Nov 3, 2014
The only thing that comes close to being as cool as finding an awesome, all-round device? Finding a functional accessory. Opening up one’s device to another tool that can potentially unlock even more usability can be an addictive pursuit, and it’s an addiction I quite like.
The Boogie Board 9.7 is an interesting idea; it’s a slate LCD e-writer device with a stylus that connects to smart devices via Bluetooth and a companion app. The concept is simple: data entered in/on the slate gets transferred to other apps. The 9.7 is a newer iteration of the device, and it is clear that the developer has worked on improvements.
The review unit Boogie Board let us play around with came in mostly clear retail packaging. It is relatively svelte, with mostly black coloring and orange accents. It feels lighter than it looks, coming it at 11 ounces; it packs a 9.5 inch screen in a 11.1 x 7.5 x 0.2 inch frame. It’s rectangular, with slightly tapered sides, and has a slot for the black and orange stylus on the one side. There is a power button nestled in a corner, and a micro-USB slot at the bottom. On the front face, there buttons for saving and erasing, and here are also LED lights here and at the bottom. It’s cautiously stylistic, but is able to convey professionalism.
In action, the LCD surface is quite responsive under the stylus. The “ink” shows up kind of light greenish, and works relatively well; it reflects sketches and printed word quite equitably. To get even more functionality, one can download the companion Boogie Board app, and connect the unit to an Android device via Bluetooth. With the app, there are some really cool things than can be done, most notably the live writing, in which data written on the board instantly shows up on the smartdevice.
The use scenarios for this are up to the imagination, and this is why this piece is so appealing. I used it as an on-field coaching tool; it beats having a full tablet on the field, and the portability allowed for unrestricted movement. It’s great for recording inspiration, and sketches are easily recorded. The Android sync tool is simple, and helps one to share data. There is Evernote integration via the settings, and I find this to be a big advantage too. The desktop companion software is a plus a well.
I like the incorporated rechargeable battery, but the lack of backlight can be a bit of an issue in some lighting conditions. I also think an incorporated cover would be good, but to be fair, there is a case one can buy.
All together, the Boogie Board 9.7 provides a snazzy option for folks who like to doodle on the go. It’s not too expensive, easy on the eyes and compatible with other Android tools. And yes, it really does save on paper.