I finally got around to ordering the Boox Tab Ultra C Pro from Amazon UK (after waiting an age for the keyboard folio to be in stock) and it arrived late last night.
I’ll be using it over the next few days before I write my full review, however, in the meantime, this is my unboxing experience and first impressions.
The packaging for the Boox Tab Ultra C Pro is rather nice. It is made of high-quality and sturdy cardboard and feels nice to the touch. It is not quite to the packaging standards of the reMarkable 2 in this regard but it does have a premium feel to it.
Having lifted out the tablet, there is a plastic tray with two indentations. In the centre was a cardboard box containing the accessories, and in the top right, a cavity for the camera that juts out from the rear panel of the tablet itself. This indentation is needed because all tablets in the current Boox Tab Ultra range have a 16Mpx camera sticking out a few millimetres from the underside, which means that it doesn’t lay flat properly (unless it is in a case/folio).
Inside the accessories box is some legal paperwork, a tool for removing the MicroSD Card tray, the stylus (Pen2 Pro, with an eraser on the end), and a USB Cable
I then booted up the Boox Tab Ultra C Pro and went through the initial setup wizard (language, timezone, gestures etc.)
The tablet arrived with 96% battery, so it didn’t need charging.
I added my wifi network – I had to use my phone as a mobile hotspot because Android 12 has some issues connecting to the wifi in my office, as I discovered with the Boox Note Air3 C.
Once connected to the Internet, I downloaded and installed the latest firmware update, connected up to my Boox account (to download the notebooks I’ve created on other Boox tablets) and linked my Google Drive (to access my e-book library and documents).
As noted previously, the camera protrudes a few millimetres from the rear panel, which means that the tablet does not lie flat on the desk and wobbles around if you tap the screen anywhere around the top-left corner. Of course, this is easily resolved once the tablet is secured in the magnetic case or keyboard folio – but as my folio is yet to arrive, I found it very frustrating to use.
Unlike the comfortable-to-hold rounded edges of the Boox Note Air3 C, the edges of the Tab Ultra C Pro are at a 90-degree angle to the faces. This means that the tablet is not very comfortable to hold because of the sharp metallic edges. I should clarify that I don’t mean sharp as in they are likely to cut your skin but hard and sheer as in they dig into your flesh a little.
The edges, along with the 450g weight of the Tab Ultra C Pro means that it is quite uncomfortable to hold. The issue with the edges can be mitigated by adding a folio, but then this adds a fair bit of additional weight (particularly the keyboard folio).
But it is perhaps a little unfair to highlight this issue, because I don’t think that the Tab Ultra series were ever designed to be a carry-around note-taking tablet. Instead, it was designed to be used in conjunction with the keyboard folio as a kind-of e-ink laptop. Whilst it can certainly be used for mobile note-taking, I feel that its primary purpose is to sit on your desk and be used for computer-related tasks.
And it certainly has the hardware to back this up. Along with the keyboard folio, the Tab Ultra C Pro has a 2.8GHz processor and 6Gb of RAM. But, if I’m honest, I couldn’t really distinguish much of a performance difference between the Tab Ultra C Pro and Note Air3 C. And, in terms of the quality of the display, again there’s not much difference.
There’s no denying the Boox Tab Ultra C Pro is an amazing e-ink tablet and the most powerful choice currently available in this niche market.
But, when compared to the Note Air3 C, which has only slightly lower hardware specs, a better experience in tablet form, and costs a fair chunk less, my first impressions of the Tab Ultra C Pro are not all that encouraging.
However, I am yet to use it with the keyboard folio (which I think will make a big difference) and I’ve not done anything too processor-intensive. So, I’m going to go away and test it a bit more thoroughly over the weekend and early next week, before writing up my full review.
About the author
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.