The Bigme B1 Pro Plus is the first 10.3-inch digital note taking device with an E INK Kaleido 2 e-paper panel, that can display thousands of different colors. It is compatible with all major EMR/WACOM stylus pens and is fully capable of 4,096 degrees of pressure sensitivity. What is more impressive, this device is running Android 11 and has English. This makes it fully relevant for anyone in the western world that wants a top tier writing slate. You can draw and conduct annotations in sideloaded ebooks, manga, magazines, newspapers and PDF files. This makes it not only good for people who need a professional level business tool, but it is ideal for the educational markets and graphic designers.
The resolution on the color panel will be 117 PPI and can display over 4,000 different color combinations. The black and white panel has a resolution of 1872 by 1404 and 226 PPI. There is a front-lit display and color temperature system with 36 LED lights. The light distribution is nice and even, there are software-based sliders that allow you to control the white or amber LED lights separately, or can be simultaneously controlled. The color scheme of the hardware is white and there is a thin black stripe on the left side of the bezel. There are four microphones on the very top.. The back of the Plus is black and has a beveled edge.
Bigme is a brand that has dabbled with color, ever since the technology first came out in early 2020. The company released two products, the Bigme S3 and the B1 Pro. All of these devices utilized E INK Kaleido 1. The Bigme B1 Pro Plus is the first 10.3 inch in the world that is using Kaleido Plus (Kaleido 2) color e-paper. The primary benefits of this generation are the greyscale uniformity being been drastically improved, so the background will always be grey, instead of colors trying to mix together to create grey. It has better color accuracy and the gamut has been improved by over 3x. This means for large screens, colors blend into each other better, which makes a huge difference for image heavy documents.
You are primarily going to interact with the various drawing apps and editing documentation with the free stylus that comes with purchase. It is larger than most plastic stylus. It has removable cap where you can charge it via Micro USB. There is a small LED strip that lights up when the stylus is activated. This stylus is really unique because it has manual page turn buttons on it, so you can click on forward or backward and is fully compatible with the stock reading app, but also third-party apps, such as Amazon Kindle. This is basically done via Bluetooth, which the pen needs to connect up to your Bigme. This pen has 4,096 degrees of pressure sensitivity and the screen has palm rejection technology. Nibs tend to last a couple of months and with purchase, you get 4 extra ones.
Underneath the hood is a ARM Cortex A55, which has a quad-core 1.8 GHZ CPU, 4GB of RAM and a massive 128 GB of internal storage. There is no SD card, but with this much storage, do you really need more? It employs USB-C for charging and also transferring documentation when plugged into your computer. You should get around 2 weeks of battery life, thanks to the giant 4000 mAh battery. It ships with Android 11, but does not have an app store, so you will have to either sideload in alternative app stores or on an app-by-app basis. There are a series of preinstalled writing apps, to freehand draw or make notes. There are four microphones which can be used for voice communication apps, such as Whatsapp, Facetime or Discord. The microphones were designed to take advantage of Bigmes AI platform, which does voice to text system, which is great for audio dictation. Speaking of audio, there are two stereo speakers on the back, positioned near the bottom. You can sideload in your favorite tunes, or install apps such as Audible or Spotify to listen to audiobooks, podcasts or music. If you want to not disturb anyone, there is Bluetooth 5.1, so wireless headphones or earbuds can be easily paired.
There are precious few e-readers or e-notes that are using E INK Kaleido 2 and are in English. The first is the Pocketbook InkPad Color, which is a dedicated ebook reader and features 300 PPI and a 7.8 inch screen and retails for $285. The Onyx Boox Nova 3 Color has the same screen and resolution, but the main selling point is that it is an e-note, so it was designed to draw, make notes and edit documentation. The price for this model is a bit more expensive, coming in at $399.99. The Bigme B1 Pro Plus is the third, and it has the largest screen of them all, which puts it in a class of its own. However, it will cost an arm and and a leg, it is currently retailing for $1299.99 from the Good e-Reader Store. This puts it mostly out of reach for the average consumer, but this device is aimed at the professional crowd.
The Bigme B1 Pro is running Android 11 as the operating system and it is lightly skinned, so all of the Bigme e-notes basically have the same UI and software features. When you do a first-time setup out of the box, it has a couple of Chinese languages, but also English. This is the first time Bigme has ever issued a device with English, and they seem to be wanting to market this to a wider audience. However, they are only selling this in China, so there are not many retail outlets that are distributing it outside of China, Good e-Reader appears to be the only one.
If you select English, basically the entire software experience flips to this, and the UI, menus and all of the programs can be easily read. The only thing we found that was not in English, was the share function in sideloaded content, such as books, magazines, manga, newspapers or PDF files. If you click on share, a bunch of Chinese store appears in the stock reading app. We have found that was meant to be shared via social media, just in China. So, you can forget about sharing about what you are reading on Facebook or Twitter, but who really does that anyways?
