Thoughts on e-ink tablets?

I’m thinking of getting an e-ink tablet–something roughly the size of a Kindle Paperwhite or iPad Mini. I’ve heard good things about the Remakarable and Boox devices. Recommendations?

I found this thread from December and January–updates? What’s the state of the art nowadays?

Anybody tried running Obsidian and the Readwise Reader on these things? I’d like a universal reading device, combining both books and articles.

UPDATE: A friend who is active on this forum has a Remarkable, and likes it.

I have seriously considered this multiple times. The only thing that has satisfied me and made me stop thinking about it was someone convincing me that an iPad on Night Shift with really warm color settings is basically the same thing, “hard on the eyes”-wise:

iPads otherwise feature way better hardware and software. Outdoor use in full sun can still be tough, of course.

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That is definitely a consideration. And the price of an iPad mini is competitive with a roughly equivalent sized tablet.

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Several reasons, I wouldn’t buy one:

  1. It is not an iPad
  2. Its OS is not iPadOS
  3. Its OS is not made by Apple
  4. Repeat 1-3
  5. The way it could be used, compared with an iPad, is restricted. A lot of Apps, you can use on a “normal” tablet, wouldn’t be working, on one with an E-Ink-Display
  6. The Remakarable even seems to have no Backgroundlight.
  7. It has only 8GB of storage
  8. It has a subscription system, you have to get, to use it “fully”.
  9. It is not made by Apple… :innocent:
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I used one briefly. Great for annotating .PDFs, not so great for reading ePUBs (can’t deal with all DRM). Can’t run Obsidian. PITA to send files to my Mac.

I much prefer my iPad Mini, with an Apple Pencil.

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I have a Onyx Boox Leaf which I use for reading books (Kindle) and articles via read-later (currently Matter)

Pros:

  • screen is way more comfortable to read from than an iPad / iPhone
  • physical page-turn buttons
  • works with pretty much all ebook services (eg via Kindle Android app)
  • works with most read-later services, either via native android apps, or browser

Cons

  • e-ink refresh is slooooow
  • Device/data security is questionable (Chinese firmware etc) I only use it for reading, and don’t keep any private or work files on it.
  • Some apps don’t work with the physical page turn buttons
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I used Kindle long enough to have the conviction that e-ink technology is meant for just reading like Kindle. It’s a very slow technology and for anything that requires animation it needs a high refresh rate, which e-ink is not ready for.

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I love mine.

As was repeatedly pointed out, it’s not an iPad, so if one wants an iPad, they shouldn’t buy a Remarkable, and vice-versa. :person_shrugging:

Remarkable serves a different purpose. Comparing Remarkable and iPad is like comparing a notebook and a TV.

Unlike this iPad I’m using now, the Remarkable is distraction free. There’s no email, or internet, or messages waiting to distract you away. There also aren’t any notifications, no lights, no sounds. It’s like a notebook.

It’s become my go to place to make all kinds of notes. I grab it, open a Quick Sheet, and jot down whatever I need to make note of. If the notes are of consequence, I can type them into my contact manager, etc.

I also use it to make notes while I’m studying something. I rewrite the notes into my note taking app of choice. This gives me the opportunity to revisit and think about them again.

I also use it to read books that I’ve processed through Calibre. I can highlight, write notes, draw diagrams, add pages, etc. If/when I want to store those notes away, same workflow as above - I type them into my note taking app.

I never liked my Kindle Oasis because it’s not the size of an average page. More of a small board book size. The Remarkable accommodates a full page easily - either from books or research articles. Sometimes I save web pages as PDFs if I want to deeply study them on my Remarkable.

The pen works well. I got the one with the eraser. One of the nice things you can do is drawing a box around something you’ve written or drawn, and you can move it around, copy, rotate, or delete it. Something you always needed when working on paper.

Battery lasts forever. Charging is an afterthought, rather than a burden.

The fact that the screen refresh isn’t 120Hz like an iPad doesn’t matter. It’s a different animal. It’s like saying your book isn’t fast enough.

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I just saw someone using Supernote earlier and they were raving about it and particularly the way its pen works very similar to paper (ie. less of hard surface). I didn’t get to try it myself but it got me thinking about one of these e-ink devices as I was seriously considering picking up an iPad Mini since I gave my heavier Pro away. The weight for travel with my MacBook was getting to be too much and I don’t really watch much media on the iPad.

I also found this video on youtube comparing the Boox, Supernote and Remarkable 2 that was a pretty decent rundown.

I don’t think they’re in retail stores for the most part so its hard to get a hands on feel for them.

One must-have in my case would be Kindle support so that’s probably the Android based ones. I’d have to figure out what to do with my newish Kindle then :smiley:

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Calibre (link above) is usually the only avenue to non-Amazon devices and apps.

