Hands on Review of the Notion Ink Adam – Part 2

notion ink adam vs ipad

Yesterday we got our hands on the Notion Ink Adam and it was certainly a slick piece of hardware, although it did suffer from some small software bugs that hopefully will be solved with an impending firmware update. If you are interested in the FULL specs of the Notion Ink Adam, as well as our professional review the first day we received it, check out the Full Notion Ink Adam Review. Today we continue to dive deeper into the Notion Ink Adam, answering many of the questions that were posed to us and providing solutions to some software problems.

Notion Ink Adam Supported USB Storage Types

The Notion Ink Adam has two USB 2.0 ports and are compatible with USB Flash drives. We tested FAT, FAT32 and NTFS. From our extensive testing we found that the Adam is compatible with FAT and FAT32 but will not recognize NTFS.

In order to view the files contained within your USB drive once you plug it into your Adam you have to use the Sniffer application, which is basically your file manager. Upon loading the application it will tell you how much system memory you have, what is on your MicroSD card and your USB drive. You can then browse the USB attached to your Adam and launch pictures, video, audio and document files. When launched, these files will be automatically opened by their corresponding application. In some cases you can choose what program launches the content. For instance, if you click on a picture you can open it in the gallery or in the Canvas application if you want to edit it.

How to find your IMEI Number

If you have purchased a 3G version of the Notion Ink Adam you are wondering how to activate it via the SIM card slot. Well in order to activate an official data-plan you have to provide your Telecommunication company with the IMEI number of your Adam. Since the battery is very hard to remove you cannot see the number on your device. Instead you can view the number via the software. Simply open your Settings Menu, then select About Adam, next click on Status and near the bottom is your IMEI number.

The Adam display dims on certain applications

We found through our first hands on review of the Notion Ink Adam that even though our brightness settings were cranked to the max, we still encountered applications that discounted our settings and dimmed the screen. This is an error with the ambient light sensor not working correctly, to correct this problem go to your Settings Menu, select Display and then Brightness. When you see the bar that shows you how bright you want to make your screen you will see a box with text that is very hard to read. It says “Automatic Brightness” if you disable this item which is on by default, you will no longer encounter situations where it randomly dims on certain applications.

Facebook not working correctly?

The issue with Facebook failing to connect is due to the Time and Date error with shipped versions of the Adam. When we first received ours the date was set to 2009, which resulted in many applications not functioning. When we set the date manually to the correct one, Facebook then started to work properly.

How do I get new Apps on the Notion Ink Adam?

Many people have been asking us what the solution is for applications for the Notion ink Adam since the Genesis Market is unavailable and it cannot use the official Android Market.  The solution is our recent article on Alternative Google Android Markets! We have installed Slideme Sam 4.0 Market and have installed the Aldiko Reader, Amazon Reader and Kobo reader for Android! We have installed some games, twitter client and so on. So if you are looking for a good source of applications or e-reading applications you are in luck with our list of direct downloads, offering the APK’s.

Now here are some errors we encountered so far, we are primary using our USB FLASH drive in order to load APK’s and other media to our device, as its much easier then keep on connecting it to our computer or using a MicroSD drive. If you want to use the Aldiko reading application, which is the premier one for Android, you have to load your ePub ebooks to the device via the MicroSD card. When you try and use the Adams Sniffer file manager it does not recognize ebook formats as valid formats. This is due to the Adam not coming with a ebook reader application, so the device does not recognize via its Eden GUI ebook formats. Aldiko does have an import feature, but it only works with SD and MicroSD card and is incompatible with USB media. We also had problems with the Amazon for Android application, as it never recognized our valid WI-FI connection and disallowed us to connect.

The Amazon application was the only problem we had with the top reading apps available on the Android platform. The Notion Ink Adam allowed us to install and use; Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Sony, and Borders Android applications.

The e-Ink vs. Pixel Qi debate on the Notion Ink Adam

There has been a maelstrom of conflicting information in the last few days on how the Notion Ink Adam in its Pixel QI iteration is different from traditional e-ink found in most electronic readers. We found through our extensive testing that e-ink is much more vibrant in its gray-scale contrast then the Notion Ink Adams version of Pixel QI.

