Initial Impressions of Boox Tab Ultra

I’ve had a few hours with the device, My initial impressions are:


  • The platform has promise for me
  • Tab Ultra ships including the Pro Pen with magnetic side and built in eraser; it retails for $79, and the upgrade price from Boox Note Air 2+ is only $100, so…
  • Seems almost all Wacom based pens work; I’ve used the S-Pen from the Galaxy Book 12 and reMarkable 2 pro pens
  • Each eInk device is heavily customized, so be prepared to be patient with the learning curve
    (I highly recommend this youtube for a better explanation of ePaper Tablet PCs vs. eInk Tablets
    Tab Ultra vs. Note Air2 Plus | Comparing BOOX ePaper Tablet PC with E Ink Tablet - YouTube )
  • I am disappointed in the quality and handling of the manual and support documents
  • There are lots of optimization settings for speed of refresh, screen lighting, etc. which take time to understand and configure to your preference
  • I have not signed up for an Onyx account. I can’t tell where the servers are.
  • I bought the generic cover case, but not the keyboard case
  • Reddit is your friend: r/Onyx_Boox


  • The tactile nature of the writing experience is comparable to a good rollerball over high quality paper: smooth with some resistance and much better than writing on slick gorilla glass screens
  • If you’re familiar with reMarkable or earlier Boox products, they have a textured screen coating that coupled with a soft nib give the tactile feel and sound of a soft lead pencil on heavy construction paper (example in the video above); Tab Ultra doesn’t have that additional texture.
  • As seems to be true in eInk space, the handwriting apps native to the device have the least latency when writing, others can be hit and miss (e.g. Noteshelf doesn’t recognize the Boox Pro Pen’s built in eraser, and has a more noticeable lag to me, YMMV)


  • My main reason for trying this device is getting OneNote on eInk; good news is it works - with qualifications on the writing performance. (See this blog post from Brandon Bodendorfer about optimizing OneNote on Boox: Why Choose OneNote for Boox Devices When Digital Planning | Branden Bodendorfer – Key2Success )
  • This is still Android: Depending on your desired workflow, you may want to experiment with cloud syncing apps and/or PDF apps to suit your particular needs/preferences
  • Other than OneNote, I’m still trying to figure out file storage and syncing. I’ve discovered it’s unwise to assume where things get opened is the same as where they get stored.
  • Boox native Notes app doesn’t store “documents” as such. It stores a database of strokes. You can export pages or notebooks to PNG or PDF
  • You can’t import PDFs into the native Notes app; you can put PDFs or PNGs in its template folder in the file system to add your own templates. (You can import PDFs into the native Reader app where they can be annotated)
  • OneDrive works straight from the Google Play Store
  • I am trying Onesync - Autosync from Metactrl to create syncing folder pairs

I can only offer one somewhat vague answer to your excellent initial summary. BOOX backend infrastructure runs on AWS. What that means practically speaking is that they are in mutiple countries and likely move or vary frequently (many AWS based services do the same) though specifically they are not in China.

Thank you for sharing this. There’s a fair amount of chatter around Onyx being based in China. More specifically, the Mozilla Foundation has concerns about the the privacy policy on the Onyx website:
Onyx Boox | Privacy & security guide | Mozilla Foundation

Here is a Reddit thread on the subject: HUGE Onyx Boox 's privacy concern : ereader (

(Not offering an opinion, just making you aware of the discussion.)

I do wonder about what schedule, if at all, Android security updates are provided. No clear documentation on that.

Onyx is China based and that coupled with the frequent moving around of AWS services is likely a reason for the vagueness. FWIW last time we checked, mid-summer of 2022 the AWS was being hosted in either Malaysia or Vietnam dependent on the home country you are located (US was accessing Malaysia servers)

I’ll post additional items here noted by a date and time.


  • Once it goes to sleep, it can only wake up by pressing the physical on/off button or raising the magnetic case cover
  • Some of the menu placements and labels are a bit odd (e.g. in the native Notes app, the way to change a template is to go to the layers button, and long press on the name of the existing template - this brings up the dialog with all available templates.)
  • Several of the online guides and reviews were for the version 2.x firmware. A lot of stuff apparently got renamed and moved in v. 3.x.
  • The NeoReader app appears on the home screen as a Library widget. When you annotate a PDF from the library, the annotated version is saved to the Download folder in Storage. Haven’t figured out if it’s possible to change that behavior or not
1 Like

How is the overall responsiveness of the UI? I’ve heard anecdotally that it can get occasionally stuttery, though I have not seen that first hand.

And again anecdotally I’ve also heard with prior devices that it can get slow during extended use, though a restart is supposed to help with that. At the time the customer that shared that with me attributed it to a less than fully optimized Android build and they had been told by Boox that they were addressing that with forthcoming updates.

And FWIW I’m back in the really wanting but can’t quite pull the trigger yet club :slight_smile:

UI is faster than Kindle Oasis. About even with remarkable 2. There is a radial menu button that can be turned on. I find myself using the screen refresh now button on the radial menu after switching between several apps quickly.

I think the stutter you’re hearing about is a glitch in touch recognition. I need to run the calibration.

