The HUAWEI MatePad Paper

There’s more than just books though, as this seems like a fully-functioning productivity device with emails, calendars, certain apps available to download from the Huawei App Gallery, handwriting conversion (using the stylus), connectivity between the Paper and a smartphone or PC, voice recording, video playback and more… More here.

Almost. This does look good, but the limitations of e-ink remain. Give me an e-ink phone that does most things and I would be on board in a heartbeat.

What is the best digital note taker?

My iPad Pro (1st generation) is close to death. The battery is holding a charge for an hour at most, often less, and the cost of fixing it is prohibitive. I can get it done for £150 by a third party which is tempting, but part of me is loathe to spend such a sum on a device that will at some point become unusable. The fact that it is a 32GB model does not help because even with clearing out a lot of unnecessary content I only have 4GB spare.

So, if I was to consider a new device what would it be?

The iPad Air?

I have only recently started to appreciate the digital note taking abilities of the iPad, thanks to Notability and a paper-like screen protector, and have very much enjoyed just doodling ideas (watch designs mainly) and find it all strangely relaxing.

The new iPad Air is by all accounts exceptional, but at £549 (64GB) plus the need for an Apple Pencil 2 (£119) it is a big expense. Apple then pulls the trick of making me want the 256GB model because at some point 64GB will disappear quickly and so the cost goes up to £729 for the Air. Why no 128GB version? Greed on the part of Apple is my guess.

So, I would likely have to spend £848 to get an iPad Air with a decent amount of memory and the best note taking accessory. That is a lot of money, but I could expect to be using it in 4 years time.

The iPad or iPad mini?

For the standard iPad (128GB max) and an Apple Pencil 2 I would be looking at £448 which also feels high for a device which will likely not have the longevity of the Air.

The iPad mini (256GB) plus an Apple Pencil 2 would cost £668 which also feel high for a device that would not offer the screen real estate the other options give. What it would offer, however, is portability and that to me is a problem, with the iPad Air and iPad. I have never taken an iPad out of the house and do not see a point where that would happen. An iPad mini may at least get to see the sun now and again, but at £668 it likely will not get the chance.

The Boox Nova3 Color?

This device offers a lot on paper; a colour screen, pen input with excellent handwriting, the ability to read Kindle books, graphic novels, comics, Android apps and potential to use a variety of Android apps and games. The latter will of course be limited due to the e-ink system, but that is a lot of flexibility.

The size of the device may be somewhat prohibitive, but at £369 it offers a decent solution for note taking. The pen is included and 32GB could easily be more than 64GB on the iPad in terms of what can be stored.

Performance will be jarring at first and this technology is still in the early phase, but as a note taker it offers a lot.

A notebook?

My small notebook is working well currently, but I am being persuaded that digital notes could offer enough advantages to make them the way forward for me. I still have a sense that when something is written on paper it is real, it is there and it will never change, but I can do little with the words I have written.


There is no conclusion. I want a dedicated device like the Boox that I can carry anywhere, but then I see the flexibility an iPad offers and I get confused. I then think about my little notebook and the lack of stress it offers and my confusion continues to confuse itself further. Something tells me the iPad Air could win this one. Damn you Apple!

The $2,800 Foldable ‘Mate X2’ Smartphone

The successor to 2019’s Mate X, the phone has received a radical redesign and now features a large uninterrupted 8-inch screen that folds inwards, rather than having the main display on the exterior, as with the original device.

The main screen uses a 180Hz display with an 8:7.1 aspect ratio, and when the phone is folded, a second 6.45-inch display (with a 12:9 aspect ratio) on the outside can be used, similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold design. Both displays feature a wide color gamut and an ultra-low reflection feature that bests the reflectance level of Apple’s Pro Display XDR, claims Huawei… More here.

I love one of the comments added to the article above- Yay another too thick/too big phone, that transforms into a too small tablet.

The PocketBook InkPad (colour e-ink is here)

The Inkpad Color it utilizing the second generation E INK Kaleido color e-paper technology. On a fundamental level, it still can only display 4,096 colors and 100 PPI. What has changed is the color accuracy and gamut, colors look stunning, when compared to the previous generation. The background of manga, comics and PDF files is white, and the background of ebooks is greyscale, due to the uniformity being increased. The front-lit display has also been improved for better color production… More here.

This looks very good and in the unboxing at the above link you can see that the colour e-ink technology appears to be fully formed. Is this the next move for Amazon in the Kindle range? I wouldn’t be surprised.

