The Boox Note Pro is now available. Sister model of the Onyx Boox Nova Pro, it has a larger 10.3-inch screen and runs on Android 6. The ability to write with a stylus on PDF documents makes it a good e-reader for reading PDFs.
Equipped with a Carta screen and a lighting technology that allows you to adjust the warmth of the front light, this e-reader seems to have a very good potential. What about it?
Hardware: beefy CPU, 4GB of RAM…
On the hardware level, we have a 10.3″ E-Ink Mobius Carta screen with a resolution of 1872 × 1404 pixels, a quad-core processor of 1.6 GHz 4GB RAM & 64 GB (!) of internal memory, integrated lighting with the possibility of adjusting the warmth (more or less yellow color) and the usual connectivity of the brand’s models: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n & BT 4.1. The battery is 4.100 mAh, which gives 4 week autonomy between two recharges in standby, in real use it depends but a good week of autonomy is easily achieved.
The Quad-Core processor makes it one of the most powerful e-readers on the market, which is logical since unlike most e-readers it runs on Android, which is more resource intensive. However, with 4GB of RAM (the main upgrade compared to the Boox Nova Pro in addition to the screen) even the most demanding applications run without any problem!
Software: Android 6 + PlayStore!
The e-readerruns on Android 6, and it is possible to install the PlayStore and most Android applications. However, an e-reader of this type is not a tablet: the screen does not have the refresh rate of a conventional LCD screen; it is not suitable for watching videos, for example. You can feel it when using the PlayStore: while most applications run without any problem, some free applications with advertising are really unusable… Pay applications (or free software!) will then be more enjoyable. Anyway, it is possible to install the applications of the different eBook merchants: Kindle, Nook, Kobo and to find the books of these merchants on your e-reader.
In use, the e-reader is quite reactive; the software provided is well finished and stable. Reading eBooks in different formats does not pose a problem, even for PDF documents, which makes it one of the best devices for those looking for an e-Ink reader adapted to the PDF format.
The ability to take notes with the stylus is interesting, and although the built-in software to turn these notes into text doesn’t work so badly, it is faster for those who want to use this device for writing to use a Bluetooth keyboard (not included with the e-reader).
Reading PDFs with a Boox Note Pro
With its large 10.3-inch screen, the Boox Note Pro seems to be a good e-reader for big PDF readers. In use, the integrated software shines with all digital file formats, including PDF, and it’s easy to see why. Pages turn quickly, even large files open well and no slowdown is felt. It is easy to mark passages with the stylus, even on documents with complex images or mathematical formulas.
Of course, it is possible to install an alternative reader like Koreader or any other PlayStore software, but it is not necessary: the integrated software does everything a PDF reader needs, and the screen size allows to read most documents natively, without having to worry about margins, nor to optimize the document display 100% by cropping (removing margins) and other reflow (reformatting the document, like an ePub).
So it is indeed a very good e-reader for reading and annotating PDFs, and the quality integrated lighting is a real plus for those who want to be able to read at night, compared to Boox Max 3 which has a larger screen (13.3 inches) and runs on Android 9 but does not benefit from lighting…
Given its low availability and the release of the Boox Note 2 (see our article) which runs on Android 9 and benefits from a Mobius screen, which can be slightly folded and therefore should be more solid in the long run, as well as lighting, it may be interesting for anyone thinking of opting for the Boox Note Pro, to take a loan interest in the Boox Note 2 which may appear to be a more sustainable investment despite its slightly higher price.
This e-reader is interesting, especially for academics, researchers, engineers or other people reading large quantities of PDF documents. For those who would like to take notes or use the stylus to make drawings, the ReMarkable is clearly more suitable for this purpose. On the other hand, for those who don’t want to take notes but read books mainly in ePub format, a more basic e-reader (and not running on Android) will be sufficient, and will offer better autonomy and better guarantees on the long term (see for example the very good Kindle Oasis 3, or the mythical PocketBook / Vivlio Inkpad 3).
There are, however, a few black spots to consider. First of all, its price may seem high for an e-reader, its 7.8-inch little sister costs about 300 euros while the Boox Note Pro costs more than 500 euros. Moreover, this e-reader comes with Android 6, which is quite old and if the Onyx Boox Note 2 (also in 10.3 inches – but with a Mobius screen rather than a Carta one) and the Boox Max 3 (in 13.3 inches) from the same manufacturer are running on Android 9, there is no indication that this one (for the moment quite reactive in its updates) is planning a software upgrade to Android 9 for the e-readers sold on Android 6. This may be a problem in the long run, or for those who want to use the e-reader to surf the Internet, in which case regular installation of security updates is clearly recommended…