eWritable > Kit’s Articles > Why I Prefer the Boox Tab Ultra C Pro Over the Note Air3 C

Why I Prefer the Boox Tab Ultra C Pro Over the Note Air3 C

All of the features that I use on the Tab Ultra C Pro means that I hardly ever use a laptop now.  Ok, I do have to use the school laptop at work, but aside from that, I only really use my own laptop when I travel, and even then, only for video editing on the go.

I consider myself a writer. And the Tab Ultra C Pro (TUCP) is the perfect format for that.

But listen, the Note Air3 C (NA3C), might just suit me better, and there are lots of reasons why in fact I’m still wrestling between these two for which is the best e-ink tablet that you can buy right now. 

With the Boox keyboard, and the voice recognition, the TUCP is really, really good. 

And I’m going to be able to switch between notebook style and laptop style whenever I please.

It is really a compelling place, if you’re like me, if you write first. Whatever your professional kind of use case is if you’re someone that needs to write to get your ideas out. To plan things, to share ideas, to lead, inform, create or educate, or any other professional task, then I would argue this is the thing for you.

That being said there are still plenty of arguments for the NA3C.  You can use the vertical case and just hook it up to an ergonomic keyboard when needed. But for me, carrying the keyboard case just means that I can have that pleasant place to write wherever I am. However, with the keyboard case attached you have pretty much doubled the weight of the device, and you are lugging around an extra kilogram for the privilege of being able to type in laptop mode. 

But It does mean that I can work wherever I am. And I’ve got more power, and more RAM for switching between tasks.  There’s some really well thought out integrations. I like the split screen shortcut, and I like the switch app gesture.

You can of course use full android apps, or the desktop versions of web apps in chrome.

One of the most common questions I get asked about e-ink tablets is: can it integrate with my Google Docs, or my OneDrive. Both the TUCP and NA3C can, but the TUCP is the better format for working on those things.  And for some uses the trackpad is very useful, just don’t forget to add a little bit of sensitivity and use a fast screen mode when you want to use the cursor. 

I pretty much write directly onto whichever app I need to. And I can type, or use voice or handwriting, or any mix of the three. Both formats make all of that a real pleasure.  You should consider which of the three inputs you are likely to be using more of when you make your decision.  The NA3C is the nicer place for handwriting recognition, and the TUCP is a better place for typing. 

Let’s talk about design evolution now, and to really find out where things are going.

The very first Kindle had a keyboard and I remember thinking how wonderful a place it would be to write. Even though you’d have to use your thumbs. Then my mom got one I wanted one. But you know, it was a bit unattainable for me as a young man,

I thought, wow, that will be great for me, I’d love to write on that small portable e-ink screen.  The words coming up as if they were already printed on paper.

Then I got the chance to try my mom’s on out and I was very disappointed because there was just nowhere where you could just write text, no like, word processor. In any case, it was slow and really unpleasant to use. So that horrible little keyboard vanished on the next models.

I remember thinking what a waste it was, and how that could have been a feature to really make e-readers something great for writers like me.

The buttons were mushy as well. Generally, it just wasn’t very good. But fast forward and now e-ink is so much faster. The type does appear on the screen as you hit the key. And there isn’t really any noticeable lag between that and writing on a normal computer. E-ink is now a really nice place to type on.

People who used that generation of Kindle, even though it’s a horrible place to type on, they still loved having the keyboard there just to be able to write in the titles of things they were searching for. Or to make those quick notes and annotations on the books. The onscreen keyboards that followed were never good enough.

Fast forward to today and our debate between these two devices focuses on text input and in particular physical keyboards and typing setups. 

I recently had a debate with fellow e-ink enthusiast, Voja from My Deep Guide. I put forward my arguments for the TUCP and he for the NA3C.

Okay, I have to concede that I lost the debate.  It’s really fascinating to have heard everyone’s opinions as well. So, if you want to stop here, it might be enough to know that for most people the NA3C seems to be the choice. But read on, because, I’m not sure it is so cut and dry. 

It’s not hard to see why.  There is just an excellent writing experience. It’s light. It’s got that excellent colour ink screen. It’s fast. It’s clear. Feels good. It’s well made. Low reflectivity.  Great notes app with great tools.  Great Android operating system. Fingerprint reader now as well. Great case that can sit up upright. And that portrait mode is really nice for typing and most Android apps are set up better for portrait mode than they are for landscape mode. 

If you leave the NA3C in a place in your house with a Bluetooth keyboard right next to it, you can flick on the Bluetooth keyboard and type or use voice typing. 

However, life isn’t always like that and you know you’re not always in the same place. You’re not always at a point where you can just go into that same zone to do your writing. 

When you’re out and about travelling and you want to take one device and you want that to be an e-ink device. Well, this is absolutely brilliant. And I think that maybe the thing that’s still swaying it for me is that I want to carry just one thing. 

