The most outstanding eReader-digital notebook available is the Onyx Boox Note Air 2, but the pricey cost can only be justified if you use the Onyx software frequently.
The Onyx Boox Note Air 2 resembles an offspring of an Amazon Kindle and an Apple iPad in appearance and feel. It’s a tablet with a 10-inch screen and note-taking features, but its E Ink surface prevents eye strain. It can run for weeks as opposed to hours, unlike an iPad, though. Unfortunately, there are a few issues with its slow-drawing E Ink panel.
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Table of Contents
Who Ought to Purchase an Onyx Note Air 2?
The Note Air 2 is ideal for anyone who struggles with eyestrain and juggles multiple paper books or notes. With no LCD or OLED glare, the hybrid eReader/tablet allows passive stylus input. Students and working adults can take notes inside Onyx’s note-taking app or directly into eBooks thanks to the combination. The advanced transcribing software that Onyx uses to convert those handwritten notes into digital form, however, is its main selling point.
Even though Onyx’s software has a few hours worth of learning requirements, many Android devices are very similar to it. Therefore, despite considerable complexity, the Note Air 2’s main value lies in its capacity to organize and simplify without causing eyestrain if you feel overwhelmed by stacks of paper notes or books.
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It’s more than just a top-notch platform for taking notes. The Note Air 2 has the same polish as an iPad from Apple. The Note Air 2 boasts a sleek, aluminum-unibody chassis that is painted a midnight blue color, similar to many of Apple’s products.
Onyx eReaders are sold by a few big box stores, although the company is otherwise not well-known in the US. However, despite having a less illustrious past, the Note Air 2 looks just as stylish as an iPad. The aluminum metal chassis, which is navy blue, is as sturdy as anything created by Apple. Furthermore, although having comparable proportions to the Apple iPad, the Note Air 2 is both lighter and thinner.
In terms of metals, aluminum is soft, therefore it is prone to dents and dust buildup. The optional folding, the folio-style magnetic case nearly has to be purchased because of this. However, despite its seeming fragility, the gadget features a chic design in addition to basic functionality.
Portable and Lightweight Design
With a weight of only 420 grams, the Note Air 2 is 35% less than the iPad, which weighs 652 grams. The Note Air 2 feels pleasant to write on and read on, despite not being as lightweight as a Remarkable 2 because of its glass screen.
The 240-gram Sony DPT-CP1 is far more comfortable to handle. Sony’s DPT-CP1 seems like you’re clutching a big bag of potato chips in comparison. After a few hours of reading, the Note Air 2 becomes uncomfortable to handle. But even while it doesn’t feel like a feather, it’s light enough to resemble a paper notebook.
On the negative side, as with other metal gadgets, fingerprints and scratches are a problem. In addition to being a soft metal, aluminum is also easily scratched due to the rough plastic that covers the glass. With the Note Air 2, you’ll want to use a case, but it’s an expensive extra.
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- Touch: A capacitive layer and 4,096 pressure sensitivity levels for the Wacom touch layer
- CPU: Cortex A53 and A73 cores in the midrange Snapdragon 662 processor
- Dimensions: 229.4 x 195.4 x 5.8 mm
- Weight: 423g
- Screen: 10.3-inch E ink HD Carta 1200 screen with anti-glare coating
- Resolution: 1872 x 1404 Carta (227dpi)
- RAM: 3GB LPDDR4X
- Storage: 32GB eMMC storage drive
- Wireless: Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0
- Illumination: Warm and Cold LED front lights
- Ports: Single USB-C with OTG support
- Battery: 3,000mAh Li-on battery
Operating System: Android 10. (Onyx claims that Android 11 is forthcoming)
A 10-Inch, Note-Taking eReader is an Incredible Combination
The majority of eReaders have six-inch screens, which is a significant drawback. For instance, the Amazon Kindle displays text and graphics poorly. Although text reflow on Kindles can resize text to suit a page, reflow doesn’t always function as intended.
Thankfully, the Note Air 2’s 10-inch screen offers a generous amount of area for reflowing text as well as margin space for handwritten notes.
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High-Quality Hardware (for an eReader)
Because eBooks aren’t resource-intensive, eReader hardware isn’t comparable to smartphone processors. However, Android eReaders require greater processing power, especially when switching between many apps. As a result, the midrange Snapdragon 662 in the Note Air 2 is one of the quickest eReaders available right now.
The E Ink Mobius panel’s 1872 x 1404 resolution and 227 pixel-per-inch “pixel” density make it one of the greatest displays available (PPI). The Mobius screen uses a plastic substrate, in contrast to its rivals who employ comparable panels. Behind the glass screen, the substrate is present. Mobius screens are typically utilized in flexible displays.
