
However, when I looked into it, I found that buying a Boox with a recent version of Android on it, meant that I could replace most of that with apps on the device itself, including borrowing DRM'd books from my local library, which is handy sometimes.
And the price difference didn't actually seem that bad, once I took into account my desire for a warm backlight. Maybe if I already owned a simpler device with that feature, I'd have hacked it instead.
Having said that, I don't have quite the same aversion to short length reading on e-ink, so I also use Pocket and even a browser (Firefox mobile with DarkMode addon in "light" mode) and so I'm probably getting more use out of that side of things for my money.
I have heard very good things about KOReader, but the standard Boox reader is also pretty great, and integrates with the device well (e.g. the default launcher lists books from that reader) so I've not had reason to try anything different.
As someone else has mentioned, the only bad thing about Boox I've found so far is that they seems to be withholding their Linux modifications. Doesn't affect me directly in practical terms at the moment, but it's the principle of the thing.
Oh remembered, one other potential bad thing, there are apparently core apps that phone home. People have workarounds involving fake VPN apps that block specific urls.
Note that netguard (a vpn firewall solution) is not active at boot. It gets kicked well after wifi comes up.
My tcpdump tests showed a few seconds of traffic before it started blocking. This is a known thing, but it is time enough that I watched loads of traffic phone home on boot.
Another thing, is that the wifi connectivity test/beacon has been modified to point to the boox store url.
This is not blocked by a VPN, and thus, anything could be happening.
To be fair, once netguard was up and running, it did block all but that, and I ran tcpdump over several days watching.
Of course, if you want any part of the Boox ecosystem, you have to let it phone home.
Now sure about their note app, but I bet that review guy, mentioned elsewhere in this topic, covers it?
Again, with screensharing apps, or terminal apps as others talk about in this story, it's possible to do certain things of this nature without the HDMI cable too.
- Bigger screen than my Touch (7" would be about perfect, I suspect, but I'm not too picky)
- Backlight with warmness adjustability (my current light keeps my girlfriend up at night because it's not embedded)
- The ability to take notes on device would be a nice add, I like to annotate PDFs and such
- Ample storage to use for another 10ish years.
I don't need many bells and whistles. Unfortunately the Kobo series looks like it's a bit out of date right now, or I would just get one of those. Any recommendations?
Reviewed here for example: https://goodereader.com/blog/reviews/onyx-boox-nova-3-review
Mine is a couple years old and has an embedded light that automatically adapts warmness throughout the day.
Koreader solves all of that. I love the “style hacks” section that lets you very precisely override many layout details in the book, or even define your own. Even its status bar is much more information dense and useful than on other readers.
They don’t cater to the lowest common denominator user so it isn’t for everyone, but if you are unafraid of slightly more complex and powerful software it is superb.
Am I wrong in thinking all these quality of life things for simple book reading are not present on Koreader ?
You can do it (email "conversion" - often just a horrible mish-mash of text and images) with PDFs and text etc.
Epubs need to be converted first by a third party service, eg calibre.
I’ve heard DeDRM also works well with Adobe’s protected epubs. But I don’t have direct experience.
If Amazon ever makes it impossible to strip the DRM, then I’ll probably switch to buying physical books and getting files from LibGen. Or just using the library more.
Tor Books are no longer DRMed.
Baen Books -- https://www.baen.com/ -- don't have DRM, and you can buy directly from the publisher, and manage your library on their site, and download as many times as you like. You can also often purchase eArc versions, and they have a monthly subscription bundle were you can read parts of the book as it comes out, and then you get the complete book when it's done.
If you're interested in translated Japanese light novels, there's J Novel Club -- https://j-novel.club/ -- for a monthly subscription, you can read book parts for free as they're being translated. Once they're fully translated, you can then purchase the final epub directly from their site.
Books are interesting in that they both are and aren't fungible. If, say, I want to read the next Martha Wells Murderbot book, or the next Julie McGalliard Rougarou book, I have to buy that particular book.
But if I'm just looking for another book to read, I always check Tor, Baen, and J Novel Club first.
A nice feature on most models prior to the Clara HD is an internal uSD card. (This is different from the externally accessible uSD slot found on some models.) Pop open the case, remove the card, make an image, and you can be assured of restoring it to a working state without any fancy tools. With the uSD card in a computer, you can examine it and modify it. The models that I have cracked open also have a place to add a header for a serial connection, though I haven't tried using it.
Kobo does not appear to have any interest in locking down their devices. Software updates are shipped as zip compressed files wrapping a gzipped tarball. That tarball is simply a directory tree containing files to add or replace. Many third-party modifications are distributed in this manner and you can do your own modifications without ever cracking the case open. (Though I do suggest opening it up and making a backup before modifying it.) As far as I know, there is no protection on the proprietary software components and Kobo hasn't said anything about third-party patches. This has been the case for nearly a decade now, which is why I lean more heavily on the word modifications rather than hacks. Most of what can be done relies upon an developer's knowledge of Linux.
