eWritable > Blog > Boox Go 10.3: Unboxing & First Impressions

Boox Go 10.3: Unboxing & First Impressions

The Boox Go 10.3 has arrived!

I’ll be publishing my full review here after I’ve had chance to use and test the Boox Go 10.3 for a couple of weeks.

But, in the meantime, here is my unboxing experience, initial setup, and first impressions.


I’m actually really excited about this e-ink tablet because I feel that it presses all the right buttons for me.

I think that e-ink tablet users can be broadly split into two camps; those that want to use e-ink primarily to replace many of their general computing needs (web browsing, document writing etc.) and those that want to use e-ink primarily for reading and note-taking tasks.

I fit firmly into the latter camp, which is why I use the Supernote as my daily driver, despite my massive appreciation of the power and versatility of Boox tablets. If I want to do computing tasks, I’ll use my laptop – my e-ink tablet essentially replaces pen-and-paper, rather than a computer.

Neither viewpoint is wrong – these days e-ink tablets have a wide variety of applications and it really depends upon each user’s individual requirements – but I felt it important to ensure that you (the reader) have an understanding of where my own personal position lies, in case any personal bias creeps into my write-up.

Particularly as the Boox 10.3 Go appears to focus on the exact features that are likely to appeal to myself πŸ™‚

Transparency Notice: Boox sent me this review unit of the Go 10.3 free-of-charge, however, they understand that this will not influence my views and opinions of the e-reader.

In addition, affiliate links on this website mean that I may get a small commission if you buy a device after clicking on them. This does not cost you
anything but greatly helps to support my work.

Again, the presence of affiliate links does not affect my editorial control – I say what I think and try to objectively cover both positive and negative aspects of the devices I review.

If I were driven by profits, I (like many other β€œinfluencersβ€œ) would be promoting the reMarkable 2 to high heaven because their affiliate program has the best rewards and is the easiest to make money from!

Unboxing

The package contained three items; the tablet itself, a cover, and a box of spare stylus tips (and nib removal tool).

The Tablet Box consists of a gray textured sleeve made from thin card and with ‘Boox Go Series‘ embossed onto it – it’s actually a grainy paper-like texture that feels nice to the touch (to me, anyway).

The main box slides out of the sleeve and is jet black and made from sturdier cardboard to protect the tablet. Lifting the lid reveals the tablet itself, enveloped in a sheet of protective plastic.

After lifting the tablet out, there’s a smaller box, which contains the accessories; a quick-start guide, the stylus, and USB-C cable. Note that there’s no MicroSD tray opener tool because the Go 10.3 does not have a MicroSD card slot.

Tablet

The thing that first struck me about the tablet itself is that it is very thin, rather light, and shares many design features of the reMarkable 2, such as the off-white bezel and smooth, rounded, silver-metal edges.

The power button is on the top right edge and juts out slightly. On the bottom edge is the USB-C port (for power and data transfer) – this is located centrally, and is flanked by the dual speakers and dual microphones.

The left and right edges are smooth and have no ports or hardware features.

The rear panel is textured and feels pleasant to touch, whilst aiding grip.

Stylus

The stylus is the Boox Pen Plus, which ships with many Boox tablets. However, this edition strays from the usual black colour , and is a sort of off-white or very light gray. There’s no buttons or eraser.

I do plan on writing an article comparing all the different styluses (stylii?) that I’ve used, but for now, I’ll just say that Boox’s stylus is good. It’s not the best, but it is high up in my ratings.

The stylus is magnetic and snaps to the right edge of the tablet. However, because the tablet is thin and the edges are rounded, the connection does not feel very secure – there’s a fair bit of movement.

Cover

The book-type cover that arrived with the tablet is very aesthetically pleasing.

The exterior is a textured off-white, with the Boox logo embossed on it. And the interior is light brown and smoother to the touch.

The tablet snaps slickly to the cover using magnets and creates a pretty strong bond, but I don’t yet feel confident that it won’t fall out with a bit of force – I’m hoping I’m proved wrong with continued use.

The rear third of the cover folds down to create a sort of stand that holds the tablets at around a 45-degree angle (in landscape mode).

Also included is a detachable magnetic flap that can be used to hold the stylus in place. It uses the same material, colours, and texture as the cover itself, both for the interior and exterior.

Below is what the tablet looks like inside the cover:

Initial Setup & Configuration

After booting the tablet for the first time, I went through the initial configuration. This included:

  1. Language Selection
  2. User Agreement
  3. Date and Time
  4. Power Settings
  5. Navigation
  6. Gestures

And then, the Boox Go 10.3 booted to the home screen for the first time:

The Boox user interface has changed from previous iterations. It seems to look cleaner, crisper and more consistent. Again, it has some traits that align with the reMarkable 2.

I then went on to configure some of the settings and preferences (as I do for all new Boox tablets). This included:

  1. Setting up wifi
  2. Downloading/installing the latest firmware
  3. Turning off the annoying NaviBall (this is in Apps, not Settings)
  4. Installing NextCloud (to access my files)
  5. Setting the right swipe-up gesture to the Task Switcher (instead of Back)

Previously, I’ve had difficulty connecting to the WiFi at my office using Boox devices (which was more of an Android issue than a Boox issue). Essentially, there was no option to turn off using CA Certificates. This has now been resolved with a firmware update (which has been rolled out to older devices as well) so I had no issue connecting.

