Avonelle's Blog

Amazing–OneNote is usable now on my Nova2!

By Avonelle Lovhaug on 12/30/2021

I was excited to see that the Onyx Boox firmware version V3.2 was finally available for my Nova2. This update was claimed to make third party applications like OneNote workable on this E Ink device. So I took the plunge yesterday and installed in on my device.

The problem previously with using OneNote on the Nova2 (and most other E Ink devices) is that the handwriting performance was extremely poor. Writing on the device had a substantial lag that made using OneNote unusable. This was not a problem with the built-in note application, but using that has its own issues. The built-in notes application does not feature an unlimited page size – you basically had to add new pages to your note rather than scrolling down. Also, it didn’t have good cross platform support – while you could sync your notes to the cloud within that app to OneNote, they basically because PDFs inside OneNote so you could read them elsewhere but not modify them.

Using the actual OneNote app is much better, because I create a page on one device and modify on another. But would this improvement work for older devices?

I’m pleased to say that, at least for me, the writing performance in OneNote on my Nova2 is now acceptable. For the most part, I don’t notice any lag at all. Occasionally there is a small lag which is annoying but not debilitating as it was before. I’m not exactly sure what is causing it, but it may be that an occasional screen refresh is all that is required to solve that. Or perhaps I just need to turn syncing off while writing. It does seem to sync quite frequently.

OneNote on the device isn’t perfect – the top toolbar uses substantial screen real estate and there does not seem to be a way to hide it so that I can reclaim that space. Also it seems to “change” the text I write after it syncs it to the cloud, making the ink heavier. I’m not sure why this is, but I didn’t find it too annoying. Most of what I would be doing is taking notes, and I’m mainly concerned about legibility and how the writing “feels” as I write, not how it looks in the end. This didn’t change the legibility for me at all. If I was drawing regularly that might be a problem.

Also it can be annoying at first because the ink colors it started with were not black – I’m not sure why this is, or if it will be an issue for others. I basically experimented with changing the ink color until I was able to successfully select black, which is what I’ll probably use most of the time.

I also changed it so that I show rule lines on the page, which will help me to keep things tidy.

Overall, I’m very excited about this change. Kudos to Onyx Boox for continuing to improve their software, and also for making those improvements available to older devices.