Nomad - Initial Experience

I've had the Nomad (A6 X2) for about a month and I'm enjoying the experience. This is a quick review of the device (the bulk of the post is my list of requests).

tl;dr: The Nomad is fun to use, but it lacks polish.

Overall, the A6 X2 feels like it is a few years removed from a hardware engineer's side project. It has a really nice hardware design and there are a lot of software features, but it all lacks polish.

The features feel bolted on, being added wherever they would fit as they were developed. No one took a systematic approach to how the system as a whole should function and the result is a confusing mental model. Additionally there has been a lack of refinement to the basic interactions. A few examples I've come across so far (full list at the end of the post):

  • There are multiple locations where you can see gesture-related settings. They aren't the same settings, but they aren't grouped in a unified place.
  • There is a dedicated app icon for Atelier and Digest, but not for Notes or Documents.
  • In Notes, the top icon opens up the Files app to open a new note. This feels like an "Open" menu item within a Desktop app, but it isn't limited to just files that the Notes app can open. For example you can open an image, but it'll just preview it you aren't opening it in the Notes app. From this version of the Files app you can also create new files, including Word and Atelier files. The only difference between this Files version and the main menu's Files app is this has a back button to the file you were just in.

This lack of refinement also extends to the day-to-day interactions with notes themselves. When menus are open (e.g. editing a pen's color/width or highlighting text in a PDF) there is no palm recognization, so if you put your palm down (to touch the menu with the pen) the menu disappears (which is infuriating sometimes).

There are times when you write and the ink doesn't show up. I was especially having this experience in the Atelier app. Thankfully a force refresh of the screen is only a swipe away, but that feels like using it as a work around rather than a true feature.

I'll close by saying that I think the Nomad is fun to write on. Does it match paper? No. When you read that Wacom worked to make it sound just like paper, you can tell. But, at least with my pens, paper still has more tooth or grip. On the Nomad you can still tell that you are writing on a screen protector. Thankfully that isn't going to stop me from writing on it.

I do wish Ratta would stop trying to bolt on new features and focus on the fundamentals for a little bit.

List of issues

Some of these are clearly bugs, but a lot of them fall more into being a feature request (FR), so I've gone ahead and labeled them.

Supernote System

  • By the way, is "Supernote" one or two words? On the website and the pen it is one, but on the power cable it is two.
  • (FR) During setup, it asks if I'm left handed or right handed (I am left handed). It looks like it only changes the swipe shortcuts on the hardware, but I would also recommend switching the side the app's menu is on too.
  • (FR) The two finger hold to get the lasso eraser is nice, but many times I just want to scratch out text. It would be great to have a setting which enabled me to toggle on a Scratch-to-Erase feature.
  • (FR) I haven't gotten into leveraging links very much yet, but I wish the "jump back" shortcut (swipe up from the middle of the page) worked for multiple notebooks / Documents without links.


  • (FR) I like the idea of templates, but it can be helpful to iterate on a template a few times before going to a computer and building it out in detail.
    • Right now, if I want to create my own template just on the device I have to write out my template in Note 1, export it to an image, move that image to My Style, then go to the destination file (Note 2) and Add a Template.
    • This could be 100x easier: In Note 1, I write out my template, then I go to Note 2 (could even be the same file) when I add a template, I should have the choice of adding a new template from a file (Note/PRD/image that isn't in the My Styles folder). If there are multiple files in that Note, it would have me select one of them, then it would automatically create an image of that note, put it into the My Style folder and insert that as a template (optional: ability to name that new image).
  • (FR) I understand why Atelier is a dedicated app for drawing, but I want a notebook of sketches. No zoom/rotate option, just all the pencils/pens/colors in the Notes app.
    • (FR) Atelier's pencil is really nice, I wish Notes had it.
  • (FR) Text recognization should be able to be turned on/off for a notebook at any time rather than only during Note creation. I know there is no layer control when using a text-recognization note, but I think there should be. Even if it causes some issues, just flatten the layers you need to, and do the text recognization on it. Or specify that the first layer is the only one that gets it (that opens up some options).
  • (Bug) I was accidental triggering the paste shortcut. That was the only way I found out it even existed (which I'm glad it does). I just wish there was better palm rejection.
  • (Bug) The hardware swipe for the Main Menu requires a longer swipe (50%) than the undo/redo swipes (10-20%).
    • (FR) The hardware swipe for undo and redo should be dynamic. The longer the swipe the more undos or redos you do. I'm often 2-3 strokes into my mistake before my brain realizes it. It is too slow to swipe up three times. I will just go to the lasso eraser instead.
  • (FR) Add ability to switch the undo/redo swipe directions. Two reasons why I think they should be inverted: (1) the undo button is on top of the redo button, (2) the most common action is undo so it should match the same direction (top to bottom) as the Main Menu.
  • (FR) Move the Page Swipe menu item to the App's gesture menu. I am not sure why it has dedicated placement on the menu. It should be a set once and forget setting.
  • (FR) When you change pens, it stays the same pen as you switch between notes and PDFs. I wish there was setting to switch to a pen-per-file setting. Or even separate pens from Notes from Documents.
  • (FR) When working from a to-do list I have found myself wishing the Lock Screen would still display it. It would be great to temporarily set a page as the Lock Screen for a period of time (1 hour or 1 day). There would just need to be some treatment to show it is the Lock Screen vs it is unlocked.
  • (Bug) The popup menu for headers (and presumably others) can be covered by the page nav bar being on top. Therefore the menu should pop below the selected text.
  • (Bug) No palm recognization. This is especially painful when menus are open (e.g. editing pens).
  • (FR) When creating a new note, after putting in the name of the note, hitting Enter on the letter keyboard doesn't create the note or dismiss the keyboard. It should do one of the two.

