Today I want to introduce you a device with which I have been working for several months with which I’m very happy. It’s an electronic notepad to take notes. But it’s more than that, and we’ll see all of its functions. And for those who think that they can do the same with their tablet and a capacitive stylus or even their own finger on tablet or smartphone, they will have to test a system like this to realize that the user experience is very different. With this gadget, finally, we have a nearly identical user experience that painting with a pen on a sheet of paper. We could say that it is for writing like a Kindle or any ebook for reading… almost the same experience as paper but with the advantage of having the content stored on digital and using a lighter and handier device than any notepad or book and very nice, leaving no one indifferent. Try to go to a meeting with the Boogie Board and enjoy the bosses, colleagues or clients reactions. 🙂
DIGITAL AND ULTRA CONNECTED NOTEPAD
This nice device is a Boogie Board Sync 9.7. The name already gives some clues; the big screen has a size of 9.7 inches and it’s synchronized with many other devices via bluetooth.
As I said before the main function of this gadget is to make the functions of a notepad, with its own pen included. The technology used to paint strokes is electronic ink, similar to what we see in an ebook but reacting to pressure with the stylus (or another object) to draw on its surface. As with ebooks, it only consumes power when painting, but then the notes remain on the screen without consumption. We can even turn off the device and the strokes remain, and you can even keep writing on its surface when it is off. But in this case the notes won’t be saved in the internal memory.
That is another of the interesting features of the device. It saves all the documents that we generate in its internal memory, which can store thousands of pages. In addition, documents are stored in vector PDF format, so then you can recover them on the computer and zoom them as far as you want without loss of quality.
The Boogie Board incorporates 3 buttons; on in a corner to turn it on and 2 on the frame with Save and Delete functions. Save button is used to save the document that we currently have on the screen and Delete button clean the entire screen to continue working on a new page. Actually when you press the Delete button it save a page copy in internal memory, in a different folder, but it is a very interesting feature to avoid losing a document accidentally.
The device also have a microUSB port to charging and synchronizing documents with the computer via USB cable connection and also has bluetooth 2.1 + EDR wireless connection, allowing synchronization and sending documents to other devices very quickly. This connectivity brings us to new features that we will see below.
There are available applications for the two major PC operation systems; Windows and Mac. There are also mobile apps for iOS and Android. On all platforms we have to link the Boogie Board as a trusted bluetooth device and since then, whenever we have the device turned on and available to any of our paired devices, content is automatically synchronized, being available to consult it later in any platform.
The mobile app allow to keep the device documents synchronized on the smartphone or tablet. This feature is useful if you later want to review the the documentation generated with the Boogie Board from the phone or tablet. Moreover, as discussed above, the documents are stored in vector PDF format, so on the phone we can zoom all we want to see the smallest details and we can check that the image is not pixelated.
The PC application also serves to work with the stored documents, although in the computer the docs are stored in a configurable folder so that you can open them with any PDF reader application.
The most interesting feature of the PC application is the whiteboard function, with which you can see in real time on the PC screen what you are writing on the tablet. This is extremely useful for presentations or videoconference meetings in which we can support our explanations with drawings or notes we take on the notepad, while the other attendees can see that on big size screen (with a projector) or on different sites. The truth is that it works very well and it has almost no delay between what is written and what is seen on the computer screen.
Another interesting feature is the Boogie Board use as a mouse for your computer. I this mode, we can use the stylus sliding it across the device screen and we will move the computer pointer across the PC screen. Pressing the screen with the stylus will get the main mouse click and with the built-in stylus button will obtain the secondary click button. In the test I’ve done it is not going quite right and it’s not very confortable to use, but any additional function to the main use of the device is appreciated.
INTEGRATION WITH EVERNOTE
If you are an Evernote user, you’ll quickly realize how powerful is this functionality. The Boogie Board is automatically synchronized with your Evernote account through PC or mobile applications. You just have to enter your Evernote account credentials and automatically all your documentos are not only synchronized between bluetooth connected devices but also you’ll have them stored an available in your Evernote account. Very useful.
SDK FOR DEVELOPERS
The last interesting feature that I would like to show you is the Boogie Board development platform available to developers. There is a full SDK for iOS, Android and Chrome for whoever wants to develop their own apps for the device or integrate device functions into their own apps. I could not investigate much but it can be interesting and there may be very good ideas to help improve our beloved digital notepad.
If you’re a developer, I encourage you to take a look if you think of something interesting.
After so much talk about the Boogie Board Sync 9.7, I will summarize the main features that it have:
- Device size: 283mm x 190mm x 5mm
- Screen size: 241mm (9,7 pulgadas)
- Weight: 323 gramos
- Internal memory: Más de 5000 páginas PDF
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, MicroUSB para carga y sincronización
- Battery life: Above a week with daily use. Energy saving mode after 1 hour of inactivity
- Manufacturing materials: ABS plastic, plastic LCD scren resistan to scratches
- Colour: Black with orange details
- Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10
- OS X v10.8 y upper
- Android and iOS
- Package contents:
- Boogie Board Sync 9.7
- MicroUSB cable
And the most important thing: the price. In Spain the best place to boy it is Amazon. I paid more money but the device price has fallen and at the time to writing this post, the price was 112 euros. A great price for a very good device. If you are going to buy yours, I recommend you to also boy the official cover to protect the Boogie Board screen. This portafolio also has a very nice design. It is priced at 21 euros on Amazon. Here you have the links to both products (on Amazon Spain):
[pre]Boogie Board: Boogie Board Sync 9.7 eWriter – Tableta de escritura LCD de 9.7″[/pre]
[pre]Portfolio: Boogie Board SP1010001 – Portafolio para Boogie Board Sync 9.7[/pre]
The Boogie Board is a device generally recommended if you really like technology, you like to try the newest gadgets and you use a paper notepad to take notes in meetings or in academic environment. After 2 months of use, I just had to load the battery 3 or 4 times and I have worked a lot with it. I have about 100 written documents and they are stored and classified on my computer, my smartphone and my Evernote account.
The build quality is also very good. The plastic housing looks very strong and certainly very light.
Apps synchronization both mobile and PC is quite good and fast.
As everything can not be good, there are 2 negative points that I see on this devices.
The first one is that the contrast between screen and strokes is a bit poor and in certain environments, particularly in low light, it is difficult to see clearly what has been written. I think it’s a problem that should be solved in the following versions. The screen should have a lighter background with black strokes in, or otherwise it could keep the dark screen that is more elegant but with much clearer strokes so that the contrast is higher.
The second one is easier to solve by software update so I hoe it come soon. It is that we can not erase a particular area of the screen. That is, if you mistype something or you want to correct a drawing or a word, you can’t. All you can do in this case is to clear the entire screen and start again. The stylus has a built-in button so they should implement a system that pressing the button the part where we’re pointing is erased. But for now this option is not available. A big negative point hopefully resolved in a near future.
In conclusion, I think that is a very interesting device and a good concept that if it evolves with head and it is improving in the coming years can be converted into the natural replacement for paper notepads, which would be pretty good for the environment ambient. I think the evolution will have this type of devices is very similar to ebooks… not replace the paper notepad in the same way that the ebook has not replaced the paper book, but it will go slowly gaining ground and each we’ll see more people appear with his digital notepad in meetings or university classes.
To end, I leave a sample document created with my Boogie Board and the result visualizing it in the netepad, a PC screen, an Android smartphone and two extensions so you can see how not lose resolution when zooming because of the vector format.
Finally, if you want to see how it looks in PDF format I leave the link to download the previous document:
I hope you liked the device analysis and see you in the next post of El Jardín Digital.