Happy new user of a Boox Lumi, I was wondering if there were others of the brand on the forum?
(For those who have never heard of the product, it’s a giant e-ink Android tablet that doubles as an e-ink monitor with (somewhat) low-latency stylus input - it’s great for note-taking and document reading & annotation if the screen and writing of the Ipad pro do not bode well with you. It’s essentially another take on the Remarkable tablet)
I use it extensively for note-taking and annotation and I was wondering if some people had integrated it to the usual tools we discuss around here: Devonthink, Zotero…
Or come up with interesting workflows/workarounds around the handwritten OCR / archiving process.
Here is an interesting article about some advanced usage of the device I have in mind.
Am I correct that it costs $879 which is twice the cost of Remarkable? What benefits do you see over Remarkable?
Yes, EINK screens are pretty expensive as they get larger. Admittedly, it’s a luxury but there are cheaper models available for similar workflows.
The Boox Note Air being more portable is more affordable for a similar features-set in a more compact package, also the Boox Nova 3 for example has similar capabilities.
I did not opt for the remarkable as 1) beyond supply shortage resulting in a long waiting list, 2) it did not seem to do a good job at handling large PDF / EPUB files for reading which is the main reason I got the device in the first place and finally 3) some issues were reported about the note-taking experience.
I’m fine with the cost if it’s something good enough that I would use regularly - not so if I will forget it soon and it will stay in the closet.
Can you elaborate a bit more about your work/workflow and what you see as the major advantages of an iPad with annotation app? Do you truly use it as a mainstay of your workflow?
I originally acquired the Lumi mainly for reading and annotation purpose: I read a lot of PDF files and displaying full-size is so much more comfortable!
What I do is that I load/sync my files in Google Drive, read and annotate them on the Lumi, periodically import the annotated files from my Mac both into Readwise and Devonthink to make my contents searchable and re-engage with them periodically.
I would love a similar workflow with EPUB but as far as I know, annotations cannot be self-contained in the original file contrarily to PDF.
What I did not intend to do with the device and which ends up getting its fair share of usage is taking notes.
I spend a lot of time in meetings, and I found that taking handwritten notes help me remain more engaged remotely and assimilate further the tons of update I am getting exposed to.
The iPad pencil experience did not seduce me for note taking (drawing in Procreate is another story), the software part is tremendous but the physical feeling is not enjoyable: the tip feels inacurate and I don’t like the glass contact, even with a paperlike screen protector.
On the other end, the Lumi/Air really feels nice writing on, just like paper. There is a higher latency than with the iPad but it’s still negligible.
I quickly got back to my handwritten days and easily fill-up pages of notes.
Now, t be transparent, it’s great and engaging in the moment but THE itch I’d like to solve is the archiving/cataloguing of that knowledge: I am yet to find a good OCR solution for handwriting: Devonthink does not do that, and the workarounds are not great.
Ideally, I’d keep my notes containted in the PDF the Lumi exports AND I’d have the OCRed searchable text as an invisible layer on top. So far, I could find an engine that worked well enough post writing. If I don’t write like some crazy psychopath, the built-in tool on the tablet allows me to export plain-text transcript but I find it sad to lose the visual aspect of the original note.
I bought a reMarkable 2; waited 6 months to receive it; and wish I had the money. it’s a very pleasant tablet to write on, and that’s about it. Getting notes out of it is cumbersome (export via email only), and the handwriting recognition is useless. The display is dim; no way to read in the dark. The experience has put me off of E Ink tech; maybe for good.
Yes, that was the conclusion of my Boox vs Remarkable buyer research: the Remarkable appeared as the nicest slate of stone you can write on but nothing more. On the other hand, Android baked in the Boox makes it surprisingly capable (from Sudoku to web-browsing, emails, news apps, etc…)
The Android angle is interesting – however, my motivation for wanting the reMarkable was that it is sole-purpose e-writer tech without built-in distractions. Isn’t the Boox like a grey-scale iPad?
Isn’t the Boox like a grey-scale iPad?
After the initial « wow, that looks cool » moment, that’s exactly what I thought: wait a minute, can’t I already do all that in any iPad PDF editor already?
I get that it it’s e-ink, but I’m not that bothered by screens so I wonder about the benefits compared to an iPad?
I have been researching this as well, but don’t have one yet. From what I understand re: epub, you could convert those files to mobi and read them with the Kindle app on the Boox, then get them into Readwise either through email or maybe getting the Clippings file out of it? I’m a little confused about whether / how this might work–I know if you have Kindle books this process would just automatically sync them to Readwise, but I’m not as sure about the Epub–>Kindle–>Readwise workflow given the different ways Amazon handles highlights on “personal documents.”
Good point on the Epub <> Kindle part.
By habits, I am not using Kindle at all since most Epub I have come from places such as Humble Bundle or Gumroad and before getting the Boox I was putting them into Apple books for I(pad)OS cross-devices sync.
To be frank, I still have some Epub documents but given the choice I would now prefer the PDF option as it allows to have annotation and media in one doc and works better with Devonthink. I was not great before because of the smaller screens I was reading these on but now I have the luxury not to bother (btw, PDF experts has a great PDF reflow engine for smaller screens, boox has something similar too for smaller devices)
And you might be right if you don’t mind the LCD screens: turns out that reading on e-ink would not be less damaging to the eyes than regular screens in more recent studies.
For me it’s more the matter of the other e-ink advantages: endless battery life, writing feel, focus, lightness…
Hey Marc, how’s this device travelling? I’m thinking of getting something along these lines but want a smaller form factor. The Boox has the 7.8" version which has me interested. I was looking at the iPad mini with paper like protector but this would be slightly cheaper and I still have my iPad Air 4 to fall back on for iPad use.
Use cases for me would be note taking in meetings and then exporting them to other apps, likely OneNote at work and Obsidian at home. And then moving my kindle books to the Boox.
Hoping for good news!
Clearly the Lumi is rather tall , for something more portable you can look at the air or one of the smaller models. Having said that they’re all very thin and much lighter than same-size iPads. Fairly robust too, I would not worry about carrying one in a sleeve from meeting to meeting.
The only thing you want to consider is real estate for your handwritten notes but that is the same as considering on which handbook size you will write .
I like the big format of the Lumi for close to 1:1 rendering of pdf and real estate for drawing / notes.
If you’re used to writing in a moleskin or something similar that shouldn’t be an issue with a 7.8’
Not sure if that is what you wanted to know ? Let me know if there are more specific points
Yes, great info. The best being you’re still using it it seems after 9+ months. The size would be similar to a moleskin/Leuchtturm I think. I wouldn’t carry a 10"+ screen but the smaller size is do-able for meetings.
Thank for responding
I’ve used multiple products by Boox, from 7 inch to 10 inch ones. As someone who de-DRMs and sideloads most of my books I prefer them to dedicated ereaders from Amazon or Kobo. Their Android-based eReaders are ahead of the competition from my perspective. You can’t buy a eink display, couple it with the rear of an Android tablet, and call it an “Android e-Reader.” Efforts must be spent on software details, e.g., how to dynamically balance between the refresh rate and the sharpness of text, how to deal with the background colors and unnecessary animations of apps oriented for common displays. Boox’s software nails them and keeps making progress between generations – although I do wish they did better with back porting new features to old products. Unfortunately, their reputation is tainted by continuous violation of open-source licenses. Depending on how much you care about that it may or may not be a dealbreaker.
I have always done this with my Kindle also. The Boox line looks nice but it’s a little expensive for what it does imo.