questions about Asus Eee Note EA800

Discussion in 'Asus (Android)' started by niftytablets, Aug 13, 2011.

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  1. niftytablets

    niftytablets Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I've been looking for a digital replacement for my pad of paper for some time and recently came across the EA800 as I was giving up on the NoteSlate ever becoming a reality. But now I am sad to learn that the EA800 is unlikely to officially be released here in the US. :( Nonetheless, I am still strongly considering getting a EA800 (and not-so-secretly hoping that it will eventually get a US release, or that a subsequent similar model at a similar price will at least). So I have a bunch of questions that I haven't been able to get answers to after reading through a lot of posts in this forum. If some of these have already been answered and I just missed/overlooked them, my apologies.

    1) Sceen size. The Asus website (ASUS Eee Note EA800) lists the device dimensions as 139 x 222.4 x 11 mm (5.47 x 8.75 x 0.43 inches), and the display as being 8". But it is not clear to me if 8" is the diagonal dimension (as is commonly used for monitors) or the vertical dimension. So I would love to know specifically: what is the Height AND Width of the display?

    2) Clarification on Notes, Pages, and Notebooks. I've seen these three terms used and I'm not certain what each is referring to (well, Notebooks in particular). As far as I can tell, you can create a Note, and within a Note you can have multiple Pages (somewhere I saw that there is a limit of 20 pages per Note; I'm not sure if this is correct). Are Notebooks collections of Notes then, or just another word for Notes? Also, is there any limit on the number of Pages that can be in a Note, or number of Notes in a Notebook (if Notebook != Note)?

    I'm wanting to use the EA800 as a replacement for a pad of paper I carry around for writing down ideas and random thoughts. So my initial thought is that I want to be able to use it just like a pad of paper and just continuously add pages to a single, long Note (just like flipping to the next page in a pad of paper). I possibly might start a new Note for each month, just to keep the Notes from getting too long.

    3) How is switching between Pages of a Note? Is it pretty quick? Is it easy to do (I'm comparing to flipping a page on a 6x9" pad, spiral bound at the top, like this link: Stenographer Notebook, 6x9, )?

    4) I got the impression that one can save a Note without exiting it, is that correct? If yes, then is it possible to leave a Note open so that when resuming the EA800 from standby it is immediately at the Note, ready to write more in the Note?

    5) How does the EA800 resume from Standby? Do you have to push a button, or just touch the pen to the screen or what?

    6) What happens to data if the EA800 is left in Standby and the battery runs out? I would assume that any Note that was not saved would be lost, correct? There is no Auto-Save function whereby a Note will Save itself periodically, is there?

    7) Is the battery user replaceable? What kind of battery does the EA800 take?

    8) I'd love to hear EA800 owner's experiences with using it as primarily a writing tablet. My impression is that folks are pretty pleased with it and that a writing tablet is one of the things it does best, but I'd love to hear positive or negative comments from actual experience nonetheless.

    9) I saw a comment somewhere about writing near the edge of the screen being a problem (or "not very precise"). Can anyone tell me more about this weakness and how much it effects using the EA800 as primarily a writing tablet?

    I have several questions about the Evernote functionality. I'm not entirely certain how much I would use Evernote, but the possibilities intrigue me so I'd like understand better how it works with the EA800.
    10) My understanding is that Notes/Notebooks (see my above question #2 regarding my confusion as to whether these are the same thing or not) can do one-way sync to Evernote (so send a Note from the EA800 to Evernote, but not from Evernote to the EA800). I am not clear as to whether sending/syncing a Note to Evernote is a single point-in-time command, or a setting that can be configured on a per-Note basis such that any future changes to the Note will also sync? With either scenario, how does Evernote respond when a previously uploaded/synced Note is changed/updated in the EA800 and then uploaded again to Evernote (whether that is automatic or manual)? Does Evernote create a new note in Evernote, or does it update the existing previously uploaded one?

    11) I have gotten mixed information regarding whether the template backgrounds (ie, the lines for ruled paper, grid lines, etc.) export to Evernote when a Note is synced to Evernote. Do the lines sync to Evernote or is it just whatever is actually drawn?

