What's this? A non-iPad tablet on TUAW? The Boogie Board Sync isn't really a tablet, it's a writing surface which happens to sync with your Mac or iOS device. The purpose of the Boogie Board line, which has been around for a while, is to provide an eWriter tablet which feels a lot like actually writing with pen and paper and uses no power to display your writing. To do this, maker Improv Electronics uses something called Reflex LCD tech, the practical upshot being your scribbles stay on the screen without the need for a power source. Also, Improv Electronics has worked hard to get the feel of writing just right, which makes this a pleasant experience overall. As an added bonus, Boogie Boards are incredibly durable and light.
Why would you use a Boogie Board? Previous models were not that compelling for us, but this year there's the Sync, which sports a 9.7-inch writing surface (measured diagonally). If you've ever been frustrated by sketching or scribbling on the iPad, you might enjoy the simplicity and feel of the Boogie Board, plus it offers pressure sensitivity. Yes, it uses a stylus, but that's sort of the point here, like a Wacom tablet. If you prefer the feel of writing when taking notes, you'll understand. No stylus I've ever used on an iPad has provided this sort of feel. Note apps which attempt to ignore your hand resting on the iPad screen are also not as good as a dedicated device, either. Oh, and the screen is obviously bigger, also a plus for notes and drawings.
Boogie Board Sync can save hundreds of doodles on an SD card, then send them over via Bluetooth. There's also a USB port, but whichever you use to sync you'll need to download an app (not yet available). Something our readers may particularly enjoy is built-in support for Evernote. I wasn't able to see it in action, but the vector files captured can be instantly emailed or saved into Evernote for your convenience.
The iOS software was in beta when I saw it here at ShowStoppers (one of several side events during CES), but it worked just fine. The Sync will be available by Q4 of this year and should cost US$100. If you're looking for a different sketching or note-taking experience and you love handwritten notes (or Evernote), it should be a good companion to your Mac or iDevice.
Improv Electronics Boogie Board Sync 9.7