The two units we compared each other with was the e-ink display screen found in the new Entourage Pocket Edge and the Pixel QI found on the Adam. Under direct light the Pixel QI found on the Adam provided a high degree of contrast vs the e-ink found on the Entourage Pocket Edge. When we turned most of the lights off, we found the e-ink to be the superior in most facets.

From what we can tell thus far, when the Adam turns on the Pixel QI mode, by long pressing the top button the colors are very muted. This is mainly because the essence of Pixel QI technology is to consume less power and perform better in direct sunlight. We must say, it performs way better in direct light and sunlight then it does in your average room with average to dim lighting. Pixel QI also provides a tremendous advantage vs. LCD tablet computers in direct sunlight. The advantage e-ink has over Pixel QI is the gray-scale background in which the text appears. It has a very high degree of contrast, vs the Adams version of Pixel Q,  which does not make the background as bright as you find in e-Ink. You can see from some of our pictures below our comparison photos, documenting our entire process. We have both one picture using LCD while reading a book and another picture using Pixel QI.

The Notion Ink Adam vs iPad Comparison

The iPad vs the Notion ink Adam comparison will be one of our feature articles for this weekends edition of the Good e-Reader Blog. We will be documenting the entire process in the next day or two that will pit the two tablets side by side and running a battery of tests. Today, our main concern is using the tablets as an e-reader and how they display text and how they perform. If you want to see a side by side hardware comparison between the two, you can check that out HERE.

Today we tested how ebooks look using the same application and the same book in portrait mode. We found the Apple iPad has a whiter background by a slim degree. As well, there was more text displayed on the Adam due to the fact that it has a bigger screen to fit more in. To wrap up the ebook testing we also had direct light on the screens and normal light.

Finally, we also compared the main screens that you launch applications from, to give you an indication on how the units look aesthetically side by side.

A Glaring issue with the Adam

There has been much debate on the Notion Ink Adam and the issue that appears with reflection and the screen protector that comes with it. Glaring on LCD tablets is a big issue with larger screen devices that have a capacitive touch screen. We noticed the same amount of glare with the Adam as we did the iPad. People are noticing more glare on the device because of the user interface and many of the features and menus have solid color backgrounds. We tested the Adam with the screen protector that came with the device, and it did not really cut down the glare very much. It did to a small degree, we would estimate about 30% of the reflection on the screen was diminished using it. From a practical point of view, I am currently not using the screen protector after running tests on it, as it looks a little too artificial. After all, I like my technology and gadgets shinny!  Also, the reflective glaring on the Adam does not dwindle to a staggering degree under direct light when you engage in Pixel QI Modes.

The whole issue many people seem to have with glare on the units comes from a few extenuating factors. Firstly, many of the reviews so far have had the Adam under direct light, either from an overhead light or a professional lightning system. You can see from most of our pictures, that we did not see much glaring at all in them, because we did not have a light-source hanging right above it. Although if you look at our video review, you can see the glare issue very clearly. We will be running tests soon to show how the Adam performs under different environments, such as outside, and in direct sunlight. Included in the gallery below is a before and after view of the Adam using the screen protector and not using it.

Check out the review we did really fast an hour after receiving the tablet. We will be posting more videos that are more comprehensive very soon, but we at least wanted to give you guys a little bit of hands on video to work with while we do proper ones

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Michael Kozlowski (5212 Posts)

Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about electronic readers and technology for the last four years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the Huffington Post, CNET and more. Michael frequently travels to international events such as IFA, Computex, CES, Book Expo and a myriad of others. If you have any questions about any of his articles, please send an email to michael@goodereader.com

  • Ninpuukamui

    Thanks for the new video; that is a very reflective surface. I just hope the screen protector fixes the issue without muting the colours too much.

  • kumar

    Michael & friend,
    you guys are great with a very objective review focusing on real use cases than too picky use cases (such as viewing angle,finger prints etc).
    Thanks a lot. It seems the talk about force closings seems to be exaggarated (at least for a normal operation like most users do).
    I am happy for your plans to compare with ipad because that puts the correct perspective from user experience perspective than searching for ideal tablet.

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    The Screen protector does not really work, it does not really reduce the glare at all. We tested it, but that it was irelevant to post on it here.