    12) What are user's experiences with syncing Notes to Evernote from the EA800? Do you find this useful? Does Evernote do a decent job of interpreting and indexing the hand written content of your Notes (I know this depends in part on how clearly one writes)? Does syncing Notes to Evernote make it easier for you to find things in your Notes?

    13) Tagging. I'm sure how much I'd use tagging. It sounds like you can only tag Notes/Notebooks. Is it possible to define a list of tags to choose from, so that you can just assign a tag in a few taps without having to tap-type out a word? If I were to use tags I'd probably want to create a set of tags for a limited organizational scheme and then just be able to quickly assign those. This would be a little like a rudimentary folder system perhaps (though I might use multiple tags at a time). I assume that the tags would sync to Evernote as well, is that correct?

    14) Landscape mode. My impression is that at least some applications in the EA800 can work (or maybe only work?) in Landscape mode. Can some (or all?) applications switch between Landscape and Portrait modes? Is the Notes application in particular limited to Portrait mode, or can it do Landscape as well (via a command/button)? I'm likely to use Portrait orientation the most, but I'd like to know how much I could use the EA800 in a Landscape mode for the occasions where I'd want to.

    15) I really like that the EA800 can also function as a drawing tablet when connected to a Windows PC. I've been thinking about getting a small Wacom (ie, a Bamboo) at some point and so I like that the EA800 could likely serve that purpose. I interpret that when using the EA800 as a drawing tablet that you do not see any of what you are drawing on the EA800, even temporarily; is that correct? I know that the EA800 would not be able to render what is on the computer screen (ie, like a Wacom Cintiq), but it could be nifty if the EA800 temporarily displayed just what was being drawn on the screen of the EA800.

    16) I'm interested in any experiences, positive or negative, EA800 owners have had with using it in drawing tablet mode connected to a PC. I am not an artist, but occasionally I'd like to be able to use a digital pen to draw or mark up something on my PC.

    I think that is all of my questions for now. I think that is plenty!!

    Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to answer any of these. I really appreciate it!

    :)
     
  2. wubak

    wubak Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Phew, that was quite a few, but hopefully having these impressions helps someone out. Everyone on this forum has been really cool so far, so I'm excited to reciprocate a bit. YPou should note that there is a reasonably active community of open source programmers who are working to enhance the features of the EA800, too. So, if ASUS doesn't pick up the slack on some of this functionality perhaps they'll step up to the plate:)

    Despite it's quirks, I think it's a worthwhile device to own. I'm having an overall positive experience with it, and I think it'll do nicely for your purposes.
     

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  3. niftytablets

    niftytablets Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Wow! Thank you so much for your great input! I really appreciate it! Your answers, list of pros/cons and your overall experiences are extremely helpful! :D

    I do have some follow up and clarifying questions.

    Cool. Could you also confirm for me the Height and Width of the Display in inches? I want to measure out the space for a mockup on a piece of paper to help me visualize the size of the writing area and also to be sure the size will work for me.

    Do mean pages of a Note/Notebook? So you can view the Pages of a Note in thumbnail view, 6 at a time; is that correct?

    So do Notes automatically save themselves, or do you need to manually tap on a Save button periodically? Just wondering if I'd be needing to get in the habit of tapping Save before hitting the Standby/Power button on the bottom of the device.

    Does it at least order Notes alphabetically by Name? If I decide to group my endless notepad by month then I could just create a new Note each month named something like 2011-08, so long as it will sort the Notes in alphanumerical order.

    Yes, I would love to hear your experience with the new pen. You've done a great job of describing the accuracy quirks of this device for me. I wonder why it gets worse around the edges? Is it maybe because one naturally holds the pen at a different angle when getting close to the edge and so it is no longer being used at the angle it was at when the user originally calibrated it? I thought I read something about the angle one holds the pen at affecting things some.

    So does Evernote group all of the .gif files for a particular Note together in some fashion, since each .gif file would represent 1 Page of a Note? Or does Evernote treat each Page as a separate Note in Evernote (which seems like would get messy pretty quickly)?

    Thank you for providing those. Are those the size they are in Evernote? They seem awfully small. It seems like given the resolution of the EA800 that they should be bigger, or did you just resize them for uploading to the forum (or maybe the forum resized them automatically)? I'm only asking because of concern that the EA800 would export such small files to Evernote or to the PC.

    Thanks for going through the effort to test that and report back. What you shared and the other details about your experience with Evernote are very helpful.

    So are there on-screen buttons to rotate the display (and thus the background lines, grid lines, etc.), or is it just that if I wanted to draw something in Landscape I can do that by physically rotating the EA800, but the Notes app itself does not rotate? Just to clarify: Do both the Notes and Ereader apps themselves rotate to Landscape mode, and if so how does that process work?

    Well you certainly have done a great job, so thank you!!

    I have thought of a few additional questions for you or anyone else who is willing to answer:

    17) When the EA800 is in its case, can you fold the front of the case back behind the EA800, like in the following picture?
    (I also attached the image below.)
    Google Image Result for http://tapa.tk/mu/aefd1bef-a730-646b.jpg

    18) What are the security features in terms of password protecting the device and/or Notes? My preference would be to be able to password protect some Notes, but not all (so decide on a Note by Note basis). For example, I'd probably want my main Note that is for random ideas, thoughts, etc. to NOT be password protected because I don't want to have that extra step when I just want to pick up the EA800 and jot something down. But I might occasionally have things I want to jot down that are more private or sensitive and so I'd want to be able to password protect those Notes.

    19) Does the included pen stay in its holder in the top securely, or is it advisable to keep it in the sleeve in the spine of the leather case? I would like to be able to carry this device around and not have to worry about losing the pen.

    For others joining this thread, here are questions from above that I'd still love answers to:
    Thanks!
    :)
     

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  4. sarah11918

    sarah11918 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Everything wubak has said is pretty much what I would have said, so I don't need to re-answer the questions.

    What I've said to people is if you don't really care about getting the notes OFF the Eee Note, but rather are really just looking for an electronic version of a notebook that holds all your ideas/sketches/notes etc., I think it's pretty near perfect.

    I also have a Mac, so I can only use the official sync software with the old Tablet PC we have kicking around. I spent a lot of time figuring out how to get files on and off the device without the need for a PC. But it sounds like you don't even really care about getting files ON. (I wanted to be able to write on PDFs in addition to just using the notebook feature.)

    I didn't really use Evernote before getting the Eee Note, but it is probably the best way to get your notes off the device without syncing to a PC.

    Here's a link to a multi-page handwritten note (just some proving trig identies) that was first sent to evernote, then printed to pdf. https://www.strongspace.com/rainsberger/public/gadgets/exportedTRIGnote.pdf

    As you can see, when you print the Evernote note (which is a bunch of separate gifs), the size is smaller than a full page, the background is grey, and the template background (lines, to do list, graph paper etc.) is visible.

    I did experiment with just a one page note when I first got the device, and if you upload the file to Google Docs, then try to print, it looks a little different. Here is a comparison of files uploaded in different ways:

    Note added directly to Evernote results in THIS gif.

    Note uploaded to Google Docs becomes a .zip file which unarchives as THIS gif.

    "Snapshot" (.gif) of a Note uploaded to Google Docs using the "upload image as a doc" feature becomes a word doc within G Docs, but printed as THIS pdf.

    You may also wish to check out this thread on an e-reader forum: the eeeNote - it’s a serious threat to...everything - MobileRead Forums It's where most of my long, descriptive posts have been (since I'm assuming most people here already know how the device works). I post my questions here, and answer questions over there. :)

    It sounds to me like this device would suit your purposes.
     
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  5. thescreensavers

    thescreensavers Pen Pal - Newbie

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  6. niftytablets

    niftytablets Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Sarah, thanks so much for your input and sharing those files. That is all very helpful and encouraging!

