View Full Version : Review of Notion Ink Adam

March-18-2011, 06:47 PM
The short story is that, with a little tweaking/ROMing, it is awesome, but if you aren't comfortable with that, you probably won't like this tablet. It needs Honeycomb. The full story is below.

Notion Ink Adam Full Review
This is a going to be a sad story. I have been following the Notion Ink scene for a year now, and this is all I have to show for it. The Adam has the makings of a great tablet, but it was just pushed out to soon with an inexperienced company. Find out everything good and bad after the break

The Hardware
The Hardware is excellent. The tablet is a bit on the thick side with a nice curve on the top to give it excellent grip. The back is entirely plastic, but that doesn't cause any problems. Around the edges it has two USB ports, on mini USB, the volume rocker, the power switch, a micro SD/SIM slot, a full size HDMI port, the headphone jack, the power port, and an odd back button. The Speakers are absolutely fantastic. The have great sound with and awesome stereo effect. The microphone isn't quite as good, but it is still supreme. The swivel camera on top feels a little loose, but not to the point that it will be a problem. My biggest gripe with the camera isn't the low quality, which I will get to later, it's the fact that it doesn't swivel the full 185 degrees like is stated in the tech specs. When locked in the forward position, it is perfectly parallel to the screen.

The Screen
The screen is definitely not the best feature of the device. It may be the worst feature of the device aside from the software. It is a 16:9, 10.1", 1024x600 screen. It was made for landscape mode, and in portrait mode it looks a little stretched out. The viewing angles aren't great either. You can get a better viewing angle by tilting it in portrait mode, but you are rarely in portrait mode.

The Camera
It has a 3.2MP auto-focus camera mounted in that special little swivel. The pictures are grainy and underwhelming. They are about what you would expect from a camera of that resolution, but a little worse. It is labeled as auto-focus, but it just cycles in and out of focus all of the time like it's in an endless loop. You just have to take the picture at the exact moment when the object is in focus. The video is the same way. Throughout an entire video it just cycles in and out of focus. You can't make a decent video unless you are in a video call.

The Software
Inside you will find a dual-core Tegra II processor powering the beast. Coupled with that you get 1GB RAM and 8GB of flash memory. The problem with all of this is that you would never know it by using it. The Eden UI is slow. The apps are slow. The launcher is slow. Scrolling is far from smooth. The whole thing acts like the speed of a mid-range smartphone. It should be almost as fast as the Xoom, and it just isn't. The problem all lies with the software.
The problem isn't just speed, it's also the extreme amount of bugs that Notion Ink has yet to work out. I can't be productive on it because it is only a matter of time before something force closes on me and all of my work is gone. The apps are fantastic, but still slower than they should be. I had several problems with the tablet rebooting spontaneously. One time it even went into a spontaneous reboot cycle.
One of the biggest (it would be the biggest problem if the software was worth a dime) problems with the device is the Android Market or lack thereof. I understand that the Adam is not a phone, and that the Market is made for phones. Honeycomb still has access to the same phone apps that the Adam would. Rohan has stated back in December that the market would come with the update to Honeycomb which they are currently working on. Notion Ink is slated to release their own Genesis store in a short amount of time, but with the Adam's user base, it can't have a significant amount of apps in it. Just like the iPad, it's the apps that make it and without those apps it is not made. They need to give us a stable Honeycomb update that includes Eden and the Market.

With amazing apps like Mail'd and Sniffer, and amazing guts like the Tegra II processor, the Adam has the potential to go far. Right now I can't recommend it to the average user. The user experience was suffering so much that I rooted mine to get the market and ad-hoc (and now Edenx) until Notion Ink pushes out an update that fixes the bugs. When Notion Ink pushes out a stable build of Honeycomb with the market, the Adam will shine, but until that happens we will just have to keep faith in the hands of Notion Ink.
And with all of that being said, yes, I love my Adam.

March-19-2011, 09:00 AM
Interesting review. Not sure whether you're interested or not, but you might want to go over the posts and check the grammar. And typographics, though I think it's more the grammar that was jarring.

Oh yes, it might be useful if you actually differentiated the links somewhat. They've got a hover-state, for sure, and a visited state but they're not really that obvious unless you've already clicked on them.

Just a few thoughts.

March-19-2011, 11:29 AM
I try to type everything without typos, but I seem to be failing in that aspect. I can't see my own errors when I read over something, and can't ask someone to review every post I make.
As for the links, thanks for telling me. I'll fix them shortly.

March-19-2011, 12:08 PM
I know the feeling, Bobert. I had to defend a document that I had written and one member of the panel asked me about an error that I had made. He pointed out a page. When I was "I d'know" he then referenced the paragraph. Then the sentence. Buggered if I could identify the problem. Oh the joys of editing blinkers.

In short, I empathise. Just thought that I would point it out if you felt that it mattered. :D

March-19-2011, 12:37 PM
On the upside, I still have a high school teacher to reference for the grammar issues.