E-ink tablets offer you something normal tablets can't provide: the look and feel of a paper product. So when you read an e-book, it'll feel more like reading an actual physical book. And if you want to make notes, with a pressure-sensitive stylus, so it'll feel more like you're writing on paper too. The same goes for writing, sketching, or making notes directly onto PDFs and other documents.
Be warned, though: many e-ink tablets don't run Android or iOS, so you won't be able to do all the things you're used to doing on a standard tablet, such as download apps, play games, listen to music and so on. Some do, but even then, the e-ink screen will mean that websites, apps and videos will look quite different from what you're used to, especially on a black-and-white e-tablet.
With all that in mind, we've gathered together the best e-ink tablets on the market today, to suit a range of budgets and uses. So read on to find which is the best e-ink tablet for your specific needs.
The best e-ink tablet for note-taking
Want an e-reader that you can also take notes on? Then our top recommendation is the Onyx Note Air 2 Plus. With a fabulous 10.3-inch display, it works brilliantly for notetaking. It has a definite paper-like feel, making it more like writing on real notepad, and can turn your handwriting into text pretty accurately. It comes with a battery-free stylus, and the rechargeable 3,700mAh battery keeps the tablet itself going for weeks on a single charge.
This tablet boasts a USB-C port for charging, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and it doubles as a full-blown tablet, running Android 11. That means you can use apps from the Google Play Store, and while that's not always a great experience on an e-ink screen, it does give you a broader range of notetaking apps than the (admittedly very good) onboard one.
The best e-ink tablet for writing
This 10.3-inch tablet is quite expensive, but it offers the best writing experience on our list. You get zero lag, tilt detection and overall it feels very close to writing on paper. Your handwriting can be digitised, and you can also scan handwriting on paper. You can even make notes on PDFs, which is handy if you need to annotate lots of documents.
The interface is clean and minimal, and the screen is bright and easy to read in daylight, making for pleasant, distraction-free writing. It works with the Marker or Marker Plus styluses, which are pressure- and tilt-senstive, although note that you'll have to buy these separately.
The ReMarkable 2 claims to be the world's thinnest tablet, at just 4.7mm thick, and it's certainly nice and portable. It promises two weeks' battery life on a single charge, and offers some nifty integrations with Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive.
The best colour e-ink tablet
If you're looking for colour, you won't find finer than this 10.3-inch tablet. In my Onyx Boox Tab Ultra C review, I found it did great job of reproducing graphic novels, comics and manga.
The screen offers a maximum resolution of 2480 x 1860 pixels (300ppi) in black and white, the highest on our list. This drops down to 1240 x 930 (150ppi) in colour, but you're still getting a lot of picture detail. And overall, publications look great even in sunlight, thanks to the anti-glare coating on the screen. I also appreciated being able to adjust brightness and colour temperature between -15°C and 65°C.
Like the other Onyx tablets on this list, this doubles as an Android tablet, albeit with Android 11 rather than the latest version (12). Other highlights include the generous 128GB of internal storage, the ability to add a microSD up to 1TB, and a document camera which lets you photograph documents and turn them into digital text.
While e-ink tablets are far from the best drawing tablets, the presence of colour, a lovely stylus and a decent onboard app means that the Onyx Boox Tab Ultra C is, technically speaking, the best e-ink tablet for drawing you'll find today.
On the downside, the speakers aren't great, there's no audio jack for headphones, and it's quite expensive. But if you're looking for a colour e-ink tablet, this is the best in show right now. And if you choose to buy the keyboard cover separately, you can even turn it into an e-ink laptop; a category I didn't previously know existed!
The best large e-ink tablet
Is size important to you? Then the Onyx Boox Tab X has a 13.3-inch display that will give you ample space to read, write, take notes and doodle on. And that's not all: it also has by far the best specs of any e-ink tablet on the market today.
So why doesn't it top our list? Quite simply, because it's so darned expensive, coming in at around a grand at time of writing. If you have money to spare, though, it's well worth considering. As I explain in my Onyx Boox Tab X review, this e-ink tablet pretty much has it all.
The big, beautiful screen means it's great for reading large-format publications like reference books, newspapers and magazines. And the size also makes a huge difference when you're annotating PDFs, especially if you're using the split-screen features.
More generally, the included stylus offers an authentically paper-like experience. The Qualcomm Snapdragon processor combined with 6GB of RAM means everything happens quickly and smoothly, with zero lag. And the 6300mAh battery is claimed to be the biggest on any e-ink device, keeping you going for weeks on end. Overall, then, this is the Rolls Royce of e-ink tablets: a premium product at a premium price.