Physically, about the same as holding an iPad 11 Pro. Well balanced. I’ve been messing around with settings it up and taking notes for 2.5 days and still have 48% battery.


One more question if you don’t mind. Have you used Adobe Acrobat yet? The last time I tried it about 18 months ago on an e-ink screen I couldn’t find a menu color palette option that didn’t make one or more menus or UI elements hard to read due to the way e-ink can map colors to pseudo grayscale.

For instance pale red and pale green are easy to distinguish from each other on a color display but can look the same shade of gray with e-ink.

No problem, I would except I don’t have any Adobe apps.

To your larger point: BTU has a settings menu to configure color density and DPI settings on a per app basis. I used it to lower the DPI on OneNote which shrank the real estate taken up by the title bar/tab space (credit to the Brandon Bodendorfer video linked in the initial post). I also used it to change the color density on Noteshelf so it was easier to distinguish between UI elements. With pen colors, some app UIs let you hover over the pen or color and give you some information about the color (name, hex or RGB).

Does that help?

1 Like

Yes quite a bit, thanks !

BTW: Adobe at one point told one of my engineers that they were considering add an e-ink display optimization setting to some of their Android products, but to date I haven’t seen it on any of our Android devices, though it’s possible it only appears if it detects an e-ink display.

I think there’s also an option to get black outlines on fonts, that allows me to occasionally use Total Commander as a file manager on my Boox Note 2 (without that option probably the same issue raised by @Desertlap occurs in that is impossible to read anything - with that option on, is perfectly usable).


Call it: 2:09 EST February 26, 2003. It’s going back.

I like the hardware. Some of the software is kind of quirky but probably serviceable for the right use cases.


  • It was going to be yet another device to carry
  • Getting OneNote for eInk input is cool, but not worth carrying another device
  • The writing experience was only slightly better than the soft nib on the Apple Pencil 2/iPad combo
  • A complication for my workflow; Using it would also mean multiplying the number of PDF apps I have to manage (remembering UIs, procedures, additional accounts, etc.)
  • The larger app food chain
    – MS hasn’t gotten around to finetuning Office apps for Android in all this time, how realistic is it to expect them to finetune for eInk?
    – Even more so for smaller companies/platforms
  • Boox seems busy proliferating devices with leaps between firmware UIs that may or may not break painstakingly crafted end user use case processes
  • Nits about the included stylus:
    – very light for it’s length and circumference
    – slightly bigger around than a regular pencil
    – much lighter than an Apple Pencil or the reMarkable Pro pen
    – The eraser end has ridges/grooves (like a gear) running parallel to the barrel of the pen (where the ridges around the eraser on a regular pencil circle the circumference perpendicular to the shaft); just, er, unusual

Finaly, to quote Lili Von Schtupp: “I’m tired!”

#Blazing Saddles from Greetings From Storybrooke

I just lack the patience to add a one-off set of apps to my workflow, and I don’t have any more room in the “gee, it’s a shame what I thought would be a really great device is just collecting dust” drawer.



Channeling @dstrauss here. But yes, for me it was the same, PLUS the fact that for it to really work I’d have to use OneDrive, and I wasn’t comfortable with risking sharing my OneDrive password with Boox. I know you don’t literally do that, but they control the OS. I sold mine partly for that, and partly for the big ‘ole crack in the screen. :smiley:


Yeah, this was not the case in the past but nowadays I agree that there’s not enough difference to matter.

So that still leaves battery life on the plus side for e-ink devices. There used to be daylight use ability on that side of the ledger, but…

… the absurdly bright and contrasty miniLED display on my iPad Pro 12.9 can, at need, function just fine outdoors in direct sunlight. And I don’t have to compromise on apps and compute power/speed.

Thus I’ve stopped lusting after new e-ink devices. I already have a 7” Paperwhite for reading when e-ink suits my desire & need. My iPP takes care of the rest and does it better. For me.


That was essentially the same conclusion I came to with the Scribe. It just wasn’t enough better/different to justify it over what I already have.

That being said, one job perk I have is that I can monitor the current state of the device and if they make a major update, I might opt back in. (and, I hear that a substantial update is coming late spring, essentially Scribe 2.0, possibly coincident with an Oasis update/replacement)

1 Like

This may be my first post… wow. Been lurking this forum for years now!

Anyhow, I took a chance on the Boox TabX and while it is a wonderful form factor (A4 size screen), I agree with much of what you had to say on the state of Boox software/firmware/ecosystem as a whole. I ended up returning it last week due to the overall experience just being lacking. On top of that, the device itself had a slight twist and wouldn’t lie flat on a desk. Taken together, I just couldn’t rationalize the (in my view) premium price of that device.

Later in the week I found a deal on eBay for a used Supernote A5x and a used Boox Note Air 2+ as a packaged deal. Since then, I’ve been playing with both and I think the Supernote is the surprising winner. While Boox make it very easy to land different applications on the device, some don’t work (Readwise Reader crashes), and their core applications are lacking that delightful user experience element that makes me really want to use it every day for note taking.

I’ll keep both because of the great price I got, but I am already making the Supernote the daily driver when it comes to meeting notes and online reading.


Let me be the first to say: welcome to TPCR / out of lurkdom, you already sound a lot like all of us old-timers! :grin: