In 2011, we came across a unique device that combined all the benefits of an e-ink reader like a Kindle or Nook with the power of expression that comes with a stylus. Back then, NoteSlate’s first device was priced at $99 and was noted to be coming soon. “Soon” here apparently meant “4 years” since that is how long it took the company to put the SHiRO up for pre-order. Thankfully, it has also updated the hardware to more modern specs but has also sadly doubled the price.
There is a special market of ebook readers who have nowhere to call home: those that want the no frills, no nonsense power efficiency and eye-friendliness of e-paper displays but also want the special features that a pen would offer. These users will either have to settle for plain EPD readers, with or without touch, or with regular colored tablets that supported styluses. At one point in time, Noteslate finally offered a third option but sadly disappeared into silence. Fast forward four years later, the company is back and hopefully with a more final product that will actually ship out to true believers.
The Noteslate SHIRO, the latest incarnation of this idea, is thicker than your average ebook reader. That’s because it packs more than your average book reader. Aside from a touch sensitive screen, it also supports a pressure sensitive stylus. This combination is perfect for those who love taking notes, sometimes on their books as well. In terms of display, the screen operates in two modes, a grayscale mode and a more energy efficient 1-bit mode. It also packs a rather high resolution of 1080×1440 pixels, again not your standard fair. It does run on a low-power 1 GHz FreeScale SoloLite chip.
If you’re any artist or scribbler of sorts, it’s hard not to be interested in the Noteslate SHiRO’s promise. But it’s also hard not to be wary, considering how long Noteslate took to deliver an actual retail device, which actually still isn’t in a tangible form yet. The SHIRO also costs $199, nearly double than, say, an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. The device is promised to ship in March 2016. A special signature edition, one out of 999 pieces only, is also available for the same price but will ship earlier in February.