The best budget e-ink tablet
Short on cash? At a fraction of the cost of the Onyx Boox Tab X, the PocketBook e-Book Reader is the cheapest on our list. But it still boasts some impressive specs for the price, including 16GB of storage, a high screen resolution of 300dpi and a colour screen. You also get Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, Dropbox integration and support for a wide variety of e-pub files.
On the downside, the 1,900mAH battery won't last you many days, and it takes some time to charge via micro-USB. It's not a full Android tablet, although there are onboard apps for things like notetaking, text-to-speech and a calculator. And that screen is pretty small, at just six inches in diameter; although at the same time this does make the device wonderfully light (at just 159g) and portable. So given the low price, overall I'd say this e-ink tablet represents excellent value.
The best e-ink tablet for students
Most students will want an e-ink tablet primarily for reading, with the option of taking notes related to the book, essay or research paper in question. If that sound like you, then we recommend the Kindle Scribe.
As you'd expect from the iconic Kindle brand, the Scribe has an evenly lit, 300dpi display with crisp, clear text that's perfect for reading. Of course, it's beautifully integrated with the Kindle library. Plus it also offers a decent paper-like experience when note-taking with the included stylus, with 18 notebook templates.
On the downside, the features and functionality here are pretty limited compared to other tablets on this list. Most significantly, the Kindle Scribe can't turn handwriting into text. Also, while you can write directly onto PDFs, you can't write directly onto books and documents: you have to add a digital equivalent of a sticky note instead.
In short, if you want to take a LOT of notes, we'd recommend the first entry on our list. However, if your primary focus is reading, with the option to write the odd note or two when inspiration strikes, then this is a great option.
How to choose an e-ink tablet
When choosing an e-ink tablet, there are a few key factors to consider. First think about screen size. E-ink tablets come in a variety of screen sizes, from around 6 inches to 13 inches. If you plan on using your e-ink tablet for note-taking, you may want to choose a larger screen size. However, you have to balance that with portability and what's comfortable for you to hold and read from.
Secondly, look at resolution, which determines how sharp and clear the text and images will appear. Higher resolution tablets will have sharper text and images, but they will also be more expensive.
If you want to do more than read and write on your tablet, it's also worth paying attention to its operating system. Some e-ink tablets run a proprietary operating system, but if you want to be able to install apps on your e-ink tablet, you will need to choose a tablet that runs Android. Beyond that e-ink tablets come with a variety of features, such as front-lit screens, stylus support, and handwriting recognition.
How we test
To compile this list, we've compared reviews of e-ink tablets from our own experts, along with those at our sister titles at Future Publishing. When we test tablets, we don't just look at technical specifications but focus on what most people want from an e-ink tablet and whether a particular device delivers. Is it easy to understand and operate? Does it perform consistently, and are there any lags, slowdown or crashes over time? We perform rigorous tests to put all the tablet's features and functionality through its paces, and assess the quality of its display, the speed of operation, battery life, and practical things like what it's like to hold and how easy it is to carry.
What is an e-ink tablet?
An E-ink tablet is a type of electronic device that uses E-ink technology to display content on its screen. E-ink (short for "electronic ink") provides a paper-like, glare-free reading experience, making it suitable for reading digital books, documents, and more.
E-ink displays work by using tiny microcapsules filled with black and white particles that respond to electrical charges. When a charge is applied, the particles move to the front or back of the microcapsules, creating the text and images on the screen.
Why would I buy an e-ink tablet?
E-ink tablets offer several specific things that normal Android, iOS or Amazon tablets don't. Most importantly, they provide a reading experience close to ink on paper, which feels more comfortable on the eyes for long reading sessions.
They also tend to have much longer battery life, making them great for travel, and anti-glare displays that are easy to read in sunlight or other bright environments. Also, because these devices are primarily designed for reading, you're less likely to get distracted by email, messages, notifications and other interruptions common on normal tablets.
Many models offer reading-specific features like adjustable font sizes, customisable reading settings, and built-in dictionaries for enhanced convenience. And some e-ink tablets, including those on our list above, go further and offer features for note-taking, handwriting, sketching and drawing with a stylus, with a more paper-like feel than most standard tablets.
How long does an e-ink tablet last?
With proper care, an e-ink tablet should last for several years. That's because unlike traditional LCD or OLED screens, e-ink displays do not have a backlight and do not emit light continuously. Instead, they rely on small electric charges to rearrange particles within the display to create text and images. This means that e-ink screens consume power only during transitions, such as flipping a page on an e-reader.
Your e-ink tablet's life will, however, shorten if it sustains physical damage, such as drops or impacts, or is subject to excessive moisture or extreme temperatures. Conversely, if you keep it safe from such harm, by taking care and storing it in a protective case, it will probably last longer. Performing regular software updates and maintaining a stable power source can also help prolong its lifespan.