If you’d like to ditch the paper notepad for a digital device, but don’t want a full-blown tablet, an e-writer may be the perfect gadget.

The Boogie Board Rip electronic writing device has a 9.5″ LCD. According to the manufacturer, the unit’s 8MB of internal storage is capable of storing “200 typical images”. The rechargeable Li-Ion battery is rated for 60 days of standby time and 1 week of typical usage. The Boogie Board Rip measures 11.1″ (H) x 7″ (W) x 0.5″ (D) and weighs 11.5 ounces.

In this week’s episode of Cracking Open, I show you what’s inside the Kent Displays Boogie Board Rip, and discuss what I learned from my teardown.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the Boogie Board Rip

Cracking Open observations

  • Thin and light, but sturdy: I was surprised by how thin and light the Boogie Board Rip is. At half an inch, it’s a bit thicker than your average tablet, but not by much. And at 11.5 ounces, it’s much lighter than any of 10-inch tablets I’ve cracked open. Despite these characteristics, the electronic writing device felt surprisingly sturdy in my hands. I never once worried that I would break it.
  • Unique, flexible LCD: Developed by Kent Displays, the Boogie Board’s screen uses cholesteric liquid crystals, which allow the screen to retain and image without power. And because the Reflex LCD is made from plastic, it’s both rugged and flexible.
  • Stores ~200 notes: The Boogie Board Rip has 8MB of internal storage. According to the manufacturer this will let you keep about 200 images (saved as PDFs) on the device. Beyond that, you’ll need to transfer them to a computer.
  • Can’t review stored documents on the device: Once you erase a saved image, the only way to see it again is on a computer.
  • No wireless sync: Another disappointment, you can’t sync the device wirelessly. Using the included USB cable is easy enough, but a bit cumbersome.
  • Overpriced: The Rip version of the Boogie Board is relatively expensive compared to low-end tablets, which offer a lot more functionality. At $129, it’s only $70 less than the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet.

Internal hardware

Our test unit had the following hardware.

  • 3.8V 830mAh Li-Ion Polymer battery
  • Texas Instruments MSP430 MCU (12A8D7T G4 M430F5529 REV E)
  • ISSI IS62WV2568BLL PowerSaver Low Power Asynchronous SRAM (2M 256Kx8)
  • Winbond 64Mb Serial Flash memory (8MB)
  • 9.5″ Kent Displays cholesteric Reflex LCD
  • Pen input system antenna (BTM-P097)
  • Waltop WA2006 Pen-Input Technology IC module
  • Texas Instruments SN74AHC4066 Quadruple Bilateral Analog Switch (HA4066 15K G4 ACCF)
  • Waltop MCU1086 A3A5A