An E Ink tablet may be an excellent choice if you enjoy writing by hand. They offer exceptional reading and writing experience, and they also have a long battery life and allow you to save paper. An E Ink tablet combines the distraction-free and simple reading environment of a Kindle-style e-reader with the traditional tablet’s digital handwriting and note-taking capabilities. They choose grayscale technology over the bright LCD displays and lightning-fast processors of Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and Amazon tablets.
These devices cannot replace an iPad primarily designed for reading and writing. While you won’t be able to stream your favorite show or watch the most recent TikTok video on these tablets, you will be able to bring them into the classroom without disturbing your professor or classmates.
Our Top Picks
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E-Ink tablet vs eReader: what’s the difference?
Typically, E-Ink tablets run a smart operating system such as Android and have access to app stores. This means that you can do more than read books and magazines. You can easily access the Internet, your email, social media, and even games. Because E-Ink displays utilize fewer resources, they typically have longer battery life. They also function flawlessly as electronic readers if you use Kindle or Google Play Books apps.
Because they are intended to be used as regular tablets, E-Ink tablets tend to have more powerful specifications, better E-Ink screens (some of which are color), and a better experience overall. Additionally, they have touchscreens and are more suitable for notetaking. Especially given that E-Ink displays are not affected by glare and can be viewed comfortably in direct sunlight. All of these advantages also translate to a higher cost, of course.
eReaders, on the other hand, are designed to perform specific tasks. They can be used to read books and magazines and listen to audiobooks. Some may include more sophisticated features, such as a browser or sharing capabilities. Regardless, they could be better at all of the additional functions. However, they are typically very affordable.
Choosing the right size E-Ink tablet
Remember that these are not portable reading devices you can toss in your bag and use for simple reading on the go. E-Ink tablets are intended to be used as mobile computing devices, similar to iPads and Android tablets. The only distinction is that it lacks a conventional display. Consequently, you should choose the correct size.
We recommend selecting your preferred tablet size. We typically recommend anything between eight and eleven inches. Any smaller, and it won’t be easy to use touch controls and comfortably view content. The larger the screen, the more difficult it may be to use and transport efficiently.
How do we evaluate E-Ink tablets?
Every E Ink tablet is subjected to extensive manual testing. Each tablet was used for one week of rehearsals for a professional theatrical production. This required evaluating the setup procedure, loading PDFs and books onto the devices, and using the device and including a stylus as a script during six-hour rehearsal days. Tasks had underlined, taking margin notes, and creating and taking detailed notebook notes. Additionally, we downloaded ebooks onto the device and used them as leisurely e-readers.
We considered the hardware design and features, stylus capabilities, overall ease of use, effective UI layouts, notebook settings, E-Ink settings, PDF markup capabilities, e-reading settings and format compatibility, app support and performance, and the system’s overall speed and dependability.
Best E Ink Tablets: Top 5 Picks For Buyers
I have recently used the Amazon Kindle Scribe, the newest E Ink tablet on the market. Like other E Ink tablets on this list, the Kindle Scribe includes a stylus and PDF support for notetaking and annotation. In addition, you can take handwritten notes on Kindle books using an application that pins your note to the text. Following Amazon’s custom, Scribe will not directly support ePub files, so you need to send them to your Kindle via Amazon’s Whispersync service for conversion. The Scribe has a 300-dpi touchscreen, a starting price of $340 for the 16GB model, and is currently available in 32GB and 64GB capacities.
How does the new Kindle Scribe stack up against other E Ink tablets? Let’s disassemble it.
1. The E-ink Tablet With The Most Functionality: Onyx BOOX Nova3
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The Onyx BOOX Nova3 is excellent for reading, drawing, and taking notes. It has a significant advantage over the other note-taking tablets on this list: It runs on Android 10, allowing you to download third-party applications such as Kindle or Chrome from Google Play once Wi-Fi is enabled. While e-ink enthusiasts debate the differences between using the two note-taking tablets on this list, the consensus is that the Nova3 offers significantly more functionality in terms of its operating system and note-taking features. It has handwriting recognition that allows you to digitize your notes and an integrated microphone that can convert speech to text and be used for voice chat on third-party apps such as WhatsApp. You can also search the device for written and digitized text, a feature that the reMarkable tablet below is missing. Additionally, this tablet is equipped with Bluetooth, allowing you to connect wireless headphones.
