Although it is high on my wishlist, I’ve not bought or reviewed the Fujitsu Quaderno A4 myself yet.
However, an eWritable visitor (Jamie) contacted me to explain why they feel the Quaderno is the best e-ink tablet for their particular needs.
I’m very grateful to Jamie for taking the time to do this, and also for graciously allowing me to publish their comments here:
Thank you for all the hard work in comparing e-ink devices. I am a fan of the Fujitsu Quaderno gen 2 A4 and A5. Not many people focus on this device because of the lack of features and sourcing it from Japan but it is my go to device for all reading and writing tasks. I own a Boox Lumi, Quirklogic Papyr, reMarkable 2, various other Boox devices (Nova/Note/Color), and Supernote A6x. I stopped using them all because the Fujitsu is so lightweight and just consistently good to use. No doubt the Quaderno will not measure up in many areas but where it is good, I feel it is better than the others in those categories. I encourage you to review it.
The A5 and A4 are the lightest weight devices in their respective categories. The battery is an all day battery if you heavily use it or multiple-day if you lightly use it. The plastic screen is as good as reMarkable 2 for feel. Quaderno seems to have captured the writing feel that makes it similar to paper. For me those were the selling points that got me to purchase. Now that I have used them for 1.5 years the secondary benefit is easy document transfers. I never need to worry about cross-platform conversion. I use Linux, Mac, and Windows and the PDF documents are always perfect. The cloud features of reMarkable and Supernote are great but getting documents into and out of the proprietary format has been a sticking point and never as easy as I want.
I push myself to use the other tablets in my collection because of the sunk cost but the reality is that Quaderno does what I need and really well. I would buy the Quaderno again with no reservations. It does not have the fanciest features and in a side-by-side feature comparison is not the most flexible, however, it is a reliable device and PDF is a standard format now.
I am at a conference this week and will write about 15-20 pages of notes per day. The battery will last all day and moving the files to another device is easy and no format conversion needed. The benefit to me is the super lightweight portability and not needing to carry much else during the week. I almost brought the reMarkable 2 with me but spent a day last week using it and decided the weight was more than I wanted to lug around. It seems like the reMarkable is lightweight but I actually hand carry these devices and the difference is noticeable. Quaderno is like a thin pad of paper and barely noticeable as you move around. reMarkable is like a newer-generation iPad in weight and you notice it.
I used the Boox Lumi a lot when I first got it because of ease of file management and a really good usability experience. I enjoy its screen lighting system as well. It is so much heavier though I avoid it for long use sessions. I did go through four Boox Lumi’s though due to screen quality issues. I purchased from Amazon and their return policy saved me. The e-ink support plans with all the manufacturers are not that great across all the devices. Some are better than others and the delay for resolution is significant. The Boox Lumi had dead pixel issues 2 years ago and every one I opened had the problem until the last one, which was perfect. I was going to give up after that if the last device had issues too. I liked it enough to keep trying but had reached my limit for patience with the problem. I appreciate the quality of the Quaderno in part due to experiences like the one with Boox Lumi.
All of the e-ink devices have some level of support problems and that is a pain point.
For me, there is a kind of zen feeling that becomes important about a device. When I use Quirklogic or Supernote or reMarkable or Boox devices I am always aware that I am using their device due to some anomaly. The Papyr had clunky software interaction, the Supernote feels like a gel pen or writing on rubber, the reMarkable was heavy, the Boox was heavy. The Quaderno just kind of gets out of the way. The features are simple and the device is easy to hold and write on. It becomes a natural feeling of writing down things and the device kind of becomes a background tool you do not think about. Like a great hammer or screwdriver that fits your hand and you just use it comfortably. Where the Quaderno has issues they just don’t bother me and become minimized because the use of the device is pleasant.
There are a few people on reddit that have expressed similar viewpoints about Quaderno so it speaks to some users needs. For the majority of people, the features offered on other devices are more attractive or bring more value. We are fortunate there are so many choices.
I hope this helps explain what I see in the device.Jamie
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.