Documents (PDF)

  • (Bug) Can't undo or erase a highlight.
  • (Bug) No palm recognization - when I highlight text the menu is dismissed as soon as my palm touches
  • (Bug) I was also getting a lot of page turns with my palm.
    • (FR) Option to limit inputs to just the pen. I would be fine with selecting all menu items with my pen if that helped. But I would still want swipe/2 fingers on screen shortcuts.
  • (FR) The square brackets for additional notes doesn’t work consistently for me. I often have to try 3 or 4 times to get it to work.


  • (FR) Digest is a separate program?? Make it part of the Documents app.
  • (FR) Option to expand the Digest to show multiple lines of a note.


  • (Bug) Atelier hid many strokes when my palm touched the left edge or after doing a few quick strokes together.
  • (Bug) Atelier doesn't support moving around the menu, at least I was unable to move it to the right side.
  • (Bug) My palm (I'm left handed) touching the screen will frequently resize the canvas a bit. I think it is triggering two touch points.
  • (FR) Atelier doesn't support the hardware shortcuts for undo/redo/lasso.
  • (FR) Atelier has no indication of what the edge of the canvas is, so I have no idea how zoomed in or out I am.
  • (FR) Ability to choose the size of the canvas.
  • (FR) Quick Access should have a toggle (whose state is saved) for the recent files instead of it being a button at the top.
    • (FR) Replace that top right icon with the ability to open Search (why is that in the top menu?).
  • (FR) Last opened note only works if you are switching between a document and a note, not toggling between notebooks. Support any file so it becomes more of a quick app/note switcher. Or remove entirely to give real-estate for quick access/recent files since that would have the same behavior.

Top Menu (Control Panel)

  • (Bug) There is different behavior between rotate and wifi. The both toggle a setting, but one dismiss the menu and the other doesn't.
  • (FR) Search is not fuzzy. It has to be exact word match. I would prefer being able to search for part of the word.

Files (Folder System)

  • (FR) Root folder can't be modified. I wish I could have my own naming system here (see Obsidian's settings for specifying which folder holds which contents).
    • Mental model is very strange for the folder structure: why isn’t My Style called Templates?
  • (FR) Names of files in the list is broken up by file type (having the symbol for text translation on the left breaks flow of titles from top to bottom). Move the icon to the right side (or remove it entirely and support turning it on/off on every file).


  • (Bug) The Gesture guide PDF says you can do page turns with taps, but that is Documents.
  • (FR) The Manual should just be a PDF pre-loaded in documents. It takes a lots of taps to get back to it every time.
  • (Bug) Manual's image for redo is actually undo (p17)
  • (FR) Eraser and lasso preference seem like they should live within the note app

Desktop and Mobile Apps

  • (Bug) This may be intentional, but it should't be: exporting a PNG from the Nomad appears to create a locked file. Trying to open it with Mac Preview, crop it, and then saving the file fails. It says, "The document ... could not be saved." If I don't have full access to my own files then I'm not sure what the point is of a digital notebook.
  • (FR) The sign in process is strange. I created the account online, but couldn't sign in to the website until I signed in on my device.
  • (FR) I don't really want a full Mac Desktop app. That is overkill and a waste of eng resources (assuming Ratta is a smaller company). I would just want a mini app which enabled a Preview of .note files and the ability to export them as PDF. Thankfully I use Obsidian, so I've been using a plugin which basically does this.

Mental Model

The mental model of the Supernote takes a bit to wrap your mind around. It isn't like a normal mobile operating system and especially not a Desktop system.

There isn't a dedicated home screen where you find a list of apps and when you exit the app is where you are returned to. The default Notes app (if thats what it is even called) is just there. There is no way to "launch it" other than by clicking on a note file or creating a new note.

And since there is no home screen, there is also no concept of an App Switcher to quickly jump between recently opened apps. I found myself wanting a quick way to switch between multiple Documents and/or Notes. The best option is to leverage the Main Menu > Recent Files menu (swipe + 2 taps).

The Main Menu has a mishmash of responsibilities. It is the App Launcher and App Switcher. This leads to new features feeling a bit bolted on. As an example there are multiple paths to open up a file from the main menu: quick access, recent files, and favorites. But then you have to use the top menu to access Search.

This results in a strange way to access all of the parts of the system.

It feels a bit like a spider web of links

Even Settings is strange. It is a popover window. It is the only window that has an "X" for closing it.

And since Notes and Documents (PDF) are core apps, they share some preferences in the Settings app, but not all of them. And it isn't clear which settings apply to which apps. Example: your pen options are shared between Notes and Docs, but not Atelier.

The more I think about it, I think Notes and Documents are actually the same app, just different menus based on the file. I think they should be broken out into their own apps if that is the case.

Notes and Documents having their own dedicated app icons (and dedicated Settings) would make the main menu act more like a home screen.

Within Settings should be App-specific settings for Notes and Documents

Right now, features and functionality feel bolted onto an existing system. One that started with the assumption that Notes and Documents would be the only feature (app) of the device and that using the file system to open them would be enough.

Thankfully Ratta has continued to develop functionality and has even enabled side loading. This just requires a bit of rethinking on how everything is laid out.

My suggestion above would be a minimal change. Changing up the main menu to actually be a full screen app would open up many more possibilities, such as having a library of recent files vs pinned (quick access) files. Think Kindle library.

And that opens up another 20 paragraphs about how it could be laid out, but that really wasn't the intention of this post. I'll put my pen down now.

Ryan Mathews

Ryan Mathews

San Francisco, CA