In comparison to a glass substrate in an E Ink Carta panel, the plastic substrate in this instance is lighter and more robust. But the variations are hardly discernible. Because the Note Air 2 has an additional layer of textured plastic over the glass, the weight difference between it and the original Note Air is minimal.
Storage is one area where the Note Air 2’s hardware falls short. The 64 GB eMMC drive can store many eBooks, but it can only keep a small number of CBR comic books perhaps a few hundred. Expandable storage is a feature that Boyue included in its P10-series of eReaders, which is sadly absent from the Note Air 2.
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Note-Taking on eBooks
The Note Air 2’s large 10-inch screen makes it ideal for reading and taking notes. However, it has a gimmick that its rivals don’t do as well: it can take notes directly onto eBooks. It’s simple to annotate eBooks: simply open an eBook and use the Onyx NeoReader application. Then you are free to write anything.
The notes are then stored by Onyx’s software in its cloud app or via DropBox. Additionally, users can turn handwriting into digital text by using optical character recognition in their notes. The translated characters can then be copied and pasted into applications.
The Note Air 2’s glass screen is protected by a plastic layer. When stroked with the stylus, the plastic layer has a texture that resembles paper.
However, on-page annotation isn’t flawless. The main issue is that Onyx forbids users from accessing backed-up notes using third-party applications. The Note Air 2 cannot transfer data to another device, therefore. Although Dropbox can be used in place of Onyx’s cloud storage, the data is still encrypted and can only be decrypted or made readable via Onyx’s software. I am not aware of any means to obtain your raw data right now. This makes split screen mode for taking notes preferable.
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Amazing Split-Screen Mode
The Note Air 2 has a split-screen mode, just like other contemporary Android devices. You can use this to run two applications simultaneously. Opening the note-taking app and then switching to split-screen mode from the menu shade is the simplest way to use split-screen mode. You must then open your book in the second pane after switching to split-screen mode. You can then read in one window while making notes in the other.
While split-screen note-taking reduces the size of your screen by half, it also enables users to export their notes to other programs and have them transcribed. For instance, it is easy to cut and paste into another app, such as Microsoft To-Do, after taking notes and using the AI OCR tool. However, exporting notes into Evernote, OneNote, Google Keep, or a flashcard program is probably the best way to use them (the best flash card apps for Android).
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10-inch screens offer enough space for taking notes. Consider the scenario where you want to make notes inside an eBook. You can annotate using the NeoReader application. You can also increase the margins of the eBook if you need additional room for writing.
Overall, it has the same paper-like feel as paper without many of the drawbacks of actual wood pulp. Margin expansion is limited to an inch, which is a drawback. And as was already said, exporting that annotation as digital text is challenging. Therefore, your commented text is owned by Onyx.
Awesome eBook Software
Not only does the Note Air 2 make an excellent digital notepad. Onyx is a better eReader because to its unique eBook software, NeoReader. Split-screen mode for taking notes has previously been mentioned, but the NeoReader software can be used for more than just reading and annotating. Above all, it’s great for reflowing digital documents and PDFs that were improperly scanned.
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Text Reflow on the NeoReader App
Text reflow has been implemented in an exceptional way by Onyx. Onyx’s NeoReader app can reflow anything, including digital photos, while the majority of reflow tools fail when used with scanned papers. To display scanned documents, NeoReader employs a variant of optical character recognition software.
The NeoReader program, for instance, can identify distinct words in a scanned PDF if I wish to reflow it without having to forcefully turn the blurry scans into digital text. Reflowed photos from the original document are the outcome.
The tool worked flawlessly on every single document I used it on, even hundreds of poorly scanned ones. The drawback is that it takes longer than simply browsing through unaltered PDFs. However, there isn’t much lag when looking through digital documents because of the Snapdragon 662.
Foreign Language Translation
The Note Air 2 offers on-the-fly translation for individuals who want to read eBooks in various languages. The procedure is as follows: open the eBook in the NeoReader app, choose Split View from the options menu, then choose Doc & translate.
The document is then instantly translated into the selected language in one pane by the software. It’s fantastic for both individuals who are learning a new language and those who simply want to view the original text.
Bing, Google, and Baidu Translate are currently available. Although both Bing and Google Translate are top-notch, Baidu needs improvement.
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Great Battery Life
It averaged 15 hours of screen usage with Wi-Fi using battery measurement tools. With an average daily screen time of two hours, that amounts to roughly a week of consumption. Timothy O’Malley, associate vice president of E Ink, claims that because eReaders have low-drain displays, Wi-Fi uses the majority of their battery life. That indicates that disabling Wi-Fi significantly extends battery life. In my experience, turning off Wi-Fi doubles battery life.