An iPhone User Takes the Surface Duo for a Spin

There’s also a learning curve involved with moving things between the Duo’s two screens, or using both screens together. And then there are the times when those gestures and functions break down, even when you perform them correctly. The Duo also gets confused over which screen should be active when you position the screens different ways. And then there’s that familiar split-second lag when shifting orientations on Android. I definitely remember that. All of that comes with life in the tech fast lane, I guess… More here.

So much potential, so many missteps.

An e-ink tablet

It is 2020, and I am obsessed with E Ink. I cannot stop texting friends and coworkers with links to E Ink products that rarely if ever make their way to the U.S. and asking if I should buy them. I follow the minor travails of the Remarkable 2 tablet with unhealthy interest. And for my birthday in May, I spent $340 on the Onyx Boox Nova 2, an Android E Ink tablet of questionable origin. I love this gadget more than just about any I’ve owned… More here. Thanks to Kirk.

Always liked the thought of a device like this, but in practice it doesn’t look good at all (see below)-

The Surface Duo

Surface innovation comes to a mobile device. Impossibly thin and with two high-resolution touchscreens, Surface Duo features the best of Microsoft 365 and every Android app in the Google Play store. It’s a new way to get things done with a revolutionary 360° hinge, multiple modes and new dual-screen enhanced apps that let you view two apps at once or span one across both touchscreens, drag and drop between screens, make phone calls, and more… More here.

This is the first piece of tech in a long time that has made me feel more than just admiration for what it can do. Android is probably the best choice, but it is the form that does it for me. I am highly intrigued.

A low cost 11 inch iPad?

The China Times report unfortunately doesn’t offer much more information on the rumored 11-inch iPad. The report simply says that this year’s “low-cost iPad Air” will feature an increased screen size of “almost 11 inches” with mass production scheduled for Q3.

Apple currently offers the 10.2-inch iPad, which retails for $329, and the 10.5-inch iPad Air, which retails for $499. Bringing in-screen Touch ID to the entry-level 10.2-inch iPad seems unlikely, as the low price point is the main driving factor in its sales. Today’s report even points out that iPad sales are on the rise due to at-home learning guidelines prompted by COVID-19… More here.

I use the iPad quite often these days, but not for anything serious. However, a cheaper 11 inch option would definitely appeal to me.


The idea of a folding display might sound like a sci-fi fan’s dream, but the flexible future is already here! Following the release of a few bendable displays in recent years, designer Kizuku Kitada takes things to an entirely new level with this tablet notepad that features a complete 180-degree fold… More at YD.

OK, it’s merely a concept, but it would be nice to see something like this at some point in the future.

Galaxy S9 / Matrix phone / MediaPads


The Galaxy S9 will have a 5.8in screen, while the larger S9+ will have a 6.2in screen. Both 8.5mm thick smartphones have curved screens, thin bezels, stereo speakers and reduced top and bottom non-screen elements compared to last year’s models. This year the S9+ will come with more memory and storage compared to the smaller S9, and will also have a dual-camera system similar to that fitted to Samsung’s larger Note 8, which includes a telephoto camera.

But it is the wide-angle camera fitted to both models that marks the biggest change for the smartphone. The 12-megapixel camera has the first variable aperture fitted to a smartphone, which physically switches between an f-stop of 1.5 for low-light photography and an f-stop of 2.4 for shooting outdoors… More at The Guardian.

Interesting to see ‘one’ major new feature in what is otherwise a very similar phone to the last one, at least that’s how it may be viewed by the majority.


Now HMD, makers of Nokia-branded phones, is bringing the Nokia 8110 back to life as a retro classic. Just like the Nokia 3310 that was a surprise hit at Mobile World Congress last year, the 8110 plays on the same level of nostalgia. The slightly curved handset has a slider that lets you answer and end calls, and HMD is creating traditional black and banana yellow versions… More at The Verge.

There must be financials that suggest bringing these retro phones back makes sense. I would love to play with one, but likely only for an hour or so.


The new MediaPad M5 tablets will come in two sizes: 8.4 and 10.8 inches, starting at 349 and 399 Euro respectively. For the most part, the smaller and larger tablets have exactly the same specs, with 2560×1600 displays (for a 359 and 280 PPI rating, respectively), Kirin 960 quad-core processors, 4GB of RAM and either 32, 64 or 128 GB of storage space. They also come with pretty standard 8MP front cameras and 13MP rear cameras, all the usual sensors (including a fingerprint sensor) and Android 8.0. All of the SKUs also offer an SD card expansion slot that can bring the total on-board storage up to 256 GB… More at TC.

A ‘me too’ release if ever I saw one. Completely uninspired.