One of the great things about the Pro Plus, is you can draw in anything, and the process is dead simple. If you load in an ebook, and touch the screen with the stylus, you can do underlines, write in margins, conduct highlights and on the top UI, you can pick between 15 different colors. This is not only ideal for people who like to keep track of things when they are reading it, but also if you belong to a book club, grading papers or making edits to corporate or legal documents. You can then save the book, with all of your edits, in the same format. The only thing that has different formats, is the main note taking app, which is mainly designed for freehand drawing, voice to text, etc. You can save these notes as PDF or PNG. We experimented with a few other note taking apps, such as Evernote and Onenote, but found the latency, when drawing, completely unbearable.
Likely the first thing you will want to do is visit the settings menu. You can establish a WIFI network, pair Bluetooth accessories, language settings, data and time, sleep timeout, check for firmware updates and run various calibrations for the Smart Pen and even control what you want the side buttons of the pen to do. By default, the pen has a home button, eraser and a forward and backward button, which makes reading ebooks a walk in the park. Normally, with e-readers you have to tap on the screen or do a swiping gesture. The Bigme pen can control page turns with just a click on the stylus. I can’t think of another product that does this.
There are a few different speed modes on the Pro Plus, that dramatically increase the performance. The default mode is HD, which gives you the best picture quality, and synergizes well with all of the stock apps. If you intend on doing some internet browsing or running some light apps, you will want to engage in speed mode, which is basically an A2 mode. Normal mode, is the middle ground between HD and speed mode. These are all global settings, however you can make sure specific apps, or programs open with a specific mode, if you want.
If you swipe downwards from the top, there is a dropdown menu with a bunch of useful settings. You can establish what mode you want, control the brightness of the front-lit display and color temperature system, control the volume, Miracast, conduct a screenshot, and do a full-page refresh.
The software experience seems to be really polished. Everything works really well. Some of the features I really liked was being able to kill all background processes, which helps conserve battery life. The speed modes make listening to Spotify, YouTube Music or Audible better, since it severely reduces latency. You won’t be able to really watch videos, mainly due to the limitations of E INK, although you can run apps and light games.
If you are going to spend iPad Pro or iPhone 13 Pro MAX money on an E INK writing slate, you are doing it because you want a product that takes notes, has long battery life and is easy on the eyes. It has 15 different colors you can use when drawing or editing. They are purple, light blue, lilac, dark green, yellow, orange, pink, sky blue, blue, green, red, light grey, grey, dark grey, black and white. There are more colors able to be selected and displayed than the Onyx Boox Nova 3 Color.
When you open the writing app the UI is at the top. You can select your writing utensil, eraser, undo/redo, insert text, insert photos/clipart, pick one of the 40 background templates, save or create another page. There are only a few of the settings that are really relevant to freehand drawing. One are the writing tools, you can select between pen and pencil, each one has a slider bar to control the thickness of the lines and the other is the color palette. There are no layers, this is a professional level feature that comes with the Remarkable subscription or the Supernote line of e-notes. The writing latency is very low, when putting stylus to screen. Everything appears in under 20 milliseconds. You can easily spend hours, just drawing in color.
You can insert text into the app or use the quad-microphones to use speech to text. The AI system is OK, but not great. There were many simple grammatical errors, it fails to use any punctuation. I found this more to be a gimmick, rather then an essential feature, everyone would use.
One of the other benefits of this device, is due to the hardware, it is really ideal for large PDF files. Page turn speeds are lightning quick, even on files that are 900 MB. You can easily draw all over the document, make underlines, highlights, write in the margins, and also control the PDF file, with options such as scale, rotate landscape/portrait mode, crop, contrast and even control the reflow. PDF files really shine, and the color accuracy is really solid. This is one of the best PDF writing experiences you will find on any e-note, anywhere.
This makes a very capable e-reader. With the stock app you have all of the normal things, you will find on virtually every other e-reader on the market. You can adjust text size, font type, alignment, margins, and more. What makes the Bigme unique, is being able to draw on sideloaded books, right out of the gate. You can do anything with the stylus, as you would your fingers. The page turn buttons on the stylus, make turning pages a little bit easier.
The Bigme B1 Pro Plus is basically the only large 10.3-inch writing slate or e-note that has E INK Kaleido 2, e-paper technology. The writing experience is great, but doesn’t have the advanced features that Onyx, Remarkable or Supernote employ. This might be a good thing, because all of those brand’s appeal towards creative professionals, I think the Bigme appeals to businesses or the educational market. Keep things secure with a device password, which should appeal towards these professions.
This could really replace paper in the office. Many modern documentations are designed to be in color, such as academic PDF files, with pictures, or even e-textbooks. You will not get the same type of experience on a large screen black and white display, since color gets lost in translation. I have found that virtually all formats are supported, such as ebooks, Microsoft documents, PDF files and even Kindle.
I would really recommend this to people who don’t want something that is overly complicated, but still provides a large enough screen, to view all sorts of digital content. There are basically no color options for E INK screens larger than 10 inches, so the Bigme B1 Pro Plus is a no brainer.
Bigme B1 Pro Plus$1,299.99
- 128 GB of Storage
- Fast Processor and lots of RAM
- The best large screen color writing slate
- Supports many digital formats
- PDF files look amazing
- NO SD Card
- Poor availability
- Can't watch videos that well
- Stylus needs to be recharged via MicroUSB
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.