Supernote has only been developing E INK based digital note taking hardware for a few short years. The company has refreshed both their models in 2020 and the A5X is likely the best one. It has a giant 10.3 inch display, which will read A5 PDF files, you can also draw on the screen with the accompanied stylus.
This device features a 10.3 inch E INK Mobius touchscreen display with a resolution of 1404×1872 with 226 PPI. This device is geared towards taking digital notes, editing PDF files and reading ebooks. It comes with a self-repairing film on the front of the screen, so you can draw as hard as you want, and the screen will never be damaged. This is great because all of the different stylus that are available have the new ceramic nibs and are only compatible with Supernote.
Underneath the hood is a quad-core Cortex A35 processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. You can access the internet via WIFI 2.4/5 and it has Bluetooth 5.0. It is powered by a 3,800 mAh battery. It supports USB-C for transferring documents and charging. It is running Android 8.1, whereas the previous generation Supernote A5 was running Linux. Supernote mentioned they went with Android, because it is easier to develop firmware updates and push them out quickly. You cannot sideload in any apps, but Supernote does push the odd one out via firmware, such as Amazon Kindle.
The retail packing is quite striking and visually arresting. It is square and has a full color picture of the hardware, along with a Heart of Metal premium stylus. The back of the box is clean, it just has a few certifications on the bottom. Opening the box feels like you are turning the page of a book, instead of the box top just coming off. On the box lid are the words “elegant productivity,” which is a nice touch. The first thing that greets you is the free case that they give away, which is an off-blue felt. It also ships with a very basic pearl white stylus. There is a few documents underneath the A5X, such as a warranty and quick start guide.
The Supernote A5X is using the same shell as the Supernote A5, presumably to save money. It has an all white bezels on the front of the device, and along the side of the bezel. The back of the device is a gunmetal silver and there is a small indentation, which is used to connect to one of their premium cases with a rail system, so it locks into place. There is a power button on the top, USB port on the bottom. The side of the right bezel can be swiped upwards to access the menus.
On a pure hardware level, the design of the Supernote is quite different than most of their competition. Supernote hopes that people will invest in their e-notes, not because the software blows you away, but due to their line of digital stationary. They have premium leather cases, premium pens in many different colors and made of aluminum, they even have cases with unique designs. In all, they have like 20+ different extras you can buy, to customize your experience. Most other companies just ship you a high cost item, with a flimsy plastic stylus and don’t offer any premium variants, you normally have to source these on your own.
This item is facing stock shortages. Pre-orders are around $449 USD and range to over $549 with extras.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.