Gear: HTC Flyer, HTC Flyer Digitizer Pen, Cases.
The only reason to get the HTC Flyer is because of pen input. It's the one thing that sets this tablet apart from all of the other tablets. But it is good enough to actually replace pen and paper?
Why I like the tablet:
- One system that can do "everything"
- Can carry tons of books and media
- All important notes in one single device which replaces multiple notebooks
Regarding the pen
If you live in the USA you must pay an extra $80 to get the pen. (dumb idea). With that said the pen is an active digitizer via N-Trig. This is an electronic device that uses a AAAA battery. An active digitizer can do a lot more than the crappy styluses that you will see on older tablets and the "capacitive pens" on some devices like the iPad. The pen can do "hover", pressure sensitivity, erase and highlight text. You cannot do that with a "stylus". The form factor is actually smaller than I thought it would be.
Why the digital book/note taking system is cool
Who likes carrying books, notebooks, and tons of paper based junk? No one. With digital you can carry everything in one device. It's a genius idea.
The Flyer is a 7 inch tablet and that means that it is big enough to actually let you write stuff (unlike cell phones) and it's not too big like the iPad. Carrying any tablet in your pockets is just stupid, so you might need to get some kind of carrying case for it.
Digital note taking
When you write notes digitally you will have a tendency of writing text bigger than with classic pen and paper. So... it's something to get used to and if you make deeply elaborate notes the Flyer might not be good enough.
Click to enlarge
Get a case
If you get a Flyer you will drop the system guaranteed. The smooth surface can be slippery and your 7 inch tablet will be broken in record time. I have dropped it 3 times already and I'm glad I have carpets. I highly recommend getting a case.
Silent note takins
The pen + glass surface does make a bit of noise. Even if you tried not to make noise you will do that. It's one sure way of standing out in meetings. When it comes to silent note taking you cannot beat pen and paper.
If you get a system with touch + pen you will always have issues with accidental palm clicks. It is important that you make sure the pen is closer to the screen first. Once the tablet recognizes the pen it will begin rejecting your palm.
Continual drawing problem
The system sometimes continues to draw when it should "hovering". I have seen this several times and it's super annoying. To fix the problem you need to turn the system off and then turn it on.
Hand written text quality
Digital note taking cannot be as smooth as pen and paper. N-Trig devices usually cannot beat Wacom based tablets. The Flyer's N-Trig input shows it. Also, when you rotate the screen from landscape to portrait, or vice-versa, the text is re-sized and it doesn't look that good.
Automatic sync to Evernote
Evernote is one of those programs that wants to work everywhere and with the Flyer it does. It's neat that I can go in and write notes and automatically have the same note in my laptop and cell phone. This is good stuff.
This tablet is full of it. There's facebook, email, and twitter integration. The Sense UI stuff works well with it.
Dream "search" feature
The problem with analog pen and paper is the shortfall and inability of search. Digital note taking should fix this, but it doesn't with the Flyer. Good ol text like this blog post typed with a keyboard is searchable. Something like a "Ctrl+F" for handwritten digital notes would be sweet. MS OneNote actually does allow you to search your handwritten notes.
HTC made a brave attempt by adding digital note taking on the Flyer. The tablet by itself is good, but the pen input is not good enough. The software is too "premature" and the overall system is not reliable enough and $580 is a bit too much.