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New note-taking tablet feels like pen and paper but syncs digitally

The Boogie Board Sync, with its powered stylus.Devin Coldewey / NBC News

The Boogie Board, a tablet used for jotting down notes in a simple and easy way, is being updated with a new version that shows your sketches live on another screen and saves the completed documents with the push of a button. Unlike other "note" devices like the Galaxy Note, which seems laggy and pixelated, this one actually feels great to use. The update was shown at CES in Las Vegas Tuesday.

Writing on a Boogie Board feels amazingly like ordinary pen and paper and is totally foolproof to operate, neither of which can be said about devices like Samsung's. But unlike a stylus-using tablet or phone, a Boogie Board can't be used for anything but basic writing and sketching.

This is because of how it works: The 9.7-inch screen is essentially a single big transparent pixel over a black background. When you write on it, you're actually causing the liquid crystal material to turn on its side and be reflective instead of transparent. It works great and saves battery in the process, but it prevents it from displaying, well, anything.

The Sync can send your drawings live to a nearby computer or save it to an Evernote account.Devin Coldewey / NBC News

The newest version, however, expands its capabilities quite a bit. The Sync, as Boogie Board is calling it, uses an active stylus like those used on tablets, and while you write on it as normal, your pen strokes (pressure, speed and all) are being recorded and even sent live to a nearby PC screen. And when you're done, you can choose to save as a vector file (useful for illustrators) or as a normal image to share online.

Of course, you can also write with your fingernail or a chopstick — the special stylus is only necessary for the digital syncing part.

It won't be available until much later in the year; The device shown is a prototype, though it's mostly feature-complete. Boogie Board estimates it will cost just under $100  — likely a low enough price to keep one around the house or to use instead of sticky notes.

More information about the Sync and its less advanced relatives can be found at the Boogie Board website.

(This article originally stated that the board worked by a different mechanism, but has been corrected.)

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is