I rarely take a laptop with me now. I can do so much on my phone. Even photo editing I’ll do on my phone preferentially to the laptop – just full on Photoshop and full on Premiere Pro.  Often, I’ve decided I’m not going to do those things when I’m on holiday or travelling so just won’t take the laptop and this is a device that can replace those other laptop things. 

Sitting and typing, accessing the internet, email, managing cloud apps. 

There was one other comment which I thought was a really good one. Which is that when somebody makes a good quality third party Bluetooth keyboard case, we might have no argument, really for the Tab Ultra C Pro. 

I had thought that the TUCP was going to blow away the competition. But looking back there were a lot of people who, when the Tab Ultra and Tab Ultra C came out, said straightaway, that they were waiting for the Note Air3 C. So it’s no surprise really that people aren’t as excited because TUCP is a smaller, more incremental upgrade from the Tab Ultra C, even though the power is a vast difference. In everyday use you don’t notice that so much.  It hasn’t shattered all expectations.  Whereas for fans of the Note Air line, it is a big jump up from the Note Air 2+.

Both of these tablets are running the Boox Super Refresh technology, which clears up the screen without full refreshes and means much less ghosting.  And that has its downside as there is much more energy drawn from that battery.  And even though the battery life is bigger on the Tab Ultra C Pro, the battery life is not going to be a whole lot greater really.  It appears to be a more power-hungry chip in the Po.  

In both of these devices it using high refresh rate colour e-ink that costs you dearly in battery life.  Expect around 15% drop per hour in productivity apps.  

It does take power to shift those ink capsules around to make it refresh that quick. It does take power to clear the ghost to the workspace. You do want that but unfortunately I don’t think there’s any way of getting around it. 

You can get better battery life if you go into just an HD mode and use purely reading apps, you can even do things like disabled page turn animations, so it is refreshing the screen as few times as possible. This will give you something in the order of 5% drop per hour.  And you can improve that still by reducing the light intensity or by turning off wifi and bluetooth.  

It is what it is. It is a more power hungry device and you will use it for more power hungry activities. And you’ll enjoy it because there are still the other main benefits─ including the reflective screen.

Eye comfort is great, it’s great for outdoors, where you can turn the lights right off.  (And I still hear some reviewers talking about how the lights go really bright, bright enough for outdoors.) Great for reading, but it is also great for working with any app involving text.

This is not the endpoint of this technology. This Boox Super Refresh technology is going to go into your static, larger productivity devices which aren’t going to need charging. I can’t wait for Boox to update their Mira line to include large screen colour ink. It’s got to be coming right?

I do still think this is the one to me.  The Tab Ultra C Pro is the one that I personally am going to enjoy using more. It’s not just because of the keyboard case, but also the higher RAM will do a better job of switching between tasks.  And having the pointer there all the time, for when touch isn’t quite precise enough.

Yeah, it’s better.

But you have to consider what is it for you? Are you wanting it next door to a laptop?  For the same price as the Tab Ultra C Pro in its keyboard case, you could actually buy a Note Air 3 C and an inexpensive Chromebook. 

I’m not saying that a cheap chromebook is perfect. But you might also get more done productivity wise on that set up than you would just a Tab Ultra C Pro.

Final Points

Objections for the TUCP are, it’s not as light, it’s not got the rougher screen feel. It’s not for holding in the hand.

But the smoother screen gives it more clarity. And the format will be better on a table top. And the screen feel is good, it’s just not quite so rough.  It is not like an iPad.

The biggest thing is, I don’t actually think that this is a complete design yet. I think this is still a work on progress. It is not the tablet PC that it is billed as, but it is another step towards that.

I think that it is another step towards an e-ink productivity future.  A prospective device which is running a full desktop OS. Where images and text look perfect and all apps work a charm.

And in a way, if you want the true productivity powerhouse on e-ink, this isn’t it yet. There’s still lots to be ironed out, you’ll probably buy this and then want the next one, and then want the next one, as Boox quite rapidly iterates and improves.  Remember – this device is in a category which is only a year old.

The Note Air 3 C however, if you want a digital notebook, it’s complete, it’s a mature design and represents the best of what an e-ink note taker should be. And you’ll buy it and it’ll do that job for the next three to five years perfectly. But then so did the Note Air 1, or any of the previous generation.

But if you like to be at the bleeding edge, if you want tech which is currently the best, and you want to experience what e-ink can currently offer, the choice is clear.

It’s the Tab Ultra C Pro.

If you want the best this is the best.

And you lose, basically nothing that the Note Air3 C has to offer.

About the author

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I am a working teacher who makes video reviews based on my real world experience using tech in my professional life (check out my YT channel here). I was first attracted by the compelling marketing around the remarkable and since then e-ink has changed my life. In my articles discover how once you make the switch to e-ink, you'll struggle to go back.