- The Boox Note Air3 C is a color E-Ink device that replaces traditional notebooks and offers a clear and vibrant display.
- It runs on Android 12, allowing users to install their favorite apps and customize the interface.
- While the device has limitations when it comes to video playback and some apps, it offers expandable storage and a customizable interface.
The Onyx Boox Note Air3 C is a color E-Ink notebook that lets you easily jot down meeting notes and shopping lists, make notes while reading ebooks, or draw to your heart’s desire. You get the same drag as you do on actual paper, so it feels fantastic to write on. Available for a cool $500, the package includes a stylus, several replacement tips, and a magnetic case. But while it runs Android 12 and can handle a wide range of everyday tasks, the inherent limitations of an E-Ink screen mean video playback will still stutter, and not all apps will be suitable.
Onyx Boox Note Air3 C
The Boox Note Air3 C is a color E-Ink device that will replace all your notebooks. Running on Android, this device comes with 64GB of storage space for all the apps you want to install, but you can easily expand to 2TB with a microSD card.
- 10.3″ Kaleido 3 Carta
- 2480 x 1860 (300 ppi)
- WiFi (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.0
- Front Light
- Android 12
- 430g (15oz)
- 8.9 x 7.6 x 0.23 inches (226 x 193 x 5.8mm)
- 2.4Ghz Octa-core + BSR
- Clear and vibrant display
- Expandable storage up to 2TB (64GB built-in)
- Runs Android 12, so you can install any of your favorite apps
- Customizable interface and split-screen capable
- The magnetic case offers limited protection and makes charging tricky
- Inherent E-Ink limitations when it comes to video and some apps
What You Need to Know About the Boox Note Air3 C
When I reviewed the Boox Palma I said that it had a bit of an identity crisis because it wanted to do so many things even though it was, primarily, an eReader. The Onyx Boox Note Air3 C doesn’t seem to have the same issue, being branded as a “color ePaper notebook.” That’s exactly what this device is, although it does come with some extra features that are more than welcome.
The device is a little wider than an A5 notebook, with some extra grip room on the side. It’s also highly portable, measuring 8.9 x 7.6 x 0.31 inches and weighing 15oz (430g).
The Boox Note Air3 C sports an E-Ink Kaleido 3 Carta screen with 4,096 colors and 300ppi resolution, making it perfect for writing notes, making annotations, reading the news, looking up information online, reading books, and so on. The screen is perfectly flush with the aluminum case, which gives it a sleek look and a great feel. You should, however, be extra careful not to drop it because its magnetic case doesn’t offer much protection against bumps. The screen also includes adjustable front lighting, which you won’t actually see—but it’s there. Depending on your settings, this can dim and brighten according to the light levels in your room.
The Note Air3 C only features one button for three functions: power, lock/standby (without closing in the folding case), and as a fingerprint scanner. The left side of the device features the USB-C port for charging. Worth noting here is that if you use the Note Air3 C with a case, you’ll have to leave it open when charging since you can’t access it otherwise.
Also, in the same area, you’ll find a MicroSD card slot allows you to expand the device’s memory from the built-in 64GB to up to 2TB; as well as some speakers so you can listen to music while you’re working. The 3,700mAh battery can keep you in business for weeks, although it does depend on what apps you use and how many hours you play with it.
Install Anything: It Runs Android 12
One thing you have to know about the Boox Note Air3 C is that it runs on Android 12 and comes with full support for the Google Play Store. You can install whatever app you want, from Google Books to Keep to Spotify and various ebook apps such as Kindle or Kobo. Basically, if it’s in the app store, you can install it. The question, of course, is not whether you can, but if you should. This is an E-Ink tablet, after all, so it has its limitations.While it’s far better at playing video than the smartphone-sized Palma, it’s still not going to be your main video-watching device. Then again, it doesn’t even intend to do that. Instead, you might use it to play a quick news video in an article decently enough that you understand what’s going on without having to switch devices. You won’t be chilling out on Netflix anytime soon, or wasting hours on TikTok, but you’re not meant to.You can, however, play music while you’re working. I installed Spotify and the speakers are decent enough that I didn’t switch back to my regular device for a few hours as I worked. Since it’s also equipped with Bluetooth, you can connect your headphones to the Note Air3 C if you want to. Listening to some audiobooks will work like a charm.
You’ll also find working with this electronic notebook familiar if you’re already an Android user. Dragging the top bar from the left gives you access to notifications, while dragging it from the right brings out the Control Center. You can mute the device, turn on wireless casting, or fiddle with E-Ink settings. For instance, you can adjust the dark color enhancement level, vividness, and color brightness.
Another thing you can do from here is to adjust the screen Refresh Mode. The device delivers four presets: HD, Balanced, Fast, and Ultrafast. The HD mode is the default for most apps and is perfectly suitable for text reading. If you want to enjoy video, you should go for Ultrafast. The best part is that you can customize the default refresh mode for each app you use. The tablet does this automatically where possible, but you’re free to override this, and it’ll remember your choice for each app.
