ASUS Eee Note EA800 eBook Reader and Note Taker Now Available in US


ASUS Eee Note EA800

Here’s a blast from the past. I just happened to come across the listing for the 8-inch ASUS Eee Note EA800 over on Newegg this morning for $179.

For those of you without a ridiculously good memory for niche gadgets, the ASUS Eee Note EA800 was first released back in November 2010 in Taiwan, and then parts of Europe in 2011. It was supposed to make its way to the US at some point but as far as I know that never happened.

Now, just 3 years later, the ASUS EA800 can finally be purchased in the United States! Actually it’s probably been available on eBay for a long time, but Newegg is the first retailer to carry it. Newegg calls it a “First from Asia” product, so it still ships from overseas, but at least it’s available, and for a pretty decent price too (except you can get it for $169 on eBay with free shipping).

That may sound a little expensive for a device that is going on 4 years old, but given the specs and hardware it’s really not bad. In fact I’m tempted to get one myself.

The ASUS Eee Note EA800 is a very unique product. It’s an ebook reader and a digital notepad in one. It doesn’t have an E Ink screen, but it does have an 8-inch monochrome, non-backlit display with a respectable 768 x 1024 resolution and support for 64 levels of grey. It has a highly-sensitive Wacom touchscreen and includes a stylus for taking notes and drawing on the screen, which responds to 256 levels of pressure sensitivity.

The device is meant to be an all-in-one note-taking solution so it even includes a rear-mounted 2 megapixel camera, a voice recorder, 3.5mm headphone jack, and mono speaker.

The Eee Note EA800 comes with 4GB of internal storage space and it also has a microSD card slot for cards up to 16GB. It has a micro USB port, Wi-Fi, and physical page and menu buttons. The battery is rated at 13.5 hours with wireless off and 10 hours with wireless on, so that’s one of its weaker points.

The dimensions of the EA800 are 139 x 222.4 x 11 mm, and it weighs 520 grams (about 18.3 ounces). For formats it supports PDF, ePub, MP3, JPEG, BMP, GIF, and PNG directly, and txt, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, ppt, and pptx with the PC importing tool (saves as PDF/ePub).

Personally, I’m trying to decide if it would be worth getting one of these or not, so I’ve been looking over some reviews. Here’s a pretty informative review I found from jmirko2010 on the listing at eBay:

I bought the EEE Note to replace my paper notebook for taking notes in meetings, and to read e-books/pdf documents while commuting. I have used it for a few weeks now and it has worked great for those purposes.

Likes:
– Easy to import your old paper notes (in pdf format)
– Excellent pen response and accuracy when writing on the screen – this is where it beats color tablets
– Easy-to use, logical user interface
– Great battery life (usually 4-5 workdays between charges)
– Excellent search functions (very fast, search title and keywords, a specific file type or all files, does not lose search results after opening one of the files, you can search for keywords with a single tap)
– Zoom and tilt functions for pdf viewing
– Decent recorded sound quality
– Perfect size for office or commuting
– Stylus stays in a slot on top of the tablet
– Nice protective case and extra stylus included
– Excellent value for money, cheaper than any other device (e-ink / color LCD) with similar capabilities

Dislikes:
– Screen is hard to read in low light conditions, contrast is much lower than e-ink
– On-screen keyboard and virtual buttons could be faster to react (e.g. when typing note titles and keywords)
– Does not recognize handwriting, your notes are stored as pictures

Update 6 Sept 2013:
– Since 2012, export to Evernote no longer works (Asus did not keep up with Evernote security enhancements).
– The synchronization software works reliably now that I have moved from an old PC to a newer one (with Win 7), so it is easy to back up my notes.

Here’s the link to another review about ereading features and functions on the ASUS EA800. The video is included below, followed by a second video that gives a look at how drawings work.

Asus Eee Note – Reader Application

Asus Eee Note – Drawing

14 Responses to “ASUS Eee Note EA800 eBook Reader and Note Taker Now Available in US”

  1. Huh. I had to look up the posts I did at my blog — there were four — but didn’t come across the CPU. Being this old, it’s probably not worth getting and probably very slow compared to hardware you’ve handled since then. And a low-contrast monochrome screen is not my idea of a good time. Good luck if you spend the money.

    • If it had an E Ink screen like the iRex DR-800, which was also 8″ with a Wacom digitizer, I’d be all over it, but yeah the monochrome LCD isn’t going to be as good, neither is the battery life, which is basically on par with a tablet.

      I’d be more interested in it as a note taker than an ebook reader anyway so I don’t know that that would matter much. It says it has 42 note templates, so it seems the software has more going for it than a regular ebook reader.

  2. Interesting, but no I don’t think so unless Asus comes out with an updated model.

  3. Hi Nathan,
    I am glad you found my mini-review useful enough to quote it in your article. Strange that Asus would bring the device to the U.S. so late, but I must say it still has no real competition. I take a lot of meeting minutes at work, and replaced my paper pads with the Eeenote over 2 years ago. I liked it a lot, but started to experiment with various wacom-equipped e-ink readers as well. Over the last two years, I have owned and tried the Onyx Boox M92, the Irex Iliad, the DR800, the DR1000, and the Hanvon N800. I finally came back to the EeeNote. None of those other devices offered the same combination of accuracy, speed, ease of use, reliability and portability. The sound recording and the camera also come in handy once in a while. Just about the only gripe is the reduced contrast of the screen when compared to e-ink, but if you work in a well-lit environment, that’s not a problem.
    Sure, I think that featherweight, flexible e-ink screens will eventually take over, but if you’re looking for a digital notepad now, I highly recommend the EeeNote.

    • Cool, thanks for the follow up. Small world. If definitely has some unique features going for it, not many digital notepads like that. I just wish it had an E Ink screen and I’d be all for getting one.

      • In that case you may want to look at the Hanvon Wisereader N800. It is very similar to the EeeNote in size and functionality, but with an e-ink screen. Unfortunately, it’s quite a bit more pricey than the Asus, and not available outside China afaik. I bought mine on Aliexpress, where it is still available for USD 500 (I know, way too much). I tested it for a few days and liked it a lot, but I have not been able to back up my notes using the bundled software (this could be an issue with my setup though). Backups are a must for my work, so I will be selling it in the near future. I am looking to get about 300 USD for it.

    • I do not think that ASUS is bringing the device in US. This is some third party seller on NewEgg (Kipoint), which could mean trouble if for some reason i get problematic device.

  4. I spoke to Asus dev team a while back regarding DR-900 (owned by me). They told me both, Eee Reader and Eee Note were a short (means experimental) series and they were shutdown pretty quickly… DR-900 mostly because it used SiPix screens (bought and killed by eInk) and Note, cause it was not supposed to be a hit anyway…

    • That’s a shame. If they would implement some of their ideas with newer technology they could’ve had some pretty sweet gadgets.

      • I agree. I think there is a huge market in replacing the paper notepad in schools and offices, and with the appearance of the light and durable Mobius screen, the technology is finally here. We now just need good software, lower prices and strong marketing. Okay, I admit that’s quite a lot to ask for… Hopefully my EeeNote will hold it together until then 🙂