Huion makes plenty of pen tablets, one of which we recently reviewed and loved. By extending their expertise a little further, we have the Huion Note in our hands.
The full designation is Huion Note X10 Smart Digital Electronic Notebook with Pen. A bit of a mouthful which explains why its generally referred to as Huion Note. I am going to refer to it as the X10 in this review because it is easier for me.
What is it?
The X10 is a smart notebook to digitalise your handwriting.
How is it useful? Well if you are a student, you can take handwritten notes and automatically have it stored electronically.
Need to sketch out an idea and annotate it? Just do it on the Huion Note and have it show up on your app.
The idea is to turn something old school into something more modern and functional.
On surface the X10 does not look particularly remarkable. To be fair when I first looked at it, I was not sure what to make of it.
It is presented as a brown PU leather analogue compendium with the words Huion Note and their logo embossed into the front cover. The only thing that indicates this is no ordinary paper notepad is the USB-C port on the top left of the unit.
Opening the cover, the analogue image is maintained with a textured imitation cow hide, and an old school paper notebook in A5 size.
On the bottom inside the cover is a sticker with the serial number and a QR code for connecting with the app.
The X10 is about the size of a sixth generation iPad length and height wise, and about 50% thicker overall.
It comes with a pen which is officially named Scribo 2. It is a smart pen powered by Huion’s PenTech 3.0 technology, which is the same as what was in the Inspiroy Dial 2 stylus that I reviewed recently. This one has a biro built in and is still rated to detect 8192 levels of pressure.
You could use the X10 as a simple notebook, but that would defeat the purpose of the smarts behind it.
To fully leverage the features of the device, you will need to install the Huion Note app on your smart phone or connect it to your PC. You are also required to create an account with Huion to use all the features.
The app guides you through how to connect with the X10. And also upon opening the pages of the notebook, Huion has included a page of information on what the single LED indicator mains in different modes and colours.
I ran into a heap of issues trying to connect to the X10. Bluetooth via the app could not detect the device although the native Android Bluetooth connection screen could (not could not pair). The scan QR to connect also gave me no choice. Eventually I rebooted my phone and the issue went away. It also didn’t come back so I am chalk that down as a glitch in the matrix.
There are two ways to use the X10. Online or offline.
In offline mode, the X10 has enough memory to retain fifty pages of data before requiring a synchronisation to clear the buffers.
In online mode, the app replicates your note taking in real time and there is little appreciable delay in the process.
What is great that with the PenTech 3.0 technology built in, the X10 detects the change in pressure as you write and replicates it in the digital version. That means the digital image of your notes is more faithful to your handwriting, or your sketches have more nuances and details that would otherwise be lost.
When you synchronise your offline notes, you are given the option as to which virtual notebook it belongs to. Treat this as a filing system where you can have separate virtual notebooks to manage your doodles. Pages that were synchronised from offline has a blue offline tag displayed on the thumbnail to give a “at a glance” view to differentiate between the two types.
This is just half the power of the X10.
Once your notes are in the app, there are some handy value added functions.
You can to your page(s):
- add free hand writing or drawings in any colour
- add text in any colour
- insert photos from your device
- erase content
- lasso content (handwriting, image and/or text) and move them around the page
- add audio memos to text selection
When you are ready to share your content, you have the options to share as:
- PDF – provides the highest quality output
- JPG – JPG is limited to 1080 x 1432 pixels which is good enough for screen display but not for printing
- Video – Have you ever finish brainstorming on a whiteboard, grabbed a static image of the final result and puzzled at how you got to the destination? The video function in the X10 shows you the entire note creation process so you can go back and see the quantum leaps you have made. This is a super handy feature!
It is probably prudent to point out that the X10 and the app does not perform OCR or translate your handwriting into typed text.
In the creation of virtual notebooks, the Huion Note app gives you the option of customising each one with a selection of covers, types of paper and templates (such as ruled, blank, daily plan etc) and five colour choices for the paper.
For information management, you can simply create new notebooks on the main page, or create folders to further categorise your information.
There is even an option to import PDFs into app to store with your own notes.
In a nice attention to detail, on each page of the included notebook on the top right corner is an icon pointing to the function button telling you to press the button to turn the page virtually.
The X10 can also function as a pen tablet a la the Inspiroy Dial 2 type when connected to a PC, either wirelessly or wired.
There is support for cloud backup, either to GoogleDrive or with Huawei.
If you made a mistake and deleted pages from your app, there is a handy recycle bin to retrieve it from.
The X10 comes with a 1300 mAH battery which is rated for up to 18 hours of use.
It makes sense as there is no screen to drive, just a Bluetooth module and an EMR base to detect the pen.
The X10 comes with a matching PU leather pouch for the Scribo 2 pen.
There is also a total of six biro refills – 2 black and 4 red as well as a nib remover. Each biro refill is rated for about 400m of writing.
Lastly is a USB-C cable but no charging brick.
There is a minimal level of pressure required before the input is registered. As can be seen in the comparison the really light touches are fine on paper but didn’t pick up in the app. In the video here you can see the movement being registered but nothing on screen.
The pen holder stands alone and there is no way of just packing the pen securely with the X10 itself. Yes it has the magnetic clips but it sticks out and I will knock it off in my bag.
The Huion Note X10 caught me by surprise. When I first looked at it, I was not really sure how the review would pan out and was almost convinced that it will be a super niche product.
What I ended up finding is a hybrid pen tablet that works because of the base and the Scribo 2 pen. The paper that you write on is plain paper, in standard A5 size, that is cheaply and easily refilled when you run out. Better yet, it is not another screen where I would be tempted to do something else. It is totally old school but in the best way possible.
What was really interesting was that when I took the nib out of the pen and tried to “write”, the app tracks the movement but there was no data.
The Huion Note X10 Smart Digital Electronic Notebook is a very reasonable RRP of AUD$169.99, at time of publishing there seems to be a $40 coupon available. Other than the consumable biro refills, you are not beholden to Huion for anything else.
Check out this video of the Huion Note X10 to see it in action.
Sometimes a dark horse bolts out of nowhere and just takes us by surprise, Huion has really blended simplicity and technology resulting in a brilliant product. This is one worthy for consideration for the Christmas stocking.
DRN would like to thank Huion for providing the review unit, and it is our pleasure to give the Huion Note a Pulse Award. Congratulations!