More on the Adam

Almost two months ago I posted my impressions of the Notion Ink Adam, an Android tablet. After playing with it for a couple of months, here are my impressions so far.


  • It’s working well and seems sturdy hardware.
  • Notion Ink released a software update (well, several) recently, which has improved their default UI substantially (and it now also includes the Kindle e-reader app and the Dolphin browser). However, it is still sluggish and unoptimal, and there is still no Android Market.
  • If you are willing to flash a third-party ROM, you have many other choices. I’m using Beast 2.2.1, with a few files (font files and GPS library) copied over from the Eden update. It is almost flawless — the only complaint I have (which many people do) is the rapid draining in “standby” mode, and the jitteriness of the compass (not sure whether this is a software or hardware problem, but it has been widely reported). But, otherwise, it all works and is smooth and responsive. Everything on the Android Market is available.
  • I recently saw an e-ink-based e-reader (the Wink) for the first time. Pixel Qi is certainly nothing like e-ink. The Wink looked like printed paper — sharp well-defined black letters, and white though somewhat smudgy paper (shadows of previously displayed text were visible in the background). For plain text, Pixel Qi can’t compare. But what it can do is zoom smoothly (important when viewing PDFs, which tend not to fit comfortably on the display screen), display animations, and supply a backlight when you are in the dark. Indoors, you need the backlight but it can stay comfortably at its lowest setting. To me, the Pixel Qi screen is worth the money — but others seem to complain about its somewhat duller appearance compared to LCD screens, and its limited viewing angle.
  • I have Linux running in a chroot. If I can figure out some issues related to special keys on an external USB keyboard, I believe it will be entirely usable as my primary machine, replacing my laptop (there are laptop-like tablet holders, with integrated keyboards, available online, or I could make my own).

Notion Ink is taking orders again, and, contrary to previous reports, are continuing to ship to India, this time with customs duties pre-paid. Should you be buying one? Yes, if you want a relatively open device, with nice hardware, a micro-SD card slot, two USB ports, a mini-USB port, and the ability to flash your own ROM — and especially if you are bothered by eyestrain from conventional LCD screens. No, if you want something that “just works” out of the box.

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Leave a comment

2 Comments

  1. Sridhar

     /  June 9, 2011

    Rahul,
    Thanks for the update. Are you using the one with the 3G configuration?

    Reply
    • Rahul Siddharthan

       /  June 9, 2011

      Yes. I’m using a BSNL SIM. Works fine.

      Reply

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