Supernote A5 X
So you are looking into purchasing an eInk tablet, or perhaps you already own an eInk tablet but aren’t sure if it’s right for you. I’ve tested the Boox Note Air 2 Plus, the blog/reMarkable 2 and now the SuperNote A5 X. In this article I will tell you about the SuperNote A5 X, how it stacks up against the competitors and who is and isn’t a good fit for this device.
I should start by saying that Ratta did send this out to me per my request, but that has no influence on my review and they asked that I share my honest opinion, even the things I didn’t like.
# Initial Impressions and Build Quality
- Durability shouldn’t be an issue. The fact that it is plastic and flexible means I’m not worried about it. The Boox and the blog/reMarkable 2 I feel like I need to bring a sleeve in order to not be afraid of breaking them. If I was on the go a ton, this would be my preferred tablet to carry.
- The Supernote is nearly twice as thick as the reMarkable. About the thickness of a single subject notebook, which as a lefty are not particularly fond memories of writing on real paper.
- I wish the screen were brighter. The fact that it is missing a backlight is one thing, but combined with a low whitepoint screen makes it feel even darker.
- The Heart of Metal pen is great. It has great feel and weight. Its the perfect thickness for me. Feels very premium. The lack of eraser is no big deal on the Supernote because of the two finger erase gesture. Every other tablet should add this feature, it is a game changer.
- I love how thin the folio is. It feels like it protects but doesn’t affect the form factor of the device
- I wish the folio attached to the device in two places. I sometimes accidentally pick up in between the device and the folio.
- I love that flipping open the folio unlocks the device. It feels snappy and I love it.
# Writing Feel
- I don’t love the feel of writing on the screen, but I think that is very much a personal preference thing and that many people will.
- The screen is very smooth and I find that I prefer the more vellum feel of the Boox and reMarkable
- I have to not press as hard as I normally would or the pen tip will dig into the screen. It doesn’t do any damage it just affects the writing feel. This is probably what a thick pad of paper would do as well.
- The look of your writing after the fact doesn’t look as good as the Boox, but it does have anti-aliasing unlike the reMarkable 2
- I find that I prefer the ballpoint pen over the fine-liner and its very similar to the reMarkable in that regard. It’s interesting, because I do like fineliners in real life, but apparently not digitally.
- The best nibs for the Boox / reMarkable will not feel like the best nibs for the Supernote. The screens are too different
They have the prettiest toolbar of the 3 main eInk tablets.
I love that I can move the toolbar to the bottom, this is a huge deal for lefties like me who curl their hands as they write. This allows me to use the tablet without hitting the buttons at the top of the screen. This is an issue I’ve had with both the Supernote and the reMarkable.
I like that you can set it s page turns only occur when using two fingers, but I will say I still encounter accidental page flips from my palm.
The icons and tools are so intuitive, I love that I get one of each tool at the root of the toolbar. It has the right tools so I don’t even feel the need to customize it.
I love the new header with the title and page number. It’s obvious to me what notebook I’m in, while also not distracting me from my notes.
I love that the tool state is shared across documents. It means I can create a fresh document and not waste a bunch of time setting my pen settings.
In just the 6 weeks I’ve had the SuperNote A5 X the software has improved significantly. I was able to join Ratta’s beta program and got a version of the software that worked much better for me as a lefty. That Beta patch that I was running has since been made public.
# Organization / Navigation
- Being able to pin pages and documents to the quick access menu is awesome.
- The star feature and titles are really awesome and allow you to have long lived documents like notebooks but still be able to find things.
- The fact that new notes are autonamed with today’s date is a nice touch. Way to go Supernote.
- Page flips are incredibly fast and make the Boox note experience feel slow.
- The reMarkable 2 can get close to the navigation quality of the Supernote with hacks, but if you are not going to take the time to hack it then the Supernote is far superior.
# Wish List
I wish you could set the thickness of the highlighter similar to how you can with the other pens? I have a consistent line-height that I write with and would be useful to be able to set the highlight to that line-height.
I wish you could switch tools with a gesture like in DDVK’s hack on the reMarkable. This would enable me to run the tablet without any GUI and still be able to easily switch between the pen and the highlighter.
I wish the export was actually vector based instead of being a live trace of a raster image (or at least that is what it appears like).
I wish I could export documents to Google Drive
I wish the PDF highlighter worked more like the one on the reMarkable their highlighter is awesome.
I wish I can check or uncheck whether I want the template/grid when exporting.
I wish I could send tasks to Todoist, like I do on the Boox device. I manage one central task inbox and I wish this could feed into it.
# Who is this tablet good for? (Who should buy this)
- The person who carries a daily journal / planner. This is the eInk device that feels the most like writing on a pad of paper or journal. People who maintain paper todo lists / day plans will also love this device.