Digital note taking devices or e-notes is a relatively new type of product with both an E INK screen and a WACOM one. It allows users to freehand draw, take notes, schedule calendar events, edit PDF files with a stylus. This devices range in size from 7.8 to 13.3 inches and some are quite affordable, while others have more features and are more expensive. Every year, Good e-Reader conducts a top 10 list of the best ones money can buy and our 2020 edition has many devices that you should know about. Each of the top 10 on our list can be clicked on, if you want to read a full written review, in addition to unboxing and review videos.
Onyx Boox Note Air – is our number one pick, for best e-note for 2020. It has a 10.3 inch screen and has has the best front-lit display in the world. It has There are 18 white LED lights, and 18 amber LED lights, for a total 36 LED lights. Unlike most devices that have the front-lit array on the bottom of the screen, Onyx has evened them out on either side of the bezel, so using it in landscape mode provides even light distribution. This device runs Android 10 and has Google Play. Note taking is unparalleled. The price is $479 and is available in the Good e-Reader Store.
Remarkable 2 – The second generation Remarkable has the number two position in our list. It is billed as a distraction free note taker. It does not have apps, a web browser or pop-ups. Instead, it focuses on two things really well, freehand drawing and editing PDF files. It has one of the most advanced note taking experiences, and is basically even with the Note Air. The screen is 10.3 inches, but does not have a front-light, so you have to make due with an overhead light or lamp. It costs $399 from the Remarkable store.
Supernote A5 – The Supernote A5 is also a 10.3 inch display and the company is really focused on firmware updates and providing one of the best note taking experiences. It can be slow and sluggish sometimes, if you try and do too much. Basically, if you want to edit PDF, take notes or read ebooks, this is a great product. Supernote also has a complete line of unique cases and digital stationery products. You can purchase it for $399 from the Good e-Reader Store.
Fujitsu Quaderno A4 – This 13.3 inch device is based on the Sony Digital Paper DPT-RP1 hardware and stylus. It is brilliantly constructed and has wide availability. “QUADERNO” is a thin and lightweight electronic paper, a 16-gradation grayscale panel is used to clearly display characters and figures. The built-in memory is 16GB and about 10,000 PDF files can be saved to the device. This is designed to be a great e-note, to draw, make notes, add calendar events and edit PDF files. It retails for $734 from the Good e-Reader Store.
Onyx Boox Max Lumi – is the first 13.3 inch e-note that has a front-lit display and also a color temperature system. It is the most advanced e-note in the world, providing users with a slickly designed note taking app, a PDF rendering engine for editing them and an ebook reading solution. It has an HDMI port so you can use it as a secondary monitor. Google Play and Android 10 are key selling points, so unlike many of these devices on the list, you can download over a million paid and free apps. It has a speaker, so you can listen to audio. You can expect great hardware, the latest Boox OS and more! It retails for $879 from the Good e-Reader Store.
Likebook Alita – The Boyue Likebook Alita can be considered a second generation Likebook Mimas, which is the most successful e-reader that Boyue has ever released. The main selling points is that it has a flush screen and bezel design, which should make it easier to make notes and edit PDF files. It also has double the RAM, which should make multitasking and running Android apps, much more robust.
Xiaomi W7 Moann – The W7 Moaan functionality totally depends on what apps you install. The stock note taking app is perfectly serviceable, but the e-reading and PDF app have too much Chinese in the UI elements, that you will probably want to install something else. The W7 can be considered as a blank slate to create your own experiences.
iReader Smart II – It features a 10.3 inch E INK Carta HD display with a resolution of 1872×1404 with 227 PPI. It features 28 LED lights with a combination of white and amber, this gives you a bright white front-lit display during the day and an option to mute it at night. This being an e-note, it was designed to freehand draw, edit PDF files or make notes. It has a WACOM screen and comes with the new iReader X Pen, which recently won the Good e-Reader Award for best stylus for cross platform capability. The screen is capable of pressure sensitivity with 4,096 levels. It also has palm rejection technology.
Likebook Ares – The Boyue Likebook Ares is the last e-reader and digital note taking device that the company has released this year. The major selling points is that it has an octa core processor and an SD card, capable of an additional 128GB! Many brands have gotten rid of all SD card support, so it is refreshing to have a model with it. This device is a smaller version of the Likebook Alita, and retails for $294 from Good e-Reader and comes with a free case and screen protector.
iFlytek AI Note – This device features a 10.1 inch E INK Carta HD display with a resolution of 1872×1404 with 226 PPI. This is standard for a large screen devices, there is no such thing as a 300 PPI display on a 10.3. It doesn’t seem to have a frontlight. It does have a WACOM layer, used in conjunction with the stylus to take notes and edit PDF files. The stylus has 4096 degrees of pressure sensitivity. It is powered by a 4,000 mah battery and has Bluetooth 4.2, for wireless headphones, or you can use the 3.5mm headphone jack. You can charge the X1 or transfer documents via USB-C. One of the best things about this device is that it has a TTS engine, that sounds natural. It will read ebooks aloud in EPUB, and there are a bunch of other languages. It also has a writing to text feature in the note taking app.
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.