The Nova3 provides access to numerous file formats, including PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and Word files. While its functionality leaves little to be desired, its battery life and storage capacities exceed expectations. It has a one-day battery life and only three gigabytes of storage (though it can easily be backed up to the Cloud to limit storage needs).
Lastly, many reviewers prefer the pen-like writing experience of the reMarkable tablet over that of the Nova3, something to consider if you intend to write or draw frequently. The Nova3 is also considerably smaller than the reMarkable tablet, which may be significant depending on your needs.
- Full-color, sunlight-readable display
- Nice, flat-front build
- Wacom pen for drawing and note-taking
- Runs any Android app
- Screen is a bit dim
- Occasional ghosting on color content
2. Best for writing and note-taking: ReMarkable 2
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The ReMarkable 2 is the ideal E-Ink tablet for students who enjoy taking copious handwritten notes. It is 0.88 pounds and 0.19 inches thick, making it light and easy to carry in your backpack. This 10.3-inch tablet features a monochrome digital display with a 226 DPI resolution. You can select from over 40-page templates for notes, including seven options specifically for musical notation. There are clear buttons at the top of the software for adding notebooks and folders. It has 8GB of internal storage and includes handwriting recognition and integration with Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive. Previously, these services were part of the ReMarkable Connect subscription, but they are now included for free with every device. The Connect subscription remains, but now costs $3 per month rather than $8. It provides:
- A ReMarkable 2 protection plan.
- Unlimited cloud storage.
- The capacity to add notes to your notebooks from mobile and desktop devices.
The included stylus supports tilt detection and a standard 4,096 level of pressure sensitivity without requiring pairing or charging. It provides the most realistic writing experience I’ve ever encountered on a tablet. The screen has a paper-like texture, giving the pen an efficient level of friction.
The ReMarkable 2 excels with PDFs as well. Highlights automatically align and become a readable shade of gray without requiring any adjustment. You can easily add pages to PDFs for additional notes or write in the margins. This E Ink tablet is my favorite due to its thinness, two-week battery life, pen input, and PDF management capabilities.
However, ReMarkable 2 has its challenges. It lacks any backlight, which could be a deal-breaker. Like a physical book or notebook, this device requires an external light source for nighttime use. Even the most affordable Kindle now has a front light for nighttime use. It also performs poorly as an e-reader, as the only supported file formats are PDF and unprotected epub. This means that you will not be able to access your Kindle content or any other epub books with digital rights management software, which encompasses most legally available ebooks on the market.
This tablet was extremely useful in the end. This is the most affordable E-Ink tablet on our list, but it is still primarily a PDF reader and note-taking device.
- Enjoyable writing experience
- Excellent display
- Stylus is magnetic
- Better design than its predecessor
- Longer battery life than its predecessor
- Useful cloud and cursive handwriting-to-text features
- High price
- Limited capabilities
- Lacks backlight
- Handwriting-to-text can't be edited
- No color, apps, browser or video support
- Latency lags behind iPad Pro
3. Most versatile E Ink tablet: Onyx Boox Note Air 2
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The Boox Note Air 2 is an E-Ink device that resembles a tablet. This 10.3-inch tablet has a 227 DPI resolution, a customized version of the Android 11 operating system, and an app store where you can download third-party apps that have been optimized for the device. There is a way to access the entire Google Play store, although I wouldn’t recommend it for anything other than downloading an e-reading app, as the Boox has an E Ink display and isn’t designed for games or video. The installation of the Google Play store is detailed in this hands-on review of an older model.
The Boox comes with only 64GB of non-expandable storage, so you should avoid installing too many apps. As a means of transferring documents to the device, the company provides 5GB of free cloud storage through its service; however, Dropbox, Evernote, and OneNote are also available.
The most significant advantage of the app store is that you will have access to your entire Kindle, Nook, and Kobo library of books. You can also download the Libby app for library books, and Marvel Unlimited users can use the Marvel Comics app to read black-and-white comics. The Note Air 2 has speakers and a microphone to listen to audiobooks from Audible and other audiobook apps.