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I seriously considered getting one for some time before giving up. There are several reasons that I don’t think they are that great.

  1. There’s no scientific evidence that they are better for the eyes than normal screens. Objectively these e-ink technologies are more like failed designs that are marketed well. They are prohibitively expensive because the patent holding company is aggressively marking it up.
  2. They have much worse life expectancy than normal displays.
  3. The software is mostly crap. They not neither polished walled garden like iOS nor free x86 linux.
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You can get all this, with the right settings of a Focus Mode, if you want.

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I got my wife a Remarkable last Christmas, and she loves it. She still frequently thanks me for it. She uses it almost exclusively for journaling so far, but she has also given some thought to using it for work for meeting notes and brainstorming. She didn’t bother getting the subscription service.

She knew she wanted an e-ink tablet, but she didn’t know which one. I chose the Remarkable for her based on watching a lot of YouTube reviews. Voja of My Deep Guide is the best, I think. There are other worthwhile reviewers of various products in this category, but I think Voja does the most thorough job of reviewing all of the major players and using them extensively. He has favorites, but he does a great job of pointing out the best and weakest points of all of them. If you’re thinking of spending the money on one of these devices, I highly recommend devoting the time to watching his guides and comparisons.

I narrowed down the decision for my wife’s device to Remarkable and Supernote. Since I got her Remarkable, I decided that if I ever got one, I’d go with Supernote, and so then she went ahead and got me a Supernote A5X for my birthday. I’m not sure if I would have gotten one for myself. Even though I knew I liked what I’d seen of it, I wasn’t really sure what I’d use it for. I’m still not sure, but I play with it fairly regularly.

I have an iPad Air and an Apple Pencil and detest writing with it. I prefer the feel of writing on the Supernote over the iPad, but not nearly as much as I thought I would. The distraction element is not an issue for me and wouldn’t inform whether I’d use it over an iPad.

If annotating PDFs or ebooks were something I needed to do, I’m sure I’d love Supernote for that. But I don’t have that need, and I suspect I’d find the iPad sufficient for that purpose as well.

I don’t have the patience to just free-write my thoughts in longhand, no matter what I’m using to do it. I’d always prefer typing. But I do like to brainstorm by writing lists or playing around with fragments of text, and that might be one of the ways I’d use Supernote most in the long run. I’d also like to create my own template for a baseball scoresheet. I love keeping score, even when I’m just watching on TV. Templates are pretty easy to make (for any e-ink tablet, I think). I just haven’t gotten around to doing it yet.

I’d never get an e-ink tablet to replace an iPad. But I’d also never get one to read books. For me, my Kobo Sage is miles better for reading. And while I didn’t think having an unlit screen would be a big deal, I have to admit I don’t prefer it. I think I’d like the Supernote better with light. My wife, however, never even thinks about a lit screen on her Remarkable. She wouldn’t want it.

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Back on Prime Day I picked up a Kindle Paperwhite for reading books. I had been using my iPad for almost all my reading but really wanted something that was lighter, more weatherproof, and worked well in the sun. So far it has been great for that single purpose. For other tablet tasks like handling email, web browsing, or games I think such a tablet would be bad.

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I have a Boox Nova 3. It’s a capable enough device - since it runs Android and supports Google Play you can install any of the major applications.

I thought I might use it for note taking (it runs Obsidian) , but in practice I only use it for reading, primarily because of the small screen size. It’s fantastic for reading outside or in well lit conditions, and I personally find it’s more comfortable at night than my iPad. There’s also a psychological factor: I use my iPad extensively for work purposes so getting away from the device is helpful. I wouldn’t sit in the office to relax.

I purchased it over a Kindle because I can access other book services such as my local library and Perlego in addition to Kindle. In short, it does what I need it to do well.

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I find the restriction of an e-ink reader a benefit; less distraction more reading. The only reading I do on my iPad anymore is in NNW, websites that I find have a pleasing design, Matter, and GoodLinks, occasionally Medium and

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I have the Kobo Sage with the pen and adore it.

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I work for a digital transformation consulting company and most of my colleagues have started using reMarkables, the thing is spreading like a virus! All of them report loving it.

For my use cases, I would be well served with a reMarkable but I’m holding up for a 13’’ device --currently only offering is the Boox Max Lumi.

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I did fancy a Remarkable, but I’m not getting locked into a subscription for using a device I’ve bought. To be honest, I am also suspicious of their aggressive marketing. Good devices speak for themselves and don’t need ads popping up everywhere.

I’ve never heard of Supernote but will now investigate this!

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With the improved focus modes you can restrict your iPad in a similar way, but with the big advantage, that you can “revert” it, if you need an iPad instead of only an e-Reader.

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