September 2, 2021

Summer of the Mini Tablets

This year’s batch of e-Ink mini tablets have awakened something within me. The existence of sub $400 tablets with a readable screen, pen support and moleskine size is a great thing for a still in-recovery Newton fan as myself.

The top two in my radar are:

Tablet Size (mm) Weight (g) Price
BOOX Nova Air 194 x 136.5 x 6.3 235 $349.99
Supernote A5 X 178 x 245 x ?? 375 ~$350.001

Estimated tablet sizesEstimated tablet sizes

Both of these devices use an Android based OS, which allow it to run Google Play apps — like Amazon Kindle — with a little configuration. Of course anything with a high refresh rate or wide color range won’t work great. But most reports are that for reading, they’re fine.

Note taking is limited to the included apps for the same reason — any Android app (like Nebo) would have a terrible screen lag.

Guestimated lineupGuestimated lineup

Here’s where the rumored mini elephant in the room shows it’s head: the iPad mini 6 is expected to be an all screen device, in the same form factor as the iPad Air. In other words, a beautiful beast of a tablet. With all the power of a regular iPad — and it’s ease of distraction.

I also expect the iPad mini to increase its $399 base price, in addition to at least $100 for an Apple Pen. Which makes the a checklist comparison difficult. They are really different categories.

So while I will maybe go with a cheaper/smaller Android eInk reader-only device in the future, I do love the idea of these devices. And you can bet someone will be running the NewtonOS on these for fun soon. For sure awaking something within me then.

  1. Depending of which pen you choose. Without pen $299.99↩︎

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