This is an attractive feature of the device, but I found the app experience could have been better. Note Air 2’s distinctive features are disabled in third-party applications. On the Kindle app, you won’t be able to use the pen to make notes or highlight passages. Instead, you’ll have to type in your notes like on any other tablet. To write directly onto books, you must possess ebooks in a DRM-free format. Box supports various file formats, including PDF, epub, DOC, and Mobi.
The Note Air 2 excels at notetaking and PDF management but less seamlessly than the ReMarkable 2. Highlights are not automatically aligned, and users must select the marker’s color and width. The Note Air 2 offers 16 grayscale color options, but all appear identical on the device, leaving highlights dark and cluttered. In addition to 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, the included stylus has a slight lag when writing across the page. On the plus side, audio recordings can be utilized to improve retention. The Note Air 2 also allows you to simultaneously open a PDF and notebook in split-screen mode, allowing you to read and take notes simultaneously.
The Boox Note Air 2 has a warm and cold front light, similar to the Kindle Paperwhite and Oasis, to make the screen easier on the eyes and give it a more paper-like appearance. Using a pull-down menu, you can easily control both lights. Additionally, its battery life is measured in weeks, not days.
While this tablet is by far the most expensive on our list, it is also the most versatile of the E-Ink tablets and performs a variety of functions well but not exceptionally.
You may have noticed that the company recently introduced the Note Air 2 Plus. It’s nearly identical to the original Air 2, except for a slightly larger battery that also makes it slightly heavier.
- Top-notch build quality
- Built-in reading and note-taking apps work well
- Good battery life
- Taking notes in third-party apps isn't great
- App compatibility can be hit or miss
- Not waterproof
4. Best E Ink tablet for reading: Kobo Elipsa
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Kobo may be a smaller company than Amazon, but it has been producing e-readers for roughly the same time. Amazon once manufactured a 9.7-inch Kindle, but it was discontinued in 2014 because it did not offer natural input via touchscreen or stylus. Kobo introduced the first waterproof e-reader and the first 10.3-inch device with a stylus among the major e-reader manufacturers.
The Elipsa, like most Kobos, is an excellent e-reader with a battery life measured in weeks, depending on usage. In contrast to Kindles, Kobos have a seemingly infinite capacity for personalization. Regardless of the screen size, you can continuously adjust margins, line spacing, fonts, and font size to create a page with the exact appearance you desire. The included stylus is compatible with any PDF or Kobo ePub, so it can be used with library books and books purchased from the Kobo store.
Regarding libraries, Kobo is renowned for its comprehensive integration with the ebook library service OverDrive. If your local library utilizes OverDrive, you can easily access, browse, and download library books on your mobile device. Borrowing an ebook from the New York Public Library was a seamless experience, making all Kobos essential for library enthusiasts.
Unfortunately, Elipsa cannot take notes. There is a noticeable lag when writing for any length of time with the stylus, and the notebook’s features are rather basic. Only four templates are available in the essential notebooks, while the advanced notebooks contain only one lined template. In addition to allowing, you to insert drawings, diagrams, math equations, and a free-form section, advanced notebooks also will enable you to convert your handwriting to text. There are only a few pen types and five brush sizes.
I could not use the notebook feature for anything beyond the most basic scribbles, and I would not recommend it for any other purpose.
The Kobo Elipsa has 32GB of storage, a resolution of 227 DPI, and a blue front light, but the Boox has a warmer front light. While this E Ink tablet falls short in long-form writing, it excels as a large-screen, library-friendly e-reader with margin annotations.
- Beautiful design
- Books and documents look terrific
- Great store and public library integration
- No yellow option for front-light
- Limited document export options
- Note-taking app lacks layers and colors
5. Best E Ink tablet for Amazon content: Kindle Scribe
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The Kindle Scribe’s 10.2-inch, 300-PPI display is uniformly illuminated and ideal for large-format reading. The writing experience is also enjoyable and natural, but software limitations prevent the Scribe from reaching its full potential.
The Scribe resembles and feels like an oversized Kindle Paperwhite or Oasis but lacks the physical page-turning buttons of Amazon’s premium e-reader. Words appear crisp and distinct, and the device is quick and responsive.
The Scribe’s notebooks are user-friendly but lack features compared to other E-Ink Tablets. You can export your notebooks via email, but Dropbox and other third-party services are not supported. There are 18 notebook templates available, including six lined options, graphing paper, musical notation, and to-do lists. All of that is great, but these notebooks lack any intelligent features. For example, there’s no way to insert equations or convert your handwriting to text.