  • Tim Elston

    This is an outstanding, helpful review. Great work. Thanks.

  • Mark, Helsinki

    Absolutely hands down the best review of the Notion Ink Adam currently on the net. Not only that, but you were very sensible and mature in detailing the various pros and cons, and also came up with very useful hints on ‘fixing’ some issues to do with callobrating the software.

    Puts all the other tech blogs to shame!

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    Actually your point is more valid then I originally thought, lots of forum chatter we have seen has asked about the glaring issue, so we wrote a fair bit about it. We also took a before and after picture of the screen protector on under direct light and without it.

  • Gaurav

    Now that is a proper review, I can use to make my buying decision.

    This meets the whole purpose of a review, to let users decide on basis of expert opinion, rather than throwing your biased opinion trying to inflict failure or success of a product in the market.

  • Akylek

    I totally agree, unlike that other shitty e-reader site “the-digital-reader” all they do is copy and paste press releases and get their info from wikipedia or hate on other sites.

  • wpiter

    Maybe learn how to pronounce pixel Qi? It’s pixel chi (as in the the lifeforce mumbo jumbo)…

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    Did not know that was the way it was pronounced, when we were at ces with the CFO of Pixel QI, he said it the way I pronounced it. What video did you make that says your way is the correct way? Please give us a link.

  • mrzeal

    awesome reviews guys… as many have already mentioned you are the best. keep up the great work…. I like the frank open yet objective approach … rather than taking too many liberties to push personal wisdom…. I suggest you team up with notioninkfan and notionaddicts forums which will multiply the information sources and help in better reach.
    btw, regarding the pronounciation Qi == chee.. its noted at the bottom of the homepage http://www.pixelqi.com/ scroll all the way down!

  • JoseMourinho’sdog

    From Pixel Qi’s own website – http://www.pixelqi.com/ – At the bottom of the page it states the following:

    “Qi [noun] [pronounciation : chee]: the circulating life energy that in Asian philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things.”

    However, its not irrelevant to your review, which was excellent. Also, they spell ‘pronunciation’ incorrectly, so maybe not the strongest justification.

    Just one thing – how does pdf viewing work – I assume you can view in portrait but can you also highlight and make notes?

  • josemourinho’sdog

    Sorry, meant to say ‘it’s not relevant to your review’.

  • Ninpuukamui

    Thank you very much for the pictures and the write up. The matte screen was one of the selling points for me, it’s a shame it was replaced for something I consider much worse. I think I won’t be cancelling my order anyway, I hope I don’t regret it.

  • Jay Odeidra

    Good Review. Stating the facts as it is , in a very unbiased manner, and not adding your own color to the opinions. I wish all reviewers exercise this kind of journalistic responsibilities when they review any thing.
    All points you made are backed up by facts, which provides the users information on a piece of technology(ex: why Pq screens gray scale is lower contracts as opposed to e-ink).
    Well done. It is clear from the review that there are some software bugs, which is easily fixed in updates.
    Now I am waiting for Pre-order 2 to place my order.
    Thank you very much.

  • Vijaydpunjabi

    Looks like ADAM will eat the APPLE soon.

  • Anonymous

    That was an incredible review. I’ve found a new favorite site!

  • Wathouse

    Except for showing different pics when you are comparing with Ipad. You should show the same screen in both devices for a color comparison. Thanks.

  • vendetta

    Although after watching the video first I initially thought that you guys have little idea of what you are doing by reading the article now I see that it was due to the short time.
    Quite good review of the device. May I admit that the comparative pictures you took should show the exact same viewing angle.

  • Anonymous

    Just so you know, in your video you reference the top edge as being the one that various color options, it is actually the white banding around the perimeter (everything but the top edge) that will have the color options, which will be user replaceable.

  • Anonymous

    Its a good review, it shows the problem but doesn’t focus on the problems only, thats the way it should be. Few suggestions

    1) The aspect ratio in the video is little skewed, adam look square but its actually rectangle!!
    2) In the next reviews, use the same text/picture/video on the 2 devices you are comparing
    3) Try to cover actual use cases of multitasking (playing video and music at the same time is not one of it!!!) one use case I am particularly interesting is, record a video, take notes and browse web at the same time.
    4) While comparing with iPAD please compare all form factors visually not just the screen.
    5) Link to other reviews and videos to approve or reject their claims, will be good for your traffic.

