Why I Finally Went Paperless With the Supernote A5X

Handwritten notes you can store in the cloud

Key Takeaways

  • The recently released Supernote A5X tablet is an excellent device for taking notes and reading books. 
  • The grayscale screen, at 10.3 inches, is sharp and crisp, but it's meant for note-taking rather than video.
  • With the ability to concentrate finally restored, I’ve been able to sketch out ideas for articles, take notes while I’m doing interviews, and complete some sketches.
Someone sketching on a SuperNote tablet with paper drawings on the table behind it.
Ratta Smart Technology Co., Ltd.

After using the new Supernote A5X tablet to take notes for a few weeks, I’m ready to give up paper and go all-digital.

The Supernote isn’t meant to replace your iPad. It does a few things very well and cuts the distractions from your life so you can concentrate on creating rather than consuming content. At $499, the A5X isn’t a casual purchase, but I found it to be worth the cost for the ability to focus on tasks. 

You won’t be watching movies on the Supernote. At 10.3 inches, the grayscale screen is sharp and crisp, but it's meant for note-taking rather than video. The E INK Mobius touchscreen display has a resolution of 1404×1872 with 226 PPI.

The tradeoff for the lack of color is that the A5X has a very long battery life. I used it for days at a time without the need to recharge. It’s also glare-free, so it can be used outdoors. 

Premium Feel

Unpacking the A5X was a pleasure. It comes with a luxurious-feeling leather cover with a strap to hold the included pen. Unlike the awkward and slippery Apple Pencil or clumsy and tiny Samsung S Pen, the Supernote pen is more like a fine writing instrument, such as a high-end Montblanc

Of course, you can take notes on many other devices, including an iPad, but I’ve always found these to be more of a hindrance than a help. Generally, you have to start up the gadget, navigate various screens, and finally tap your way to a notes app.

By contrast, the A5X instantly lets you take notes when you open the cover. The lack of a delay on the A5X allows for spontaneous jotting of thoughts. 

It’s hard to compare specs on a device like the A5X because it’s meant to do just a few things well. But for those who want to know, the device has a quad-core Cortex A35 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage. 

The A5X Super Note Slate
Sascha Brodsky / Lifewire

The internet is available via Wi-Fi, and it has Bluetooth 5.0. A 3,800 mAh battery powers it. It supports USB-C for transferring documents and charging and runs Android 8.1 with a custom interface. 

Reading Ebooks is a Pleasure on this Giant Screen

One great perk with the A5X is that you can also read e-books on it. It comes with the Kindle app so that you can easily access all your Amazon purchases. The vast screen makes for a delightful viewing experience that made me wonder why I struggled for so long with Amazon’s tiny e-readers. 

The interface that Supernote overlays on Android is simple and intuitive. You are presented with a series of folders when you first power up the device and choose where you want to go from there.

One neat trick is if you rub your finger down on the top of the menu, you get a series of options, such as Wi-Fi, Airplane mode, cloud account, screenshots, search, and the settings menu. The device also supports Outlook and Gmail, so that you can access your emails on the go. 

But the actual value of the A5X lies in how it allows you to escape email, web browsing, and all of the features that other tablets tout. Computers of all types these days are constantly forcing themselves on you.

The Supernote A5X Writing Tablet
Sascha Brodsky / Lifewire

Messages demand attention, notifications pop up, and reminders bug you. The A5X has none of those things, and I don’t miss them. With the ability to concentrate finally restored, I’ve been able to sketch out ideas for articles, take notes while I’m doing interviews, and complete some sketches. 

Of course, you could do all of this note-taking and drawing with pen and paper. The A5X backs all of your documents to the cloud and allows you to search among the items you’ve created, which is incredibly valuable to me. Also, I write faster on the silky smooth A5X screen than on a typical piece of paper. 

After spending time with the A5X, I’m tossing my Moleskine notebooks in the trash. The paperless life may have finally arrived.

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