    Cool. Thank you for that! I had actually checked those pictures, but I somehow missed the one with the battery (I think I must have opened one of the ones after it and then rotated through the enlarged images from there, so I never saw it). So thank you for pointing it out. As long as replacement batteries can eventually be purchased I'm okay with having to open the device up to replace it. A device like this should not need battery replacing very often (every few years maybe?). I had to do something similar with my Palm T3 when the original battery wore out too much.
     
  7. wubak

    wubak Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Let me know if you have any more questions!
     
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  8. niftytablets

    niftytablets Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for your follow up answers. That is great!

    That is a great question. I'd love to hear from others as well on this.


    I talked some with my wife about these dynamics because she has a large Wacom she uses for graphic design work, and we have an old Motion Computing 1600 Tablet PC that she also uses occassionaly. She reported that with her Wacom and with the Tablet PC that she has noticed they are not as accurate near the edges. She remembers an instructor in school (some time ago now) telling them about this as well. I don't know if newer Wacom's are better about this (her Wacom pad is probably over 10 years old), but I would guess that the technology used in something like the EA800 and Tablet PC's might not always be cutting edge (due to cost considerations). She also agreed with the parallax effect you mention due to the glass, and the angle one holds the pen changing naturally when you get close to some edges of the screen.

    Thanks, that is helpful. Those dimensions correspond to what Sarah posted links to, so I think I've now seen some good examples. Thanks for the follow up and providing those details.

    Okay, that is helpful, and it makes sense that it would work that way. It is also good to know that you can use different templates on different pages within the same Note. I think some of the information I have read about the EA800 must have been from earlier prototypes or something (eg, the now incorrect info about a 20 page limit for each note), because I had read somewhere that you could only pick one template per Note and that all Pages in that Note would have to use the same template. So I'm glad to hear that is no longer the case. :)


    Not surprisingly, I've thought of a few more questions:

    20) How long does it take to charge the EA800? Is there any noticeable difference in charging time whether it is charged via connecting the USB cable to a computer or to a wall outlet?

    21) I have never used an e-reader before. How is the EA800 in that regard? This functionality would be secondary for me, but since it has some ability, I'd probably explore putting some books on it (mostly likely reference type materials). Can epub or pdf files on the EA800 be navigated by "links" in a table of contents and/or within the document? If yes to both, then there are some documents for which I might try to create my own built-in navigation to be able to jump from section to section more easily. My initial look at the epub format seems to indicate that it is based off of HTML, which I am experienced with. Has anyone encountered epub books that have internal links which work correctly in the EA800? By internal links I mean, for example, links within a chapter that would let you do things like jump to the next chapter, jump to the previous chapter, jump to the next/previous section, etc. I guess too it would be helpful if there were a "Back" function that would take you to the previous page displayed, so that if I imported a document with links to defined terms (at the end of the document) that I could easily jump back to the original page after reading the term definition. As I said, the e-reader functionality is secondary for me, but I'd like to understand what it is capable of. Oh, and I'm not concerned about annotating pdf's or epub's at this point, so no need to speak to those areas (and I've read some of the strengths and limitations of that elsewhere in this forum).

    I'm really liking everything I'm hearing about the EA800 from you all. I sure wish Asus would release it here in the US. Aside from wanting to have the warranty support (in case it is needed), I'd really like to reach the $200 price point that was originally projected for the US release.
     
  9. sarah11918

    sarah11918 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I've also noticed that the save seems to be pretty automatic, although as you can see from the one "snapshot" I posted earlier, there is a virtual save button you can tap at the bottom of the screen.

    Even without hitting save, the note has always seemed to remain intact after exiting and returning.
     
  10. niftytablets

    niftytablets Pen Pal - Newbie

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    It is fascinating that they bothered to put a Save button at all. I know none of us will ever get to talk to the developers, but it would be so interesting to know why they did it that way, when it seems like the underlying system saves everything automatically. Perhaps in earlier prototypes you had to manually save, and then after they built the auto-save routines they left in the Save button because they didn't have any use for the extra button (if it was not a Save button), and maybe they thought if there was not a Save button some customers would ask for one?

    Regardless, I'm really glad to be hearing these reports about how well the EA800 does at saving data automatically. I'm getting more and more excited about getting one of these!
    :)
     
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