New to e-ink reader / Android tablet. Suggestions?
July 12, 2020 10:51 AM   Subscribe

I just picked up an Onyx Boox Nova 2, mostly because I wanted something lightweight to travel with that I could also hook my bluetooth keyboard up to for writing. Main uses for the tablet are reading and writing. How should I maximize those activities and what other suggestions do you have to get the most out of it? Graphic novels? Manga?

I have loaded both the Kindle and Play Books apps onto it and they work fine, but I know nothing about other options I have for finding/reading books.

I've never been able to find a *great* writing app (typing, not stylus) for Android. Something like Bear Notes for iOS. I believe I've tried everything on the market. The "app" that runs the fastest on the Nova 2 is Writer, which runs incredibly well, but it's a web app so not perfect for offline use (though will handle it). Suggestions?

Also, reviews suggest that this tablet is amazing for Manga, which I know nothing about and have never tried (and I don't speak Japanese). Is there a low-cost issue/book that you'd suggest I check out to see if it works for me? Where/what are the e-ink solutions for graphic novels or manga?

Lastly, what other uses might exist that I don't even know about? I am very familiar with Android already so am looking for e-ink specific things.

posted by dobbs to Technology (5 answers total)
For reading, you might want a library app (Overdrive/Libby), a Scribd app ("the Netflix of books"), or an EPUB app to read books from Gutenberg or fanfiction. The Onyx is also very capable at PDF reading and markup, though you'll have to tinker with the settings to to make PDFs readable (i.e. reading only partial pages, reading in landscape, etc). If you have Bluetooth headphones, the FMlibro app, TuneIn, Spotify, or a podcast app might be cool too.

There are e-ink subreddits and an Onyx group on Facebook if you want to see more unusual things people are doing with their devices, but honestly, typing is already sort of an edge case.
posted by hungrytiger at 11:25 AM on July 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Oh, and the Mobilereads forums are actually the most e-ink savvy forums of all. You might get your best answer to this question there.
posted by hungrytiger at 12:18 PM on July 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Definitely hit up any libraries you have access to to see what their e-book options are (they may provide e-book downloads through more services than just Overdrive). That would be the simplest way to try out some comics/manga.

Refresh times for e-ink displays generally aren't sufficient for text entry beyond search strings to be pleasant. IMO e-ink's the best option other than actual print for viewing a series of static text or monochromatic images (like B&W comics/manga) but it's not ideal for any other use case.

If you're acquiring e-books (including comics/manga), Calibre's the go-to app for organizing and manipulating them. You may also find Pocket useful for saving articles you find so that you can read them easily on your e-book reader without having to mess around with using a browser on it.
posted by asperity at 4:14 PM on July 12, 2020

Response by poster: Refresh times for e-ink displays generally aren't sufficient for text entry beyond search strings to be pleasant.

This one is very fast. Here's Youtube on it.

Thanks for the answers so far.
posted by dobbs at 5:46 PM on July 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

I have an Onyx Boox Max 3 and find the preinstalled note taking software to be great. I especially love the ability to write notes in a separate adjacent window while reading from an ebook in another window. But on preview I realize you're asking for typewriting
software suggestions and that I don't know about.

Reading PDF versions of print magazines looks like it would be great but the only mag I subscribe to is the New Yorker and afaik they don't seem to offer that on Android (maybe through the Google News app?).
Relatedly, PDF crossword puzzles, sudoku and the like would be a great use for an e-ink tablet. Audible and maybe some podcast software would also be useful? I really like the Max 3, and I use it everyday to read books and articles and to take handwritten notes, but you're making me realize that maybe there's a lot more use I could be getting out of it.

Honestly though, I have real concerns about doing too much more with the device besides reading books/studying/marking up and note taking (nothing too private or sensitive). A hacky version of an older version of Android thrown together by a Chinese company seems like a recipe for spyware. I saw in a forum some concerns about background data use beaming things back to Tencent, which is probably nothing, but yeah, I'm not going install a password manager or whatever on this thing. So that might be something to consider as well.
posted by flamk at 1:02 AM on July 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

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