Similarly, more than writing in books and documents is required for severe underlining and doodling. Amazon does not allow you to write directly on the page in any other format besides PDF. If you want to handwrite a note in a book or even a Microsoft Word document, you need to use “sticky notes.” Not only does this prevent you from writing in the margins of books, but it also requires you to take an additional step to begin writing.
The sticky notes are then automatically collected in your Notes and Highlights section, where they are presented without the context in which they were written. You can navigate directly to the page where a note was written by tapping on your annotations. This is great in theory but having multiple notes on a page can be confusing because it does not pinpoint the exact location where the note was created. In addition, The Scribe does not permit you to make any notes on manga, comics, graphic novels, magazines, or newspapers.
Currently, you are allowed to write directly on the page in PDFs, but the experience could be better. The pen itself functions well, but managing documents is more challenging than it should be. When viewing a PDF, you cannot change the font size or layout; therefore, you must pinch to zoom to enlarge or reposition the document. That part works well, and it’s easy to find a level that works best for you. However, once positioned in a PDF, you cannot remain there. Scribe prevents you from maintaining your current zoom levels from page to page. Instead, you must zoom out again to swipe to the next page and reposition it. This is a huge pain and makes reading long PDFs cumbersome and frustrating.
The Scribe is an excellent option if you want a large-screen e-reader or want to handwrite sticky notes in Amazon books. However, it needs to perform better with PDFs or in-line note-taking to be recommended as anything other than a massive but excellent Kindle.
- Smooth note-taking experience
- Appealing design and hardware
- Big 10.2" screen
- Includes stylus
- Weeks of battery life
- Very competitive pricing
- Can mark up PDFs, other docs
- Easy to send documents to device
- Big, sharp E Ink display
- acks tools for serious drawing
- No handwriting-to-text conversion
- Awkward to use one-handed
- The Kindle software is showing its age
- Limited Kindle app integration
- Can't mark up Kindle e-books (or DRM-free ePub ebooks)
The Note Air 2 Plus delivers a lightweight, durable 10.3-inch e-ink screen with an adjustable Moon Light 2 warm light that I use daily.
At just 4.7 mm / 0.19 in, reMarkable 2 is the world’s thinnest tablet. This is essential to providing a more paper-like writing experience. Paper-thin design for comfortable handwriting.
Yes. The reMarkable 2 is a great eReader and notebook replacement for creatives who value a paper-like experience. After aggressively using the device for over 60 days, I’d buy it again—hands down.
Quality of light: Our eyes are designed to process natural, reflected light better than self-illuminated objects (i.e. artificial light). e-ink wins in this regard and can help reduce strain when compared to LCD screens.
Generally speaking, the average lifespan of a Kindle is 5 to 6 years. Kindle Fire Tablets have a much shorter lifespan than the e-ink versions and typically last about 2 to 3 years. The lifespan of a Kindle can vary greatly based on the usage, charging behavior, and environmental factors.
If your reMarkable was purchased before November 7, 2022, you need to use the activation link in your order confirmation email to activate your subscription. See this page for details. After your 1-year free subscription ends, Connect will automatically renew on a monthly basis (for $2.99/mo) until you cancel.
Studies show exposure to blue light can negatively impact sleep. In a 2015 study, researchers found that the use of e-readers before bedtime prolongs the time it takes to fall asleep and reduces alertness the following morning.
Your eyes require a break from staring at bright screens daily. Not only will the best E Ink tablet provide relief, but it will also enable you to perform various tasks. The Onyx Boox Nova Air C is the best E Ink tablet due to its exquisitely soft colors, incredibly lightweight construction, and multitasking capabilities. It is not limited to being an e-reader, but you can use it if you wish. However, if necessary, you can also take notes, draw beautiful pictures, and highlight text.
The Nova Air C is suitable for both home and office use. There is no need to sacrifice connectivity or battery life. It also has a speaker, which none of the other electronic ink tablets on this list possess. Even more impressive is its ability to run virtually any Android application. It can be used as a full-fledged tablet for most reading and writing tasks. The Nova Air C is the best available E-Ink tablet because it pushes the boundaries of the technology in the best way.