One app that you’ll use constantly is the BOOXDrop. It’s preinstalled on the device, and it’s the fastest way to transfer files from your computer. Whether ebooks or PDF files, you’ll need to visit the service webpage, connect to your account (using your phone number or email address), then drag and drop the files you want to send to the Note Air3 C. Seconds later, you’ll be able to open those same files. It’s a very convenient way to upload documents you need. Speaking of files, the Note Air3 C can open most popular file formats, such as PDF, EPUB, DOCX, PPT, and ZIP. It can also open several image and audio formats.
The Boox Note Air3 C further allows users to choose whether they want to control the device exclusively with the help of gestures or through a navigation bar. If you pick the gestures, there are three areas on the bottom of the screen that you can swipe up from (left to bring up the E-Ink settings, middle to go back to the home screen, and right to go back one screen). Alternatively, you can use a navigation bar and choose one of five button orders, depending on what you like best.
It’s also possible to use vertical gestures to the sides of the screen to control the volume or the brightness levels, adjust contrast, and so on. Pretty much any of the gestures can be customized to a specific task.
You’ll Love Writing on the Boox Note Air3 C
We’ve talked enough about hardware and settings, so let’s get down to business. What it’s like to actually use the Boox Note Air3 C? Well, let’s put it this way: I haven’t put pen to paper since I opened the box. I’m the type of person who’s forever jotting down article outlines, products to include in roundups, reminders to make calls, shopping lists, budgets, random thoughts, and more. As a result, I’m always buying pretty notebooks, planners, as well as cute pens. Then I misplace them and end up writing on a different one. It’s a mess, I admit. Since I got the Boox Note Air3 I haven’t touched any of them.
I just open up a new notepad every day, add it to a folder, and write down whatever I need throughout the day. I add a date to the file name so it’s easier to locate if needed. The Note Air3 C offers a wide range of templates, such as math grids, grid points, horizontal ruled, and more. You will find templates for both the vertical and landscape modes, so you can choose whichever one you need.
Then you just put the stylus to ePaper and write. Thanks to the layers on the screen, there’s a bit of drag when writing, much like real paper. This was a nice surprise because it certainly made it feel more real. When using the same handwriting feature on tablets I’ve tested in the past, the LCD screen detracted from the experience.
When you’re writing, you can leave your handwriting as is, or you can use the built-in text recognition feature to “translate” your scribbles into actual text. Now, the success rate of this feature depends on how much your handwriting resembles that of a doctor. If your writing is chicken scratch, don’t expect Boox to recognize your words. In such cases, it’s probably best to just leave that feature off and read your own notes (if you can!)
Other Smart Scribe features you can use are Shape Perfection, which will give you perfect circles when yours look like they’ve taken a tumble or two, and Lasso Recognition, which will understand when you’re trying to select words by circling them. The best one, however, is Strikethrough Erase, which enables you to scribble over the words you want to erase.
When writing, you can use several colors, adjust the width of the brush, and pick between pens, brushes, ballpoint pens, pencils, or markers. These are great for drawing, too. The Boox Note Air3 C handles a quick sketch with ease. Aside from picking between writing instruments, you can use the Fill feature to add color to your shapes or play around by adding layers to your file.
Another thing that I enjoyed was the ability to add links to my notes. Not only could I link to notes I previously wrote, and files I have on the device, but also to websites, making it super easy to follow from one to the other when needed.
The Boox Note Air3 C also comes with split-screen capabilities. Since the screen is quite spacious, you can easily divide it between your notes app and your browser, for instance. Or, even better, when you’re reading a PDF file for work, you can have the browser open, double-checking data and information and making annotations on the side of the file.
Some cool features are also available when reading books. You can strike a line below a phrase and make notes that will only appear when you tap on the blurb, and add highlights or a link. I also did something that I’d never ever do on an actual physical book, which was to write on the top of the page. If you want to keep reading the book but you need to do something else at that moment, you can just have the device read out the pages for you. Its AI voice isn’t the best, but that’s not unexpected for a free on-device feature.
Should You Get the Boox Note Air3 C?
I was skeptical about how much I’d use the writing features of the Note Air3 C, knowing just how much I love using real notebooks and cute pens I steal from my son’s stash (don’t judge me—his come with a built-in eraser!) And yet, I find myself glued to this device.
Jotting down a Christmas gift list to make sure Santa doesn’t forget anyone? I’ve buried it in a folder so my son doesn’t find it. A list of features I have to include in an article? Another scribble on the Note Air3 C. And it’s not just for note-taking—as an e-reader, the screen is super easy on the eyes, so I’ve moved a selection of books onto it.
But is it worth the $500 price tag? Well, that’s a bit harder to decide. The reMarkable 2 is roughly the same price, with a larger A4 monochrome screen display, and fewer features overall. The Kindle Scribe has a similarly sized screen as the Note Air3 C, but it’s a fair bit cheaper, with no color display and using the locked-down Amazon ecosystem. In that context, the Boox Note Air3 C is a well-rounded device with plenty of versatility, so keep an eye out for a deal.