How to decide which eink tablet to buy? Which note taking e-reader is right for you? What's the best device for each use case?
How to decide which eink tablet to buy?
On this page I'll lead you through the decision making process, enabling you to make a considered evaluation of the products that I have tried.
I know which one I would buy, but this is about your choice.
Use the matrix and tables below to get started comparing, then dive into the FAQs in the section below and the full reviews from the links above.
Note Air 2 (+)
Buy this device if you want something that is excellent at every possible use. This is the master of all trades. But know that with flexibility and capability comes complexity.
Buy this if you just want to replace your notebook, and if style and ease of use are of paramount importance.
If you want to focus on the written word, look no further.
For writers on the go this is the choice.
You want full android in a tiny package, and some of the best reading features? Then buy this.
Max Lumi 2
Buy this if you can afford it and want the best of every possible world.
If you have a Kobo and like it, and want to make notes on your books, or would use the advance notebook regularly, buy this!
Currently one of the cheapest ways to buy an A4 device, and the software, though quirky at times, makes a whole lot of sense most of the time!
Bigme B1 Pro Max Plus Colour
Buy this if you feel that colour would make a difference to your enjoyment of the device. It is suited to an international business environment.
Boyue Meebook P10 Pro
This is currently the cheapest of the bunch and the package you get for £250 makes this a no brainer if you want an affordable entry point into the eink tablet space.
Watch the video instead, or scroll to read the more detailed, regularly updated Buying Guide on this page.
Why are eink tablets so expensive?
This is probably the first question you'll all yourself. Looking at the tech specs you'd be forgiven for thinking that they should be half the price!
But it's a simple fact that the larger eink screens are just not in high enough demand for them to be manufactured cheaply! Sorry, if you want one, expect to pay for it! If you're not 100% sure then, two options: buy a smaller one, and if you love it, upgrade later, otherwise take a punt on a second hand one.
What are the different eink tablet brands?
And how are they different. The three biggest are remarkable, supernote and boox. Simply they range from simple to feature rich. But they also offer different sizes and other features to one another.
Two other notable mentions are Quirklogic, which have big eink devices...
And mobiscribe, which only have small ones.
Then there's Sony... And Fujitsu...
And then there's the Chinese white label type of market.
Which size eink tablet is right for me?
If you want a reader, go 7.8, if you want it in a smaller bag, go 10.3, if you want desk, and full productivity then go for 13.3. drawing the larger the better, but you need good tools, so go remarkable! If you care about handwriting neatness go at least 10.3.
What features should I look for?
Emails calendar or word. Or will you anyway use your phone? I know I will anyway. These devices aren't really perfect for multitasking! If you want all the features, ask yourself if you really want an iPad. You need one where the notes app is simple and a pleasure to use. And luckily they mostly are!
Why are eink tablets better for your eyes?
Eink tablet vs LCD, it's the blue light really. You see to make bright vivid natural colours LCD and led screens have to have particularly bright blue pixels. This can lead to eye strain. Give yourself a break! Eink screens are reflective, so it's just like looking at a piec of paper? Resolution not as high but still great! Some are backlit, you'll end up not always using this and no where near full brightness if you do!
Do any of them really feel like paper?
Closer than you think.
Is eink slow?
Nope, they've got better at making them feel snappy. But kinda depends what you mean, because, it is not going to get to the practically instant levels of apple pencil. The hardware is just as fast as a normal tablet or phone. The use cases don't require all the ram and processing speeds so why bother. It's more about efficiency and battery life.
But there is that screen refresh thing, which... I guess can be a little distracting. But on most it's not something I notice.
What's the difference between one running Android and one which doesn't?
Very little to be honest. Most of the devices run android, however this is not like the android you will be used to on your phone or LCD tablet. They are just using it as a backbone to hang their eink optimised apps in. The closest to a real android experience, i.e. all the apps, is boox.
Why don't all android apps work on all the eink devices?
Two reasons, refresh rate and contrast. An LCD screen refreshes the entire screen at a constant, (and much higher) rate. The eink tablet tkes around half a second to refresh the entire screen. Companies can make the handwriting appear nearly instantaneously, because they only refresh that small part of the screen. But third party apps are not set up to do this. Also most third party apps use colour to separate icons and text, sometimes this has the same tone as the adjacent colour, and so there is no contrast between them and you cannot distinguish them. Often text on coloured fields goes missing too. Hopefully eink tablets will become more popular and app developers will make eink centred apps, or have an eink mode automatically enabled in their devices.
Does the stylus matter?
Yes and no, most devices use the wacom EMR technology, so if you don't like the stylus you can use an alternative. Some use their own ones, like the kobo, but generally for me, the stylus is more about getting used to something and getting confortable. for example the kobo and the quirklogic have buttons for highlight and erase and, these are erally useful, but you only find that you miss them for a week when you don't have them.
You should research a little which you think you'll prefer, but they are all god in my opinion.
How would I use an e-ink tablet?
For me it replaces a paper planner and organiser and notebook, and little ese, it means that I have a little bit of time in my professional day where I am not lookig at an LCD or OLED screen and this is a nice break. But I still get the digital features. It splits the use between thoughts, ideas and notes, and more focused use on a laptop. Most professional people will find that a laptop and an eink tablet will be a great mix in their professional life.
What's the price of the eink tablets?
About £250 for the smaller A6 ones, £350 + for the A5s and over 700 for the A4s. It's high because the screen technology is still very expensive!
Supernote wins overall.
For notes it's the Supernote because of the Table of Contents,
For handwriting recognition (OCR) Supernote and Kobo are tied.
For writing directly into word apps, Supernote , Kobo and Boox are tied.
Supernote has the best handwriting feel.
Boox wins overall.
You want the Boox Max series for academic.
Boox Nova Air for reading for pleasure, it has a bi colour front light, many apps and libraries.
Kobo is the choice if you already use a kobo at all!
Remarkable wins overall.
It has the best feel for drawing, the best tools, you can use layers, and export the vector data.
Boox if you want to work on the device in multimedia, or have an easy workflow into other apps.
Boox wins overall
Quirklogic Papyr is best for collaboration if your whole company want to use it!
Quirklogic Papyr can also let your company make a locked down server on your own system, great for companies that need to know their data is secure.
Boox is great for planning, for instance you can use any calendar app you choose.
Boox will integrate into your existing workflow. For instance using office apps.
But Supernote is great if you just wanted it to be like a digital filofax.
Quirklogic Papyr wins overall.
The Quirklogic Papyr web app is designed for this purpose, for sharing work and ideas in meetings, all can contribute notes. You could easily share on a zoom call by web app.
The full android tablets can share by miracast, or download another sharing app. But all should add HDMI over USB-C.
Remarkable looks the best, it's the simplest and easiest to use. It has great build quality.
But all the eink tablets look good! Some are plastic some metal, the jury is still out.
Supernote wins for durability and being the most like a paper notebook. The accessories are fantastic and make it feel like it's your old Moleskine.