Thinking and Decision making
Pen latency not so good, although I don't think that's as important as most reviews make out! You'll notice it if you're coming from another device. Also the pen sometimes skills a beat, after erasing especially. This can be annoying, especially if you are looking for something to give you freedom to think. It's little things like this which will have you eying your old ballpoints and notepads.
The advanced notebook quite amazing really. This is the standout feature, it's the reason to buy this over a competitor. Of you feel you will use this mode to make notes which you can then work up and share. But, it is only a way to make documents, you'd need to grab them from your dropbox in order to share them with someone else.
The more features and beta features indicate things are going a good way for the platform. They seem to be adding functionality that they are confident they can optimise to work well on the platform, rather than simply adding google play and hoping for the best. But currently, beyond working up documents for the team to be shared in dropbox there's not much for collaboration. There's an opportunity for kobo to collaborate with dropbox on collaboration... (that's quite meta I suppose.) It would be a real selling point if they were to find a way to bring the advance features of dropbox, like slack integration, .pdf markup and sharing onto the device.
Reading and Learning
It does have a light, which is single colour (cold) light. Nothing wrong with this, but many of you would prefer to be able to balance the light colour. It's a miss frankly. Reading is superb on Kobo. It's a really reading centred device, and the kobo library is great, but expect to enjoy paperbacks, bestsellers and the like, rather than it being your goto place for academic reading. Hyperlinks do work in pdfs and PDFs also make table of contents automatically. And it builds a list of your annotations too
Planning and Organisation
The simple notes app has very few templates. What's surprising is that there's no way to copy and paste or select and resize.... I get that they wanted this to be the simple one, but should be able to do as much as a remarkable notebook as a minimum. Lets hope though that they make a really well thought out calendar or planner that can integrate with what you already use.
Innovation and Creation
5/10 It's so easy to use that it doesn't take a lot of learning. The advance notebook features are excellent, and you could see them as being a great place for you to rough out your thoughts that you can then download on a computer and work up, from the rough, into the finished article. It has a great balance between ease of use and functionality. It's great for creative professionals, writers especially, but also any professional that prides themselves on thinking creatively. But there's nothing here for artists, beyond basic pressure sensitivity... there's no pencil tool!
The Kobo is great for reading, and the advance notebook feature is great. But are they late to the party?
Firstly, £350 is an excellent price for the bundle, and because it is Kobo, you can see these in store IRL.
My headline conclusions are, it's a great first generation note taking e-reader, and some simple software changes could make it excellent. And I 100% recommend it you already have a Kobo!
The stylus has a good weight and feel. I enjoy having the two buttons, highlight and erase. But active styluses should work better, they should have EM charging, and Bluetooth for ultra high sample rates, and ultra low latency! Or just use the wacom! Also the palm rejection is not perfect, it takes some getting used to and I had to disable touch for page turn, i.e. swipe only.
The advance notebook is brilliant. And it's also the feature they should develop for the next device. If they add things like tables and simple spreadsheet functions, a presentation editor, then you can start to see this being a compelling alternative to its competitors.
I'd also love to see it do the handwriting recognition in the background as you write the next line. Something to not interrupt the flow of thinking.
Dropbox sync is good, no extra apps to use here, and pocket for articles is good.
Watch this space on this one, or buy in and start making suggestions.
You can have collections in books which act like folders, but as far as I can see there is no way yet to put your notebooks into folders, on the device. And there isn't a digest of all your notes. Also, copy and paste of notes is missing from either notebook format, things like this seem like an oversight.
Brushes and pen types are limited and note taking tools are limited to single weight pen in pdf. On the next iteration I'd like to see note tools across the whole device. Because of this, I don't feel it works for my current workflow. Although I am inclined to make it work, because of the other excellent features. There's no pencil type tool, and so it's probably not intended for drawing then. This is another missed opportunity!
In the PDFs, annotations take a moment to refresh on every page turn in PDF. There are a good few little things like this, that can and I hope will be fixed by updates.
The Kobo library is huge, and the pocket web app integration is seamless really. These things have gone through generations of iterations in the Kobo ereader system and make them a favourite for many people. Going forward I want to see Kobo treat this as a new class of device in their line up. Start-ups like remarkable have changed the way we think about the tech in our professional lives and this hasn't had the depth of thinking that has gone into matching a product to the needs of the customers.
For instance; it needs a planner template, diary template etc. It could do with calendar and email. Kobo, if you are reading this, try to think of how this device could be a replacement for a whole diary, daily planner, filofax type of notebook and you will see the functions you should add next. Updates like that could make it a fantastic option for professionals!
The plastic design is not a problem. Appreciate it for what it is; lightweight, durable and not cold to the touch. The sleep case is chunky, again not a problem, but I certainly isn't the sleek design of the remarkable or note air 2! But you are going to feel very secure chucking it into a bag, or if you were to drop it from desk height. I like the stand up function of the case, and the magnets, which just seem to work!
It's odd to find the bezel on the right, but well no problem you can rotate the device and even change the clip on case lid from the bottom to the top so it just works for left or right handed people, reading mode or writing mode.
You will find this device easy to use, and although you do not have endless avenues for customisation; there are excellent features for the right person. I could see this for an academic, or a professional who needs to consume a lot of reading. If you make a lot of memos, documents, and communicate a lot with the written word, it is one of the best for writing. If you can see yourself writing on this, it is one of the best handwriting recognition. If you're a read first, think after person. This will be an amazing tool for reflection for you.