Onyx Boox has just announced the BOOX Note Air, an evolution of the Boox Note 2. Running on Android 10 and equipped with a more powerful processor and the latest technologies in terms of RAM and storage, will this eInk tablet revolutionize the market?
Hardware update: a high-performance eInk tablet.
The BOOX Note Air is based on a latest-generation Octa Core CPU, allowing 30% more performance than the Boox Note 2 and the Boox Max 3, while consuming 10% less power.
With a 10.3″ eInk Carta/Mobius display with adaptive lighting, the e-reader also has 3GB of RAM (DDR4), Bluetooth 5.0, 32GB of storage, USB-C, a rotation sensor (G-Sensor) and a new stylus. It is very thin (5.8mm), close in this respect to the reMarkable 2, while offering much higher performance. Boox made a lot of effort on the design, with an aluminum coating (which suggests a good durability of the device over time) and a rather discreet blue color.
In terms of hardware, the eInk tablet proposed by Boox is the fastest digital ink device on the market, which opens the door to great versatility. Is it well highlighted by the software aspect?
Software level: Android 10’s versatility.
In terms of software, the Boox Note Air has Onyx Boox 3.0 firmware, based on Android 10. It is rare to find eInk devices with the latest version of Android. This version guarantees a good security but also the possibility to install and run most of the app store’s applications. So we are far from a minimalist tablet for taking notes: we can use the BOOX Note Air as an Android tablet, while enjoying the eInk screen.
Web browsing is fluid, the integrated browser being optimized for an eInk screen. The eBook reader, on the other hand, natively supports 20 eBook formats and therefore allows you to open all the files you can download, and has great dictionary and translation capabilities, making it an interesting device for those who want to translate a text or learn a foreign language.
The 3.0 Firmware has also seen the arrival of layers in the note-taking and drawing application, allowing you to overlay and edit different layers, as with graphics or image editing software.
A powerful eInk tablet.
Thanks to its performance (recent Octa Core CPU, 3GB of RAM) and the fact that it runs under Android 10, the Boox Note Air is extremely versatile. The 10-inch format is in my opinion the most suitable for those who want to be able to read PDFs, take notes but also read eBooks on their digital ink device: a 13.3-inch e-reader (like the Boox Max 3 or the latest Boox Max Lumi) is excellent for reading A4 PDFs or using the screen splitting function to have a book on one side and a note-taking application on the other – which is a bit small on a 10-inch device – but is too big to read a book comfortably.
The 10.3-inch screen diagonal makes it an extremely versatile device with a very good price/performance ratio, although for someone who would like a device to read mainly A4 documents with very thin margins, a 13.3-inch device would be more appropriate. This is a good compromise, especially for just over 400 euros, which seems to be the price at which the device will be available in Europe. Nevertheless, it will be necessary to wait a little, being for the moment only available in pre-order in China, with no possibility of delivery in our countries. It should nevertheless become available on Amazon in the coming weeks; this article will then be updated.
In the meantime, for those who are in a hurry, the Boox Note 2 remains a very good device, even if it does not have the adaptive lighting which is one of the real plus of the Boox Note Air, especially for those who want to read or work in the dark.