Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
E-Ink readers are great for consuming written content, but they usually can’t do much else. That’s why most people opt for an eye-straining, battery-sucking tablet with access to apps, browsers, and more. What if you find a hybrid? Today we are looking at the best E-Ink tablets.
E-Ink Tablet and eReader: What’s the Difference?
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
E-Ink tablets usually run on a smart operating system like Android and have access to app stores. This means you can do more than just read books or magazines. You can easily browse the web, check your emails, access social media, and even play games. E-Ink displays are less resource intensive, resulting in better battery life. And think about it; They also work great as e-readers if you use apps like Kindle or Google Play Books.
Because they’re supposed to be used as regular tablets, E-Ink tablets also have more powerful specs, better E-Ink screens (some with color), and an overall better experience. They also have touchscreens and are better for taking notes. In particular, E-Ink displays are glare-free and can be viewed comfortably in direct sunlight. All of these benefits, of course, come at a high price.
On the other hand, eReaders are designed to perform very specific tasks. You can use them to read books or magazines, or listen to audiobooks. Some may have advanced features such as browser or sharing capabilities. However, they are not great at performing additional functions. That being said, they are very cheap.
Choosing the right size E-Ink tablet
Remember, these are not reading-only devices that you can put in a bag and pull out for casual reading on the go. E-Ink tablets are meant to be used as mobile computing devices like other Android tablets or iPads. The only difference is the absence of a traditional display. So you need to choose the right size.
Our advice is to choose the size of your favorite tablet. We usually recommend something around eight to 11 inches. Anything less, and you’ll struggle to use touch controls and view content comfortably. Zoom in and your screen may be too much for efficient use and portability.
Top 5 E-Ink Tablets
We searched high and low and these are our favorite E-Ink readers.
Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this post when new E-Ink tablets are released.
Huawei MatePad Paper: The best overall
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
The Huawei MatePad Paper isn’t perfect, but we still believe it’s the best E-Ink tablet you’ll find. For starters, it comes with specs befitting an Android tablet, including a Huawei Kirin 820E chipset, 4GB of RAM, a 10.3-inch 1,872 x 1,404 screen, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a fingerprint reader, speakers, microphones, and 3,625. mAh battery. All run on Harmony OS 2, which is based on Android.
The tablet lacks a bit in the display department, but lag and lower frame rates are to be expected from E-Ink panels. Additionally, the battery wasn’t as good as eReaders, but we were still able to get four to five days on a single charge, which is much longer than typical Android tablets.
The only real downside is that it doesn’t have any support for Google apps, like most modern Huawei devices. You should rely on what AppGallery has to offer. However, there are still many great apps out there.
To learn more about the Huawei MatePad Paper, check out our full review.
Onyx Boox Tab Ultra: The next best E-Ink tablet
If you’re looking for a high-performance E-Ink tablet and don’t quite trust Huawei, the Onyx Boox Tab Ultra is currently the next best thing. It has a nice 10.3-inch screen with a resolution of 1,872 x 1,404.
Other features include a Qualcomm octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, dual speakers, dual microphones, and a 6,300mAh battery. It even has a 16MP rear camera, which is rare in the world of E-Ink tablets. The device runs on Android 11, but it doesn’t have direct access to the Google Play Store. You can download apps on it.
Onyx Boox Note Air 2 Plus: Google Play Store out of the box
If you don’t want to complicate your life with other app stores, the Onyx Boox Note Air 2 Plus is the best E-Ink tablet. Apart from being a very good device, it comes with Google Play Store out of the box.
Aside from app availability, you get a 10.3-inch display with a resolution of 1404 x 1872. It packs an octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity, and a 3,700mAh battery. The device runs on Android 11. If it makes any difference to you, it looks great!
Note 2: Best for writing
If all you want from an E-Ink tablet is a better writing experience, then the Remarkable 2 might be your best option. It costs significantly less than most of the options listed here. MSRP is $279. As always, the low price comes with some sacrifices.
The E-Ink tablet comes with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, so performance won’t be great. The 10.3-inch 1872 x 1404 display isn’t bad either. The only problem is that this device is not as full-featured as others. It runs a Linux-based OS called Codex and is designed specifically for writing, reading and visualization.
Onyx Boox Nova Air C
We’re on the roll of Onyx Boox! Sorry, but we had to include this. There is no better E-Ink tablet with a color display. It’s also the smallest on the list with a 7.8-inch panel. Despite its small size, it still has a resolution of 1,872 x 1,404 and includes screen backlighting.
The interior is also very good. It has an octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The battery is a bit small at 2000 mAh. You can still get Android 11 and install Android apps manually.
Frequently asked questions
One can imagine that an E-Ink tablet will be cheaper than a tablet with a regular screen. This is not really the case, however. In fact, they may be a little more expensive than usual. The E-Ink tablet costs about $300 to $600.
Most E-Ink tablets run Android, but that doesn’t mean you can always access the Google Play Store. Most of the time Google Apps is not supported. However, there are E-Ink tablets with access to the Google Play Store. One of our favorites is the Onyx Boox Note Air 2 Plus.
If you plan to use your device primarily for reading and writing, as well as general text reading, getting a color E-Ink tablet is not necessary. This can be a useful feature if you want to visualize colored material. This can include magazines and even videos. It’s also better to see and use color apps.
In general, E-Ink tablets do not have the features found in standard tablets. You won’t find high-end processors or excessive RAM in any of these.