I decided to quit doodling and writing notes on paper in order to go green by buying the Boogie Board by Improv Electronics. You write on the LCD screen with a simple stylus, then erase the entire screen in an instant with the push of a button. I was especially excited when I discovered they had just released a new, larger version.
I ordered my Boogie Board from Brookstone. I was delighted with the prompt delivery. I immediately opened the box and I inserted the two AAAA batteries in accordance with the + sign inside the compartment lid. Unfortunately, the lid comes completely off. It took a moment to determine which end of the lid went where, so I could determine which way to orient the + ends of the two batteries. Why didnít they put the + on the case so the installation orientation was not confusing?
Once I had the batteries in, I began writing on the screen with the stylus. I was delighted to see that it wrote dependably. When I pressed the erase button, the screen went blank. But there was a problem. The screen contrast was very poor, and at best, the display was black and gray, not black and white. I thought I must have inserted the batteries incorrectly. I removed the battery cover and examined its inside surface. After looking closely, I could see that there was a + sign on both ends of the lid.
The Boogie Board Writing Tablet 10.5 from Improv Electronics.
Hmmm. Maybe I actually had inserted the batteries backwards. I reversed the battery orientation, closed the battery cover again and began writing. To my surprise, the contrast was exactly the same. I quickly concluded that the batteries were not required for writing on the tablet. Later I confirmed this by writing on the tablet with no batteries installed. What I quickly discovered was that the tablet would not erase with the batteries in this orientation. I was rather disappointed that the contrast was still very poor, even in dim or bright ambient lighting. The graphics I wrote on the screen were a not-too-light shade of gray. Not a dim white, but truly a gray color.
If the tablet had a black-and-white display, I would have been very happy with the purchase, especially with a list price under 60 dollars. I even had a 25 percent off coupon, but most of it was eaten up with shipping.
This device should have never made it out of engineering, and the marketing folks at Brookstone should have put the brakes on presenting it to the public the instant they saw its performance.
One feature I knew the tablet did not have was a USB or WiFi link, so the images created on the tablet canít be easily saved. Even a USB port for a jump drive would be nice. Marketing probably decided to introduce this function later, which would be a good move. My thought when purchasing the tablet was that if I created an image that I needed to save, I could take a picture of it with my digital camera and transfer it to my computer. I had to chuckle when I read the userís manual and found thatís exactly what they suggest.
I was saddened by this experience -- and to have to pay for return shipping. My experience with Brookstone gadgets has been good in the past. Iíve purchased many of their gadgets. We engineers like our gadgets.
This entry was submitted by W. Wallick and edited by Rob Spiegel
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