There are also various projects that you can learn from. Some provide tools to make developing software for the Kobo easier, while you can examine others to figure out how to setup a toolchain. I have seen C, Rust, Lua, and Python based projects for Kobo readers.
The Kobo development forum on the Mobileread forums is the place to check out for more in depth information.
I don't know what's involved with trying to do the same thing with Kindles, and I don't know about hacking the firmware.
Which (as far as I remember) doesn't include epub, the ebook format.
> I don't know what's involved with trying to do the same thing with Kindles
Kindles behave in the exact manner you just described. There is no difference. (Well, the Kindle won't read an .epub. They read .mobi instead.)
Cheaper than most other e-readers for what you get. Fully unlocked and ready for you to SSH into.
Lively, polite, and active hacker community.
Any (perhaps subsidised) alternatives that I can jailbreak?
The software running on both devices is identical. The main difference from my understanding is that the battery life is better on the RM2, and then pen has an eraser on the back.
I've heard mixed results about writing quality, from my reading most people have said writing on the RM1 "feels" better.
The next model is planned to use the Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller https://twitter.com/josecastillo/status/1356125145681846276
Here is an exmaple of a Bash-based extension for the Kobo, which downloads files from cloud providers for you: https://github.com/fsantini/KoboCloud
And here is a forum with lots of people sharing tips and mods for it: https://www.mobileread.com/
Or maybe onyx boox?
Avoid Onyx Boox, they explicitly refused to honor the GPL. https://old.reddit.com/r/Onyx_Boox/comments/hsn7kx/onyx_usin...
If you're looking for non-RM alternatives, I'd start by evaluating (I haven't) the Quirklogic Papyr.
Personally, I don't think the RM is a good long-term partner for the Free Software community - half the reason the modding community exists is because the RM team refuses to provide some basic features in the name of "simplicity". They'll never want to support a wide variety of use-cases, they want to be like Apple. I imagine the solution here is making an RM-specific distro (and community explicitly segmented from the "RM OS with mods" community), adding support for other ewriters, then deemphasizing the RM.
Outside the remarkable and a few locked in reader only tablets, the market gets really sketchy (no pun intended) real fast. Lots of questionable companies and brands like Boox, which is disappointing as feature wise the Boox hardware seems more ideal and hackable than the comparatively (and intentionally!) primitive/restricted remarkable kit.
There are a few sort of decent companies with okay products, some even publish their modded kernel sources, but in the end I've never been able to pull the trigger on these $300+ devices that often have both severe hardware and software limitations.
eInk is cool, but it's hard to toss that kind of cash around with so many strings attached...
The onyx boox have bluetooth and you can connect as keyboard to it and since they have access to the play store you could probably also run vim on it. This is something I miss on the rm2.
Although I image you'd need a significantly larger storage to store all sorts of high quality images, which shouldn't be an issue given how cheap storage has become.
Memory is cheap, and you could always buy a bigger SD card afterwards, but processing power is what's relevant, if the correct SoC and Ram combo is not present, especially in e-readers that are essentially just android tablets with color e-ink screens (allowing you to sideload apps) then that will be a major drawback
just because your screen refreshes slow doesn't mean the actual app can run on 2gb ram
However, they typically had some glass front, which caused a lot of reflections and were somewhat dark compared to e-ink displays.
I hope the NXTPapers will be a step forward, but so far, most solutions were just considering different trade-offs.
My expectation (and sincere hope, ngl) is that we will see a major innovation push in e-Ink displays and devices over the next year(s) and I have now resolved to buy a remarkable 3 (or 4) which will hopefully be available in color (and fully usable without any mandatory public cloud tethering). And maybe with some saner pricing options. I mean, a cover for $150? That makes it clear that this is a veblen good, not a workhorse for a wide audience (like schools, students etc.) - or it's Apple-monitor-stand-style consumer rip-off, who knows. I'd much prefer a faux-leather option anyway (not too comfortable with wrapping my tablet in dead cow skin, but don't like the $79 grey option either) but they unfortunately don't offer that.
This mistaken claim keeps getting repeated again and again. Patents are not what keeps prices high. Volume. Volume. Volume. E-Ink displays used to be 100x even more expensive in 2006 until a bunch of buyers, Sony, Amazon, came in and put down big orders that caused the product to reach the next level of scale when EInk managed to repurpose existing LCD production lines for their products. If you want Eink displays to be as cheap as LCD, then there's a really simple way. Make an order big enough to get some vendor to build a dedicated Eink factory instead of repurposed LCD builds. Or... you can keep believing there's a magical stranglehold of patents. You can prove that to yourself by asking yourself the simple question of which exact patents need to expire to magically cause the industry to suddenly all start manufacturing Eink displays. And yes, saying all of them, or patent thicket proves the claimant is not involved in the actual industry.