Improv Electronics has a pretty interesting, if not weird, idea about how a paper notebook replacement should look and work. Their Boogie Board products look pretty boring and old-school, but the functionality should certainly prove useful to a lot of people, and thanks to the cheaper material used in building the body and the inexpensive electronics inside, there’s practically nothing out there that can compete with them in price – in fact, it makes more sense to spend $100 on a Boogie Board than on 4-5 paper notebooks that will cost the same, unless you really, really like their paper feel.
The latest in the series is the Boogie rip eWriting Pad – practically an improved version of the Boogie Board 10.5, and a great paper replacement for anyone in the office or at home. The exterior of the slate is, as I said, pretty boring and it may actually look very ugly to some people, although if you keep in mind that it’s a paper notebook replacement, you understand where the practical and ascetic design is coming from. ThinkPad fans and users will definitely appreciate the looks, though :-).
The front of the device has the big 10 inch display itself, which is monochromatic (you write with white on black) and is touch sensitive (anything can be used for drawing), with a very accurate digitizer and a textured surface that make writing on it just as good as real paper, and three buttons that wake the device, save the current document and erase the board. It’s pretty easy to hold the pad by the part with the buttons, but the rest of the device is very slim at only 10 mm, so you’ll have some trouble getting a grip there (not very comfortable with both hands). The Boogie Board rip is also very light at 230 grams (that’s about the average weight of a good paper notebook, as you may have guessed), which makes it feel great in your hands.
There’s nothing to talk about when it comes to hardware and software, however, since the board is just a writing surface with an integrated 2 GB of memory, but the Boogie Board rip differs from its predecessors by having an integrated micro USB port that can be used for transferring any of your drawings to your computer in PDF format.
The price of the device is pretty good at only $138 – you get practically thousands of pages of drawings and text, with the ability to delete or edit anything you don’t like – compare that to having to spen the same amount and more on notebooks, then throwing papers because you made a mistake or didn’t like how your chart turned out.
While the Boogie Board rip is indeed a pretty good product, it still faces some pretty intensive competition from all the tablets around and especially the more functional ASUS EEE Note, which is targeting the same niche. But they do have a disadvantage in the price, and more importantly in the ease of use, and if you’re tired of the piles of papers with various scribbles on them sitting in your drawers, the Boogie Board rip makes for an excellent replacement.