  • http://twitter.com/sureshgvv Suresh Gudimetla

    An excellent fair and balanced review! I really am looking forward to more reviews on the Adam

  • Anonymous

    Application reviews that of interest are
    1) GPS
    2) FM Radio
    3) Camera
    4) Game playing experience (Flash as well as Android)
    and hope others are interested in these too..

  • http://twitter.com/twospirits twospirits

    Another outstanding review.

  • Anil

    I am hoping update will make this software bugs go away…one thought say u should wait to do more review and get update first ..bcs that would be real picture we dont have to guess this will be fixed after update..so should be wait that long for update…

  • Gcrv

    Great review. Thanks for putting Adam through its paces. Providing comparative references to other tablets was real helpful. Notion Ink does have its work cut out in improving the product and completing its ecosystem offerings. It is good to know the Adams being shipped are not some Franken cousins of the Adam review s in CES. HoooHoo 16 hours of video here I come!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-McDowell/588955179 Matthew McDowell

    Pixel CHEE not Quee CHEEEEE please do more research before making you and your review look ridiculous by mispronouncing hardware.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-McDowell/588955179 Matthew McDowell

    Camera has a 185 degree angle so it can focus on the user while lying down not 180. Also I would appreciate if you would record a few minutes of video with the cam so we may see the quality. Many of us are students who are drooling over the ability to record class.

  • Kely232

    shut up matthew your comments are ridiculous

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    Your right, we have done 3 other follow up videos to this one and have fixed the aspect ratio! The new ones are way more comprehensive as well, now that we have had 2 or 3 days to play with it.

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    GPS is buggy and thinks I am in China (Im in canada) FM radio does not come with the Adam, We have the camera and video showing in the new video posting soon, game experience is weak, embedded flash content such as youtube videos dont work

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    We have shown off PDF viewing in our new video!

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    Thanks for the heads up,

  • Ran

    Now this is a review I can actually get some good info on, without bias and opinion!

    Thanks and I look forward to your more in-depth reviews!

  • Aladdin

    This shit looks terrible. Saying it will be better in the future is not an excuse. When I lay out money I hope to be buying a functional product, not a promise of future capabilities. It looks totally unresponsive to your touches and the glare is atrocious, I can see your camera and tripod and both of you on the screen during the whole review. I’m sure all the adamites will cry about how every little thing will be fixed in the future, but in the meantime you have a piece of crap tablet that you have to fight to use. Everyone who is thanking you for an unbiased review is essentially thanking you for lying. I say this is a biased review, you clearly don’t want to call this what it is, a failure.

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    This was an exclusive preorder, we are early adopters. The premise is that we work out the bugs before the big wide spread release.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GULAUDKINPQNR3PQMI5A7PS4MU Jim

    Kudos for using real-world lighting.

  • Zortiger

    This is both true and false. The chip that is in the Adam is supposed to have an FM Transmitter, not a radio. At this time there is no software.

  • Contrast&Color

    Waiting for a rigorous comparison between Pixel Qi Adams vs. LCD Adams. How many people really want to use this in the sunshine?

  • mip

    When you accept “ads by Google” which advertise “XOOM Official Site”, how can you be unbiased?

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    We have no control over what content comes in the advertising. No one is obligated to click on any adds. Adds is what finances are ability to purchase these tech items we review, since we do not accept free reviews.

  • http://twitter.com/blrbalaji Balaji

    Excellent and unbiased review. It gives me just the info that I need to make that buy / hold decision.


  • Anonymous

    The panels thing is very cool but not emphasized here. It means you can set different sets of apps/uses on each panel for personalisation. Like different screens on a phone.
    Is that 3 panels on the home page?

    also, did you test the browser out? That’s going to be key.

  • Anonymous

    I think the camera is designed so that if you hold it portrait, the camera is still good for video conf.

    Was it as comfortable to hold as an ipad? some think the ipad is too heavy.

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    Yes only 3 panels max on the homepage.

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    I found the Adam much more heavier then the ipad.