The first time I ran a third-party app (which was the Google Play Store) a little tutorial popped up explaining how to optimize apps, which I thought was a nice little touch to help new Boox users.

Although Boox supports binding NextCloud (and all WebDAV-supported cloud drives) as a drive in the Library, I haven’t yet been able to get this working (it may be an issue with my server but I’ve not had time to investigate yet). This is why I installed the app, rather than binding.

I always turn off the NaviBall (the little circle in the bottom-right corner housing shortcut buttons) because it obscures the page when I’m reading or note-taking. I know you can drag it around and minimize it but I never really use it, so it irritates me.

I like to have access to the Task Switcher (Task Manager) via a quick swipe-up so that I can quickly flick between the applications I have open. By default, Boox set this to the Back button but I find it more intuitive to set the Back gesture to a swipe right-swipe instead.

First Impressions

There’s no denying that when Boox were designing the Go 10.3, they’ve taken a lot of inspiration from the reMarkable 2.

It looks very similar, and is very thin and quite light (actually, thinner and lighter than the rM2). It has no frontlight, which makes the writing experience feel closer to the surface of the screen, (just like the rM2) and the improvements to the user interface makes it feel cleaner and more intuitive. It most definitely has rM2 vibes.

On top of this, it has speakers, a microphone, and a G-Sensor, which are not available on the rM2, as well as a higher-resolution e-ink screen, the ability to install third-party apps, and more sophisticated e-reading and note-taking software.

In fact, one may wonder where this leaves reMarkable because the Boox Go 10.3 does pretty much everything the rM2 can do plus loads more. The only things that reMarkable does better is offering a 100-day free return guarantee, and the ability to edit the text in your notebooks via their desktop and mobile apps (although this incurs a subscription fee). There’s also reMarkable’s gorgeous keyboard folio but this is something that will only appeal to a small subset of users (and, to be fair, it is possible to hook up a Bluetooth keyboard to Boox tablets anyway).

My first impressions of the Boox Go 10.3 are very positive, and although I’ve not checked out the reading or note-taking experience yet, I am familiar with the Boox software and have very high hopes for this tablet. It looks stylish and both the hardware and software appear to be rather polished and refined. I am very much looking forward to using it.

However, I’m not too keen on the magnetic cover/folio, particularly the removable flap to hold the stylus in place. Aesthetically, it looks nice, but it feels a bit insecure and I’ve found that the stylus sometimes slips into the cover rather than staying fixed to the edge. I’ve also tried to open the cover using the flap and it has come off in my hand (and I almost dropped the tablet) – this is probably matter of habit because the flap on the Boox Note Air 3 is attached and I often open it up this way.

Stay tuned for my full review, which will be published here in a week or two.

The Boox Go 10.3 is available for pre-order (to be shipped at the beginning of July) from:

About the author

Me and my e-ink tablets
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Dan Dutton is passionate about E-ink writing tablets, which bring together the pleasure of writing on paper with the power of digital technology. When he bought his first tablet, he realised that there wasn't a lot of unbiased information available for people that were considering buying an E-ink tablet, and so he built eWritable.

4 thoughts on “Boox Go 10.3: Unboxing & First Impressions”

  1. Thanks for the review, I will look forward to seeing your full review. Will you be doing a side by side review with you remarkable?

    As a side question, have you seen the Radiant monitor that has recently finished its indiegogo funding?

    Reply
    • Hey Martin,

      Good to hear from you πŸ™‚

      I think it will be hard not to make direct comparisons with the reMarkable 2 because they are so similar in design. However, I don’t want the review to turn into a ‘Boox vs reMarkable’ comparison so think that I may do that as a separate article.

      I’ve not really looked at the Radiant monitor – I tend to stay away from crowdfunded stuff because over the years, I’ve seen so many exciting ideas fizzle out into nothing, once they get started (often leaving unhappy backers). There was the Bigme Galy, TopJoy Butterfly, Reinkstone etc. that were all flops, so I prefer to wait until the ideas have been fully tested and a proper consumer product is released.

      Dan

      Reply
  2. ” I think it will be hard not to make direct comparisons with the reMarkable 2…”
    – Indeed, it would be an article in and of itself. It will be interesting to see how they hold up against each other.

    “I’ve seen so many exciting ideas fizzle out into nothing, once they get started…”
    – It is also why I am waiting to see how their technology develops. It looks promising, but have too tight a budget to go gambling it away on something that might only marginally improve my work experience. Too much too lose at this point than to gain.

    I have managed to find a video comparing it to an NA3C. The framerate and colour were impressive, but the Radiant’s screen was far darker than the NA3C. Not impressive. I already squint at times with the NA3C. If I get anything darker I will need to use the Backlight, defeating the purpose of my buying these devices in the first place.

    Reply

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